Wednesday, August 01, 2012
After Darkness, Light!
Most people who visit this blog will know this information, but it is an excellent intro to Martin Luther. Historical introduction to Martin Luther -- R. C. Sproul recounts historical aspects of the beginning of Martin Luther's life and how he came to be an Augustinian monk.
"After Darkness, Light!" - from the Latin phrase, "Post Tenebras Lux" (On the Reformation Wall in Geneva)
What was the "Darkness" ?
The Roman Catholic teaching that had engulfed the whole European culture that salvation comes through the Sacerdotal (from the Latin word for "priest") system of dependence upon the Roman Catholic priest in the RC churches to dole out salvation through infant baptismal regeneration by the ex opere operato words of the priest, deeds of penances that were ordered by the priest such as saying 100 hail Mary's or climbing up the steps of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome or giving alms to the poor, confession to the priest, partaking of the eucharist, thinking it to be changed into the literal blood and body of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the mere words spoken by the priest, etc. Those were truly "Dark Ages" (beginning around 430 - 500 AD) until the Reformation, beginning in 1517 when Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg.
[scholars usually date the beginning of the "Dark Ages" as when the Goths and Vandals and other "barbarian tribes" conquered the city of Rome and N. Africa around 400-430 AD.
The Reformation brought light back in by pointing people back to the Scriptures as the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
Interesting tidbit about Jan Hus' trial and burning at the stake and his statement, that has become a popular story: Hus is reported to have said: "You may burn this goose (Hus in the Czech language means "goose") but after me will come a swan who you will not be able to silence." And, according to Sproul, that under the very place where Luther was consecrated into the Augustinian order of monks, was the tomb of the bishop who ordered Hus' execution in 1415!
Addendum: James Swan blogged about that in 2010 here also. I should have known he would have researched it thoroughly before I pushed the publish button here! It was unclear to me if the sources are saying that Hus didn't say that at all; or that it was later exaggerated at Luther's funeral and afterward; but after I went back and read more carefully, it seems that Luther conflated 2 statements into one, one from Hus and the other from Jerome of Prague.
I had heard or read about this story before, I am pretty sure from listening to Sproul years ago; and it makes for a good story, but James Swan is to be commended for his historical research on Luther. It is still true that Hus was condemned for opposing some of the same traditions, un-biblical practices, and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church that Luther later opposed.
HT: Justin Taylor - Sproul on Luther and the Reformation ___ Note: this article went through several changes after I first hit the publish button; so I apologize for anyone who read it right after I posted it; for the inaccuracies at the beginning.