Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just in case you haven't seen this yet

Really cool that the Called to Communion folks allowed a full article by an Evangelical Reformed Protestant, on the historical issues of the mono-episocate, apostolic succession, and the early church in Rome and how they relate to the Papacy claims. (article by Brandon Addison)


John Bugay comments on this also. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Roman Catholics Cannot Profess the Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God...
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father...

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins...


A Roman Catholic cannot affirm the boldfaced statements.

1) Being seated is wording from Hebrews, and the reason Jesus sits down is that He has completed His high priestly work of atoning for sin. It is for real finished, and that's why Hebrews says that there remains no sacrifice for sin. Yet the Roman Mass neither is nor re-presents the atoning death of Jesus, because it does not take away all sin from the person it benefits. A person can go to Mass 10,000 times and still go to Hell. A person can go to Mass 10,000 times and still die imperfect, and God brings charges against him in Purgatory, in direct violation to Romans 8:33-34.

2) Jesus took on flesh at the Incarnation, and flesh is always located in one place at any one time. Yet Roman Catholic Church affirms that the body of Jesus is located in zillions of different places simultaneously through transubstantiation. So He's not at the right hand of the Father. He's there and also all over the place.

And true, Roman Catholics acknowledge one baptism for remission of sins, but it's the wrong baptism. They look to water when they should be looking to the Spirit. And no, they are not one and the same. Not even close.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Sermon: Our Union With Christ, R.C. Sproul Jr.

Every Sunday I'm going to try to post a sermon (either written or audio) that I've found useful. For this first installment, I recently listened to R.C. Sproul Jr. speak on "Our Union With Christ."  Like many of my Reformed friends, I'm a big fan of R.C. Senior. I haven't listened to much by his son, but this sermon simply knocked me over.  R.C. Jr. has been through some extremely high waters, and this has made his sermons outstanding testimonies to what it means to be united with Christ.

Here is the link to the sermon. If you've come across this some time in the future and the link no longer works, try this link.

Friday, March 14, 2014

C.S. Lewis... Remained a Protestant

I found this old post compiled by Matthew Shultz: To be Deep In Medieval History is to Remain Protestant. I was intrigued by the quotes.

"C.S. Lewis once quipped that the more medieval he became in his outlook, the farther from Roman Catholicism he seemed to grow." Douglas M. Jones III, Foreword to Keith Mathison's The Shape of Sola Scriptura (Moscow, ID: Canon Press), 11.

"What I meant was that if I replied to your original question (why I am not a member of the Roman Church) I shd. have to write a v. long letter." C.S. Lewis, Letter to Sister Mary Rose, January 1950, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950 - 1963, Ed. Walter Hooper, (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), 8.

"The question for me (naturally) is not 'Why should I not be a Roman Catholic?' but 'Why should I?' But I don't like discussing such matters, because it emphasises differences and endangers charity. By the time I had really explained my objection to certain doctrines which differentiate you from us (and also in my opinion from the Apostolic and even the Medieval Church), you would like me less." Letter to Mrs. Halmbacher, March 1951, Ibid., 106.

"It is a little difficult to explain how I feel that tho' you have taken a way [conversion to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism] which is not for me I nevertheless congratulate you..." Letter to Mary Willis Shelburne, November 10, 1952, Ibid., 248-249.

Michael Edwards, commenting on a reply to a letter he received from Lewis on November 2, 1959, states:

"This was in response to a request for a personal meeting to help me sort out two different problem areas, (1) which Christian denomination I should settle on...I never felt happy as an Evangelical. I was seriously considering becoming a Roman Catholic...I was vexed about the problem of papal infallibility and Lewis recommended I should read "The Infallibility of the Church" [1888] by [George] Salmon. This in fact did hep me settle the question." Ibid., 1133.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Supralapsarianism, Gomarus, Westminster, and Dort

Over on the CARM boards I was led into an interesting investigation on Franciscus Gomarus (1563-1641). The post (from a Lutheran) which provoked my interest can be found here. The main assertion appears to be that Reformed theology, particularly Reformed creeds, are inherently supralapsarian. It was argued that Gomarus (a supralapsarian), because of his condemnation of Arminius, had some sort super-influence over the history of Reformed theology, particularly the Canons of Dort and then the Westminster Confession of Faith. It was stated:
Despite what modern Calvinist have been taught, at least the Baptist ones, the foundation of their documents was written on double predestination. Not only does it extend to the WCoF, which they deny, it also extends to the three Forms of Unity, which I'm sure they'll deny as well.
It was also suggested that the Reformed should expunge this from their creeds:
Instead of using historical confessions to bolster their case, which they can't do, modern reformed should revise their standards eliminating those doctrines that are so troubling to their new systematics. This has been done before by many Presbyterian churches so their is plenty of precedent to do so. If one of their mantras is "the reformed are always reforming" then it should be perfectly logical to reform their standard to reflect their new doctrine.
I took a little time to explore why Gomarus appears to be a supralapsarian and why the Synod of Dort produced what appears to be a declaration with infralapsarian underpinnings. The most helpful source I came across was Drawn Into Controversie: Reformed Theological Diversity and Debates Within Seventeenth-Century British Puritanism. Starting on page 116, it's pointed out that Gomarus was outnumbered by the infralapsarians, and those that drafted the statement were infralapsarians. Next it's pointed out that the other supralapsarians present did not come to the aid of Gomarus during the debate on this issue. Third, Gomarus attempted to use the Thirty-Nine Articles to prove his position, but he was shown to be misrepresenting this document.

As to the Westminster Confession, some Reformed scholars think that the confession is purposefully vague. B.B. Warfield notes that the majority present were infralapsarians, but that some of the ablest thinkers were supralapsarians, and that it was "set down in the Confession only what was common ground to both, leaving the whole region which was in dispute between them entirely untouched." John Murray states, “The Confession is non-committal on the debate between the Supralapsarians and the Infralapsarians and intentionally so, as both the terms of the section and the debate in the Assembly clearly show."

One thing though does appear to me to be the case as I did this cursory invesitgation, that at both Dort and Westminster the majority were infralapsarian. Any notion (as such implied in the CARM post), that the Westminster Confession is decidedly supralapsarian, or that Gomarus had some sort of prevailing supralapsarian impact on the Westminster Assembly, or that the Three forms of Unity were unequivocally supralapsarian, is unjustified, and not supported by the historical record. By extension, it does not follow that the "modern reformed" need to "revise their standards" to expunge supralapsarianism since the major Reformed creeds do not necessarily teach it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage? (Part 2)

A while back I mentioned a Roman polemicist who posted 500 Years of Protestantism: The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote. There's now a follow-up: 500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage. The basic thrust of this recent offering is that the Reformers denied that marriage is a sacrament and hence took God out of marriage, placing it in the hands of the state government. The contemporary mess of marriage can entirely be laid at the feet of the Reformers. I began reviewing the material here. With this installment, I'm going to take a look at the specific quotes cited from Luther and Calvin. The author begins by stating,

Now when Martin Luther and, later, John Calvin began teaching that Sacraments are just signs (i.e. containing no inner working/transformative grace), and of those signs there are only two (i.e. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and that Holy Matrimony is not a Sacrament, it instantly opened the door to their next finding; that the institution of marriage is under the purview of the state government, rather than the Church.

There are basic errors here. While the Reformers certainly deny Roman sacramental soteriology, neither Reformer taught that the sacraments were "just signs" as if by "sign" something trivial was adhered to. Calvin states that a sacrament is "an outward sign by which the Lord seals on our consciences the promises of his good will toward us in order to sustain the weakness of our faith; and we in turn attest our piety toward him in the presence of the Lord and of his angels and before men"  (Institutes, IV,14,1), and he then goes on to a much richer explanation comprising several chapters. Luther saw the sacraments as another form of the powerful Word of God in which God gives His promises, and this visible Word changes our hearts, minds, reason, and will. It is then asserted that the Reformers were in error by limiting the sacraments to two, as if the seven sacraments posited by Romanism were set in stone by the apostles themselves. This is hardly the case. It wasn't until the 13th Century that Romanism settled for seven. Then it is asserted that the Reformers were that which "instantly opened the door" for marriage to be put in the hands of government. A Roman Catholic source though says:
Only in the late 1700's in France did churches, Catholic and Protestant, lose legal control over marriage. The Napoleonic Code of 1792 ordered all marriages to be civil. After that all countries began allowing civil marriages [Greg Dues, Catholic Customs and Traditions (revised edition, 2007) (New London: Twenty-Third Publications, 2007) p. 165].
Simply because Luther and Calvin posited that the state regulate marriage, this did not mean that the hierarchy of the church didn't play any role in marriage. One can read quite a number of examples in Luther's writings in which he and the Lutheran church were involved in marital issues (this will be brought out below in evaluating some of the Luther quotes). Likewise with Calvin, one need only skim through the Registers of the Consistory of Geneva in the Time of Calvin and Adultery and Divorce in Calvin's Geneva to realize that the church was most certainly involved in marital issues.

What follows then are a number of quotes from Luther and one quote from Calvin. The Luther quotes appear to have been taken entirely from this web page, and done so by botching the documentation in most instances.

Luther Quotes

1.“Marriage is a civic matter. It is really not, together with all its circumstances, the business of the church.” It is so only when a matter of conscience is involved.” (source: What Luther Says Vol. II, Concordia Publishing House, 1959)

When the author cut-and-pasted this quote, he missed the page number (885). The quote is actually not something Luther said, but is something Luther is purported to have said. It's a Table Talk utterance found in WA tr 4, entry 4068. Here's how the quote actually reads:
No. 4068: Opinions on Several Marriage Problems October 15, 1538
Several matrimonial cases were presented on October 15. Before his marriage a certain engaged man committed murder and fled to an unknown place. Should the engaged woman be regarded as free from him? He [Luther] replied, “This is a civil matter, and the man is dead by civil law. But if the accused man can be cleared before civil law, he ought to take her as his wife in the name of the Lord.” A second case: A certain adulteress of ill repute finally took flight with her adulterer and carried some household utensils off with her. He [Luther] said that she should be summoned to appear, her case should be heard, and then they should be separated. “Cases like this belong to the civil government altogether [said Luther] because marriage is a civil affair. In all its outward circumstances it has nothing to do with the church, except insofar as there may be a case of conscience.” (LW 54:315). 
Notice the severity of the cases to which Luther refers. The first involves the fact that engagements were just as binding as actual marriages, and murder was involved. The second case involved theft. One sees easily how the cases were indeed civil. Luther is purported to be arguing here that these sort of issues are best evaluated by civil authorities.

2. “No one can deny that marriage is an external, worldly, matter, like clothing and food, house and property, subject to temporal authority, as the many imperial laws enacted on the subject prove.” (source: What Luther Says Vol. 46, Concordia Publishing House, 1959)

This is another quote probably taken from this web page, and cut-and-pasted incorrectly as "What Luther Says Vol. 46." What Luther Says is typically either three volumes or one. There is no "Vol. 46," there is though a volume 46 in Luther's Works (LW).  The context explains that the entire regulation of marriage by the church wasn't being given over to the government:
No one can deny that marriage is an external, worldly matter, like clothing and food, house and property, subject to temporal authority, as the many imperial laws enacted on the subject prove. Neither do I find any example in the New Testament where Christ or the apostles concerned themselves with such matters, except where they touched upon consciences, as did St. Paul in I Corinthians 7 [:1–24], and especially where unbelievers or non-Christians are concerned, for it is easy to deal with these and all matters among Christians or believers. But with non-Christians, with which the world is filled, you cannot move forward or backward without the sharp edge of the temporal sword. And what use would it be if we Christians set up a lot of laws and decisions, as long as the world is not subject to us and we have no authority over it? (LW 46:265)

3. “I feel that judgments about marriages belong to the jurists. Since they make judgments concerning fathers, mothers, children, and servants, why shouldn’t they also make decisions about the life of married people? When the papists oppose the imperial law concerning divorce, I reply that this doesn’t follow from what is written, ‘What God has joined together let no man put asunder.” (source: Luther’s Works Vol. 54)

This is another quote probably taken from this web page, and cut-and-pasted incorrectly without the page number (66).  The quote is actually not something Luther said, but is something Luther is purported to have said. It's Table Talk utterance #414. What's interesting about the complete context here is that Luther actually shows that in some instances the church plays a role in the affairs of marriage. Certainly though, the context does indicate that Luther believed certain aspects of marriage were to be under the direction of the government.

4. Neither is there any need to make sacraments out of marriage and the office of the priesthood.” (source: Luther’s Works Vol. 37)

This is another quote probably taken from this web page, and cut-and-pasted incorrectly without the page number (370).  What one assumes is that for Luther marriage was just simply some sort of worldly affair because he denied it was a sacrament imparting grace. Note though what Luther actually states: "Neither is there any need to make sacraments out of marriage and the office of the priesthood. These orders are sufficiently holy in themselves."

5. “Not only is marriage regarded as a sacrament without the least warrant of Scripture, but the very ordinances which extol it as a sacrament have turned it into a farce. Let us look into this a little. We have said that in every sacrament there is a word of divine promise, to be believed by whoever receives the sign, and that the sign alone cannot be a sacrament. Nowhere do we read that the man who marries a wife receives any grace of God. There is not even a divinely instituted sign in marriage, nor do we read anywhere that marriage was instituted by God to be a sign of anything. To be sure, whatever takes place in a visible manner can be understood as a figure or allegory of something invisible. But figures or allegories are not sacraments, in the sense in which we use the term.” (source: Luther’s Works Vol. 36; Babylonian Captivity of the Church)

This is another quote probably taken from this web page, and cut-and-pasted incorrectly without the page number (92). The quote as it stands is actually a good representation of a point I made previously, that the Scriptures are silent in regard to marriage being a sacrament.

Calvin Quotes

“The last of all is marriage, which, while all admit it to be an institution of God, no man ever saw to be a sacrament, until the time of Gregory. And would it ever have occurred to the mind of any sober man? It is a good and holy ordinance of God. And agriculture, architecture, shoemaking, and shaving, are lawful ordinances of God; but they are not sacraments. For in a sacrament, the thing required is not only that it be a work of God, but that it be an external ceremony appointed by God to confirm a promise. That there is nothing of the kind in marriage, even children can judge.” (source: Institutes of Religion, Chapter 19, no. 34).

It's hard to say where this quote was swiped from, but, once again, it's documented incorrectly by leaving out that the quote is from Book IV of the Institutes. Notice what Calvin affirms: marriage was instituted by God, and that it is a good and holy ordinance of God. But simply because it holds this pedigree doesn't mean it's a sacrament. Calvin goes on to document the abuse the Roman church committed in its complete regulation of marriage:
Not to have mocked the church simply in one thing, what a long train of errors, lies, frauds, and misdeeds have they attached to this one error? Thus, you may say that they sought nothing but a den of abominations when they made a sacrament out of marriage. For when they once obtained this, they took over the hearing of matrimonial cases; as it was a spiritual matter, it was not to be handled by secular judges. Then they passed laws by which they strengthened their tyranny, laws in part openly impious toward God, in part most unfair toward men. Such are these: That marriages between minors contracted without parental consent should remain firm and valid. That marriages between kinsfolk even to the seventh degree are not lawful, and if contracted, must be dissolved. They forge the very degrees, against the laws of all nations and also against the ordinance of Moses [Leviticus 18:6 ff.]: that a man who has put away an adulterous wife is not permitted to take another; that godparents may not be coupled in matrimony; that marriages may not be celebrated from Septuagesima to the octave of Easter, and in the three weeks before the nativity of John, and from Advent to Epiphany; and innumerable like regulations which would take too long to recount. At length, we must extricate ourselves from their mire, in which our discourse has already stuck longer than I should have liked. Still, I believe that I have accomplished something in that I have partly pulled the lion’s skin from these asses. (Institutes IV, 19, 37)

What the Reformers rebelled against was the complete control the Roman church had on marriage via canon law and the unbiblical notion of making marriage a means of infused grace. Ultimately, the issue of marriage was a sola scriptura issue. Rome claimed infallible authority over the estate of marriage. The Reformers responded by pointing out the Scriptures do not show that marriage is a sacrament, and the application of canon law demonstrates the severe fallibility of Roman authority.

Whatever mess marriage is in today, it would be an error to think that when Rome had complete control via canon law it was somehow more functional, and that marriage was in some sort of "golden age" previous to the 16th Century. The simple fact is that marriage previous to the Reformation had a whole host of problems. In a thoughtful essay [John Witte, The Reformation of Marriage Law in Martin Luther's Germany: Its significance Then and Now (Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 4, No. 2 (1986), pp. 293-351] some of these problems include the following:

Luther and other German Protestant reformers attributed much of the decay of marriage not only to the negligence and arbitrariness of authority and the moral laxness of society but also to the canon laws of marriage and the Roman Catholic theological concepts of marriage underlying these laws. For the reformers the canon law of marriage yielded paradoxical results. It discouraged and prevented mature persons from marrying by its celebration of celibacy, its proscriptions against the breach of vows to celibacy, its permission to breach oaths of betrothal, and its numerous impediments. Yet it encouraged marriages between the immature by declaring valid secret unions consummated without parental permission as well as oaths of betrothal followed by sexual intercourse. It highlighted the sanctity and solemnity of marriage by deeming it a sacrament. Yet it permitted a couple to enter this holy union without clerical or parental witness, instruction, or participation. Celibate and impeded persons were thus driven by their sinful passion to incontinence and all manner of sexual deviance. Married couples, not taught the Scriptural norms for marriage, adopted numerous immoral practices. Such paradoxical results, the reformers averred, were rooted in tensions within the Roman Catholic theology of marriage. Although Roman Catholic theologians emphasized the sanctity and sanctifying purpose of the marriage sacrament, they nevertheless subordinated it to celibacy and monasticism. Although they taught that marriage is a duty mandated for all persons by divine natural law, they excused many from this duty through the restrictions of canon law. Both the Roman Catholic theology and the canon law of marriage thus met with sharp criticism on the part of the reformers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rome says: Pay Me Now, Pay Me Later

Here's one of the most interesting debate moments between Dr. James White and Father Peter Stravinskas on the topic of purgatory. The entire debate can be found here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Luther: Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?

Did Martin Luther say, "Why should the Devil have all the good music?" Probably not.

It is certain though that CCM pioneer Larry Norman said it on his 1972 album, Only visiting This Planet. I'm fairly fluent in Norman's music, and I can assert confidently that Mr. Norman appears to have known very little about Martin Luther. Every so often while performing Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music, he would say, "I'm not knocking Martin Luther..." as representing standard Christian hymnnody. He would also poke jest at A Mighty Fortress Is Our God by saying something like, "What's a bulwark? I'm sure they don't fail but batteries aren't included."

I recently came across someone asking whether or not Luther said  "Why should the Devil have all the good music?" and I decided to do my own brief investigation. Ultimately it resulted in my purchase of Richard Friedenthal, Luther His Life and Times (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1967), because it was one of the only Luther biographies that dared to print it as a fact. The author states,
Luther's intentions were strict; he wanted to eliminate the profane songs entirely. How had it happened, he asked, that in the secular field there 'are so many fine poems and so many beautiful songs, while in the religious field we have such rotten, lifeless stuff?' What is undeniable is that he injected his own fire into the genre, wherever the tunes and words may have come from. 'The devil has no need of all the good tunes for himself,' he remarked, and took them away from him. (pp. 463-464)
Brecht cites the first citation as "Why is it that we have so many fine poems and so many beautiful songs of the flesh, but of the spirit we have such worthless cold things?"  documented as WA TR 5, no. 5603 ( a Table Talk utterance).  The statement reads something like, "Why is it that we have so many fine poems and so many beautiful songs of the flesh, but of the spirit we have such worthless cold things? Luther replied, I concieve the reason is given en in the words of St. Paul: 'I see another law which wars in my members' It will not flow so well here, there is not the same congeniality as there." (see also this English translation). The statement about the Devil having all the good music is missing from the context, so wherever Friedenthal got this citation from, it wasn't from TR 5, 5603.

The most complete review of the quote I came across can be found here: Luther and Bar Song: The Truth Please! The author states,
The second error is in believing that the statement “Why should the Devil have all the good music?” (as applied to Luther) has anything to do with pop music, or for that matter has anything to do with Luther. Pop music did not even exist in Luther’s time; it is a phenomenon of the twentieth century. Did secular music exist? Of course it did. There was music of the courts, music of the bards and troubadours, and folk/dance music of the common people. But this music was not mass produced with the intention of making vast amounts of money. The only association that the statement has with Christian pop music is that Larry Norman wrote a song by that very title as part of the “Jesus movement that gave birth to CCM. Norman and others used this song as a means of championing their music within the Christian church and quite successfully managed to build a commercial Christian rock empire.

The third error has to do with the statement’s attribution. The confusion is understandable. Schweitzer wrote, “Believing, as he said, that ‘the devil does not need all the good tunes for himself’ Luther formed his Christmas hymn Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her out of the melody of the riddle-song Ich komm aus fremden Landen her.” While Schweitzer is correct about the melody, there is no evidence that Luther made the statement about tunes and the Devil. In the January 1997 issue of Concordia Theological Journal, James L. Brauer offered a $25 reward to any Luther scholar who could find the quote in Luther’s works. No one met the challenge. Apparently, William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army, said something similar as quoted in Helen Hosier’s biography: “‘Why should the devil have all the best tunes?’William replied when chided for appropriating music of popular tunes for his hymns.” Is it possible that Booth was quoting the Rev. Rowland Hill (1744–1833), the famous London pastor and evangelist, who said, “The Devil should not have all the best tunes”? Hill was concerned over the lamentable quality of music in his church (Surrey Chapel, built for him in 1783), and he wanted do something about it. So Hill wrote hymns and compiled and published five collections of psalms and hymns, three of which were specifically for children and schools. In spite of such readily available documentation, the statement has been misattributed to Luther as well as to both Wesley brothers, Isaac Watts, and even D. L. Moody.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage? (Part One)

A while back I mentioned a Roman polemicist who posted The 500 Years of Protestantism: The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote. There's now a follow-up: 500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage. The basic thrust of this recent offering is that the Reformers denied that marriage is a sacrament and hence took God out of marriage, placing it in the hands of the state government. The contemporary mess of marriage can entirely be laid at the feet of the Reformers.

The author states,  "The Catholic Church has always understood Holy Matrimony to be a Sacrament, ever since it was instituted by Christ (Cf. Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-9; Jn. 2:1-12)." One will notice none of the passages mentioned say anything about marriage being a visible form of an invisible grace, or as Calvin put it, that marriage is a vessel of the Holy Spirit, an instrument for conferring righteousness, a means of obtaining grace (Institutes, IV,19,1).  That marriage has always been a a sacrament in Romanism is simply untrue. It wasn't until the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 that marriage was included as an official sacrament. There wasn't even any sort of particular marriage ritual / ceremony demanded by the church until after 1000 AD (see Greg Dues, Catholic Customs and Traditions (revised edition, 2007) (New London: Twenty-Third Publications, 2007) p. 164].

The author then goes on to claim that "Outside of sacred Scripture, Matrimony as a Sacrament was carefully articulated by Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to Polycarp around the year 110 A.D." But when one actually reads Ignatius in this letter, here's all that is found. Look carefully for anything that disucsses marriage as a sacrament:
Flee evil arts; but all the more discourse in public regarding them. Speak to my sisters, that they love the Lord, and be satisfied with their husbands both in the flesh and spirit. In like manner also, exhort my brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ, that they love their wives, even as the Lord the Church. Ephesians 5:25 If any one can continue in a state of purity, to the honour of Him who is Lord of the flesh, let him so remain without boasting. If he begins to boast, he is undone; and if he reckon himself greater than the bishop, he is ruined. But it becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust. Let all things be done to the honour of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Then a handful of quotes from Augustine are provided in which Augustine mentions the "sacramental bond of marriage" etc. Once again though, a careful scrutiny of the quotes do not reveal anything about marriage infusing grace into a person or acting in a similar way as say baptism or the Lord's Supper.  As Philip Lyndon Reynolds has stated, "It would be misleading to say Augustine himself considered marriage to be one of the sacraments, or even to say that he called marriage a sacrament. Augustine did not put marriage in the same category as eucharist and baptism, although he compared marriage to baptism."

Before any sort of historical evaluation and review of  Luther / Calvin quotes, this sort of charge demonstrates a bit of hypocrisy. As far as I understand marriage in North America (where this particular Roman polemicist lives), Roman Catholics submit to the state regulation of marriage. That is, they have marriage licences, and I'm going to speculate many of them will file joint tax returns in a few weeks with their legal spouses. If defenders of Romanism like this are really so outraged by the Reformers allegedly taking God out of marriage, why are they not protesting by burning their marriage licences? Why do they submit to all the rules and regulations of government regulated marriage? Listen to the alleged first pope in Acts 4:19, how he stood along with John before the Sanhedrin and said, "Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!" And also in Acts 5:29, "We must obey God rather than men." If marriage is a true sacrament instituted by Christ, a serious Roman Catholic is not bound by Paul's instructions in Romans 13, because the very way of salvation that comes through one of the seven sacraments is being regulated by the state.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Follow-up: Lutherans Coined the term "Calvinism"?

Recently I posted Lutherans Coined the term "Calvinism"? which suggested that it may have been the early Lutheran theologian Joachim Westphal that came up with the term. Concurrently with this entry I posted the same information on the CARM Lutheran board, because it was after reading a number of Lutheran vs Calvinist interaction there that made this little factoid jump out at me. I've spent about a month now interacting with the Lutherans over there.

I was reminded that with Internet interactions, there is often no end in sight. One discussion leads to another, various rabbit trails are spawned with each post, and multiple people interacting leads to a tangled web of polemic and confusion. What I found interesting is that not one of the Lutherans interacting with me had any real aversion to this sort of panoply of verbal drudgery and confusion. They appear to warmly embrace it as an opportunity to champion their position. I suggested that I would be open to taking a specific theological topic with one specific Lutheran and having an exchange with word limit restrictions modeled after this exchange I had a few years ago. Not one of them saw any value in this sort of method of dialog.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Peasants Revolt vs. The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre

Over the years I've come across a number of Roman Catholics using Luther's harsh comments towards the peasants as means of discrediting him.  I've covered this a lot of the years, for instance:

Luther and the Peasant's War

Luther and the Peasants Revolt

Luther: I Have Slain all the Peasants

Luther: Peasants are no better than straw

I'm looking forward to the next Roman Catholic I come across doing this, because this is what I'll be responding with.

St. Bartholomew's Day massacre happened in 1572. Though that massacre included "Roman Catholic mob violence," this isn't what I find interesting. Rather, it's the following from Alister McGrath:
Protestantism’s prejudices against Catholicism were reinforced by the bizarre reaction of the papacy to the massacre in France. Gregory XIII’s celebration of the massacre was as jubilant as it was undiplomatic: the bells of Rome rang out to mark a public day of thanksgiving, the guns of the Castel Sant’ Angelo were fired in salute, and a special commemorative medal was struck to honor the occasion. Gregory even commissioned Giorgio Vasari to paint a mural depicting the massacre. Such tactless actions could not fail to produce a reaction of total distaste and disgust, and the 'anti-popery' that subsequently spread throughout Protestant regions of Europe remained a persistent element of Protestant self-definition until very recently. [McGrath, Alister. Christianity's Dangerous Idea (p. 131). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Now, here's a little background on Gregory XIII, compliments of the Catholic Encyclopedia. Most remember him as the pope that strove to reform the Roman church. That included "trying to depose the queen by force of arms." And also:
His youth was not stainless. While still at Bologna, a son, named Giacomo, was born to him of an unmarried woman. Even after entering the clerical state he was worldly-minded and fond of display. But from the time he became pope he followed in the footsteps of his holy predecessor, and was thoroughly imbued with the consciousness of the great responsibility connected with his exalted position.
Interestingly, the Catholic Encyclopedia attempts to defend Gregory over the 1572 massacre, arguing "...he was probably not acquainted with the circumstances of the Parisian horrors." Why sure... that's why he had this painting commissioned (shown above). The author of the link previously cited claims the painting still hangs on wall inside the Vatican (I'm not sure whether that's true or not). Probably the most interesting stretch from the Catholic Encyclopedia is that "But even if Gregory XIII was aware of all the circumstances of the massacre (which has never been proven), it must be borne in mind that he did not rejoice at the bloodshed, but at the suppression of a political and religious rebellion."

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Luther Quote That Wasn't

"If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point."

Here's an interesting overview of this quote:  The Luther Quote That Wasn't. See also: The Apocryphal Martin Luther.

Monday, March 03, 2014

6 Quotes that Luther Didn’t Actually Say

Here's a blog post that warmed my heart:

6 Quotes that Luther Didn’t Actually Say

The six quotes range from never said by Luther to something like this said by Luther to we're not sure if it was ever said by Luther. I appreciate the effort of the blog post, particularly the link given in the entry, What Luther Didn't Say About vocation.  Here are the six quotes:

"If I believed the world were to end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today."

"The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays—not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship."

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

"I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian."

"Justification is the article by which the church stands and falls."

"Here I stand; I can do no other."