Thursday, November 22, 2012

Luther on Origen, Jerome, and Augustine

Here's an interesting Luther comment from his commending preface to a book by Johann Brenz:
But the gift of God that I particularly love and revere in you [Brenz] above all the rest is that you emphasize the righteousness of faith so faithfully and purely in all your writings. For this article is the head and cornerstone that alone begets, nurtures, builds, preserves, and defends the Church of God. Without it, the Church cannot remain standing for a single hour, as you know and perceive. That is why you insist upon it as you do. For no one can teach correctly in the church or resist any adversary successfully, unless he has grasped this article or, as Paul calls it, "the sound doctrine" [Titus 2:11], one who, as the same Paul says, "holds fast to the doctrine" [cf. Titus 1:9 Vg]. For that reason, I wonder more and more, and almost with indignation, how it is that St. Jerome earned the title "doctor of the church" and Origen that of "teacher of the churches next after the apostles,"since you will not easily find three lines teaching the righteousness of faith in either author, nor could you make anyone a Christian from the collected writings of both —to such an extent do they wander about with their allegories of events or are captivated by the pomp of works. And St. Augustine would not have been any different, if the Pelagians had not finally engaged him and driven him to the righteousness of faith. From this struggle and engagement he emerged as a doctor of the church in truth — nearly the only one after the apostles and earliest fathers of the church. [LW 59:288]
You can buy LW 59 here.

1 comment:

Brigitte said...

Powerful. I need to borrow/steal this today.