This blog post from the Reformed Reader is good idea:
Online Reformed Responses to Roman Catholic Apologetic Claims
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."I was just listening to a lecture in which is was pointed out that Lord Acton said this in regard to the question of whether the Pope has the power of infallibility. Sorry to say, I don't have any documentation to back this up, as it was only a passing comment in a lecture. It's interesting, if true, as I always thought this quote was in regard to secular rulers or political sentiment.
"I know that I have often done many things foolishly and very rashly, so much so that I thought: “Why has God called me to preach when I do not have as much knowledge, discretion, and judgment as the importance of the office demands?” Although I performed everything with a pious and sincere heart, with pious devotion and zeal, yet a great deal of nonsense and many failures arose, with the result that heaven and the whole world seemed about to go to ruin. Then I was compelled to fall on my knees and to ask for help and counsel from God, who is powerful and turns a denouement in a tragedy into a catastrophe in a comedy while we are sleeping. Thus He creates Eve while Adam is sleeping. He takes a rib from him while he is sleeping, closes the place with flesh, and builds the rib which he took from Adam into flesh. Here someone may say that God had silken fingers, because He performs such a great work so nimbly and so easily. In the same manner He also governs His saints. Even if they have erred seriously in their thinking and have been guilty of great folly and rashness, from which countless evils can arise, yet He brings about a happy outcome, like the denouement in a comedy."
[Luther, M. (1999). Luther's works, vol. 5: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 26-30 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald and H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (Ge 27:14). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House].
But above all a ruler in the church should pray in this manner: “Lord God, Thou hast appointed me in the church as bishop and pastor Thou seest how unfit I am to attend to such a great and difficult office, and if it had not been for Thy help, I would long since have ruined everything. Therefore I call upon Thee. Of course, I want to put my mouth and heart to use. I shall teach the people, and I myself shall learn and shall meditate diligently on Thy Word. Use me as Thy instrument. Only do not forsake me; for if I am alone, I shall easily destroy everything.” [LW 5:122]The blog entry states, "it isn't clear that Luther is offering this prayer for use just before worship." I don't see anything from the context that would indicate Luther has this in mind specifically, but it certainly could be used in such a way. They then provide what follows after from Luther, and here is how LW translates it:
The sects and the sectarians do the opposite, for they ascribe to themselves the wisdom and the ability to rule and to teach. Therefore they burst rashly into the church, do not pray, and do not believe that the administration either of the church or of the state is a gift of God; but they force themselves in as teachers and leaders. Therefore it eventually happens that they confuse and hinder what has been profitably built by others.Interesting stuff. Here I thought I was the only one tracking this stuff down...
Regarding Marian relics, Calvin commented in an ironical way that since the Roman Catholics believed in the Assumption of Mary, at least nobody can claim to have Marian relics, otherwise there would be so many Marian bones in circulation, that a huge new cemetery could be filled with them.Algermissen 1988, 641Go ahead and try to search out the author "Algermissen" and the referenced work "Marienlexikon." It's not an easy find. The reference appears to be to a six-volume Marian encyclopedia by Remigius Bäumer in which Algermissen provided an entry on Calvin. The "1988" refers to the first volume.
Konrad Algermissen, John Calvin, in Marienlexikon, Regensburg, 1988 (quoted as Algermissen 1988)
The Blessed Virgin.—The belief that the body of the Virgin was not interred on earth, but was taken to heaven, has deprived them of all pretext for manufacturing any relics of her remains, which otherwise might have been sufficiently abundant to fill a whole churchyard; yet in order to have at least something belonging to her, they sought to indemnify themselves for the absence of other relics with the possession of her hair and her milk. The hair is shown in several churches at Rome, and at Salvatierra in Spain, at Maçon, St Flour, Cluny, Nevers, and in many other towns. With regard to the milk, there is not perhaps a town, a convent, or nunnery, where it is not shown in large or small quantities. Indeed, had the Virgin been a wet-nurse her whole life, or a dairy, she could not have produced more than is shown as hers in various parts. How they obtained all this milk they do not say, and it is superfluous here to remark that there is no foundation in the Gospels for these foolish and blasphemous extravagances.If this is the quote the Wiki article has in mind, the citation they use is a very loose paraphrase of what Calvin actually wrote.
To Calvin, Mary is an idol in the Roman Church, and she diminishes the centrality and importance of Jesus. Hence, his Genevan Catechism not only outlawed Marian veneration, it also punished related behavior, such as carrying a rosary, observing a saints day, or possessing holy relics.Certainly this type of punishment is consistent with the reforms put forth in Geneva in the 16th Century. However, note what the Wiki article asserts: Calvin's Genevan Catechism outlawed and punished Marian devotion. Now that's interesting, isn't it? A catechism that outlaws Marian devotion and sets forth punishment.
"To restore the religious basis of an effective morality, Farel issued a Confession of Faith and Discipline, and Calvin a popular Catechism, which the Great Council approved (Novembver 1536). Citizens persistently transgressing the moral code were to be excommunicated and exiled. In July 1537, the Council ordered all citizens to go to the church of St. Peter and swear allegiance to Farel's Confession. Any manifestation of Catholicism- such as carrying a rosary, cherishing a sacred relic, or observing a saint's day as holy- was subject to punishment."Now I appreciate that the Wiki entry provided a reference, but if you compare what their entry says to what Durant says, it's two different things. The 1536 Confession of Faith can be found here. It doesn't have anything even remotely similar to what the Wiki article asserts. The closest you'll get to Wiki's assertions are the following:
XIX. Excommunication Because there are always some who hold God and his Word in contempt, who take account of neither injunction, exhortation nor remonstrance, thus requiring greater chastisement, we hold the discipline of excommunication to be a thing holy and salutary among the faithful, since truly it was instituted by our Lord with good reason. This is in order that the wicked would not by their damnable conduct corrupt the good and dishonor our Lord, and that though proud they may turn to penitence. Therefore we believe that it is expedient according to the ordinance of God that all manifest idolaters, blasphemers, murderers, thieves, lewd persons, false witnesses, sedition-mongers, quarrellers, those guilty of defamation or assault, drukards, dissolute livers, when they have been duly admonished and if they do not make amendment, be separated from the communion of the faithful until their repentance is known.
XXI. Magistrates We hold the supremacy and dominion of kings and princes as also of other magistrates and officers, to be a holy thing and a good ordinance of God. And since in performing their office they serve God and follow a Christian vocation, whether in defending the afflicted and innocent, or in correcting and punishing the malice of the perverse, we on our part also ought to accord them honour and reverence, to render respect and subservience, to execute their commands, to bear the charges they impose on us, so far as we are able without offence to God. In sum, we ought to regard them as vicars and lieutenants of God, whom one cannot resist without resisting God himself; and their office as a sacred commission from God which has been given them so that they may rule and govern us. Hence we hold that all Christians are bound to pray God for the prosperity of the superiors and lords of the country where they live, to obey the statutes and ordinances which do not contravene the commandments of God, to promote the welfare, peace and public good, endeavouring to sustain the honour of those over them and the peace of the people, without contriving or attempting anything to inspire trouble or dissension. On the other hand we declare that all those who conduct themselves unfaithfully towards their superiors, and have not a right concern for the public good of the country where they live, demonstrate thereby their infidelity towards God.
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Scott_Alt· 20 hours agoI think that's right, though the concept of an obstinate refusal to see suggests the kind of freedom of the will that a Calvinist would deny. Interesting to speculate how Rhology would get himself out of that conundrum.
3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
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Q. Does the Lord make use of apostate Catholics, such as Martin Luther, Calvin, John Knox, Henry VIII., King of England, to reform the manners of the people?
A. The thought is absurd. The lives of those men were evil, and it is only the devil that makes use of them to pervert the people still more. The Lord makes use of His saints, such as a St. Francis of Assisium, a St. Dominick, a St. Ignatius, a St. Alphonsus, to convert the people and reform their evil manners by explaining to them the truths of faith, the commandments, and the necessity of receiving the sacraments with proper dispositions, and by setting them in their own lives the loftiest example of faith, purity, and all Christian virtues.
Q. Are there any other reasons to show that heretics, or Protestants who die out of the Roman Catholic Church, are not saved?
A. There are several. They cannot be saved, because
1. They have no divine faith.
2. They make a liar of Jesus Christ, of the Holy Ghost, and of the Apostles.
3. They have no faith in Christ.
4. They fell away from the true Church of Christ.
5. They are too proud to submit to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.
6. They cannot perform any good works whereby they can obtain heaven.
7. They do not receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
8. They die in their sins.
9. They ridicule and blaspheme the Mother of God and His saints.
10. They slander the spouse of Jesus Christ —:the Catholic Church.
Q. What is the act of faith of a Protestant?
A. O my God, I believe nothing except what my own private judgment tells me to believe; therefore I believe that I can interpret Thy written word—the Holy Scriptures —as I choose. I believe that the Pope is anti-Christ; that any man can be saved, provided he is an honest man; I believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation; that good works, and works of penance, and the confession of sins are not necessary, etc.
Q. Have Protestants any faith in Christ?
A. They never had.
Q. Why not?
A. Because there never lived such a Christ as they imagine and believe in.
Q. In what kind of a Christ do they believe?
A. In such a one of whom they can make a liar, with impunity, whose doctrine they can interpret as they please, and who does not care about what a man believes, provided he be an honest man before the public.
Q. Will such a faith in such a Christ save Protestants?
A. No sensible man will assert such an absurdity.
Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine
For the Family and More Advanced Students in Catholic Schools (1875)
(pgs 70, 91-93, 97-98; with imprimatur)
People give ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon… Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but the sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, not the earth.
No. 4638: Luther Rejects the Copernican Cosmology June 4, 1539 There was mention of a certain new astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked,] “So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Josh. 10:12].” Luther, M. (1999, c1967). Vol. 54: Luther's works, vol. 54 : Table Talk (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald and H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (54:358). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.This seems to me to be very similar to that quoted by White. Keep in mind, sometimes there are multiple Table Talks referring to the same alleged statement from Luther. They usually say the same sort of thing, but can be longer or shorter. LW an English translation, often isn't a word for word translation, but thought for thought. Older translations can be very rigid. I've found that older citations of Luther are a lot looser than modern citations. White's book is from a period in which that was certainly the case. I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that White conflated the longer Table Talk statement into the form he presents it in.
Whenever any “church” or “pastor” does not conform to what by one’s own judgment the Spirit is speaking in one’s own heart, through one’s own study of Scripture, one is both free and obligated to reject and disobey the “church” or “pastor.” (Otherwise one cuts off the very act of Luther by which Protestantism justifies its entire existence as separate from the Catholic Church.) So the teachings and decisions of the “church” and “pastor” are always subject to the individual’s internal judgment concerning what the Spirit is speaking in the Scriptures. For that reason, the individual’s interpretive authority *is* ultimate, because the “church” and “pastor” can never trump it, but it can at any time trump that of the “church” and “pastor.”-snip-
Why did you choose to attend a Reformed church, rather than a Baptist church, a Methodist church, a Pentecostal church, a Church of Christ church, a Lutheran church, etc., etc., etc., …. etc.So says CTC's Bryan Cross.