Thursday, December 29, 2016

Zwingli: Hercules and Socrates are Redeemed and in Heaven?

What will be the eternal fate of non-Christian people? Rome's Council of Florence declared "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.'” The statement seems straight-forward and direct.  Later though the Catechism of the Catholic Church "clarified" it by stating:
The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life"(843).
The harmony of these statements has been so construed that one defender of Rome, Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers, goes as far as saying even some atheists may even have a positive eternal fate:  "It’s also possible for a person to die in God’s friendship even if the person didn’t consciously know God during life."

I point out this issue within Rome to segue into a similar situation that occurred between some of the early Protestant Reformers. Shortly before his death, Huldrych Zwingli wrote a document entitled, A Short and Clear Exposition of the Christian Faith to the Christian King., 1531. In the chapter entitled "Everlasting Life" Zwingli presents a rebuttal to the notion of soul sleep. In conclusion he stated,
I believe, then, that the souls of the faithful fly to heaven as soon as they leave the body, come into the presence of God, and rejoice forever. Here, most pious King, if you govern the state entrusted to you by God as David, Hezekiah, and Josiah did, you may hope to see first God Himself in His very substance, in His nature and with all His endowments and powers, and to enjoy all these, not sparingly but in full measure, not with the cloying effect that generally accompanies satiety, but with that agreeable completeness which involves no surfeiting, just as the rivers, that flow unceasingly into the sea and flow back through the depths of the earth, bring no loathing to mankind, but rather gain and joy, ever watering, gladdening and fostering new germs of life. The good which we shall enjoy is infinite and the infinite cannot be exhausted; therefore no one can become surfeited with it, for it is ever now and yet the same. Then you may hope to see the whole company and assemblage of all the saints, the wise, the faithful, brave, and good who have lived since the world began. Here you will see the two Adams, the redeemed and the redeemer, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Phineas, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, and the Virgin Mother of God of whom he prophesied, David, Hezekiah, Josiah, the Baptist, Peter, Paul; here too, Hercules, Theseus, Socrates, Aristides, Antigonus, Numa, Camillus, the Catos and Scipios; here Louis the Pious, and your predecessors, the Louis, Philips, Pepins, and all your ancestors who have gone hence in faith. In short there has not been a good man and will not be a holy heart or faithful soul from the beginning of the world to the end thereof that you will not see in heaven with God. And what can be imagined more glad, what more delightful, what, finally, more honorable than such a sight? To what can all our souls more justly bend all their strength than to the attainment of such a life? And may meantime the dreaming Catabaptists deservedly sleep in the regions below a sleep from which they will never wake. Their error comes from the fact that they do not know that with the Hebrews the word for sleeping is used for the word for dying, as is more frequently the case with Paul than there is any need of demonstrating at present.
Did you catch some of those who Zwingli says "fly to heaven as soon as they leave the body, come into the presence of God, and rejoice forever"? "Hercules, Theseus, Socrates, Aristides, Antigonus, Numa, Camillus, the Catos and Scipios..." Zwingli says, "there has not been a good man and will not be a holy heart or faithful soul from the beginning of the world to the end thereof that you will not see in heaven with God."

These words from Zwingli did not go unnoticed. Luther wrote about it towards the end of his life:
[A]fter Zwingli’s death a book came out which he is supposed to have written shortly before his death. It was entitled Exposition of the Christian Faith to the Christian King, etc., and was supposed to be better than all his previous books. That it had to be Zwingli’s was evident from his wild, confused language and from his previously held opinion [about the Lord’s Supper].
I have become very frightened about that book, not on my account but on his account. For, because he was able to write this after our agreement at Marburg, it is certain that in every respect he dealt with us with an insincere heart and tongue at Marburg. Therefore I had to despair (as I still must) of the salvation of his soul, if he died with such a disposition, regardless of the fact that his disciples and successors made him out to be a saint and martyr. O Lord God, this man a saint and martyr!
In this book he not only remains an enemy of the holy sacrament but also becomes a full-blown heathen. This is the marvelous improvement for which I had hoped. You can see what I mean: In somewhat different words he addresses the previously mentioned king thus: “There you will see in the same fellowship all holy, godly, wise, brave, honorable people, the redeemed and the Redeemer, Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Phinehas, Elijah, Elisha, also Isaiah and the Virgin Mother of God of whom he prophesied, David, Hezekiah, Josiah, the Baptist, Peter, and Paul; Hercules, Theseus, Socrates, Aristides, Antigonus, Numa, Camillus, the Catos and Scipios and all your ancestors who have departed in the faith,” etc.
This is written in his book which (as has been said) is supposed to be his most excellent and best book, produced just before his death. Tell me, any one of you who wants to be a Christian, what need is there of baptism, the sacrament, Christ, the gospel, or the prophets and Holy Scripture if such godless heathen, Socrates, Aristides, yes, the cruel Numa, who was the first to instigate every kind of idolatry at Rome by the devil’s revelation, as St. Augustine writes in the City of God, and Scipio the Epicurean, are saved and sanctified along with the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles in heaven, even though they knew nothing about God, Scripture, the gospel, Christ, baptism, the sacrament, or the Christian faith? What can such an author, preacher, and teacher believe about the Christian faith except that it is no better than any other faith and that everyone can be saved by his own faith, even an idolater and an Epicurean like Numa and Scipio? (LW 38:289-291).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Luther did Not Know What an Indulgence Was?

Here's one from an online discussion forum in which a defender of Rome argued: "Luther admitted later in his life that he actually didn't even know what an indulgence was" when the indulgence controversy erupted in 1517.  This assertion was shortly followed by this comment directed towards me: "Maybe our resident Genevan cyber defender can come in and white wash it for you guys." The straightforward argument appears to be that at the time of the indulgence controversy, Luther didn't know what an indulgence proper was: "He started his revolution on an abuse of something he later admitted he knew nothing about" (link). A source document to prove this claim from Luther was also provided (see below).

First this link was given, and then a specific page and paragraph were cited from the same document (from a different source). Both of these links refer to Luther's 1541 treatise,  Wider Hans Worst. The first link appears to be from the first printing (there were four 1541 German printings, LW states the first was by Hans Lufft- see LW 41:183). The second link was to an 1880 printing. From the second link, the paragraph in question is the following:

This same text can be found in WA 51:539. This text has been translated into English: Against Hanswurst (LW 41:179-256). The quote is on pages 231-232. This treatise was written towards the end of Luther's life. In the section under scrutiny, Luther reflects back on the beginning of the indulgence controversy.

It happened, in the year 1517, that a preaching monk called John Tetzel, a great ranter, made his appearance. He had previously been rescued in Innsbruck by Duke Frederick from a sack—for Maximilian had condemned him to be drowned in the Inn (presumably on account of his great virtue)—and Duke Frederick reminded him of it when he began to slander us Wittenbergers; he also freely admitted it himself. This same Tetzel now went around with indulgences, selling grace for money as dearly or as cheaply as he could, to the best of his ability. At that time I was a preacher here in the monastery, and a fledgling doctor fervent and enthusiastic for Holy Scripture.
Now when many people from Wittenberg went to Jütterbock and Zerbst for indulgences, and I (as truly as my Lord Christ redeemed me) did not know what the indulgences were, as in fact no one knew, I began to preach very gently that one could probably do something better and more reliable than acquiring indulgences.(86) I had also preached before in the same way against indulgences at the castle and had thus gained the disfavor of Duke Frederick because he was very fond of his religious foundation. Now I—to point out the true cause of the Lutheran rumpus—let everything take its course.
(86) See, for example, a sermon Luther preached on February 24, 1517. LW 51, 26–-31. See also two Lenten sermons he preached in March, 1518. LW 51, 35-–49.
[LW 41:231-232]
Elsewhere in the same document, Luther says something similar:
So my theses against Tetzel’s articles, which you can now see in print, were published. They went throughout the whole of Germany in a fortnight, for the whole world complained about indulgences, and particularly about Tetzel’s articles. And because all the bishops and doctors were silent and no one wanted to bell the cat (for the masters of heresy, the preaching order, had instilled fear into the whole world with the threat of fire, and Tetzel had bullied a number of priests who had grumbled against his impudent preaching), Luther became famous as a doctor, for at last someone had stood up to fight. I did not want the fame, because (as I have said) I did not myself know what the indulgences were, and the song might prove too high for my voice (LW 41:234; WA 51:541; Halle, 52).
LW 41 translates the sentence: "I (as truly as my Lord Christ redeemed me) did not know what the indulgences were..." Luther does not say: I did not know what an indulgence is. I would be surprised if Luther, a Doctor of Theology in the Roman church did not know what the basic concept of an indulgence was. For example, Pope Boniface in the 14th Century made use of a general indulgence in which certain times a year a general indulgence could be obtained. Another popular example is Pope Sixtus IV (only a short time before Luther) had his particular slant on indulgences applying to the living and the dead. It would be odd if Luther was not familiar with either of these papal approved indulgences. From his written record, Luther was certainly familiar with indulgences previous to the 1517 controversy  Heiko Oberman has stated,
Three years earlier, in the autumn of 1514, Luther had already denounced indulgences in the university lecture hall, terming them proof of the nadir Christendom had reached. There were Christians who thought money and a sigh would get them into heaven: "It is dangerous to believe that we can draw on the treasures of the Church without adding anything ourselves."(34)
(34): WA 3. 416, 27f.; 424, 22f.; gloss Ps. 68; approx. autumn 1514.
In regard to Oberman's documentation, here is WA 3:416. Here is WA 3:424. These pages are found translated into English in LW 10 (Luther's early lectures on the Psalms). Here is the English text corresponding to WA 3:416-
The third is now the prevalence of the lukewarm and the evil [peace and security]. For surfeit now reigns to such an extent that there is much worship of God everywhere, but it is only going through the motions, without love and spirit, and there are very few with any fervor. And all this happens because we think we are something and are doing enough. Consequently we try nothing, and we hold to no strong emotion, and we do much to ease the way to heaven, by means of indulgences, by means of easy doctrines, feeling that one sigh is enough (LW 10:351).
Here is some of the English text corresponding to WA 3:424,
Therefore woe to us, who are so snatched away by present things and foolishly do not see the devil’s trap! We act like the foolish heir who knew only how to squander the magnificent estate left by his parents and did nothing to build it up but always carried away from the pile. So the popes and priests pour out the graces and indulgences amassed by the blood of Christ and the martyrs and left to us, and they do not think there is any need to build up this treasure, nor to acquire the remission of sins and the kingdom of heaven in any other way than by their merits. Yet no one can share in the public good unless he, too, makes his contribution. To take from the church’s treasure and not also to put something back is impossible and deceitful presumption. [“He who does not work, should not eat either” (2 Thess. 3:10). He who is not a partaker of sufferings will not be a partaker of consolations either (2 Cor. 1:7)]. But they think they have this treasure ready in the safe so that they can use it whenever they want to. In their smugness they therefore surrender themselves to all the things that are in the world. Since the treasure obviously abides, while the world passes away, and since they want both, they first go after the world before it perishes, believing that heaven will be left over for them in abundance later. I say, this is what they think, that is, they act thus, that in fact they seem to believe it and to say what we read in Wisd. of Sol. 2:8, 5: “Let us crown ourselves with roses, before they are withered; for our time is the passing of a shadow.” But I am afraid that what has happened to prodigal heirs will also happen to us, namely, that, after all our goods have been dissipated and squandered, we become beggars and must endure every need in disgrace. Not that the church’s treasure can be used up, but I say that it can be used up as far as we are concerned. The treasure is unlimited in itself, but not for us, since a minority shares in it. Such a wastefulness of merits is present also in the religious, who scatter their brotherhoods and indulgences in every corner, just so they might have food and clothing. If they have these, they have no concern about such things. It is dreadful madness and wretched blindness that now we do not preach the Gospel unless we have to, not because we want to. And the number of such people is extremely large! O beggars, beggars, beggars! But perhaps the excuse is offered that you receive alms for God’s sake and that you reciprocate with the Word of God and all things without charge. So be it: You will see! (LW 10:361-362)
A much more practical way to read the sentence from Against Hanswurst  is that Luther was not aware of what the details were of the particular indulgences that were being hawked in Jütterbock and Zerbst. A similar conclusion is put forth by Michael A. Mullett in his biography of Luther,
The ambiguous form of words, 'I did not know what the indulgences were...' cannot, of course, mean, 'I did not know what indulgences were', and must therefore mean that Luther was in ignorance about this particular indulgence, itself a slightly implausible claim, given the extraordinary publicity surrounding and running ahead of Friar Tetzel. 
Mullet goes on to say that Luther's claim to not knowing the particular nature of Tetzel's indulgences is "implausible" on account of Tetzel's "extraordinary publicity." At least this author makes a rational historical criticism rather than the myopic contextless literalism employed by the discussion forum Roman Catholic.

I did participate in  this discussion. From the time I stepped foot into it, it began to spiral out of bounds of the forum rules, provoking heavy deletions from the moderators, and in one case, a suspension of one of the Roman Catholic participants. There is a sense in which the recounting here of an interaction that occurred elsewhere is unfair.  If one wants to follow what remains of this discussion, the posts (that still remain, some edited by the moderators) from all interested parties occur in this order:

178; 181; 182; 185; 186; 188; 190; 191; 192; 193; 194; 195; 196; 197; 198; 199; 200; 201; 203; 204; 205; 208; 209; 212; 213; 214; 215; 216; 217; 218; 219; 220; 221; 222; 223; 224; 225; 228; 231; 233; 242; 260; 261.

The ultimate argument this defender of Rome appears to be making is that Luther's use of indulgences in the 95 Theses was "merely a convenient excuse to start his own revolt." His Luther is not an honest monk confronting the rampant abuses involved with indulgences. Rather, his Luther was already a deviant predisposed to revolt and simply needed a means to revolt. It does not necessarily follow that the indulgences mentioned in the 95 Theses were simply a means to revolt because Luther knew nothing or something about indulgences. He states, "Indulgences and their abuse were simply a convenient catalyst to begin his revolt. One need merely look at his what is glaringly absent in his Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum, as many of what would become the core tenets of his own religious system were not yet crystallized." This use of "Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum" also does not necessarily follow. Simply because something might be "glaringly absent" does not necessarily mean Luther was plotting to be a revolutionary and simply used indulgences as a means to revolt. I point this out to demonstrate on a presuppositional level, this defender of Rome's Luther appears to be his own concoction. He begins with a deviant man predisposed to revolt and then sifts Luther's writings to fill in what's needed.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Luther Privately Admitted He Was Wrong About the Lord's Supper?

On a discussion board I frequent someone mentioned "a myth which survived for centuries that Luther privately admitted he was wrong about the Supper but didn't want to admit it publicly because people might doubt his other doctrines," and further that "Schaff, a Reformed historian and polemicist, found it necessary or desirable to mention the myth and refute it in the nineteenth century."

These comments coincided with my recent entry, Luther Acknowledged His Errors on the Real Presence in the Lord's Supper? so I was intrigued enough to track down what  Philip Schaff stated. The comments in question appear in either Vol. 6 or 7 of Schaff's History of the Christian Church, "Modern Christianity: The German Reformation" depending on what edition is utilized. Google Books Second Revised Edition of 1916 has the comment at 6:659. After documenting Luther's last attacks on the Sacramentarians and his lifelong adherence to the Real Presence in the Lord's Supper, Schaff states:
In view of these last utterances we must, reluctantly, refuse credit to the story that Luther before his death remarked to Melanchthon: “Dear Philip, I confess that the matter of the Lord’s Supper has been overdone;"(1) and that, on being asked to correct the evil, and to restore peace to the church, he replied: “I often thought of it; but then people might lose confidence in my whole doctrine. I leave the matter in the hands of the Lord. Do what you can after my death." (2)
(1) “Der Sache vom Abendmahl ist viel zu viel gethan."
(2) Hardenberg, a Reformed minister at Bremen (d. 1574), reported such a conversation as coming from the lips of his friend Melanchthon; but Melanchthon nowhere alludes to it. Stahelin (John Calvin, I. 228 sq.) accepts, Kostlin (M.L., II. 627) rejects the report, as resting on some misunderstanding. So also C. Bertheau in the article “Hardenberg” in Herzog’, V. 596 sq. Comp. Diestelmann, Die letzte Unterredung Luthers mit Melanchthon uber den Abendmahlsstreit, Gottingen, 1874; Kostlin’s review of Diestelmann, in the “Studien und Kritiken," 1876, p. 385 sqq.; and Walte in the “Jahrb. fur prot. Theol.," 1883. It is a pity that the story cannot be sufficiently authenticated, for it certainly expresses what ought to have been Luther’s last confession on the subject.
Upon a little further digging I came across more details from The Lutheran Church Review:
Already during Luther's lifetime the rumor was circulated that he had after all abandoned his former view in regard to the Lord's Supper. This caused him to publish one more declaration on the subject in 1544. Besides it was no secret to him that his great associate Melanchthon, “with a dangerous yearning for peace which must have been hollow and transient” (Krauth), had left the position which he had so clearly expressed in the Augsburg Confession of 1530. Moreover, Luther to his greatest indignation heard that one of his former students and housemates, Dévay, had smuggled the Reformed doctrine under his (Luther's) name into Hungary. These and similar provocations caused him to write this last declaration on the subject in the sharpest possible manner. In this “Short Confession” he does not argue; he simply reaffirms in the strongest possible terms his faith in the real presence; he also expresses his total and final separation from the Sacramentarians and their doctrine. “Standing on the brink of the grave and in view of the judgment-seat, he solemnly condemns all enemies of the sacrament wherever they are.” (Schaff). Still before a quarter of a century had passed the rumor again spread that Luther shortly before his death regretted the position he had taken against the Swiss. Hardenberg, a Reformed minister at Bremen, declared under oath that he had heard from the lips of Melanchthon that Luther had requested Melanchthon to come to him, and had then said: “Dear Philip, I confess that the matter of the Lord's Supper has been overdone.”—DerSache vom Abendmahl ist viel zu wicl gethan. And that on being asked to correct the evil he replied: “I often thought of it; but then people might lose confidence in my whole doctrine. I leave the matter in the hands of the Lord. Do what you can after my death.” Melanchthon never quotes such words in his writings or letters. Are they historical or not? Schaff very reluctantly rejects the correctness of the report, but adds in a foot-note: “It is a pity that this story cannot be sufficiently authenticated, for it certainly expresses what ought to have been Luther's last confession on the subject.” Several books and many articles were written on this question. The latest investigation is by Prof. Hausleiter, of Greifswald, in the Neue Kirchliche Zeitschrift, Vol. 1899. He proves (as we think beyond doubt) by unearthing new and so far unknown material that the words, at least in substance, came from Luther and Melanchthon, but referred to an entirely different subject. He proves that already during Luther's life-time the publication of Luther's collected writings was commenced (the Wittenberg Edition) though the printing of the first volume was not completed until two years after his death. In this first volume also the writings concerning the Sacrament were to be contained. Bucer, who now sided with Luther, desired that the scorching words of Luther referring to him and his miserable tactics (described in Article I.) should be omitted. He did not venture to ask this of Luther himself. but urged his request through the Elector and Melanchthon. Luther at first refused point blank, but a few days before leaving Wittenberg for Eisleben, where he died, consented to permit the change. The words quoted by Hardenberg referred to this omission. For this reason the words were omitted in the first Wittenberg edition. We have clear and very positive declarations of Luther made shortly before his death showing that he was far from abandoning or modifying his conviction in regard to the Lord's Supper. He remained steadfast in his confession unto the end.
That there have been historians that think Luther changed his view can be seen by the following example from Paul Emil Henry's  The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer, Volume 2 (1849):
The testimony of Dr. Alesius Scotus, a professor at Leipzig, and the friend of Luther and Melancthon, is well known, and has been often printed. In his answer to Ruard Tapper's defence of the Louvain articles, he says, "They do as if they were ignorant of what Luther said to Philip, ere he set out for his native province, where he died. Philip related it to many, and in various ways, that Luther, unasked, said, 'I own that too much has been done respecting the sacrament:' and when Philip answered, 'Let us then, my good doctor, for the sake of the churches, publish some pacific treatise, in which we may clearly unfold our views'—Luther replied, 'My Philip, I have thought anxiously on this matter; but as I might throw suspicion upon the whole doctrine, I will only commend it to the good care of God. Do you do something after my death.' These words were written down from Melancthon's own mouth." It was the wish of the latter to mention the subject in his testament, but he died too soon. The witness of Dr. Alesius, who had the account from Melancthon himself, is therefore valuable. It seems certain, that as Zwingli had a deeper insight into the sacrament in the latter years of his life, Luther also, a year before his death, was of one faith and of one mind with Calvin. He regarded him as a brother, and viewed his doctrine as fitted to restore union to the distracted church. And as Luther inclined to Calvin, so did Calvin to Luther. He twice declared his assent to the Augsburg Confession, and stated that, in his opinion, the formulary of the Zurich Union contained whatever was found in the Confession.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Luther Acknowledged His Errors on the Real Presence in the Lord's Supper?

Here are two quotes attributed to Luther about Christ's not being present in the Sacraments.

The first is more indirect. Luther purportedly said in the Lord's Supper the body and blood of Christ are received by faith (in other words, not literally):

 Of the Cause of the Sacrament.
THE operative cause of this sacrament, is the Word and institution of Christ, who ordained it. The substance is bread and wine; they prefigure the true body and blood of Christ, which is spiritually received by faith; the final cause of instituting the same, is the benefit and the fruit, the strengthening of our faith, not doubting that Christ's body and blood was given and shed for us, and that our sins by Christ's death certainly are forgiven. Now these graces and benefits we have obtained, in that he is our Saviour, our Redeemer and Deliverer; For though in Adam we are altogether sinners and guilty of everlasting death, and condemned; but now, by the blood of Christ, we are justified, redeemed, and sanctified; therefore let us take hold of this by faith.
Along with this, the second quote (from the same source) Luther is recorded as saying the pope forces people to believe in the real presence:
Of the Pope's Proceeding touching the Sacrament.
THE Pope denieth not the sacrament, but he hath stolen from the laity the one part or kind thereof; neither doth he teach the true use of the sacrament. The Pope rejecteth not the Bible, but he persecuteth and killeth upright, good, and godly teachers. Like as the Jews persecuted and slew the Prophets that truly expounded and taught the Scriptures. The Pope Well permitteth the substance and essence of the sacrament and Bible to remain: but yet he will compel and force us to use the same according to his will and pleasure, and will constrain us to believe the falsely feigned and invented Transubstantiation and the real presence. The Pope doth nothing else, but perverteth and abuseth all that God hath commanded and ordained.
Besides my Lutheran readers howling "no way!", what's going on here? Did Luther contradict his well-established view of the real presence of Christ in the sacrament? We'll see below these quotes may have been the result of one man's efforts in the seventeenth century to get a book of Luther's published in England. He appears to have added a few words to the text in order to appease the powers that be. The following is a representation of the research of Gordon Rupp from his book, The Righteousness of God (New York: The Philosophical Library, Inc., 1953), p. 76.

Both of these quotes come from the Table Talk. Luther didn't write the Table Talk. It is a collection of second-hand comments written down by Luther's friends and students, published after his death. For these two quotes in the form they are in presented above, they come from the earliest English edition of Luther's Table Talk translated by Captain Henry Bell in 1652: Dris Martini Lutheri Colloquia Mensalia: Or, Dr Martin Luther's Divine Discourses at His Table, etc. The account of how Bell came across Luther's German Table Talk and had it translated into English can be found here.  It is a fantastical story, almost sounding made-up. Preserved Smith's critical study of Luther's Table Talk refers to Bell's account as "such a tissue of mistakes and improbabilities that it is hardly worth serious criticism," and also, "The whole thing has the air of being invented to heighten the interest of the translation." On the contrary though, Gordon Rupp sifted through the details of Bell's story and deems it a plausible account (See Rupp. pp. 56-77).

The Luther quotes occur on page 263 of Bell's translation:

Captain Bell translated these quotes from Aurifaber's edition of the Table Talk, but, as Rupp point out, "Bell's edition corresponds to known edition of Aurifaber" (Rupp, 75). Rupp compares what Bell translated against Aurifaber's 1566 edition (published in Eisleben). The quotes above can be found in German on page 232 of the 1566 Eisleben edition:

A later version of this German  text can be found here (p. 305 for the first quote, p. 306 for the second) The first quote can also be found in WA TR 3:281, including a Latin version, 3354b (p. 280-281). The Latin version is attributed to being recorded by Conrad Cordatus. The second quote can be found in WA TR 3:203.

 Of these texts, note Rupp's analysis on page 76. He mentions that the quote had English words inserted in that are not to be found in the German text of  Aurifaber:
But the most interesting section is the drastic abridgment by Bell of the long section in the original on "Vom Sacrament des Waren Leibs und Blutes Christi," now translated as "Of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper." It will have been noted that the Parliamentary committee which examined Bell's book specially noted that in it Luther had acknowledged "his error which he formerly held touching the real presence corporaliter in coena domini." 
Luther, of course, never did anything of the kind, and as far as I know there is no German edition of the Table Talk in which he makes any such dramatic retraction. It is obvious that this was the price paid by Bell to get his book authorized and published. The two alterations will be found in Bell's edition of Luther's "Divine Discourses" (1652), p.263: 
"Of the cause of the Sacrament of the Altar. 'The operative cause... of this Sacrament is the Word and Institution of Christ who ordained and erected it. The substance is bread and wine, the form is the true body and blood of Christ which is spiritually received by faith."(1)
That could conceivably hold the Lutheran interpretation. The next is more explicit: 
"The Pope well permitteth the substance and essence of The Sacrament and Bible to remain: but yet he will compel and force us to use the same according as his will and pleasure is to describe it, and will constrain us to believe the falsely feigned and invented transubstantiation, and the real presence corporaliter." (2) 
1.TR. (1566) Dieses Sacraments, sprach Dr. Martinus Luther, Ursach ist Das Wort und Einsetzung Christi der es gestifftet und aufgerichtet hat. Die Materia ist Brot und Wein, die Form ist der Ware Leib und Blut Christi, die endliche ursach warurmb es eingesetzt ist der Nutz und Frucht das wir unsern Glauben starcken. 232. 
2. TR. (1566). Was die Substanz und das Wesen belanget, so lasst der Bapst die Sacramente und Bibel bleiben, allein will er uns zwingen das wir derselben Brauch sollen wie er will und zuschreibet. 232.
The sentence about transubstantiation and the real presence has no place in the original. 
Lest anyone get lost in the details, Rupp is pointing out that in the first quote, the phrase "which is spiritually received by faith" has been inserted into the English text. In the second quote, "and will constrain us to believe the falsely feigned and invented transubstantiation, and the real presence corporaliter" has been inserted into the text. These same insertions were picked up in later English editions of the Table Talk:

Martin Luther's Colloquia Mensalia Vol. 1 (1840), p. 382-383.

The Table Talk or Familiar Discourses... (Hazlitt) (1848), p. 168, 203.

That there was an attempt by Bell to appease the powers that be has corroborating evidence in the prefatory material to Bell's translation. Note these words from the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons in Bell's edition (also mentioned by Preserved Smith):

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dr. White's correct rebuke of Dr. Robert Morey (with update - part 2)

Dr. White's correct rebuke of Dr. Robert Morey on the first 26 minutes of the Dividing Line on December 13, 2016. Also, I included Dr. White's Facebook response. This was very needed as clear communication and needed rebuke of Dr. Morey. He lost his credibility a long time ago. I hope many Muslims will see the proper Christian attitude come through here; and that other Christians will learn to pray for Muslims and learn to witness and reach out to Muslims and stop being afraid of them. _______________________ Update: Part 2 of Dr. White's rebuke of Robert Morey.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Luther: The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves

The following is from the web page Luther, Exposing the Myth, under the heading "The Jews":

"The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves" (Weimar, Vol. 53, Pg. 502.)

Luther Exposing the Myth says their stated purpose is to show that "from Luther’s own words we shall see him for what he really was, that is a rebellious apostate, who abandoned the faith and led many into apostasy from God under the guise of “reformation” in order to follow his perverse inclinations." With these quotes, they attempt to show while Christ taught "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," Luther held the opposite in regard to the Jews.

Luther Exposing the Myth cites "Weimar, Vol. 53, Pg. 502." It is probable that the quote actually was taken from  Peter F. Wiener's Martin Luther, Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor (1945). Wiener states,
It will be found, at close inspection, that Luther's laws are much more strict, or at least as severe, as those of Hitler. Very often he repeated his order, “The Jews have to be expelled from our country.” Or he gave the Christian advice. “The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves” (W53, 502).
The reference, "W53, 502" is accurate. It's from Luther's treatise, Von den Juden und ihren Lügen (On The Jews and Their Lies, 1543). Here is WA 53:502. The text being referred to is lines 8-10 ("Denn ein Wucherer ist ein Ertzdieb und Landreuber, der billich am Galgen sieben mal höher denn andere Diebe hengen solt") from this paragraph:

Von den Juden und ihren Lügen was a response to a letter from Count Schlick of Moravia. The Count had sent Luther a Jewish apologetic pamphlet allegedly containing a Jewish attack against Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Christian exegesis of the Old Testament. The Count asked Luther to refute it. Unfortunately, this letter and attack have been lost, so we are unaware of the exact tone of argument Luther was responding to. Whatever was in that Jewish writing, Luther erupted in vicious polemic, attacking not only through theology, but also in antagonistic ad hominem as well. Luther moved from his earlier writings of attacking Jewish theology to attacking Jewish people.

This treatise has been translated into English in LW 47. The quote can be found at LW 47:241-242. This treatise was translated "only to make available the necessary documents for scholarly study of this aspect of Luther's thought" and its translation "is in no way intended as an endorsement of the distorted view of the Jewish faith and practice or the defamation of the Jewish people which this treatise contains" (LW 47:123).

If they were not so stone-blind, their own vile external life would indeed convince them of the true nature of their penitence. For it abounds with witchcraft, conjuring signs, figures, and the tetragrammaton of the name, that is, with idolatry, envy, and conceit. Moreover, they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch-thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security. For a usurer is an arch-thief and a robber who should rightly be hanged on the gallows seven times higher than other thieves. Indeed, God should prophesy about such beautiful penitence and merit from heaven through his holy angel and become a flagrant, blasphemous liar for the sake of the noble blood and circumcised saints who boast of being hallowed by God’s commandments, although they trample all of them under foot and do not keep one of them [LW 47:241-242].
The context shows Luther was totally convinced of the medieval stereotype of the Jews as thieves, in this context, because of the practice of usury. The editors of Luther’s Works explain,
The practice of usury, in the simple sense of the taking of interest on loans (without any connotation of exorbitant rates), is prohibited in such texts as Exod. 22:25, Lev. 25:35 ff., and Deut. 23:19 f., but only with respect to fellow Israelites. The Deuteronomy text is the most explicit with regard to dealings with others: “To a foreigner you may lend upon interest, but to your brother you shall not lend upon interest” (23:20). The practice of usury was strictly forbidden to Christians by the medieval church, but permitted to Jews. They prohibition began to break down during the Reformation period; Luther himself, however, steadfastly maintained the medieval position [LW 47: 169 (footnote 31)].
Even if Luther was right that the Jews practiced some sort of usury, the situation during the sixteenth century was not as simple as Luther makes it out. Eric Gritsch explains,
In a sermon of 1519, Luther joined the discussion on the use and abuse of money-lending, linked to the practice of "usury." Jews were accused of usury. But the charge was linked to an arrangement between Christian princes and Jewish merchants: the Christian political authorities permitted Jews to charge interest rates, but also made the Jews pay considerable sums for protection. It was a form of pawn-broking or of retail trade. Jewish traders offered discount prices, and Christian artisans complained about being cheated, using popular anti-Semitic rhetoric. Roman Catholic Canon Law prohibited usury, referring to Luke 6:35 ("lend, expecting nothing in return") [Eric Gritsch, Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism, Against His Better Judgment (Grand Rapids: Eermans, 2012), p. 57].
In Luther studies there have been a number of researchers who conclude Luther's later anti-Jewish tracts were written from a position different than current anti-semitism. Luther was born into a society that was anti-Judaic, but it was not the current anti-Judaic type of society that bases it racism on biological factors. Luther had no objections to integrating converted Jews into Christian society. He had nothing against Jews as “Jews.” He had something against their religion because he believed it denied and blasphemed Christ. If one frames the issues with these two categories (anti-semitism, anti-Judaic), Luther was not Anti-semitic. The contemporary use of the word "anti-semitism" though does not typically consider its distinction from anti-Judaism. The word now has a more broad meaning including anti-Judaism. The current debate centers around whether the evolved use of the term is a significant step towards describing previous history or if it's setting up an anachronistic standard for evaluating previous history [see my entry here in regard to Eric Gritsch]. As I've looked at this issue from time to time, I'm beginning to think more along the lines of evaluating Luther with the current understanding of the word anti-semitism.

I don't have anything to gain by an exoneration of Luther's obvious societal stereotype against the Jews. Luther was not infallible. He said a number of things ranging on the scale of brilliant to typical to ridiculous to offensive. From my perspective, Luther's theology neither stands nor falls because of statements on the negative side of the scale. It's my opinion that Luther's attitude toward the Jews is part of Church history, and, to point a finger at Luther one needs to consistently point the fingers beyond Luther as well. This would be the consistent thing to do. There are though a number of Rome's cyber-defenders that think the Third Reich began with Luther and think posting Luther's dreadful comments from The Jews and Their Lies is a meaningful argument against Protestantism. Consider what Luther, Exposing the Myth states:
While I leave to the reader to draw his own conclusions, it suffices to say that what Luther really was; and the picture that is presented of him today by modern scholars, Lutherans and Protestants alike is far from the truth. Given this fact, it’s not difficult to see how a nation like Germany was able to blindly follow a person like Hitler if it had previously so readily embrace a person like Luther. Adolf Hitler himself was indeed no doubt a true (spiritual) son of Luther and in many ways was only being logical to the principles set forth by Luther in his approach to things. Hitler himself declared the reality of this point in one of his speeches saying: “I do insist on the certainty that sooner or later – once we hold power – Christianity will be overcome and the German Church established. Yes, the German church, without a Pope and without the bible, and Luther, if he could be with us, would give us his blessing.”
Despite the slander against the nation of Germany (as if there is something intrinsically wrong with them), it's simply illogical to think Luther invented Jewish oppression and that the church collectively didn't play it's part in creating the anti-Judaic culture Luther lived in. If Luther's spiritual son was Hitler, whose spiritual son is Luther? Nope, many of Rome's cyber-defenders won't touch that one. The story of Luther's negativity towards the Jews is really to tell the story of medieval Christianity and medieval society's negativity towards the Jews.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Excellent analysis of Irenaeus and Roman Catholic claims

Timothy Kauffman has a series entitled "The Visible Apostolicity of the Invisibly Shepherded Church"   ( a series of 8 articles)

I have read Part 5 which deals with Irenaeus and the Roman Catholic claims of Papal authority.

It is very good. I learned a lot of new valuable information about Irenaeus and church history.

I also read Part 1, which is very good also.  Tim has done a lot of work and provided a lot of great information at his web-site/blog.  I wish I had time to fully digest more of it.

I encourage everyone to check out his material on this 8 part series and the one below.

See the links to each of the 8 articles at Apologetics and Agape.

This is also very good in dealing with Mary and the lack of any evidence in the early Patristic sources on Mary's sinlessness or Immaculate conception.