Monday, September 28, 2015

Trashing Luther? Ex-Lutheran Instructs "Hyper-Catholics" to Settle Down

This warmed my heart: a "former Lutheran pastor, transitioning to the Roman Catholic Church" has written a blog article entitled, Trashing Luther. The first paragraph states,

Theological hobbyists of a hyper-Catholic sort continue to misconstrue Luther’s “errors.” Oh, I hardly think he was error-free, but (having recently been one) I know Lutherans who pretty much think he was essentially infallible. But I also know Catholics (me having recently become one) who are of the opinion he was devilish at best and, at his worst, out to destroy the Church.

This sort of sentiment won't go over well with Rome's typical on-line self-proclaimed defenders, because most of them are "theological hobbyists of a hyper-Catholic sort." For instance, I found this blog post over on the Catholic Answers forums. In a comment from the thread in which it was posted comes the following:

I have been pretty good at reading about Luther honestly he was extemely anti-Semitic, had a bad anger problem, was self rightous, I have actually wondered if he was mentally ill. He carved scripture into his kitchen table in anger in front of his wife and kids. He also was obsessed with going to the bathroom. I think he was a mad man who was a pawn of northern German Lords, Kings, and Barrons.

That's your typical hyper-Catholic theological hobbyist quote. This person is "pretty good at reading about Luther honestly" and from this lofty tower of kindness and fairness concludes Luther was a mad-man.

You can read about this transitioning Lutheran pastor here and here. This is the sort of ex-Lutheran who thinks:

After a couple decades or more of formal dialogue discussing the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ, Lutherans and Catholics officially declared the issue was no longer church dividing.


Catholics admitted that whatever was condemned in the doctrine "faith alone" was not itself the doctrine Lutherans argued. What Trent condemned is condemned, only nobody then actually espoused it. And what Lutherans challenged on works vs. grace, well, it too wasn't what Catholics in fact were saying. This wasn't a clever dodge papering differences. Through years of dialogue on this and other subjects, back to 1965, they came to understand maybe they didn't hear each other so well the first time.

Note the phrase above, "Lutherans and Catholics." Which Lutherans? All Lutherans? The author doesn't say. Indeed, there are other Lutherans that don't think Rome and Lutherans have come to any sort of agreement on justification and they've put together documents like this to explain why.


Carl Vehse said...

"Which Lutherans? All Lutherans? The author doesn't say. Indeed, there are other Lutherans that don't think Rome and Lutherans have come to any sort of agreement on justification and they've put together documents like this to explain why."

Regardless of whether one is a Lutheran or not, it is helpful to know what a Lutheran is. A succinct answer is given in the Book of Concord webpage:

"So what is it to be a Lutheran?

"Being a Lutheran is being a person who believes the truths of God's Word, the Holy Bible, as they are correctly explained and taught in the Book of Concord. To do so is to confess the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Genuine Lutherans, confessional Lutherans, dare to insist that 'All doctrines should conform to the standards [the Lutheran Confessions] set forth above. Whatever is contrary to them should be rejected and condemned as opposed to the unanimous declaration of our faith' (FC Ep. RN, 6)."

Here, "FC Ep. RN, 6" refers to one of the Symbols in the Book of Concord — The Formula of Concord, Epitome, Rule and Norm, Paragraph 6.

Lutherans, sometimes redundantly referred to as "genuine Lutherans" or "confessional Lutherans" should be distinguished from those who could be called "Lufauxrans," who hold only a partial or ambiguous subscription to the Book of Concord, yet profess themselves as "Lutheran."

steve said...

I like the notion that Luther was "devilish at best." Most Christians would consider that a worst-case scenario. But evidently, there are worse things, much worse things, than being devilish.

Don Stein said...

Goodness, James. They don't even pretend to vet their sources anymore. Check out my response to the latest Luther-bashing crusade.

James Swan said...

Where is your latest response?

Don Stein said...

You found it. Sorry if you had multiple alerts from me. I had trouble posting this morning.