Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Dark Side of Martin Luther: As He Became Less and Less Catholic, He Became Less and Less Christian

An old-school style hit against Martin Luther has recently been posted on the blog Shameless Popery: The Dark Side of Martin Luther. The piece claims to give "an honest assessment of some of the darker parts of Luther's legacy, and consider their implications" by exposing the "whitewashing of the real history of Luther and the early Protestants." The general thesis is that "The real-life Luther was a man passionately convicted of his own rightness, so convinced that he thought anyone who disagreed with him was either ignorant, stupid, or evil." This overconfidence was "the root" behind the following darker aspects of Luther's life:

1. Luther's unleashing of the Peasants Revolt
2. Luther's hatred of the Jews
3. Luther's responsibility for Nazism

These sort of blog entries that claim to be setting the record straight with blatant "honest assessments" are typically one-sided and ahistorical. If put forth by one of Rome's defenders they almost always neglect to apply their own standard to their own church, neglecting the logical conclusion that if one's own argument indicts one's own position, it isn't a valid argument. Typical as well is a selective use of the historical facts leading to negligent historical conclusions.


1. "Luther's Darker Side: the German Peasants"

The first "dark side" that's been hidden from the unsuspecting world is that Luther initially caused the Peasant's War of 1525-1526, that he wrote "an admonition to massacre" "in which he called on everyone to kill the peasants, en masse," he offered "the prospect of martyrdom to those fighting for the aristocracy, but only hellfire for all the slain peasants," and that in all this Luther "had his way" with the eventual slaughtering of 100,00 to 300,000 peasants.

The first blatant criticism is that on a basic level, this alleged "darker [part] of Luther's legacy" that is supposed to have been an example of the "whitewashing of the real history of Luther" is a fairly common aspect of Luther's history, found easily and readily in popular Protestant biographies of Luther. In today's explosion of easily accessible information, even a 6th grader utilizing Wikipedia's basic entry on Luther  for a book report on the Reformer will uncover this alleged whitewashed dark fact kept hidden away by those wishing to secure the heroic myth of Luther.

Second, the view being put forth by Shameless Popery is ahistorical. They state, "A few years after Luther's break from the Catholic Church, the revolutionary momentum that he had helped to unleash culminated in a massive popular (and bloody) uprising called the German Peasants' War," and also that Luther "accidentally sparked a bloody revolution." The simple fact of the matter is that the unrest and uprisings of the peasants in Germany was not something that began with Luther. It's not as if the peasants were content in their oppression until Luther came along as their potential political savior. The revolts and insurrections were throughout the fifteenth century (see Boissonnade, pp. 327-331). Roland Bainton points out,
The Peasants' War did not arise out of any immediate connection with the religious issues of the sixteenth century because agrarian unrest had been brewing for fully a century. Uprisings had occurred all over Europe, but especially in south Germany, where particularly the peasants suffered from changes which ultimately should have ministered to their security and prosperity. Feudal anarchy was being superseded through the consolidation of power. In Spain, England, and France this had taken place on a national scale, but in Germany only on a territorial basis; and in each political unit the princes were endeavoring to integrate the administration with the help of a bureauc- racy of salaried court officials.
Third, Shameless Popery mentions that initially Luther called for peace from both the rulers and the peasants, but then took a "new position" that "can fairly be characterized as an admonition to massacre."* The caricature being presented is that Luther initially wanted peace, but then changed his mind that the peasants should be slaughtered. The historical record though shows Luther wrote Duke John of Saxony July, 1524 and presented the same position he maintained throughout 1525- that ruler's have a right to keep order in society by suppressing revolts.  Even in his Admonition to Peace, Luther warned the peasants that societal unrest and anarchy would be met with judgment.

Fourth, after quoting Luther's "new position" Shameless Popery (citing Mark U. Edwards) concludes that "Luther had his way" and the "peasants were brutally suppressed." If all that is meant is that societal order was restored by suppressing the peasants, this would be consistent with Luther's thought that rebellion was to be met with force and containment. On the other hand, there is a sense in which Luther did not have his way, because the rulers did not distinguish between the seditious and innocent peasants.

Fifth, I think it's ironic that Luther's Roman Catholic critics are so quick to blame Luther for the deaths of peasants, but yet never offer an answer as to why the papacy didn't intervene to protect the peasants, or why they weren't actively working behind the scenes previous to 1525 to better the lives of the peasants. The hard truth appears to me to be that the papacy was content with letting the peasants remain peasants, and whatever their plight was, really wasn't an important issue. On the other hand, once Luther could be linked to the deaths of peasants, the peasants all of sudden became... important members of society that died tragically. Now for hit pieces like that put forth by Shameless Popery, there's never any thought to look into the role of the papacy throughout those periods of history in which the peasants were neglected and downtrodden. This never enters the picture.

It's a bit naive though to think somehow a person living in a peaceful country, hundreds of years later, can actually determine the guilt of Luther's writings in the entire peasants revolt. How would Shameless Popery write their criticisms if it was they who lived through 1524-1525? What would they say about the peasants while the peasants ransacked their houses, or killed their family members, and threatening the stability of the land? I would posit many the same defenders of Rome criticizing Luther would be the first to buy his book Against the Robbing and Murdering Mobs of Peasants.

It certainly is true that Luther's ideas had an impact upon Germany in the early 1520's, and particularly that the Peasants sought to utilize Luther in their plight.  Bainton points out, "...Luther's principles were to his mind perverted and the radicalism of the sectaries contributed to a state of anarchy. Nothing did so much as the Peasants' War to make Luther recoil against a too drastic departure from the pattern of the Middle Ages." If Shameless Popery really desires to put forth an "honest assessment," they should take a simple step back from their myopic view that Luther's theology and fight against Rome caused the Peasants revolt to realizing that oppressed people will utilize anything they can for their cause. Luther was popular and available, so they made use of him.

* Shamless Popery states "In May of 1525, he published a work originally titled Against the Rioting Peasants, the title of which was quickly changed to Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants...".  I haven't found a reputable source yet to document this change in title. It is quite possible Shameless Popery took this fact from Wikipedia's Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants. They state, "In May 1525, he wrote Against the Rioting Peasants, a title which would be harshened by printers in other cities without Luther’s approval." If this fact was taken from Wikipedia, it's interesting that Shameless Popery didn't mention it was the printers who changed the title. If they didn't take the fact from Wikipedia, I would be interested in further documentation.


 2. "Luther's Darker Side: the Jews"
 3. "Germany's Darker Side"

As with the Peasant's Revolt, Shameless Popery appears to think that Luther's anti-Jewish writings and beliefs are secrets kept from the general public. Such is not the case for the same reasons mentioned above. Perhaps though Shameless Popery is more concerned about emphasis- that when people generally tell Luther's story of his battle against Rome they neglect to mention his attitude toward the Jews. They state, "There's a popular Luther narrative that plays out a little like Star Wars" in which "A humble son of the Church rises up to overthrow the Dark Side, the Evil Empire, the Roman Catholic Church..." This same sort of criticism was lodged by Luther's detractors when the 2003 film Luther was released. Why didn't the movie present the real Luther who hated the Jews? While Hollywood may be a cesspool and manipulates the facts of history, in this instance, along with many who tell the "popular Luther narrative" it's because Luther's anti-Jewish writings come primarily at the end of his life. Even Shameless Popery could've put their own facts together to construct this answer. They mention "One of the last works Luther ever wrote was his 1543 book On the Jews and Their Lies, published just three years before his dead [sic]." When the basic Luther story is told, the major events are from the beginning of his Reformation career, not from his final days in which he wrote scathing attacks not only against the Jews, but Islam and the Papacy as well. Even many good biographies only focus on the first years of Luther’s career up to 1530.

The simple and hard truth here is that Luther's stand against the Roman church is the primary highlighted historical fact which Luther is rightly remembered for, while his anti-Jewish statements are facts better suited to the story of medieval Christendom. To tell the story of Luther's negativity towards the Jews is really to tell the story of the Roman church as well as medieval Christianity in their similar negativity towards the Jews. If Luther had a dark side with his negativity towards the Jews, Romanism does as well. If some of Luther's supporters are whitewashing his history on his attitude toward the Jews,  some of Rome's defenders do the same for their dark past. For instance similar to Luther, one of the leading Roman Catholic theologians of his day, his nemesis Johann Eck, also wrote some virulent anti-Jewish tracts. Here we find two leading theologians of the Protestant Church and the Roman Catholic Church both engaging in clearly anti-Christian attitudes. How could two of the best minds of the sixteenth century be so wrong and not realize it? Had it just been Luther, perhaps a critic could say: “See the basis of Protestantism is flawed and leads to anti-Semitism.” However, Johann Eck was considered a Roman Catholic theologian of great brilliance (see his entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia). He was respected and revered by the Papacy (and utilized by the Papacy!), and yet he also attacked the Jews unjustly.

Surprisingly, Shameless Popery identifies the world that Luther was part of had "widespread Catholic suspicion and hatred of the Jews," and that "Luther lambasted the Catholic Jew-haters who he accused of both treating the Jews in a subhuman manner, and in driving them from the Gospel." They also rightly point out that Luther did not put forth a biological antisemitism like Hitler, but rather Luther was against Judaism. This doesn't stop Shameless Popery though from putting forth the argumentation of William Shirer.  Here they put their facts together and conclude, "...anti-Judaism predates Luther. That said, it is undeniable that Luther recognized the dangers of this hatred of the Jews, and yet fueled the fires nonetheless."  It's a situation in which Luther knew better, but went ahead in hatred anyway.  In actuality, As Gordon Rupp pointed out, even the early Luther thought that humanly speaking, the Jews were nonconvertible and could not be saved by human action, and, because they reproach God and blasphemed against Christ their faith is an actively anti-Christian religion [see: Gordon Rupp, Martin Luther and the Jews (London: The Council of Christians and Jews, 1972), 9] .


4. "Why This Matters"

The final section of this hit piece delves into why the Peasants' Revolt and Luther's anti-Jewish writings matter. They are said to serve as examples of Luther's "sin of pride." With the peasants, Luther was gentle with them until they disagreed with him. With the Jews, when he thought the Gospel would be accepted by them, he was nice to them, when they didn't convert, he turned on them. Luther's pride was that he alone considered himself right, and everyone else wrong. As noted above though, Luther's position towards the peasants was consistent throughout- civil unrest was not to be tolerated and those disrupting society faced dire consequences. The change for Luther is in tone based on circumstances, not in theory. With Luther's attitude toward the Jews, it's true that Luther was disappointed that they still rejected the Gospel once it was unshackled from Rome.   On the other hand, this was not the only reason, and his blatant anti-Judaism took years to develop (see my paper here). Luther had no objections to integrating converted Jews into Christian society, but he maintained a lifelong intolerance of Judaism.

Shameless Popery goes a step further in why it matters by stating:

When Catholics point out that several of Luther's early writings sound pretty Catholic, the standard Protestant response (and a quite reasonable one, I might add), is that Luther wasn't completely reformed yet. Even after he went into schism, he spent another quarter-century slowly divesting himself of his Catholic beliefs. But what's remarkable is that, as Luther became less and less Catholic, he became less and less Christian.

So based on two historical caricatures presented by Shameless Popery, it is concluded that Luther became less Christian. Here's an obvious tip off that they've never read many (or any) of Luther's sermons. In Luther's sermons one is confronted with his deep theology and piety, which was consistent throughout his life. He always preached Christ, and he always exhorted his hearers to a life of being conformed to the image of Christ. Shameless Popery though gravitates to Luther's later polemical writings, which are only one aspect of his writing output, as the epitome of his thought.

Here's a tip off as well that only certain facts will fit their paradigm. It would be interesting to know where they think the year 1527 fits (it's after the peasants' war). In 1527 the plague ravaged Wittenberg. Many of Luther’s friends died, and his students and colleagues fled for their lives. Luther’s son even became ill for a time. Luther though felt “public servants, preachers, mayors, judges, doctors, policemen, and neighbors of the sick who have no one to take care of them are on duty and must remain.” He did not begrudge those who fled, “for to flee dying and death and to save one’s own life is a natural instinct implanted by God and is not forbidden.” But for Luther, fleeing the plague was not an option. He turned his house into a makeshift hospital, where he and his pregnant wife took care of the dying. The house was quarantined, remaining so even after the plague subsided. Well, maybe he was still too Roman Catholic at this time. Or the years after that (up until his death) when Luther was quite ill, but still managed to fulfill he duties as a preacher and husband- perhaps he was still too Roman Catholic. Or, where does 1541 fit in when the Luther's took in a transient woman and cared for her, only to find out she lied to them and stole from them, "Yet Luther believed no one would become poor by practicing charity"? (Christian History Issue 39 Vol. XII, No. 3, 1993, pp. 2-3).  Many more examples like these could be given. When it comes right down to it, Shameless Popery appears to not have done any actual historical study to make such an absurd conclusion.

Lastly, Shameless Popery ask a question that Protestants by and large could care less about: "Was Protestantism Founded by a Saint?" They state:

Within the same year, 1525, he both cautiously encouraged the peasant's revolt as possibly of God, and called for everyone involved in the revolt to be killed, saying that they were all going to hell. Does that sound like someone being led by the Holy Spirit, or like those that St. Paul warns (Eph. 4:14) are “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles”? I understand that even Saints make mistakes, and that even Saints sin. I get that, really. Nobody is expecting that Luther be perfect. But it does seem to me that there's a far cry from that platitude to saying that the guy who goes to his grave crying out for mass murder is a Saint.

This demonstrates a selective reading of Luther's text. Even in Luther's Admonition to Peace, Luther states the peasants would be wrong to use force, and that the law requires submission to the authorities. It appears Shameless Popery missed the following kind of comment from Luther's Admonition to Peace:
Second, it is easy to prove that you are taking God’s name in vain and putting it to shame; nor is there any doubt that you will, in the end, encounter all misfortune, unless God is not true. For here is God’s word, spoken through the mouth of Christ, “All who take the sword will perish by the sword” [Matt. 26:52]. That means nothing else than that no one, by his own violence, shall arrogate authority to himself; but as Paul says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities with fear and reverence” [Rom. 13:1]. How can you get around these passages and laws of God when you boast that you are acting according to divine law, and yet take the sword in your own hands, and revolt against “the governing authorities that are instituted by God?” Do you think that Paul’s judgment in Romans 13 [:2] will not strike you, “He who resists the authorities will incur judgment”? You take God’s name in vain when you pretend to be seeking divine right, and under the pretense of his name work contrary to divine right. Be careful, dear sirs. It will not turn out that way in the end. [Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 46: The Christian in Society III. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, and H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 46, pp. 24–25). Philadelphia: Fortress Press].
In conclusion Shameless Popery states, "So these are the reasons that I raise these unpleasant bits of history. In doing so, I hope that I've been fair to Luther, while raising questions worthy of serious examination." Based on their treatment of two historical situations from Luther's life and concluding "Luther became less and less Catholic, he became less and less Christian," I find that Luther hasn't been treated fairly at all. I could just as easily point out the Council of Florence, held "those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels,'" and then later the Catholic Catechism stated, "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims, to the Pope in 2000 stating, "All who seek God with a sincere heart, including those who do not know Christ and his Church, contribute under the influence of grace to the building of this Kingdom." The further the Roman church moves away from the teaching of the Bible, the less and less she is Christian. When they conclude "he became crueler and more bloodthirsty, the longer he spent away from the Church" this is from someone whose church has actually taken part in cruelty and the spilling of blood.  If there's a consistent argument from a Roman Catholic against Luther out there, "The Dark Side of Martin Luther" is nowhere near it.

34 comments:

James Swan said...

None of the Reformers were known for their sanctity. And for good reason. They could boast in their lack of piety or good works in order to show their "humble" trusting in Christ alone.

Wow Guy, that really refuted everything that was in the post... I just wrote Patrick Madrid to let him know I want my conversion story to be included in Surprised By Truth vol. 15, in which I'll mention I became a Roman Catholic after the in-depth and thoughtful argumentation of some Guy named Guy.

James Swan said...

I will repeat myself James. NONE of the magisterial Reformers were known for their piety, holiness or works of charity.

Guy, I sit at your feet as your devoted pupil. I look forward to feasting on your years of meticulous research and study of the Reformation. And to think, all this time, you've been posting away over here, almost on the hour, I had no idea of your depth of knowledge. From now on, what I may do is forward any new entries over to you before I post them so as to not embarrass myself.







EA said...

"I will repeat myself James. NONE of the magisterial Reformers were known for their piety, holiness or works of charity.
Zwingli was a good in combat ( yuck, a priest wielding a sword. How gross )."


Guy is being unintentionally funny, again. What could be more gross than a priest wielding a sword in combat? How about a pope? Julius II led armies during the Italian Wars with himself at the head in full armor. If that's not gross enough for you, how about Pope Stephen VII who conducted the Cadaver Synod? That's pretty high up on the gross meter. I can play this game all day, if you like.

James Swan said...

Guy,

The thrust of your basic comment on this blog entry is just as idiotic and offensive to me as that comment about the wafer from Green Baggins was to you. There's nothing of substance to interact with.

EA said...

"Popes at that time were heads of state, temporal rulers. Besides, I am sure they never actually killed anybody. "

This is comical. Are these "popes" or not? You can't have it both ways. As far as gross individuals; I give you John XII.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_XII

Like I said, I can play this game all day.

Ken said...

James,
That was an excellent article and very helpful balancing of all the facts of those incidents.

This was especially good, seeing that Luther nor Protestantism never claims infallibility; yet the RC does and these two ideas from official Roman Catholicism are a real contradiction:

I could just as easily point out the Council of Florence, held "those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels,'" and then later the Catholic Catechism stated, "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims, to the Pope in 2000 stating, "All who seek God with a sincere heart, including those who do not know Christ and his Church, contribute under the influence of grace to the building of this Kingdom." The further the Roman church moves away from the teaching of the Bible, the less and less she is Christian.

James Swan said...

Then you get thin skinned when I kid back? I don't understand. Light sarcasm demands a lightly sarcastic response, no?

I was referring to your comment(s)

" None of the Reformers were known for their sanctity."

"I will repeat myself James. NONE of the magisterial Reformers were known for their piety, holiness or works of charity.
Zwingli was a good in combat ( yuck, a priest wielding a sword. How gross ). Calvin was scary even to Protestants. That leaves Luther. His picture always depicts him as pretty well fed if you ask me."

I find these comments idiotic, and not worthy of serious interaction.

EA said...

Guy: "I cannot have it both ways?"

Compare these statements:

Guy: "yuck, a priest (Zwingli) wielding a sword. How gross."

EA: "What could be more gross than a priest wielding a sword in combat? How about a pope?"

Guy: "In the middle ages, many churchmen were also temporal rulers."

You indicated that you think it is gross for priests to wield a sword in citing Zwingli's doing so. I indicated that several Popes had in fact also wielded a sword in battle. Another notable example would be Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy during the First Crusade.

Is it gross for priests, bishops, and Popes to wield swords or not? Or is it acceptable for them as priests to wield swords as long as they are also temporal rulers? How are these duties and roles separable? There appears to be a contradiction between your distaste for Zwingli wielding a sword and other churchmen wielding a sword. Please clarify. Thanks.

EA said...

"When I hear a remark about the Pope being a "fruit" as Steve implied this morning, I find it dumb but I am not offended."

Guy, you referred to the "currant" pope rather than the "current" pope.

I believe Steve was simply using your mistyped homonym as a play on words.

EA said...

"Where are you going with this?"

You cited Zwingli wielding a sword as gross and as an example of the Reformers "lack of piety". Do you consider Catholic clerics wielding a sword to be an indication of a similar "lack of piety" or are you employing a double standard? That's where I'm going with this. My apologies if that was too oblique for you.

James Swan said...

No James, you are way off. If you compare the blasphemous and *intentionally* mean spirited remarks about the Eucharist to be on a par with a (true?) remark about Luther or Calvin,maybe you shouldn't be posting articles on these men and opening up for comments.

Or, maybe I should filter out the comments that aren't worth interacting with.

guy fawkes said...

Could you be objective? You do have a dog in the fight, don't you?

Black Sheep said...

"You brought out how Luther let his house be used for plague victims. Did he have much of a choice?"

I suppose he must have had done, otherwise everyone would be doing it and it wouldn't be noteworthy.

just my 2 cents.

James Swan said...

Dave Andrews over on C2C says what brought him out of Calvinism was not the errors of Calvinism but learning of the cruelty of Calvin the man.

I don't recall Mr. Andrews, but this sort of reason for converting to Rome reminds of the people who leave Rome because of a nun at some point in their past, usually in Catholic school.

Without reading the alleged story, if this really was his main reason for swimming the Tiber, it's a foolish reason.

guy fawkes said...

James,
Actually, it's not all that foolish. According to the Catholic Sacramental system, one can separate a particular teacher from his teaching. A true Pope can be a notorious sinner. A real Christian and member of the Church can be out of a state of grace and still be an orthodox Christian.

Not so according to your system. A sinner proves he was never really a Christian in the first place.

No Pope ever initiated his Church. Rather, he hands down the Faith received.
Luther initiated Protestantism. That is why a study of Luther's phobias and scrupulosity is pertinent to understanding JBFA.

Sinful Popes are hypocrites when they don't practice what they preach.
The Reformers railed against works of Charity as being Pharisaical. Their lack of good works demonstrated their commitment to resting on an alien righteousness rather than their own.
They were anything but hypocrites.

James Swan said...

What's the difference, in your thinking, between someone who leaves a Reformed church because of Calvin"s alleged bad character, and becomes a Roman Catholic, and someone who leaves a Roman Catholic church to become protestant because a nun was mean in Catholic school, or a priest was accused of some awful behavior? I'm interested to see how consistent you are.

James Swan said...

Dave Andrews over on C2C says what brought him out of Calvinism was not the errors of Calvinism but learning of the cruelty of Calvin the man.

So out of curiosity I ventured over to CTC and attempted to look this little factoid up. Here were the search results:

http://www.calledtocommunion.com/?s=dave+andrews

Thanks Mr. Fawkes.

Ken said...

James,
I think Guy means David Anders, whom you interacted with in other articles.

http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/how-john-calvin-made-me-a-catholic/

But Calvin's character was not the main issue that lead him to Roman Catholicism.

It was the suppossedly similarities (in his mind) of Calvinism to Roman Catholicism, as oppossed to modern Free Church American Evangelicalism.

James Swan said...

Yes, I was thinking that's who Guy was referring to. I found it curious though he summarized the entire conversion narrative into "Dave Andrews over on C2C says what brought him out of Calvinism was not the errors of Calvinism but learning of the cruelty of Calvin the man."

This demonstrates to me a rather poor grasp of context and facts.

To bring this all back around, Guy appears to think the personal piety of another person is valid to either cause conversion or deconversion. So, I guess that validates all the stories from the folks who left Rome because of nuns who were hitting kids with rulers in school.

Ken said...

This demonstrates to me a rather poor grasp of context and facts.

To bring this all back around, Guy appears to think the personal piety of another person is valid to either cause conversion or deconversion. So, I guess that validates all the stories from the folks who left Rome because of nuns who were hitting kids with rulers in school.


Indeed, Guy does not have good ground to stand on, based on what you have written and his argumentation.

To David Ander's points:

Anders seems to put unity and the ability to enforce unity as the main positive thing. To me, that was a big negative and a blight on church practice in history, as exemplified in the treatment of the Jews and other heretics that eventually came back to haunt the institutional church. Anders sees the parallels between Church and state unity (sacralism) in RC and then Calvin's enforcing of discipline, church attendence, Lord's supper, etc.

I think Dr. White's recent Dividing Line programs and the problems with the unity of church and state from Theodosius onward illustrate the problems. (380-392 AD onward). It was that force and unity that caused the government and church to be too harsh against Jews and other heretics and the Miaphysites (Monophysites) in Egypt and Syria and caused the Muslims and Islam to be initially "welcomed" or preferred to the Byzantine soldiers quartered in those areas, etc. - but once Islam took over, it was too late, and the Copts and Syrian Orthodox suffered ever since then. And they cannot express their disagreement, because then Sharia law kicked in and they would be punished.

Anders speaks of Calvin not believing in "born-again spirituality". He doesn't back that up very well, IMO, but emphasized the Lord's supper as assurance and baptism, thinking those emphases on externals are closer to Romanism. I didn't see him back up anything from Calvin that equated water baptism with being "born-again". It would seem to be mostly understood as "entering the covenant community" and then hopefully later conversion takes place in the heart of those that are baptized as infants.

Anders speaks of the emphasis of George Whitfield and emphais on being born again. I agree with Whitfield and the separation of church and state, rather than the state enforcing unity by harsh measures.

guy fawkes said...

ken,
I didn't read this stuff about Dave Ander's views on Calvin.

I have heard him, on more than one occasion, talk about it on his C2C radio show. So, unless you went back and listened to all of his archived shows, you really don't know if I am getting him wrong.

I am not. Honest Injun. I heard him say it. Your gripe is with him not me. I am just the messenger.

guy fawkes said...

James,
As one of those snot nosed whelps who was on the business end of Sister Patricia Marie's ruler, I am here to testify that only someone who was never really elect in the first place would leave the Church over a little corporal punishment. Let 'em go! Who needs 'em?
I would never have made it in the Marines if not for the pre-boot camp discipline of Catholic schools.

James Swan said...

guy fawkes said...ken,
I didn't read this stuff about Dave Ander's views on Calvin.I have heard him, on more than one occasion, talk about it on his C2C radio show. So, unless you went back and listened to all of his archived shows, you really don't know if I am getting him wrong.


Guy, if you bring a fact to the table and someone asks you for further information about it (like either a source or a context), it's not up to us to search every corner of the Internet to verify your fact. In polite and honest discourse, the burden of proof is the responsibility of the one making the claim.

In what you've put forth so far in this discussion, you didn't even get the name right of the person you were referring to.

I heard him say it. Your gripe is with him not me. I am just the messenger.

No, our gripe is with you. If you bring a fact to the table, be ready to back it up. If not, at least for me, I'll be more prone to disregard your facts and comments.

James Swan said...

James,
As one of those snot nosed whelps who was on the business end of Sister Patricia Marie's ruler, I am here to testify that only someone who was never really elect in the first place would leave the Church over a little corporal punishment. Let 'em go! Who needs 'em?


As demonstrated, your argument is inconsistent.

Ken said...

yeah Guy,
James got you on that -

you need to read Ander's articles and back up your statements and also get the guy's name right.

Anders does make comments about Calvin's character, but that was not the main issue in his argumentation.

Ander's sees Calvin's dogmatism on baptism and Lord's supper and church membership and the clergy's interpretations, and enforcing unity by church discipline in Geneva as more parallel with the Roman Catholicism of the Middle Centuries as oppossed to modern Presbyterianism and Free Church Evangelicalism and a spirit of tolerance to other Protestants who disagree over baptism and the Lord's supper.

You should listen to Dr. White's last 4 Dividing Lines (?) programs on "let the Lion Roar" / Sacralism/ response to Derek Frank; and the one on Pre-Millennialism and 2 Timothy 3.

James Swan said...

Anders does make comments about Calvin's character, but that was not the main issue in his argumentation.

Without hearing exactly what the anonymous Mr. Fawkes is referring to, I find it hard to believe the main reason that Dr. Anders became a defender of Rome was some sort of disapproval of Calvin's character. In my recent interaction with Dr. Anders, I found him to be an analytic thinker.

Yes, Dr. Anders appears to have a lot of knowledge on Calvin and the French and Swiss Reformation, and I'm sure he probably had something to say about Calvin's personal character, but if his main reason for joining Rome is as Guy described it, it's no different than someone leaving Rome because of a nun with a ruler.

James Swan said...

By the way, information about the historical character "Guy Fawkes" can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes

Also, I can verify that whoever our Mr. Fawkes is, he is indeed in Portugal:

http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s29beggars&v=5&r=9&vlr=15&pg=1&d=1125

guy fawkes said...

James,
Why not just ask me? I am the eldest son of Sylvester "Sly" Fawkes. My father was a life long Lutheran.
Why would it matter if I am posting from Portugal or Portland? I Actually post from both locals.
I don't doubt that your real name is Swan or that Steve wears a toupee like Cary Grant.

Do you also doubt that my (part) Siamese cat is is sleeping on the sofa behind me?

My name just might be James and my friends might call me Jim. So you guys can continue to call me Mr. Fawkes or Guy if you don't mind.

guy fawkes said...

James,
I am tickled pink that you guys find my name to be so interesting. I just chose it to be silly. I had no idea anyone would give a ding dong over it.
I really should enjoy my scarlet Scarlet Pimpernel status but since I am doling out morsels of info to tease you with, here is one to really leave Steve scratching his head; As my spelling drives him nuts, he will will really be bewildered when he hears I hold a certificate from Cambridge University that says I am qualified to teach spelling and grammar in any of the schools operating under their aegis anywhere in the world. Scout's honor.
Now old Steve is really mystified, isn't he?
Who is this tall dark mystery man, indeed!
You should probably delete this after reading it to guard my mystery status and since it has zero to do with apologetics.

James Swan said...



In the past, I've been involved with certain defenders of Rome that use different names in order to pretend to be different people, so I keep tabs on who's who.

The most interesting use of double personas here on this blog was I had a defender of Rome who was overly polite under one name, while vicious under another.

guy fawkes said...

James,
Not to worry. I am consistently vicious regardless of which name I use.

Seriously I am quite chivalrous. I am never vicious right out of the gate. Never. I pride myself on bullying only bullies.
My rule is to let the other guy determine the level of snottiness or civility. I prefer civility but I also don't believe in being a door mat for the Steves of the world.
If you scan the various blogs, I think you will see who is nasty and who isn't.
Catholics consider you dudes our brethren. You dudes however, rejoice in telling us how you don't return the favor. Your loss.

When the Mormons or Witnesses come to my house, I keep up front that Christ died for them as for me. Too bad you guys cannot do the same.
Only once was I ever less than charitable to one of them. The kid, far from his home in Utah, started to sob. Ashamed, I asked forgiveness and vowed never to belittle someone's religion ever again unless he did it to mine first.

So, you see James,I therefore find myself mocking Calvinism's TULIP a lot.

James Swan said...

Seriously I am quite chivalrous. I am never vicious right out of the gate. Never. I pride myself on bullying only bullies. My rule is to let the other guy determine the level of snottiness or civility. I prefer civility but I also don't believe in being a door mat for the Steves of the world.

Ah, ok, that clears things up as to what Rome means in regard to Hebrews 12:14. Thanks for infallibly interpreting this verse for me.

If you scan the various blogs, I think you will see who is nasty and who isn't. Catholics consider you dudes our brethren. You dudes however, rejoice in telling us how you don't return the favor. Your loss.

Yes, that's right- Rome's defenders are completely united as to how they regard Protestants, until of course you scratch the surface of unity and discover that each defender of Rome is also an interpreter of Rome- and then discover that not all of Rome's defenders consider Protestant "dudes" "brethren."

So, you see James,I therefore find myself mocking Calvinism's TULIP a lot.

Yes, well, you've got Hebrews 12:14 on your side which instructs you to mock people who you disagree with on doctrines they believe to be sacred and Holy, while at the same time crying when someone makes a disparaging comment on Rome's novel version of the Lord's Supper.

Well done Guy. Keep the Bible verses coming so I can judge your behavior here by them.

guy fawkes said...

James,
Get real. Scroll through your blog for the past couple of weeks. Notice PJB's repeated jibes about Rome's corruption, the extravagance of Papal claims and other pejoratives put out with abandon.
Take a peeky-boo at Steve's sarcasm. Not only do I challenge you to find one post or one paragraph that doesn't contain a snotty shot about my inability to read, to think, to follow discourse, to blow my own nose etc. You actually seem impressed with his aggressive bluster and insulting tone as if that counts for anything.
After standing by and enjoying his venom hissed at me, when I give back, you then remind me of Hebrews 12.
Hebrews 12 should apply to you guys too. Does it?

If you resent Catholics on your blog, you should state that up front. It is obvious you guys prefer to talk about us rather than to us here and on Triabologue.
You seem to resent a Catholic commenting on your articles belittling Tim Staples and Dave Armstrong.
And you definitely don't like anything but praise for your canonizations of Luther and the gentleman who had Servetus burned with green wood. ( I know, I know, another myth. But Steve's libelous bile about entire families being liquidated because someone had a Bible goes uncensured, eh James? )

I won't mock Calvinism if you don't mock Catholicism. Is it a deal?

James Swan said...

James, Get real.

This is fairly simple Mr. Fawkes. You claimed to subject yourself to Scripture, but have continually demonstrated something much different in your words.

Your infallible magisterium appears to have defined Hebrews 12:14 to mean something other than the plain words suggest. Or: perhaps you really don't care to actually follow what Hebrews 12:14 is saying.

You are supposed to be representing the true church, so how you interpret a Scripture like Hebrews 12:14 is demonstrated in your.... works, or more specifically, your words here on this blog. If we Protestants have an "aggressive bluster and insulting tone" we have you here as our example, so it appears we have at least as much piety as you, a defender of Rome. So, once again, there's no real reason to join Rome if any of us consider your behavior. Based on your paradigm expressed in this post, we have a valid reason not to become Roman Catholics based on your behavior.

I don't "resent a Catholic commenting" here, which is why only a small number of the defenders of Rome are permanently banned (the number is actually "2" to be exact). You've been commenting what appears to be almost on the hour, and your comments get posted. so, it makes no sense to say I have resentment for Roman Catholic comments. Keep in mind, I recently had a nice dialog with the person you know as "Dave Andrews," and I was pleased that his level of discourse was far above such things like, "you definitely don't like anything but praise for your canonizations of Luther and the gentleman who had Servetus burned with green wood."