Sunday, February 28, 2010

Luther: There are nowadays almost as many sects and creeds as there are heads

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes from a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

There are nowadays almost as many sects and creeds as there are heads.(in Will Durant, The Reformation, [volume 6 of 10-volume The Story of Civilization, 1967], New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957, 441)

He uses this quote several different ways. First, as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." Second, it's an example of a need for universal Church wide belief. Third, he uses it to prove "It is a farce to view Protestantism as in any way "universal." Fourth, he uses it to prove "Without the authoritative guidance of the Church, men will always differ." Fifth, in his book More Biblical Evidence For Catholicism (2007) p. 45- 46, he uses it to prove Luther's recognition of the "scandalous nature of sectarianism" with the use of complaining with "dripping disdain."

Documentation
He cites Will Durant's volume on The Reformation, So off we go:

As internal liberty varies (other things equal) with external security, Protestantism, during its safe period, indulged in the sectarian fragmentation that seemed inherent in the principles of private judgment and the supremacy of conscience. Already in 1525 Luther wrote: "There are nowadays almost as many sects and creeds as there are heads." Melanchthon was kept grievously busy moderating his master and finding ambiguous formulas for reconciling contradictory certitudes. Catholics pointed gleefully to the mutually recriminating Protestant factions, and predicted that freedom of interpretation and belief would lead to religious anarchy-, moral disintegration, and a skepticism abominable to Protestants as well as Catholics. In 1525 three artists were banished from Protestant Nuremberg for questioning the divine authorship of the Bible, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and the divinty of Christ.

Durant cites Janssen IV, 199 as the source, so off we go:

All that had come to pass formerly in Bohemia as a result of this teaching, the terrible want of unity in religion, of which eye-witnesses at the beginning of the sixteenth century testify, would now, it was prophesied, happen in Germany also. Just as Luther had written of Germany in 1525, 'There are nowadays almost as many sects and creeds as there are heads,' so Bohuslav Hassenstein had written of Bohemia: 'Nobody is hindered from setting up a new religion. Not to mention the Wickliffites and Picards, there are also those who deny the divinity of our Saviour, those who maintain that the soul dies with the body, those who think every religion equally profitable to salvation, yea, verily, those who think that even hell is an invention of man. I pass over here innumerable opinions of this sort. And these sectarians do not keep their opinions to themselves, but preach them openly. Old men and boys, young men and women dispute about matters of faith, and expound the Holy Scriptures, which all the while they have not studied. Each sect finds its adherents, so great is the craving after something new.

Janssen uses the quote as an editorial comment and doesn't provide a primary reference to Luther's writings, or even a secondary source. Durant uses it as proof of protestant fragmentation. Neither men appear to have used a primary source.

I've done work on this quote before. It's from The Letter of doctor Martin to the Christians of Antwerp (1525). The letter was written to warn Antwerp of radical leaders and groups during the peasant uprising. The peasants had sporadic outbursts of violence previous to their great uprising in the spring of 1525. Luther was very aware of the peasant situation. He had personally visited some of the peasants, and was almost killed by them. Charismatic leaders spurred them on, using religion as part of the motivation to violently revolt against the establishment. Luther was aware of these charismatic peasant leaders, and wrote against them, and also to warn Antwerp.

Context
The letter can be found here. "Letter of doctor Martin to the Christians of Antwerp."

We believed, during the reign of the pope, that the spirits which make a noise and disturbance in the night, were those of the souls of men, who after death, return and wander about in expiation of their sins. This error, thank God, has been discovered by the Gospel, and it is known at present, that they are not the souls of men, but nothing else than those malicious devils who used to deceive men by false answers. It is they that have brought so much idolatry into the world.

The devil seeing that this sort of disturbance could not last, has devised a new one; and begins to rage in his members, I mean in the ungodly, through whom he makes his way in all sorts of chimerical follies and extravagant doctrines. This won't have baptism, that denies the efficacy of the Lord's supper; a third, puts a world between this and the last judgment ; others teach that Jesus Christ is not God ; some say this, others that ; and there are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads.

I must cite one instance, by way of exemplification, for I have plenty to do with these sort of spirits. There is not one of them that does think himself more learned than Luther; they all try to win their spurs against me; and would to heaven that they were all such as they think themselves, and that I were nothing! The one of whom I speak assured me, amongst other things, that lie was sent to me by the God of heaven and earth, and talked most magnificently, but the clown peeped through all. At last, he ordered me to read the books of Moses. I asked for a sign in confirmation of this order, ' It is,' said he, ' written in the gospel of St. John.' By this time I had heard enough, and I told him, to come again, for that we should not have time, just now, to read the books of Moses. . . .

I have plenty to do in the course of the year with these poor people: the devil could not have found a better pretext for tormenting me. As yet the world had been full of those clamorous spirits without bodies, who oppressed the souls of men; now they have bodies, and give themselves out for living angels . . .

When the pope reigned we heard nothing of these troubles. The strong one (the devil) was in peace in his fortress; but now that a stronger one than he is come, and prevails against him and drives him out, as the Gospel says, he storms and comes forth with noise and fury.

Dear friends, one of these spirits of disorder has come amongst you in flesh and blood; he would lead you astray with the inventions of his pride: beware of him.

First, he tells you that all men have the Holy Ghost. Secondly, that the Holy Ghost is nothing more than our reason and our understanding. Thirdly, that all men have faith. Fourthly, that there is no hell, that at least the flesh only will be damned. Fifthly, that all souls will enjoy eternal life. Sixthly, that nature itself teaches us to do to our neighbour what we would he should do to us ; this he calls faith. Seventhly, that the law is not violated by concupiscence, so long as we are not consenting to the pleasure. Eighthly, that he that has not the Holy Ghost, is also without sin, for he is destitute of reason.

All these are audacious propositions, vain imaginations; if we except the seventh, the others are not worthy of reply. . . .

It is sufficient for us to know that God wills no sin. As to his sufferance of sin, we ought not to approach the question. The servant is not to know his master's secrets, simply his master's orders: how much less should a poor creature attempt to scrutinize or sound the mysteries and the majesty of the Creator ? . . .

" To learn the law of God, and to know his soul Jesus Christ, is sufficient to absorb the whole of life. . . . A.D. 1525." (Luth. Werke,tom. ii. p. 61,sqq.)


Is this quote describing Luther's agony over the state of early Protestantism? No, it's describing Luther's agony over radical leaders misusing the Scriptures and misleading the people. In fact, he says these radicals were sent by the Devil to torment him. He describes the devastating effect of the Devil, who, Luther says, was at peace in his papal fortress, but now with the gospel being loudly proclaimed, must find a different way to keep men enslaved to sin and darkness. Similarly, this quote doesn't prove Luther's recognition of the "scandalous nature of sectarianism" with the use of complaining with "dripping disdain." Had Luther considered any of these sects in question in this letter anything other the work of the Devil, perhaps then one could argue Luther was in agony over the state of early Protestantism.

As to this quote proving a "farce to view Protestantism as in any way 'universal'," Luther didn't even consider the sects in question as Christian or Protestant. Does this quote prove "Without the authoritative guidance of the Church, men will always differ"? By capital "C" the Catholic apologist appears to mean the Roman Catholic Church. Interestingly, Luther comments elsewhere:

There is no other place in the world where there are so many sects, schisms, and errors as in the papal church. For the papacy, because it builds the church upon a city and person, has become the head and fountain of all sects which have followed it and have characterized Christian life in terms of eating and drinking, clothes and shoes, tonsures and hair, city and place, day and hour. For the spirituality and holiness of the papal church lives by such things, as was said above.  This order fasts at this time, another order fasts at another time; this one does not eat meat, the other one does not eat eggs; this one wears black, the other one white; this one is Carthusian,  the other Benedictine;  and so they continue to create innumerable sects and habits, while faith and true Christian life go to pieces. All this is the result of the blindness which desires to see rather than believe the Christian church and to seek devout Christian life not in faith but in works, of which St. Paul writes so much in Colossians [2]. These things have invaded the church and blindness has confirmed the government of the pope.” [LW 39:221].

Friday, February 26, 2010

Luther: Our (people) are now seven times worse than they ever were before. We steal, lie, cheat, . . . and commit all manner of vices.

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes from a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

Our (people) are now seven times worse than they ever were before. We steal, lie, cheat, . . . and commit all manner of vices. (in Heinrich Denifle, Luther and Lutherdom, vol.1, part 1, tr. from 2nd rev. ed. of German by Raymund Volz, Somerset, England: Torch Press, 1917, 22. Luther quote from Werke, Erlangen edition, 36, 411)

He uses this quote different ways. First it serves as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism. He also uses it to prove "Martin Luther's Regrets as to the Relative Failure of the 'Reformation' (Piety, Morals & Inconsistencies Regarding Replacing Bishops With Princes)," specifically, the "Lower State of General Morality" because of Luther's teachings and "Morals and Piety of the New Protestants Compared to Catholics."

Documentation
He cites Heinrich Denifle's Luther and Lutherdom, So off we go:

Like many others, Pirkheimer, who once had even joined the movement, wrote shortly before his death : "We hoped that Romish knavery, the same as the rascality of the monks and priests, would be corrected; but, as is to be perceived, the matter has become worse to such a degree that the Evangelical knaves make the other knaves pious," that is, the others still appear pious in comparison with the new unbridled preachers of liberty. But did not the father of the new movement himself acknowledge that "our (people) are now seven times worse than they ever were before. We steal, lie, cheat, cram, and swill and commit all manner of vices.'"

The phrase "seven times worse than before" can be found a few times in Luther's writings. Even The Catholic apologist in question has blog posts containing different uses of the phrase. I've written about this quote before. The quote comes from Luther's comments on Deuteronomy 9:25. To my knowledge, no English translation is available of this text. However, the book, Luther Vindicated by Charles Hastings Collette (Published by Bernard Quaritch, 1884) contains an interesting insight on this quote. On page 117, Collette analyzed the quote being used by Sabine Baring-Gould, the writer of the famous hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers." Of this quote in question, Collette quotes Baring-Gould stating:

"...let us take Luther's own account of the results of his doctrine :—' There is not,' says he,—' one of our Evangelicals who is not seven times worse than he was before he belonged, to us,—stealing, lying, deceiving, eating, and getting drunk, and giving himself up to all kinds of vices. If we have driven out one devil, seven others worse than the first have come in his place."

Collette begins analyzing the quote stating,

"The reference is 'Ed. Walch, iii. 2727.' Here it is self-evident that the rev. gentleman, by 'our Evangelicals,' intends to point to the new converts to Luther's teaching."

"By the reference we are guided to Luther's Commentaries on the 'fifth Book of Moses, ix. 25.' On turning to the column indicated, we find the passage purported to be quoted, but in it there is not the most distant intimation that Luther was pointing to his own people, or to the new converts; but to the state of utter depravity to which priests and people, nobles and commoners,—nominal Christians of all ranks,—had fallen."


After documenting this moral climate, Collette states,

But what I have to expose is the barefaced mistranslation put before us in the above extract by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, thereby making Luther allude to "our Evangelicals" as "belonging to Luther's disciples," who had become seven times worse by the change from Popery. I will let the reader judge for himself by placing before him a literal translation of the original; the text I add as a footnote :—

Collette then cites the context of Luther's statements:

"Moses is thus a fine teacher; he has well expounded the first commandment, and led the people to a knowledge of themselves, and humbled the proud and arrogant spirits, besides which he upbraided them with all kinds of vices, so that they had merited anything but the promised land. If we do not abide by our beloved Gospel, we deserve to see those who profess it, our Gospellers, become seven times worse than they were before. For, after having become acquainted with the Gospel, we steal, lie, cheat, we eat, drink, and are drunken, and practise all sorts of iniquity. As one devil has been driven out of us, seven others, more wicked, have entered in; as may be seen at the present time with princes, noblemen, lords, citizens, and peasants, how they act, without shame and in spite of God and His threatenings."

The key to the quote is the phrase, "Our Gospellers." Collette explains,

" 'Our Gospellers' I have thus translated 'unsereEvangelischen.' Luther did not mean the true believers in and followers of the Evangelists, which some readers might suppose to be a name applicable to all members of the Reformed Churches, from their known attachment to the Gospel, but he applied the expression to outward professors of the Gospel."

If Collette's analysis is correct, the quote isn't an example of Luther's agony of the state of early Protestantism, but rather a lament over people who were Christians in name only. Nor then is it a "regret as to the relative failure of the 'Reformation' (Piety, Morals & Inconsistencies Regarding Replacing Bishops With Princes)." Perhaps it could be an example of the "Lower State of General Morality" because rejection of the Gospel will indeed make people worse. It isn't though a comparison of Protestant "Morals and Piety of the New Protestants Compared to Catholics."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Luther: All is forgotten that God has done for the world through me

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes being used by a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

All is forgotten that God has done for the world through me... now lords, priests, and peasants are all against me, and threaten my death. (in Durant, ibid., 393. From June 15, 1525)

He uses this as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." Second, he cites this as an example of "The Unpopularity of Luther and Other Protestant Revolutionaries."

Documentation
He cites Will Durant's volume on The Reformation, So off we go:

The Reformation itself almost perished in the Peasants' War. Despite Luther's disclaimers and denunciations, the rebellion had flaunted Protestant colors and ideas: economic aspirations were dressed in phrases that Luther had sanctified; communism was to be merely a return to the Gospel. Charles V interpreted the uprising as "a Lutheran movement." Conservatives classed the expropriation of ecclesiastical property by Protestants as revolutionary actions on a par with the sacking of monasteries by peasants. In the south the frightened princes and lords renewed their fealty to the Roman Church. In several places, as at Bamberg and Wurzburg, men even of the propertied class were executed for having accepted Lutheranism . The peasants themselves turned against the Reformation as a lure and a betrayal; some called Luther Dr. Lugner—"Dr. Liar" —and "toady of the princes." For years after the revolt he was so unpopular that he seldom dared leave Wittenberg, even to attend his father's deathbed (1530). "All is forgotten that God has done for the world through me," he wrote (June 15, 1525); "now lords, priests, and peasants are all against me, and threaten my death."

Durant cites "Smith, Luther, 164." He most likely means Preserved Smith, but his Bibliography doesn't list any books entitled "Luther" by that author (see Durant, 951). Smith's The life and letters of Martin Luther contains the quote in question on page 165, so perhaps Durant was using a different edition. Smith states:

Thus also, in a note inviting John Ruhel to his wedding feast, the Reformer says (June 15,1526) : "What an outcry of Harrow has been caused by my pamphlet against the peasants. All is now forgotten that God has done for the world through me. Now lords, priests, and peasants are all against me and threaten my death." Ruhel accepted the invitation and brought with him a letter from the Chancellor Caspar Muller suggesting that the Reformer should defend himself against the attacks made upon him.

Smith actually made an error above with the date, Luther was married in 1525, not 1526. He cites the same quote (with the correct date) in his book, Luther's correspondence and other contemporary letters, Volume 2. On page 323, Smith records:

690. LUTHER TO JOHN RUHEL, JOHN THUR AND CASPAR MULLER AT MANSFELD.

DeWette, iii, 1. German. Wittenberg, June 15, 1525.

Grace and peace in Christ. What an outcry of Harrow, my dear sirs, has been caused by my pamphlet against the peasants!' All is now forgotten that God has done for the world through me. Now lords, parsons and peasants are all against me and threaten my death. Well, since they are so silly and foolish, I shall take care that at my end I shall be found in the state for which God created me with nothing of my previous papal life about me. I shall do my part even if they act still more foolishly up to the last farewell. So now, according to the wish of my dear father, I have married. I did it quickly lest those praters should stop it. Tuesday week, June 27, it is my intention to have a little celebration and house warming, to which I beg that you will come and give your blessings. The land is in such a state that I hardly dare ask you to undertake the journey; however, if you can do so, pray come, along with my dear father and mother, for it would be a special pleasure to me. Bring any friends. If possible let me know beforehand, though I do not ask this if inconvenient. I should have written my gracious lords Counts Gebhard and Albert of Mansfeld," but did not risk it, knowing that their Graces have other things to attend to. Please let me know if you think I ought to invite them. God bless you. Amen. Martin Luther.


Historical Context
The letter (or note) was written during the peasants revolt and around the time of Luther's wedding. Ruhel was a councilor of Count Albrect of Mansfield, and in fact, this was one of the territories in which the peasants revolt was festering. Luther had earlier written to Ruhel and encouraged Albrecht to use all force needed to suppress the peasants.

The outrage against Luther was due to the recent printing of his book Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants. It's uncertain of the exact date that Luther wrote this book, but it was probably only a month or so before this letter. The date of publication is also uncertain. The LW editors say "it was certainly before the middle of May" (LW 46:48). Luther intended this book to be published together with his treatise, Admonition to Peace. The former was directed to the bad peasants, the later the good peasants. Publishers though split the book, publishing Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants separately.

It's interesting how quickly Luther's book was disseminated into society. People indeed read Luther's words quickly upon publication. Mark U. Edwards documents that on May 26, Ruhel had written to Luther giving the details of the capture of Muntzer (a radical leader of the peasants). In his closing remarks, he makes this comment to Luther about the impact of his book:

Be it as it may, it seems strange to many of your supporters that you have given permission to the tyrants to strangle [the peasants] without mercy, thereby possibly making martyrs out of them. And they say publicly in Leipzig that since the Elector [Frederick the Wise] has died, you fear for your skin and play the hypocrite to Duke George by approving of what he is doing. [Luther and the false brethren, p. 69].

Luther's reply:

That the people call me a hypocrite is good; I am glad to hear it; do not let it surprise you. For some years now you have been hearing me berated for many things, but in the course of time all these things have come to nothing and worse than nothing. I should need much leather to muzzle all the mouths. It is enough that my conscience is clear before God; He will judge what I have said and written; things will go as I have said, there is no help for it (Ibid.).

Luther eventually did respond to these charges in a Pentecost sermon on June 4. He took nothing back from what he had written. Rebels causing societal and violent unrest were not to be tolerated. On June 20, he wrote to another friend:

693. LUTHER TO WENZEL LINK AT ALTENBURG. Enders, v, 200. Wittenberg, June 20, 1525.

Grace and peace. I know that my book gives great offence to the peasants and the friends of the peasants, and that is a real joy to me, for if it gave them no offence it would give me great offence. Those who condemn this book are merely showing what it is that they have hitherto sought in the Gospel. But I am surprised that some of the knowing ones do not apply the whole book to themselves, for it shows very clearly who the peasants are and who the magistrates are of whom it speaks. But he that will not understand, let him not understand; he that will not know, let him be ignorant ; it is enough that my conscience pleases Christ. For the apothecary. I have tried hard to do all I could.[Luther's correspondence and other contemporary letters, Volume 2, p.327-328].


Conclusion
This quote does prove one thing: Luther's treatise Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants drew criticism from his enemies as well as his supporters.

Does Luther's comment demonstrate his "agony" over "the state of early Protestantism"? Not in the least. In fact, Luther decided he hadn't said enough, and went on to write An Open Letter on the Harsh Book Against the Peasants in which he attacked his critics. Does this quote prove "the unpopularity of Luther and other Protestant revolutionaries"? Not at all. Luther's books continued to be popular, and he remained an integral respected figure for many years.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Luther: We Germans are now the...shame of all the countries

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes from a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

"We Germans are now the...shame of all the countries" (in Denifle, ibid., 22 Luther quote from Werke, Erlangen edition, 8, 295).

He uses this as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism."

Documentation
He cites Heinrich Denifle's Luther and Lutherdom, So off we go:

"We Germans are now the laughing-stock and the shame of all the countries, they hold us as shameful, nasty swine."(Er. 8, 295)" The same one that said this regrets to have been born a German, to have written and spoken German, and longs to fly from there, that he may not witness God's judgment breaking over Germany." (Erl. 20, 43)

Why the Catholic apologist cited this quote as he did (i.e., leaving out particular words), is anyone's guess. The point though he appears to be making is that Germans=Protestants, and their behavior was so immoral, that the rest of the world looked on them as shameful. Of course, without a context, this quote means... whatever the Catholic apologist wants it to mean. Denifle doesn't do much better.

This comment is from "Sermon on Soberness and Moderation against Gluttony and Drunkenness, 1 Peter 4:7-11, May 18, 1539." I found it because Ewald Plass cites the same German volume as Denifle in Volume One of What Luther Says (p.534). The sermon can be found in LW 51: 289-299.

Context
The title of the sermon says it all. Luther preached a powerful sermon against drunkenness and gluttony. Luther begins the sermon by addressing the popular caricature of his day: the Germans were known as drunkards. Luther states:

This gluttony and swilling is inundating us like an ocean and among the Spaniards, Italians, and English it is reprehended. We are the laughingstock of all other countries, who look upon us as filthy pigs; and not only upon private persons, but upon nobles and princes also, as if that were the reason why they bear the coat of arms. We would not forbid this; it is possible to tolerate a little elevation, when a man takes a drink or two too much after working hard and when he is feeling low. This must be called a frolic. But to sit day and night, pouring it in and pouring it out again, is piggish. This is not a human way of living, not to say Christian, but rather a pig’s life. [LW 51:292].


Luther then goes on to preach moderation with food and drink. Is Luther agonizing over the state of early Protestantism? No. He's preaching a sermon to his fellow German people on a very common topic.

Luther: They accuse us of being rebels, of having destroyed the unity of the Church

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes being used by a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

'They accuse us of being rebels, of having destroyed the unity of the Church, and of being the authors of all the evils of the day . . . Many are saying, "Religion is going to the dogs; there is no reverence for God . . . What good has come out of the Gospel. Everything was formerly in a far better state."'(in Janssen, ibid., vol. 5, 284-285)

He uses this quote two different ways. First, as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." Second, as proof of "The Unpopularity of Luther and Other Protestant Revolutionaries" and "The attachment of the people to Luther's doctrine was no greater than to his person..."

Documentation
He says the quote is from Johannes Janssen's History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages Volume 5, so off we go:

The attachment of the people to Luther's doctrine was no greater than to his person. 'They say nowadays,' wrote Luther in the year before the Augsburg Diet, "Ah yes, the monks used to sing, and pray, and fast a great deal; and they did all this for the honour and glory of God. That sort of thing pleases the common people hugely. They cannot restrain themselves from applauding it."' but the people went much further than this. 'They accuse us of being rebels,' exclaimed Luther, 'of having destroyed the unity of the Church, and of being the authors of all the evils of the day. 'Formerly, under the papacy,' so went the popular cry, 'things were not so bad. But now, since these teachers have come, there is nothing but disaster — famine, war, and the Turk.' 'Many are saying, Peace is at an end; the world is topsy-turvy; men are confused and bewildered in spirit; religion is going to the dogs; there is no reverence for God; obedience to law is a thing of the past. What good has come out of the Gospel? Everything was formerly in far better state.' (Collected Works vi. 280; xliii. 63, 279, 316. Compare ix 336, vi 106).'

For a similar version of this quote, see William Stang's Life of Luther. He also says the quote is from Sammtliche Werke 6, 280; 43, 63, 279, 316; 9, 336 ; 6, 106. The tricky part about this extended quote, is it isn't one quote. It's multiple quotes from different sources. It should probably be divided like this:

1) The attachment of the people to Luther's doctrine was no greater than to his person. 'They say nowadays,' wrote Luther in the year before the Augsburg Diet, "Ah yes, the monks used to sing, and pray, and fast a great deal; and they did all this for the honour and glory of God. That sort of thing pleases the common people hugely.

2) But the people went much further than this. 'They accuse us of being rebels,' exclaimed Luther, 'of having destroyed the unity of the Church, and of being the authors of all the evils of the day. 'Formerly, under the papacy,' so went the popular cry, 'things were not so bad. But now, since these teachers have come, there is nothing but disaster — famine, war, and the Turk.'

3) 'Many are saying, Peace is at an end; the world is topsy-turvy; men are confused and bewildered in spirit; religion is going to the dogs; there is no reverence for God; obedience to law is a thing of the past. What good has come out of the Gospel? Everything was formerly in far better state.'


Quote #1 must be the quote Janssen refers to as being written "before the Augsburg diet." The others were probably written after the diet. For instance, quote #2 is from 1534. He documents them all as Werke 6:280. The next reference, 43:63 refers to a quote I looked at previously.

The Catholic apologist combined #2 and #3 to make one quote. I'm still looking for quote #3, but it is quite possible that quote #3 is another rendition of the text below (see #25). The reason for the discrepancy: two versions of the same sermon were recorded by two different people. The text I have is Georg Roerer's version. I haven't found Veit Dietrich's version.

Context
Quote #2 is from Luther's first Holy Pentecost Sermon, preached at the parish church on Pentecost Day, May 24, 1534. Ewald Plass records the quote as follows:

3807 History Repeats Itself
People accuse us of being seditionists, as they accused the apostles (Acts 17:6) and of breaking the unity of the church. Every evil that happens, happens because of us, they say. Formerly under the papacy, the situation was not so bad, our slanderers cry, but now that these teachers have arisen, all the trouble has come: famine, war, the Turk. All this blamed on our preaching. If they could burden us with the fall of the devil from heaven, nay with the Crucifixion and death of Christ, they would not fail to do so (Weimar edition 37:, 403 f, Erlangen 5:187; Walch (St Loius) 13b:2058).

The sermon Luther preached is available in The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther Volume 6 (Michigan: Baker Books, 2000) pp. 151-165. The text of the sermon was Acts 2:1-13. Luther was expounding on the courage given by Holy Spirit to the early Christians, despite all the adversity they faced. The early Christan's would speak the truth, even if it meant their death (like Stephen). All the world will be against the Gospel. Luther then states:

22. That's the kind of mettle the apostles and disciples required then, and that's also the kind of spirit we need today. People accuse us of being revolutionaries, just as they accused the apostles. They accuse us of dividing the unity of the church, and they blame us for whatever else goes wrong. Our detractors claim that when we were still under the papacy, things weren't so bad; but now that these teachers have come, we've had nothing but bad luck, hard times, war, and the Turks. All these things they blame on the message we preach. If they could blame us for the devil being kicked out of heaven, they'd do that too. As a matter of fact, if they could accuse us of having crucified and killed Christ, they'd also do that. That is why we need the Holy Spirit's Pentecost sermon so desperately to help us remain content and cheerfully to disregard such slander.
23.The apostles and disciples needed that message in their day; for what we are experiencing today is what they experienced in their day. They were told that the whole world stood against them. This is the way the accusations against them went: Since these people came and started preaching, the kingdom of the Jews has been divided and the whole world is in an uproar. If anyone doubts this, let him read the Book of Acts and he'll find that it's true. When they preached among the Jews, the latter shouted, These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here. Away with them, kill them! (Acts 17:6). And when they preached among the heathen (non-Jews), the Gentiles shouted, These men are leading our people astray, and they are Jews, and they're advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice (Acts 16:10-21). In short, every bad thing that happened was blamed on the apostles and disciples.

24. But theirs was a self-fulfilling prophecy, for what they said is exactly what happened to them. About Paul, the Jews shouted, "This is the man that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place" (Acts 21:28), that is, he teaches what is contrary to God and contrary to his worship. "Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live!" (Acts 22:22). But theirs was a self-fulfilling prophecy, just as in the case of the high priest Caiaphas (John 11:49-52). What they claimed is what happened to them. Also the Romans shouted, These men are leading our people astray and dividing the Roman Empire. Exactly what they said is what happened to them: the Roman Empire was eventually divided and destroyed.

25.Our own aristocratic landowners, the godless bishops a princes, are today shouting about us, that we are leading Germany astray and turning everything topsy-turvy. But their prophecies will also be self-fulfilling. For they know very well that what they're saying is nothing but lies by which they are slandering our teaching. That is why the same thing will happen to them as happened to the rogue of whom the Lord says (Luke 19:22): "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant!" They claim that we are their destroyers, and that is exactly the way it'll turn out; not that it will be our fault or the fault of our teaching, but their own fault, because they are so hard-hearted and stubborn, refusing to accept the message we are proclaiming.

26. We desperately need this Pentecost sermon of the Holy Spirit, so that he may give us a courageous heart, so that we, too, may persevere, regardless of who is offended, regardless of how much people may slander us. And even if cults and sects arise, we will also ignore that. That's the kind of courage we need, a courage that remains undisturbed by any of these things and simply continues fearlessly to confess and publicly proclaim Christ, who was so grossly misjudged, condemned, and killed.

27. You see, it is in the nature and character of the gospel to be a foolish, offensive message, and almost universally rejected and condemned. If the gospel didn't upset citizens and peasants, bishops and princes, it would be a nice, sweet message, easy to proclaim, and the public would gladly accept it. But because it is a message that offends people, especially the high and mighty, therefore it takes great courage and the help of the Holy Spirit to proclaim it. The fact is that the poor beggars and fishermen come forward and preach in such a way that they rouse and bring down upon themselves the anger of the whole council at Jerusalem, the wrath of the whole government, the ire of the spiritual rulers, and, on top of that, also the hatred of the Roman emperor. What's more, they dare to accuse all of the above of being traitors and murderers, fully expecting to get their teeth knocked out. None of this could have happened without the Holy Spirit. That is why the Holy Spirit's Pentecost message is our comfort and joy, because we, too, can ignore the anger and slander of the world. It is this same message that produces such joy-filled people in Christ, people who are willing to undertake anything in behalf of Christ, willing also to suffer anything for his sake. (pp.162-163)


Now compare this context to the Catholic apologist's points. Luther argues the world hates the Gospel, and this is to be expected. The Catholic apologist argues Luther "agonized" over the state of early Protestantism. If he did, this text doesn't prove it. The Catholic apologist also states this quote proves people were in general, unhappy with Luther, and his doctrine. According to Luther, if this is a valid argument, the apostles likewise fall to it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sola Scriptura Debate with DavidW - Index

My formal written debate against Eastern Orthodox blogger DavidW on the statement:
Resolved: "The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience."

is now complete. I have indexed out the posts in chronological order so that anyone interested may easily follow its flow.


My opening statement
DavidW's opening statement (written without responding to my opener, as is proper)

My first rebuttal
DavidW's first rebuttal

My second rebuttal
DavidW's second rebuttal

Cross-examination
My first question to DavidW
His answer

DavidW's first question to me
My answer

My second question to DavidW
His answer

DavidW's second question to me
My answer

My third question to DavidW
His answer

DavidW's third question to me
My answer

Final Statements - posted simultaneously
Mine
DavidW's

(Link to comment repository)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Luther: I fear that we are a greater offense to God than the papists

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes being used by a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

I fear...that we are a greater offense to God than the papists. (Janssen, ibid., vol. 15, 467)

He uses this quote three different ways. First, as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." Second, that during the Reformation "Catholics were no more ignorant or impious or wicked than, for example, Lutherans, according to the descriptions of Luther himself." Third, he uses it as proof of the "immediate ill effects of Protestantism on morality" and "Luther's Disgust at the State of Protestant Morality."

Documentation
He says the quote is from Johannes Janssen's History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages Volume 15, so off we go:

'I fear me,' he said, preaching on the robbery of widows and orphans, 'that we are in such wise trifling with the Evangel, that we are a greater offence to God than the papists. For if there is to be stealing it is better to steal from a rich man than from a poor beggar, for an orphan who has nothing but a morsel of bread. Sirach said : "Do not the widow's tears run down her cheek, and her cry against him that causeth them to fall? For from the cheek they go up even to heaven, and the Lord that heareth will not be delighted with them.''God is not called in vain the Father of widows and orphans, for if they are forsaken by every man God still looks after them! 'He pronounced a woe: 'Woe unto you peasants, burghers, nobles, who grab and scrape up everything for yourselves and pretend all the time to be good evangelicals.' (Collected Works xliv 356-357).

A similar citation can be found used by Hartmann Grisar:

No one now will give, and, "unless we had the lands we stole from the Pope, the preachers would have but scant fare"; they even try "to snatch the morsels out of the parson s mouth." The way in which the "nobles and officials" now treat what was formerly Church property amounts to "a devouring of all beggars, strangers and poor widows; we may indeed bewail this, for they eat up the very marrow of the bones. Since they raise a hue and cry against the Papists let them also not forget us. Woe to you peasants, burghers and nobles who grab everything, hoard and scrape, and pretend all the time to be good Evangelicals." (Ib., Erl. ed., 44, p. 356. Sermons on Mat. xviii.-xxiii. For similar statements see the passage in the last Note and Erl. ed., 22,S. 317 ; also above, vol. iv., passim. Cp. also Luther s statements i Janssen, " Hist, of the German People," xv., p. 465 ff. ; Dollinger, " Die Ref.," 2, p. 215, 306, 349 [source].

Janssen and Grisar both refer to Erlangen 44. Janssen says it's "a sermon on the robbery of widows and orphans." Grisar says the source is Luther's sermons on Matthew 18-23. The exact sermon was on Matthew 23:14 from 1538. The sermon can be found in in WA 47 and St l 7.

Context
Out of all the quotes, this was the hardest to track down, as I'm unaware of any English translation. With the help of Brigitte and her blog Thoughts, I now a partial translation from WA 47. Brigitte has three blog entries of text from the sermon: worse than the pope/1, worse than the pope/2, worse than the pope/3. I'm extremely grateful for her help in providing a look into the context of this sermon.

Brigitte: After going on about the hypocrisy in the papacy, at length, especially in the performance of prayers, dissecting all that thoroughly, (Matthew context: Pharisees and their long prayers are but greedy, hypocritical monsters, like the papists) he comes to this which is quoted below. From line 22 of the preceding page:

Luther: People tell the story that a pious man had a vision of hell and had seen that it is plastered with the "platten" (bald heads?) of the monks and priests, because these are on the wide path to hell; the great noblemen, as well.

Here is another thing to lament. They take in the gulden and do nothing for it other than "pray". That is much worse than getting it by stealing and robbing. Therefore, they really are robbers, the likes of which have never been on earth before. These are our pope, cardinal, bishops and the spiritual estate, who on top of everything else are blaspheming God, thereby.

But God plagues the world so because it despises his word.

One can see how people gave to the hypocritical supplicants (papists, monks...), how they have all the bishoprics and dukedoms, and to THAT people gave (money) all for the sake of a false, holy appearance, whereas NOW, people give nothing where the gospel is being preached, and where we pray properly and where are found pastors who single-handily do more (good work) than all the bishops of the pope together; to this pastor people now maybe give ten gulden. NOW nobody wants to give, and if we did not now own the stolen goods of the pope (that the pope had stolen) our preachers would not have much to eat; but this is not enough (evil), people would also like to own everything that the poor pastor has received. Before, they opened the purse generously, now they would like to rip the (last) bite right out of the pastor's mouth.

The nobleman lacks nothing, but they and the officials would still take the rinds of the pastor's bread, which are left over and still they want to be considered a good evangelical. Now that prayer is true, a person cannot not only accomplish that the preachers have food and nourishment but also people would like to take from them what they still have remaining. One can hardly convince a farmer or a nobleman to think thus: "He (the pastor) is a salaried man. The house and the land, where he lays his head, do not belong to him; it's as if a widow had been thrown out; but I, myself, own a little castle, which should suffice me; I won't harm anybody." (But, no), the noblemen do it themselves (deprive pastors, widows) and everyone laughs at it. Therefore, we are worse than the pope
.

Brigitte: NOTE that the "stolen lands" are not lands that WE stole. It does not say that. Rather in the context it is abundantly clear that the "robbing" and "blaspheming" and "hypocritical" papists have "stolen" them from the "rich."


Luther: "The pope steals from the rich widows, emperor, king, noblemen and lords. But we rob from the poor beggars, their children, and widows and this happens also here, in this dukedom. This is how we deal worse with the gospel than they do in the lands of Duke George or the land of the Margrave. It means that beggars, sojourners and poor widows get devoured, and one should raise great lamentation/outcry over this,-- they are devouring bone and marrow. So when one complains loudly over the papists, we should also look to ourselves."

... it is better to steal from the rich than from the poor, as comparative vices go.


Brigette: He continues in this vein further. Just before he complains that people are not willing to feed the pastors. Following after he discusses scripture that deal with looking after widows and orphans.

Luther: I fear, that we are so trifling with the gospel that we are worse in the eyes of God than the papists. If something is to be stolen, ever, better from a rich man than from a beggar or orphan, who has nothing besides a morsel of bread. Sirach said: "Trouble not the widows and orphans, for their tears go upward not downward" , that is they cry to whom is above. Those are the waters which cross mountains, as a proverb says, and God is not called for nothing the Father of widows and orphans, because even when they are deserted by everyone else, God still cares for them. but it is better that we take care of widows and orphans and help them, because they are thus commended/commanded to us. But if He has to do it himself, he will begin such a sport with us which goes like this: "If you will cause sorrow to the widows, I will cause it to happen that your wives' young men will be struck down, and so your women and your children become widows and orphans." As we see, nowadays, the Turk makes widows and orphans; however, we deserve this.

Well, a person is not supposed to reprimand people. (?!) Christ can preach, too. Here (Matthew passage) he uses vinegar and forgets all honey and says: Woe, woe, you who grab everything for yourself, dig and scratch, and still want to be good evangelical. See to it, that the gospel is not just on your lips while in your deed you are doing the opposite.


Out of all the quotes used by this particular Catholic apologist , this one comes closest to presenting the agony of Luther over the state of early Protestantism. Indeed, Luther was disheartened by the lack of funds to support ministers. In terms of giving, Luther indeed chastises everyone, including Roman Catholics, so yes, while Luther viewed the general stealing of the Papists as horrible, he likewise chastised his own people for lack of giving as a form of stealing. The quote doesn't though prove the "immediate ill effects of Protestantism on morality." As the context demonstrates, everyone was chastised by Luther.

Luther: Those who ought to be good Christians because they have heard the gospel, are harder and more merciless than before

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes from a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

Those who ought to be good Christians because they have heard the gospel, are harder and more merciless than before . . . Tell me, where is there a town . . . pious enough to . . . maintain one schoolmaster or pastor? . . . Thanks also to the dear Evangel, the people have become . . . abominally wicked . . . diabolically cruel . . . growing fat . . . through plunder and robbery of Church goods . . . Ought we not to be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves? (Janssen, ibid., XV, 466-467)

He uses this quote as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." ." Second, that during the Reformation "Catholics were no more ignorant or impious or wicked than, for example, Lutherans, according to the descriptions of Luther himself."

Documentation
He says the quote is from Johannes Janssen's History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages Volume 15, so off we go:

'Those who ought to be good Christians because they have heard the gospel, are harder and more merciless than before; as is too plainly patent to all beholders. Of old, when under the guidance of the papacy and of a false worship,people were obliged to do good works, everybody was ready and willing. Now, on the contrary, the world has learnt nothing else than to flay, fleece, and openly rob and plunder by lying and cheating, by usury, forestalling and overcharging. And everyone acts against his neighbour, as though he did not regard him as a friend, still less as a brother in Christ, but as a murderous enemy, and only wanted to get everything for himself alone. This goes on daily and gains head without intermission, and is the most common practice and custom in all classes, among princes, nobles, burghers, peasants, in all courts, towns and villages, yea verily in all houses. Tell me, where is there a town however large that is pious enough to collect together as much as would maintain one schoolmaster or pastor? Yes indeed, if it had not been for the charitable alms and endowments of our forefathers, the burghers in our cities, the nobles and peasants in the country, would long ago have been deprived of the Evangel, and not a single poor preacher would have been fed and clothed. For we will not do it ourselves, but we take and seize by force what others have given and founded." 'Thanks also to the dear Evangel, the people have become so abominably wicked, so inhuman, so diabolically cruel and merciless, that they are not content with profiting by the Evangel themselves, growing fat thereon through plunder and robbery of Church goods, but as far as others are concerned they starve the gospel completely out. You may count upon your fingers, here and elsewhere, all that they give and do for it, they who profit by it themselves, for ourselves, who are living now, there has long been no preacher, no scholar able to teach our children and descendants what we have taught or believed.' ' Ought we not to be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves when we think of our parents and forefathers, kings and nobles, princes and others, who gave so liberally and so benevolently, even to superfluity, to churches, parsonages, schools, foundations, hospitals, &c., and by all which they and their descendants were not impoverished?' (Collected Works, xiv 389-391).

This quote is from Luther's Twenty Sixth Sunday After Trinity Sermon (Matthew 25:31-46) from The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther . It's also found in The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther 3:1 (Michigan: Baker Books, 2000) pp. 379-395.

The Context
The sermon is about Christ's reward to the sheep and condemnation of the goats. Luther notes that until the day of judgment "The good and the bad must remain together in this world... as Christ himself had to tolerate Judas among his Apostles... Christians are even now grieved that they must remain here in the midst of a crooked, perverse, ungodly people, which is the kingdom of Satan..." (p.382).

In an extended passage, Luther describes the goats: those "Christians" that are mingled in with the sheep:

11. It seems as though he meant hereby to show that many Christians, after receiving the preaching of the Gospel, of the forgiveness of sins and grace through Christ, become even worse than the heathen. For he also says in Mat. 19, 30, "Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." Thus it will also be at the end of the world; those who should be honest Christians, because they heard the Gospel, are much worse and more unmerciful than they were before, as we see too many examples of this even now.

Aforetime when we were to do good works under the seduction and false worship of the Papacy, every one was ready and willing; a prince, for example, or a city, could give more alms and a greater endowment than now all the kings and emperors are able to give. But now all the world seems to be learning nothing else than how to estimate values, to rake and scrape, to rob and steal by lying, deceiving, usury, overcharging, overrating, and the like; and every man treats his neighbor, not as though he were his friend, much less as his brother in Christ, but as his mortal enemy, and as though he intended to snatch all things to himself and begrudge everything to others.

12. This goes on daily, is constantly increasing, is a very common practice and custom, among all classes of people, among princes, the nobility, burghers, peasants, in all courts, cities, villages, yes in almost every home. Tell me, what city is now so strong and pious as to be able to raise an amount sufficient to support a schoolmaster or a preacher? Yes, if we did not already have the liberal alms and endowments of our forefathers, the Gospel would long ago have disappeared in the cities on account of the burghers, and in the country because of the nobility and peasants, and poor preachers would have nothing to eat nor to drink. For we do not love to give, but would rather take even by force what others have given and endowed. Therefore it is no credit to us that a single pulpit or school is still maintained. Yea, how many there are among the great, the powerful, and the rich, especially in the Papacy, who would like to see nothing better than all preachers, schools, and arts exterminated.

13. Such are the thanks to the blessed Gospel, by which men have been freed from the bondage and plagues of the Pope, that they must become so shamefully wicked in these last times. They are now no more unmerciful, no more in a human, but in a satanic way; they are not satisfied with being allowed to enjoy the Gospel, and grow fat by robbing and stealing the revenues of the church, but they must also be scheming with all their power how they may completely starve out the Gospel. One can easily count upon his fingers, what they who enjoy the Gospel are doing and giving here and elsewhere; and were it only for us now living, there would long since have been, no preacher or student from whom our children and descendants might know what we had taught and believed.

14. In short, what do you think Christ will say on that day, seated on his judgment throne, to such unmerciful Christianity? "Dear sir, listen, you have also pretended to be a Christian and boasted of the Gospel; did you not also hear this sermon, that I myself preached, in which I told you what my verdict and decision would be: `Depart from me, ye cursed?' I was hungry and thirsty, naked and sick, poor and in prison, and ye gave me no meat, no drink, clothed me not, took me not in, and visited me not. Why have ye neglected this, and have been more shameless and unmerciful toward your own brethren than the Turk or heathen?"

Will you excuse yourself by pleading: "Lord, when saw we thee hungry or thirsty?" etc. Then he will answer you again through your own conscience: Dear sir, were there no people who preached to you; or perhaps poor students who should have at the time been studying and learning God's Word, or were there no poor, persecuted Christians whom you ought to have fed, clothed and visited?

15, We ought really to be ashamed of ourselves, having had the example of parents, ancestors, lords and kings, princes and others, who gave so liberally and charitably, even in profusion, to churches, ministers, schools, endowments, hospitals and the like; and by such liberal giving neither they nor their descendants were made poorer. What would they have done, had they had the light of the Gospel, that is given unto us? How did the Apostles and their followers in the beginning bring all they had -for their poor widows, or for those who had nothing, or who were banished and persecuted, in order that no one among them might suffer for the necessities of life! In this way poor Christians should at all times support one another. Otherwise, as I have said, the Gospel, the pulpit, churches and schools would already be completely exterminated, no matter how much the rest of the world did.

Were it not for the grace of God, by which he gives us here and there a pious prince, or godly government, which preserves the fragments still left, that all may not be destroyed by the graspers and vultures, thieves and robbers; were it not for this grace, I say, the poor pastors and preachers would not only be starved, but also murdered. Nor are there now any other poor people than those who serve, or are being trained to serve the church; and these can obtain no support elsewhere, and must leave their poor wives and children die of hunger because of an indifferent world; on the other hand the world is full of useless, unfaithful, wicked fellows among day-laborers, lazy mechanics, servants, maids, and idle, greedy beggars, who everywhere by lying, deceiving, robbing and stealing, take away the hard-earned bread and butter from those who are really poor, and yet go unpunished in the midst of their wantonness and insolence.


16. This I say, that we may see how Christ will upbraid the false liars and hypocrites among Christians, on the day of judgment, and having convicted them before all creatures will condemn them, because they have done none of the works which even the heathen do to their fellows; who did much more in their false and erroneous religion, and would have done it even more willingly had they known better.


17. Since now this terrible condemnation is justly pronounced over those who neglected these works, what will happen to those who have not only neglected the same, have given nothing to the poor Christians, nor served them; but robbed them of what they had, drove them to hunger, thirst and nakedness, furthermore persecuted, scattered, imprisoned, and murdered them? These are so unutterably wicked, so utterly condemned to the bottomless pit with the devil and his angels, that Christ will not think or speak of them. But he will assuredly not forget these robbers, tyrants, and bloodhounds any more than he will forget or pass over unrewarded those who have suffered hunger thirst, nakedness, persecution and the like, especially for his and his Word's sake. He will not forget those to whom mercy has been shown, even though he speaks only to those who have shown mercy and have lent their aid; for he highly and nobly commends them, when he says. "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me."

The Catholic apologist put together one small quote from seven paragraphs. This isn't scholarship, it's the way of propaganda.

The context isn't about Luther's agony over the state of early Protestantism, nor is it about Protestants being as wicked or impious as Roman Catholics. The context is about false Christians, the goats, mingled in with true Christians, the sheep. Notice Luther says of the false Christians "This I say, that we may see how Christ will upbraid the false liars and hypocrites among Christians, on the day of judgment."

Luther: Under the Evangel, no one will give a penny... Under The Papacy it snowed alms

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes from a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

Under the papacy it snowed alms, foundations, legacies. Under the Evangel, on the contrary, no one will give a farthing. (in Janssen, ibid., vol. 15,465)

He uses this quote as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." He also uses it as proof of the "immediate ill effects of Protestantism on morality" and " Luther's Disgust at the State of Protestant Morality."

Documentation
He says the quote is from Johannes Janssen's History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages Volume 15, so off we go:

This decrease of benevolence to the poor and of contributions in general to all good objects, and the increase of an insatiable greed of gain were matters of standing complaint among the Protestants. Nobody spoke more strongly and more frequently on the subject than Luther. 'Under the papacy' he said, 'it snowed alms, foundations, legacies. Under the Evangel, on the contrary, no one will give a farthing.'

Janssen says the quote in question is from Collected works xliii, 164 (that would be, The forty-third volume of the Erlangen edition of Luther's works, which contains his exposition of the
Sermon on the Mount) . For our purposes, the quote can be found in LW 21:132 in Luther's commentary on Matthew 6:1-4. An alternate earlier translation by Charles Hay from 1892 can be found here.

Context
Luther is discussing the practice of alms giving, and how the Lord denounced those who do good works in order to bring glory to themselves. Giving alms is indeed a good thing, but most people can't help but want glory from their outward good deeds. Luther states:

It is incredible how common this blasphemy and vice is in the world, especially among the best people, and how few people there really are who do good works without seeking the honor or favor of the world this way. Take all the alms ever given in the whole papacy, and just count how many you will be able to find that were not given with this intention in mind. Alas, the world will never learn what real almsgiving is. That is how we are all inclined. If the praise of the people, their honor, gratitude, and favor were not forthcoming, every one of us would soon pull his hand back. What if the pope had said to the princes and the donors, “Gentlemen, I will not give you a heller for all your foundations and alms”? How much do you imagine they would have donated for churches and other institutions then? Not a stone would have been hauled or laid in place. We can see that now. We are teaching correctly and urging these works on the basis that they should be given for God’s sake, out of a pure and simple heart, and not for the sake of increasing our own honor or merit. Therefore nobody wants to give a heller nowadays. In former days, when they had praise and honor for it, the alms, endowments, and wills came down like snow. Of course, their notion that they were earning heaven by this did have a great deal to do with it. Still this was not the main reason; but as Christ says here, the main reason was the fact that this was something great and praiseworthy in the eyes of the people. Otherwise they would have paid no attention to it, and they would not have done it for the sake of God and the kingdom of heaven.

Alternate translation:

But who believes that this vice and fault is so common in the world, and especially in the case of the best, and how few there are of those who without this seeking for worldly honor or favor are doing good works? Take all the alms given in the whole papacy, and count up as many as you can find, that are not given with this intention. Yes, the world will never get to understand what it really means to give alms. For we are all inclined that way, if the people would not begin to praise us, or to show us honor, gratitude or favor, everyone would soon draw back his hand. For if the pope had said to the princes and founders [of monasteries, etc.]: Gentlemen, I will not give you a penny for all your foundations and alms, etc., what do you suppose they would have given for churches and other institutions? They would not have had a stone hauled or laid in position; as we now see, because we teach correctly and exhort to these works, so that we are to give for God's sake, from a pure, simple heart, without any seeking for our own honor or merit, etc., now nobody wants to give a cent. But hitherto, when they had praise and lienor for doing it, it snowed with alms, endowments and wills; and yet this had something to do with it, that men believed they were meriting heaven thereby; nevertheless, that was not the real reason, but it was just what Christ here says, that it was a great thing in the eyes of the people, and was praised. Otherwise they would not have cared for it, so as to do it for the sake of God and the kingdom of heaven.

Does this quote prove the agony of Luther over the state of early Protestantism? Or, is Luther expounding on a general truth common to all men? It appears to me, the problem of doing a good work in a Godly way predated the Reformation. The "agony" Luther had was for the plight of all men.

Is this quote describing the immediate ill effects of Protestantism on morality? No, because as Luther points out, "the world will never get to understand what it really means to give alms." Simply because under the papacy "it snowed alms" doesn't mean these were moral alms.

Does this quote prove Luther had disgust for the state of Protestant morality? Recall, he begins by stating, "how few people there really are who do good works without seeking the honor or favor of the world this way."

From the context, you can see how both Janssen and the Roman apologist have misused the quote. Their point was that Protestantism caused people to hardly give a farthing, while under the papacy, it "snowed alms" (by the way, Janssen also translates this quote "rained alms"). However, Luther's point is not about the amount of alms, but the heart of alms. It doesn't matter that under Protestantism there was "less". The point is that if the heart does or gives from the wrong motivation, it isn't God pleasing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Luther: Protestants' "Manner of Life" No Better Than That of the "Papists"

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes bneing used by a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

Our manner of life is as evil as that of the papists. But . . . they preach not the truth . . . When I can show that the papists' doctrine is false, then I can easily prove that their manner of life is evil. (in Giorgio de Santillana, The Age of Adventure, New York: Mentor, 1956, 145)

He uses this quote as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." In this rare instance, he actually did the work of locating the quote via a blog entry: Martin Luther: Protestants' "Manner of Life" No Better Than That of the "Papists" .

The quote is from the Table Talk. There are different versions of the quote that all say roughly the same thing:

Our manner of life is as evil as is that of the papists. Wickliffe and Huss assailed the immoral conduct of papists; but I chiefly oppose and resist their doctrine; I affirm roundly and plainly, that they preach not the truth. To this am I called; I take the goose by the neck, and set the knife to its throat. When I can show that the papist's doctrine is false, which I have shown, then I can easily prove that their manner of life is evil. For when the word remains pure, the manner of life, though something therein be amiss, will be pure also. The pope has taken away the pure word and doctrine, and brought in another word and doctrine, which he has hanged upon the church. I shook all Popedom with this one point, that I teach uprightly, and mix up nothing else. We must press the doctrine onwards, for that breaks the neck of fhe pope. Therefore the prophet Daniel rightly pictured the pope, that he would be a king that would do according to his own will, that is, would regard neither spirituality nor temporality, but say roundly: Thus and thus will I have it. For the pope derives his institution neither from divine nor from human right; but is a self-chosen human creature and intrader. Therefore the pope must needs confess, that he governs neither by divine nor human command. Daniel calls him a god, Maosim; he had almost spoken it plainly out, and said Mass, which word is written, Deut. xxvi. St. Paul read Daniel thoroughly, and uses nearly his words, where he says: The son of perdition will exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, &c., 2 Thes. ii. [source]

Luther's Opposition to the Popish Doctrine." The manner of life," said Luther, " is as evil among us as among the Papists; wherefore we strive not with them by reason of the manner of life, but for and about the doctrine. Wickliffe and Huss opposed and assaulted the manner of life and conversation in Popedom. But I (chiefly) do oppose and resist their doctrine : I affirm, soundly and plainly, that they teach not aright;—thereunto am I called. I take the goose by the neck," said Luther, " and set the knife to the throat. When I can maintain that the Pope's doctrine is false (which I have proved and maintained), then will I easily prove that their manner of life is evil. The Pope hath taken away the pure word and doctrine, and hath brought another word and doctrine, and hanged the same upon the church. I startled whole Popedom only with this one point, in that I teach uprightly, and meddle with nothing else. We must press upon the doctrine, for that breaketh the neck of the Pope. Therefore the prophet Daniel rightly pictured out the Pope, that he will be such a king as shall do according to his will; that is, he will regard neither spirituality nor temporality, but will, short and roundly, say, ' Thus and thus will I have it.' For the Pope is instituted and ordained neither by divine or human right; but is a self-chosen human creature, who hath intruded himself. St. Paul read Daniel thoroughly, and useth nearly his words, where he saith, ' And he will exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.' " 2 Thess. ii. [source]

No. 624: The Central Issue Is Doctrine, Not Life Fall, 1533
“Doctrine and life must be distinguished. Life is bad among us, as it is among the papists, but we don’t fight about life and condemn the papists on that account. Wycliffe and Huss didn’t know this and attacked [the papacy] for its life. I don’t scold myself into becoming good, but I fight over the Word and whether our adversaries teach it in its purity. That doctrine should be attacked—this has never before happened. This is my calling. Others have censured only life, but to treat doctrine is to strike at the most sensitive point, for surely the government and the ministry of the papists are bad. Once we’ve asserted this, it’s easy to say and declare that the life is also bad. “When the Word remains pure, then the life (even if there is something lacking in it) can be molded properly. Everything depends on the Word, and the pope has abolished the Word and created another one. With this I have won, and I have won nothing else than that I teach aright. Although we are better morally, this isn’t anything to fight about. It’s the teaching that breaks the pope’s neck. Therefore Daniel pictured the pope rightly when he stated that there will be a kingdom in which the king will act according to his will, that he will pay attention to neither civil nor spiritual matters but will simply say, ‘I want that,’ without offering any reason, even a natural one. When you ask, ‘Is the papacy established by natural, divine, or human right?’ you get the answer, ‘No, it is a worship of the will.’ So the pope must say, ‘Nobody has commanded us.’ It is simply a religion of free will. Daniel calls God a god of ‘maozim’—I almost said ‘masses.’ ” [LW 54:110]


The point of course being in made, in whichever translation one uses, is that Luther was concerned with proving Romanist doctrine wrong. Anyone can point at anyone and find sin or fault, but this doesn't necessarily mean what they believe is false. If it did, each time a Christian sins, it would serve as proof that Christianity was false. In fact, I tend to stay away from arguing against Romanism by pointing to the sins of priests, etc. I'd much rather get to the root issue: a faulty interpretation of the Bible and history.

Does this quote prove Luther was in "agony" over "the state of early Protestantism"? No, it doesn't. In fact, Luther's comment applies well to the particular assaults made by this Roman apologist: he attacks way of life as if this is a valid argument against doctrine.

In his blog entry, the Catholic apologist makes a big deal over LW's translation "Life is bad among us, as it is among the papists." He sees this as "translation bias." That is, the translators of LW should have used the word "evil." Keep in mind, the Catholic apologist isn't a translator, so he has no idea if the translation is faulty. On the other hand, the point is clear in either translation. The contrast is between attacking doctrine or attacking way of life. Luther saw the later as not as beneficial as the former. The Catholic apologist though needs to have the word "evil", because he's attacking way of life. "Bad" isn't bad enough.

Luther: I Have Given Up on Germany

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes being used by a Roman Catholic apologist. Here's another:

"I have well nigh given up all hope for Germany, for . . . the whole host of dishonesty, wickedness, and roguery are reigning everywhere . . . and added to all else contempt of the Word and ingratitude." (in Janssen, ibid., vol.16, 19. From Wilhelm M. L. De Wette, Letters of Luther, Berlin, 1828, vol. 5, 398, 407; Letter to Anton Lauterbach, November, 1541)

He uses this quote five different ways. First, he uses it as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." Second, that during the Reformation "Catholics were no more ignorant or impious or wicked than, for example, Lutherans, according to the descriptions of Luther himself." Third, he uses it as proof Luther was not a "champion of religious freedom and freedom of conscience". Fourth, he uses it to prove Luther "lamented often about the actual course of his 'Reformation' in Germany, thus perhaps revealing a sense of failure and guilt." Fifth, he uses it as proof the Reformation caused the "decline of morals" and that Luther was disgusted by the "state of Protestant morality." That's one quote, five different applications!

Documentation
He says the quote is from Johannes Janssen's History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages Volume 16, so off we go:

The older Luther grew the more frequent were his complaints of the moral anarchy in social life, and of the increase of vice even in his own immediate neighbourhood. On September 8, 1541, he wrote to Link at Nuremberg, who had complained of the 'contempt of the Word' in that town, that he might comfort himself with the thought that the worst of all evils was now reigning, unbridled licentiousness of life without law or religion: 'Our people will now neither hear nor heed the Word of God, a state of things which cannot fail to produce vice.' Two months later he sent a wail to the preacher Anton Lauterbach in Pirna: 'I have well nigh given up all hope for Germany, for greed, usury, tyranny, discord, and the whole host of dishonesty, wickedness, and roguery are reigning everywhere — at the courts, in the towns and villages, and added to all else contempt of the Word and ingratitude.'

Context
This letter is found in The Life and Letters of Martin Luther By Preserved Smith. As you read through it, note who Luther is complaining against: the rulers of Germany.

To Anthony Lauterbach at Pirna

(Wittenberg,) November 10, 1541.

Grace and peace. Although I have nothing to write, dear Antony, yet I prefer to write that I have nothing to write rather than leave your letter unanswered. May God strengthen Duke Maurice in the true faith and in sound policy. Perhaps you have heard all the news of the Turk. I almost despair of Germany since she has received within her walls those true Turks or rather those true devils, avarice, usury, tyranny, discord, and that whole cesspool of perfidy, malice, and iniquity, in the nobles, the palaces, the courts of justice, the towns and the villages; worst of all is contempt of the Word and unexampled ingratitude. With these Turks ruling us savagely and cruelly, what success can we hope against the human Turks? May God have mercy upon us and make the light of his countenance to shine upon us. For while we pray against our enemies the Turks, it is to be feared that the Holy Ghost will understand us to pray against ourselves and yet for our good. For I see that it will come to pass that unless the tyranny of the Turk terrifies and humbles our nobles, we shall have to bear worse tyranny from them than from the Turks. Verily the nobles think to put chains on our princes and fetters on the burghers and peasants, and most of all on books and authors. Thus they avenge the papal slavery by subjecting the people to a new slavery under the nobles. But enough. My Katie sends her greetings to you and to your wife and daughter, as do we all, and we all pray and beseech the Lord together to give us the pestilence instead of the Turkish scourge, for without the special help of God our arms and armies can do nothing.

Yours, Martin Luther



Conclusion
In this letter, the greatest charge against Germany from Luther was against its leadership. The thrust of Luther's complaints are against the rulers of Germany. While it's true, as I've stated in previous entries, Luther was displeased over the general morality of his times, this letter is specific to Luther's displeasure over Germany's rulers and their morality. Luther laments that "avarice, usury, tyranny, discord, and that whole cesspool of perfidy, malice, and iniquity" rule over the world, and were ruling the political world. This was true then, and it's true now. For Luther, the mastermind of this evil was the Devil. For Luther, it was very near the end of the world, and he expected such to be the case.

So when the Catholic apologist claims the quote proves the agony of Luther over the state of early Protestantism, the lament of Luther is directed towards the rulers of Germany, not Protestantism in general. Perhaps it would be better stated that Luther lamented over the rulers of Protestant territories.

As to this quote proving "Catholics were no more ignorant or impious or wicked than Lutherans," the actual comparison should be directed towards rulers.

As to this quote disproving Luther was a champion of religious freedom, it actually says quite the opposite. Note Luther's complaint: "Verily the nobles think to put chains on our princes and fetters on the burghers and peasants, and most of all on books and authors. Thus they avenge the papal slavery by subjecting the people to a new slavery under the nobles."

Does this quote serve as an example of Luther admitting his failure and guilt over the Reformation? Hardly.

Does this quote prove Luther was disgusted over the decline of Protestant morality? I find it quite interesting that Luther made virtually the same charges against the morality of his times throughout his career.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Luther: We Do Not Act Upon the Evangel

I've been working through obscure Luther quotes being used by a Roman Catholic apologist. He uses the following Luther quote:

Now that . . . we are free . . . we show our thankfulness in a way calculated to bring down God's wrath . . . We have got the Evangel . . . but . . . we do not trouble ourselves to act up to it. (Janssen, ibid., XVI, 16-17)

He uses this quote three different ways. First, he uses it as an example of "The Agony of Luther" over "the State of Early Protestantism." Second, that during the Reformation "Catholics were no more ignorant or impious or wicked than, for example, Lutherans, according to the descriptions of Luther himself." Third, he uses it as proof Luther was disgusted by the state of Protestant morality and decline of Protestant morals.

Documentation
He says the quote is from Johannes Janssen's History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages Volume 16, so off we go:

How full the world is of people who are ungrateful for the evangel, we see plainly before our eyes, not only in those who intentionally persecute the known truth of the Gospel, but also among us who accept it and make our boast of it; the great masses are also so abominably unthankful that it would be no wonder if God were to come down upon us with thunder and lightning, yea,verily, with all the Turks and devils from hell. So quickly have we forgotten how we were plagued under the papacy and, as it were, overwhelmed with a sin-flood, with so many strange doctrines which put our consciences to torture. But now that through God's grace we are free from all that, we show our thankfulness in a way calculated to bring down God's wrath upon us still more heavily. For let each one consider what unpardonable wickedness it is, when we have received from God such great, sure, immeasurable bounty as forgiveness of all our sins, and being made partakers of the Kingdom of Heaven, that we will not even make Him such slight return as to think about it, and on this account to forgive our neighbour a trifling word from our hearts, not to speak of the duty laid upon us to help and serve our neighbour. We have got the Evangel, God be praised! that nobody can deny; but what do we do for it ? We are content to talk about it, nothing more comes of it; we do not trouble ourselves to act up to it. But we do trouble ourselves a great deal if we should chance to lose one or two guldens; we are very anxious and fearful lest our money should be stolen from us, but we can do without the Gospel for a whole year. God will not leave unavenged this shameful contempt of His Word, and He will not be long in avenging Himself (Dollinger, Reformation i, 297-298).

I highlighted the Catholic apologist's quote in black, just to show the method of citation. You'll notice his quote is extracted from different sentences. Why would a person take two words, skip a few, take a few more, skip a few sentences, and then construct a quote? While this has been a perpetual problem for this Catholic apologist, it isn't the biggest problem here.

Notice Janssen didn't cite a primary source, but cited another Roman Catholic author, Ignaz von Dollinger's Die Reformation vol 1, 297-298. Upon checking this source, it's became apparent Dollinger used multiple sources to construct this lengthy quote, and Janssen wasn't careful to point this out. Then the Catholic apologist comes along and takes choice words from different sentences, constructing one quote.

The quote should be broken up into two quotes:

Quote #1
How full the world is of people who are ungrateful for the evangel, we see plainly before our eyes, not only in those who intentionally persecute the known truth of the Gospel, but also among us who accept it and make our boast of it; the great masses are also so abominably unthankful that it would be no wonder if God were to come down upon us with thunder and lightning, yea,verily, with all the Turks and devils from hell. So quickly have we forgotten how we were plagued under the papacy and, as it were, overwhelmed with a sin-flood, with so many strange doctrines which put our consciences to torture. But now that through God's grace we are free from all that, we show our thankfulness in a way calculated to bring down God's wrath upon us still more heavily. For let each one consider what unpardonable wickedness it is, when we have received from God such great, sure, immeasurable bounty as forgiveness of all our sins, and being made partakers of the Kingdom of Heaven, that we will not even make Him such slight return as to think about it, and on this account to forgive our neighbour a trifling word from our hearts, not to speak of the duty laid upon us to help and serve our neighbour.

Quote #2
We have got the Evangel, God be praised! that nobody can deny; but what do we do for it ? We are content to talk about it, nothing more comes of it; we do not trouble ourselves to act up to it. But we do trouble ourselves a great deal if we should chance to lose one or two guldens; we are very anxious and fearful lest our money should be stolen from us, but we can do without the Gospel for a whole year. God will not leave unavenged this shameful contempt of His Word, and He will not be long in avenging Himself.

Janssen's quote is from two sources, from two different books. They are two sermons. The first is the Twenty-Second Sunday After Trinity (Philippians 1:3-11). It is found in Dr. Martin Luther's Church Postil: Sermons on The Epistles. It can also be found in The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther Vol.4.2 (Michigan: Baker Books, 2000) pp. 330-342). The second is the Sermon for the Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity (Matthew 6:24-34). It can be found in The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther. It can also be found in The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther Vol. 3.1 (Michigan: Baker Books, 2000), pp. 102-117). In the Walch edition, the quotes can be found in Volumes XII (p. 1234) and XI (p.2171).

Context: Quote One
Luther begins by describing the Christian heart of Paul, and of those who similarly have a heart "filled with the real fruits of the Spirit and faith" (p.331). He notes "Such hearts are rare in the world." He then points out that Paul is an excellent example of one who had gratitude toward God for His grace and goodness. In fact, Christians have a duty of gratitude. It is a Christian's duty to manifest thankfulness toward God, and also towards men. Unfortunately, ingratitude is common to sinful human nature, and even heathens recognize the sin of ingratitude among each other. Luther states:

Thus we have the teaching of nature and of reason regarding the sin of men's ingratitude toward one another. How much greater the evil, how much more shameful and accursed, when manifested toward God who, in his infinite and ineffable goodness, conferred upon us while yet enemies to him and deserving of the fires of hell—conferred upon us, I say, not ten dollars, not a hundred thousand dollars even, but redemption from divine wrath and eternal death, and abundantly comforted us, granting us safety, a good conscience, peace and salvation! These are inexpressible blessings, incomprehensible in this life. And they will continue to occupy our minds in yonder eternal life. How much more awful the sin of ingratitude for these blessings, as exemplified in the servant mentioned in the Gospel passage for today, to whom was forgiven the debt of ten thousand talents and who yet would not forgive the debt of his fellow-servant who owed him a hundred pence! (p.333)

Then follows the first obscure Luther quote:

Is it not incredible that there are to be found on earth individuals wicked enough to manifest for the highest and eternal blessings such unspeakable ingratitude? But alas, we have the evidence of our own eyes. We know them in their very dwelling-places. We see how the world abounds with them. Not only are the ingrates to be found among deliberate rejecters of the acknowledged truth of the Gospel, concerning God's grace, an assured conscience and the promise of eternal life, terrible as such malice of the devil is, but they are present also in our midst, accepting the Gospel and boasting of it. Such shameful ingratitude prevails among the masses it would not be strange were God to send upon them the thunders and lightnings of his wrath, yes, all the Turks and the devils of hell. There is a generally prevalent ingratitude like that of the wicked servant who readily forgot the straits he experienced when, being called to account for what he could not pay, the wrathful sentence was pronounced against him that he and all he possessed must be sold, and he be indefinitely imprisoned. Nor have we less readily forgotten how we were tortured under the Papacy; how we were overwhelmed, drowned as in a flood, with numberless strange doctrines, when our anxious consciences longed for salvation. Now that we are, through the grace of God, liberated from these distresses, our gratitude is of a character to increasingly heap to ourselves the wrath of God. So have others before us done, and consequently have endured terrible chastisement. Only calculate the enormity of our wickedness when, God having infinitely blessed us in forgiving all our sins and making us lords over heaven and earth, we so little respect him as to be unmindful of his blessings; to be unwilling for the sake of them sincerely to forgive our neighbor a single slighting word, not to mention rendering him service. We conduct ourselves as if God might be expected to connive at our ingratitude and permit us to continue in it, at the same time conferring upon us as godly and obedient children, success and happiness. More than this, we think we have the privilege and power to live and do as we please. Indeed, the more learning and power we have and the more exalted our rank, the greater knaves we are; perpetrating every wicked deed, stirring up strife, discord, war and murder for the sake of executing our own arbitrary designs, where the question is the surrender of a penny in recognition of the hundreds of thousands of dollars daily received from God notwithstanding our ingratitude. (p 333-334).

So there it is: the exhortation of a pastor for his flock to live with gratitude for God translates to agony over "the state of early Protestantism," that Protestants were as "impious or wicked" as Roman Catholics, and disgust over "the state of Protestant morality and decline of Protestant morals." Why can't it simply be a sermon of exhortation for people to be grateful to God? Remember, Luther began the sermon by stating that those who live each day with a godly gratitude are rare in the world. Luther goes on to exhorts his hearers:

The world remains the devil's own. We must remember we shall not by any means find with the world that Christian heart pictured by the apostle; on the contrary we shall find what might be represented by a picture of the very opposite type —the most shameless ingratitude. But let the still existing God-fearing Christians be careful to imitate in their gratitude the spirit of the apostle's beautiful picture. Let them give evidence of their willingness to hear the Word of God, of pleasure and delight in it and grief where it is rejected. Let them show by their lives a consciousness of the great blessing conferred by those from whom they received the Gospel. As recipients of such goodness, let their hearts and lips ever be ready with the happy declaration: "God be praised !" For thereunto are we called. As before said, praise should be the constant service and daily sacrifice of Christians; and according to Paul's teaching here, the Christian's works, his fruits of righteousness, should shine before men. Such manifestation of gratitude assuredly must result when we comprehend what God has given us. (p.338)


Context: Quote Two
Luther begins by explaining one needs to do more than hear the Gospel, one needs to do what it teaches: "they who do as the gospel teaches, are true Christians. However, very few of these are found; we see many hearers, but all are not doers of the Gospel" (p.104). To be a doer though isn't the result of compulsion, but is the result of a heart that loves God. Luther then explains that while many say they love God, do they really? Isn't it the case that many who say they love God actually love the things of this world more?

Then follows the second obscure Luther quote:

But who are they that love God, and cleave not to gold and worldly possessions? Take a good look at the whole world, also the Christians, and see if they despise gold and riches. It requires an effort to hear the Gospel and to live according to it. God be praised, we have the Gospel; that no one can deny, but what do we do with it? We are concerned only about learning and knowing it, and nothing more; we think it is enough to know it, and do not care whether we ever live according to it. However, on the other hand, one is very anxious when he leaves lying in window or in the room a dollar or two, yea, even a dime, then he worries and fears lest the money be stolen ; but same person can do without the Gospel through a whole year. And such characters still wish to be considered Evangelical. Here we see what and who we are. If we were Christians, we would despise riches and be concerned about Gospel that we some day might live in it and prove it by our deeds. We see few such Christians; therefore we must hear the judgment that we are despisers of God and hate God: the sake of riches and worldly possessions. Alas! That fine praise! We should be ashamed of ourselves in our inmost souls; there is no hope for us! What a fine condition we are in now! That means, I think, our names are blotted out. What spoiled children we are!(p.105-106)

Again, one finds the heartfelt exhortations of a pastor, expounding a text of Scripture. Luther continues:

Now the world cannot conceal its unbelief in its course outward sins, for I see it loves a dollar more than Christ; more than all the Apostles, even if they themselves were present and preached to it. I can hear the Gospel daily, but it does not profit me every day; it may indeed happen if I have heard it a whole year, the Holy Spirit may have been given to me only one hour. Now when I enjoyed this hour I obtained not only five hundred dollars, but also I riches of the whole world; for what have I not, when I have the Gospel? I received God, who made the silver and I gold, and all that is upon the earth; for I acquired the Spirit by which I know that I will be kept by him forever; that much more than if I had the church full of money. Examine now and see, if our heart is not a rogue, full of wickedness and unbelief. If I were a true Christian, I would say: I hour the Gospel is received, there comes to me a hundred thousand dollars, and much more. For if I possess this treasure, I have all that is in heaven and upon earth. But one must serve this treasure only, for no man can serve God and mammon. Either you must love God and hate money; or you must hate God and love money; this and nothing more. (pp. 106-107)

One can see how non-outrageous this sermon was. Luther spoke on a theme that has echoed through church history: the love of God versus the love of the world.


Conclusion
I've stated often that if one wants to read Luther, they should read his sermons, and these two are worthy reads. The Roman Catholic polemicists though will use anything to discredit the Reformation, even those points (found in these sermons) that they would most likely agree with: one should have profound gratitude towards God, and one should love God, not the world. In the hands of a Romanist, these points become: Luther agonizing over Protestantism, that Protestants were awful sinners, and that Luther was disgusted by his followers. These were simply typical Luther sermons, and I would add, typical sermons of any God fearing preacher. Luther had a pastor's heart, and continually exhorted his flock to live the Christian life. The ironic thing of course, is that many Romanists accuse Luther of teaching the wanton lawlessness of sola fide. Yet, when he exhorts his hearers to Christian morals, even this isn't good enough.