Saturday, September 30, 2006

Martin Luther the "Super-Pope" and "de facto" Infallibility (vs. "BJ Bear")

Extensive Documentation From Luther's Own Words and a Discussion of Protestant Charges Concerning Alleged Widespread Dishonesty of Catholic Apologists in Dealing With Luther

"BJ Bear" is the nickname for a Protestant [Lutheran] participant on the CARM Catholic Discussion Board.


For background to this controversy, readers may wish to consult my corresponding paper, Martin Luther the "Super-Pope," de facto Infallibility, and Protestant Tradition: A Philosophical and Analogical "Turning the Tables" Argument in Reply to Certain Protestant Rhetoric Against the Papacy.

 
Dave Armstrong vs. "BJ Bear" (words in blue)
Inasmuch as I know for certain that I am right, I will be judge above you and above all the angels, as St. Paul says, that whoever does not accept my doctrine cannot be saved. For it is the doctrine of God, and not my doctrine; therefore my judgment also is God's and not mine . . . It would be better that all bishops were murdered, all abbeys and cloisters razed to the ground, than that one soul should perish . . . If they will not listen to God's Word . . . what can more justly befall them than a violent upheaval which shall root them out of the earth? And we would smile did it happen. All who contribute body, goods . . . that the rule of the bishops may be destroyed are God's dear children and true Christians.

(Martin Luther, Against the Falsely So-Called Spiritual Estate of the Pope and Bishops, July 1522; emphasis mine)
We hear much incessant moaning and groaning amongst Protestant apologists about the excessive, intolerably autocratic authority of the papacy, yet papal proclamations are not even in the same universe as this one, above, from the Founder of Protestantism. Protestants ignore or minimize and dismiss the de facto infallibility of the so-called "reformers." A guy like Martin Luther didn't need trifles as insignificant as the decree of an ecumenical council to justify his pompous pretensions. He simply assumed his self-anointing and proceeded on, undaunted by precedent at all, if it went against his "judgment," which, of course, also was "God's" and not his own.
 
Luther's "certain" claims are in fact (however he or his followers may characterize it) far more "infallibilist" than any Catholic claims, and less based on precedent, and without any rational basis for belief a priori, etc.

Propaganda isn't as effective when specific references are given.
See Luther's Works, Vol. 39 page 247.
 
The severe editing of the text in the original post and the following
commentary betrays an incredible lack of understanding and/or deliberate
bias.

The immediate context is plain enough but here is an excerpt from another
letter that will give other readers on this board a broader context of
Luther's thoughts in this regard.
This time I cannot deal at length with whether it is true that the papal
can neither be sentenced nor judged by anyone, as he raves in his
decretals; but I intend to do it later, if I live and God wills. To put it briefly,
you have heard above, in Part I, what a devil's spirit, blasphemer, instigator
of all kinds of idolatry, man of sin, and child of perdition the pope is. That is
why the answer here to this point is briefly: of course no one on earth
has the right to judge or condemn the pope, except only everyone
who is baptized, or still in possession of human reason, and all God's
creatures. For when a person is baptized, he, or his godparents in his
stead, must first swear that he renounces the devil and all his works
and all his nature. ...(Omitted polemical stuff so that Roman Catholic
readers will see the point rather than red.) ... And I Corinthians 6
[:23], "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if
the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial
cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels" etc. Ephesians
2 [:6], "God has raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in
the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." I hope that in the heavenly life
one can judge devil, pope, world, sin, death, and hell.
(Later identified - at first Bj Bear didn't provide the title or date - Luther's Works, Vol.
41, page 359:Against the Roman Papacy, An Institution Of the Devil, 1545)
It is highly curious and interesting, as well as ironic, that, after griping and
waxing condescending about my quote, you include one without the name of
the work it is from, or year,
 
Perhaps you wrote this response prior to reading my reply to you below?

Context. My reply was to TQ ["Tertium Quid"]. It was formatted in the same way as his
question. He wrote, "I wouldn't mind a reference on this to see the quote
and context. It is not in the LW English editions, and I don't speak
German." I gave the specific LW [Luther's Works] reference to TQ.
TQ's reply implied that he had access to LW so I gave a second LW
reference by volume and page number that demonstrated consistent thought
with the work that you, um, "quoted".
 
and with the omission of the polemical nonsense that is ubiquitous in Luther,
and which was largely my point (thus, quite relevant to the discussion).
 
I omitted part of the text for the benefit of some of the Roman Catholic
readers on this board. Are you asking me to post the quote with the prior
omission included?
 
Therefore, you are arguably guilty of the very thing in worse measure, that
you accused me of.
 
See above.
 
And English editions of Luther's works (such as, e.g., his commentaries on Romans
and Galatians), are often conveniently abridged, to cut out the "offensive,
objectionable (or heretical) Luther."
 
Are you referring to the versions published by the Reformed?
 
Do you think that is fair?
 
No one worships Luther. What is the purpose of the publication? Is it to
convey Luther's commentary on Romans and Galatians? Does the publication
fulfill its goal?
 
Is that so Protestant readers won't "see red" or realize that they are dealing with a spiritually prideful megalomaniac who thinks he knows everything, no matter who disagrees, or for how long in Church history?
 
Why not send the publisher a letter and ask them for their editing criteria?
 
"Specific references"? Where are yours, pray tell?
 
See above.
 
At least I gave the name of the piece and the year.
 
Against the Roman Papacy An Institution Of the Devil, 1545.
 
Someone else asked a question about whether someone should be assumed to know German if they quote the German language Weimar Edition of Luther's Works. I responded:

When a scholar cites a German language reference, yes, I assume they can
read German, or else they wouldn't be quoting that edition. I don't see the
point myself of citing the German editions, since they are unavailable to most
or unable to be read (and I write for laypeople as it is, not scholars). The
only reason I cite it is if the scholar I am citing did so (i.e., if his citation is
his own translation of the German, etc.), or for fuller documentation for
those who are skeptical of every citation.
 
Also, a work like the biography of Luther by Hartmann Grisar or other German
Luther scholars is a translation in the first place, and the original was citing
German works of Luther.
 
It's a confusing mess. If I could afford it, I'd love to get Luther's complete
works. As it is, I am a poor apologist and author, and have to make do with
whatever used books I can muster up. Maybe Project Wittenberg will make
the thing available in due course, like the Fathers are available.
 
Hello Dave Armstrong,
 
Helloooooooo Bj Bear.
 
Using your style of citation and interpretation an atheist can easily prove that the Bible teaches there never was a god. Using your method it would go like this, "In the beginning ... There is no god ... You are gods."
 
Sure, an atheist could do that if he wished (and an unscrupulous atheist at that, or anyone else who cared little about the Bible or accurate theology). People can do a lot of things. That doesn't mean that you or I do them.
 
Is it considered good scholarship in your circles to string small quotes with elipsis that are five pages apart (247 and 252) and then without elipsis make it appear that another quote from a document published a year later (1523) is part of the text?
 
The word is "ellipsis" (two L's); the plural (as you should have used above) is "ellipses." The key here is whether the person citing is trying to distort context and meaning or not, as opposed to how far apart the quotes might be. I have 15 books about writing in my library. Here is what one of them states about ellipses:
If you omit a line or more of poetry, or a paragraph or more of prose, and if the omission is significant, use a whole line of elliptical dots . . .


Be sure that omissions do not distort your author's meaning. And remember this: the shorter your quotation, the better. A short quotation puts your purpose into sharpest focus for your reader's attention. A long quotation may require you to requote or paraphrase to make your point.


(The Complete Stylist, Sheridan Baker, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 2nd ed., 1972, 163, emphasis in original)
So, I did nothing wrong (definitely not deliberately so). The accusation of shoddy scholarship is unwarranted, as I am fully entitled to omit long portions, as long as I don't distort the original meaning (as your example above, supposedly similar to my usage, clearly did).
 
If you're working from a secondary source that doesn't contain the entire text to begin with how do you know you didn't?
 
1) Because, as I said, his quotes under consideration (e.g., "my judgment also is not mine but God's," etc.) stand alone and are self-explanatory (and evidently and immediately outrageous).
 
2) I am familiar enough with Luther and how his mind works, that I was almost certain that context would not alter his meaning as I have interpreted it, in the least. My suspicions were amply confirmed, after reading the material today; in fact, my convictions are even stronger, because now I know even more about this megalomaniac and how he viewed his own authority (thanks to your obstinacy on this point of citations). It's almost beyond belief.

3) The scholars who quoted the bits and pieces I previously had (e.g., Durant, Janssen) are trustworthy, and THEY read the original sources, and had their scholarly reputations to uphold. It is not in their interest to distort Luther quotes, and it isn't in mine, either.
These quotes of Luther are all of a piece: they all indicate that he considered himself some sort of infallible, unquestionable theological/spiritual dictator; in other words, precisely a "super-pope," as I called him. The title was not merely provocative; I think it is literally true, given his remarks, and per my reasoning.
 
The context, which is obvious if you have the entire text, says otherwise.
 
Well, that is what we can now argue about, isn't it (since I have now read it [see further below; I later went and read it, after being relentlessly pressed] )?
 
I'm so glad you took the time to read the doc.
 
You got your way, making me spend an entire day of unnecessary work; now maybe we can get back to the subject. Who knows: you may actually make a rational argument about the subject. Wouldn't that be a switch?
 
It would be easy to set up a paragraph in which Luther contradicted himself, even without omissions, for it was a constant occurrence in his writings. In this instance, however, no meaning was distorted. He was consistent with himself in this particular regard. The trouble here is that the premise (his unquestioned authority) is absolutely false.
 
Get the text. You'll find it in Luther's Works, Volume 39.
 
It is true that I don't have this work that I cited (I tried to find it on the Internet today and couldn't), and used secondary sources, and could have constructed the quote in a better form, but I didn't distort Luther's meaning at all, and that is the only real beef you would have (other than a merely stylistic one). You can't show that I have misrepresented his own view on the subject.
 
Read my reply to TQ again.
 
I am unaware of something from 1523 being included. I either made an inadvertant mistake there, or someone I cited did. I'd appreciate you telling me what portion you refer to, and what work it is from.
 
All who contribute body, goods . . . that the rule of the bishops may be
destroyed are God's dear children and true Christians." Is from a section,
Doctor Luther's Bull and Reformation, included in two special editions
published in 1523. See LW, Vol 39, page 278.
 
The salient point here is that this portion is considered part of the same writing under consideration (if it weren't, then it wouldn't be incorporated into the work Against the Falsely So-Called Spiritual Estate of the Pope and Bishops in Luther's Works - ed. Jaroslav Pelikan).
 
The difference between 1522 and 1523 is? It isn't the same document of 1522. That is why it was appended to the doc a year later under its own title.
 
It isn't a separate publication altogether, from the following year, as if it has no relation to the work I cited in my footnote, so that I was completely incompetent in thinking so, as you snidely insinuate. Luther's Works notes in Vol. 39, p. 278, footnote 26, that "this piece appeared in two special editions in 1523." It is incorporated within the larger work: pp. 278-283 out of the overall span: pp. 239-299.
 
Do you think that because Luther's Works incorporates many documents
that are related it is correct to say that any and all quotes from the
documents contained within Luther's Works come from the same document
written by Luther in the same year?
 
It is simply a later addition; more like a second edition (every later edition of any book or pamphlet brings in new material sometimes many years removed from the primal original. So what?). Since I was working from secondary sources, I didn't have that information; therefore I cannot be accused of deliberate dishonesty in this particular (as with all the other charges); nor incompetence.
 
Thanks for the admission. The choice to go with secondary sources is always dicey.
 
This is no begrudging "admission." I said this from the beginning. If I had had the primary source at my disposal I certainly would have used that. But I don't agree that it is immediately questionable to use a secondary source, as long as the author is reputable as a scholar.
 
It is a matter of learning additional information, which I am always happy to do (no more and no less); and I can now incorporate this information into my work on Luther.
That said, to refresh your memory, here are your original charges against me, so that readers can see how absurdly unfair and judgmental you were and are being:
The severe editing of the text in the original post and the following commentary betrays an incredible lack of understanding and/or deliberate bias.
In Christian charity I didn't consider ignorance of the text a viable alternative. That being said, ignorance of the text does lead to a lack of understanding and it may also reflect a bias.
Is it considered good scholarship in your circles to string small quotes with elipsis [sic] that are five pages apart (247 and 252) and then without elipsis [sic] make it appear that another quote from a document published a year later (1523) is part of the text?
Well, my friend, it is part of the same text, according to the English edition of Luther's Works, which makes no attempt to separate it.
 
??? I suppose that is why the editor pointed out that it was in two special
editions that were published a year later and appended under its own title.
 
Nice try. You have made yourself look petty and foolish once again, because you had the 55 volumes, and knew this was the case, yet tried to make out that I was an ignorant boob; putting together a quote from two works and not even knowing that I was doing it (or else knowing and being dishonest).
 
See above.
 
As for your numbers game with 1522 and 1523 (I guess you're really desperate for a reply if you are reduced to that), I would point out that it is customary to date a work from its original publication date, even if it is revised later. Hence, Darwin's Origin of Species is usually dated to 1859, even though the commonly-used 6th edition is from 1872. Likewise, Newman's Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine is usually stated to be from 1845, even though a major revision was done in 1878, and that is pretty much the only version we see at all.
 
Since you seem to have the entire work, I would be much obliged if you could send me a quote, with full bibliographical documentation, and enough context as you deem necessary for Luther to be properly understood. I will then include that in my web-paper and give you the credit. Does that sound fair? I think it is more than fair.
 
No go. Luther's Works is copyrighted. Your in "context" quote spans thirty-one pages.
 
If you're so concerned about my misrepresentation of the truth, and have resources that I don't have (apart from a 30-mile drive to a theological library), to correct it, then of course you will want to do that, I'm sure (and prove me wrong in the process, which many Protestant apologists would love to see :-).
 
After I obtained the work:

Sure, BJ; if I knew they were five and 31 pages apart, do you think I would have constructed the quote the same way?
 
How many times have I asked the question, "If you haven't read the text how do you know?"
 
You may think so, but of course the answer is "no." I did include the ellipses, and if I omitted some where they should have been, it was an honest mistake, pure and simple. I wish I was perfect like you, but unfortunately I am not. I was working from secondary sources.
 
Thank you Dave but I am not perfect. I am just an ordinary Joe, although that isn't the name my parents gave me. :-)
 
And there is nothing wrong with that for a non-scholar and non-historian such as myself. The more reading and information the better, obviously, but in this instance I didn't have it. I don't think, however, that this means that I can't quote from scholars who have read the original.
 
After locating your post to brian_berean titled "Further Clarification"
 
 
It seems a fundamental difference in our views is being illustrated. (By the way,
when you mentioned in a post to me that I ignored your clarifying arguments I actually
went back and re-read your previous post to me and couldn't figure out
what the clarifying arguments were. Hence the question regarding trust in
secondary sources.) The difference being the reliance upon someone to
inform about the source rather than a reliance upon the source itself. This
difference is also at the heart of the dispute five hundred years ago.
I don't think it is necessarily wrong to rely on and quote secondary sources
or scholars but sometimes it does especially come with a price if one doesn't
constantly consider the perspective and context in which the the secondary
source is contemplating and presenting the text.
 
In the case of Luther's tirade, Against Henry VIII indeed I have no choice but to do that, because, as you noted, that piece is not in Luther's Works in English, and it is highly relevant to the issue at hand. So I found a few snippets from it that I can bring to the table. If you don't like that, you can lump it. You act as if no one can quote a scholar, for heaven's sake (such as a journalist or a director doing a documentary on something). If that is so, why have expert testimony at criminal trials? The expert only says a few things. But to get the context of their overall thought, do we have to have entire books of theirs read into the court record? It quickly becomes a reductio ad absurdum if you wanna pursue this rhetorical dead-end.
 
The questioning of expert witnesses is limited to their accepted area of expertise and they are subject to cross-examination.
You've already been corrected. See my initial reply to TQ.
To help you begin to discover the context of what you've posted of Luther's
writings ask yourself the following questions as you read the text.
To whom was the work addressed?
Why was it written?
What were some of the consequences of Exsurge, Domine?
What had already happened three times?
Happy reading.
 
In the meantime, here are some bits and pieces from that same work, from different sources, and related utterances, showing that this is a theme in Luther, not a rarity or one-time event:
Christ . . . is the Master of my doctrine . . . it is not mine, but His own pure Gospel.

(Henry O'Connor, Luther's Own Statements, New York: Benziger Bros., 3rd ed., 1884, 20 / Against the Falsely So-Called Spiritual Estate of the Pope and Bishops, July 1522)


My judgment is at the same time God's and not mine.

(Henry O'Connor, Luther's Own Statements, New York: Benziger Bros., 3rd ed., 1884, 20 / Against the Falsely So-Called Spiritual Estate of the Pope and Bishops, July 1522)

For inasmuch as I know for certain that I am right, I will be judge above you and above all the angels, as St. Paul says, that whoever does not accept my doctrine cannot be saved. For it is the doctrine of God, and not my doctrine.

(Johannes Janssen, History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages, 16 vols., tr. A.M. Christie, St. Louis: B. Herder, 1910; orig. 1891, vol. 3, 269-272 / Against the Falsely So-Called Spiritual Estate of the Pope and Bishops, July 1522)

I do not admit that my doctrine can be judged by anyone, even by the angels. He who does not receive my doctrine cannot be saved.

(in Will Durant, The Reformation, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957, 422, from Werke {Erlangen}, XXVIII, 144; also in Jacques Maritain, Three Reformers: Luther-Descartes-Rousseau, London, 1950, 15 - obviously also from Against the Falsely So-Called Spiritual Estate of the Pope and Bishops, July 1522, though Durant doesn't mention it in his footnotes)

Luther defended his rendering of "faith alone" in Romans 3:28 in his Bible:
If your Papist makes much unnecessary fuss about the word (Sola, alone), say straight out to him, Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and says, Papists and donkeys are one and the same thing. Thus I will have it, thus I order it, my will is reason enough . . . Dr. Luther will have it so, and . . . he is a Doctor above all Doctors in the whole of Popery.


(Henry O'Connor, Luther's Own Statements, New York: Benziger Bros., 3rd ed., 1884, 25 / Letter to Wenceslaus Link, 1530)

I am certain that I have my teaching from heaven.


(Henry O'Connor, Luther's Own Statements, New York: Benziger Bros., 3rd ed., 1884, 19 / Against Henry VIII, King of England, 1522)

My doctrines will stand, and the Pope will fall.

(Henry O'Connor, Luther's Own Statements, New York: Benziger Bros., 3rd ed., 1884, 19-20 / Against Henry VIII, King of England, 1522)

Whoever teaches differently from what I have taught herein, or condemns me for it, he condemns God, and must be a child of Hell.


(Henry O'Connor, Luther's Own Statements, New York: Benziger Bros., 3rd ed., 1884, 20 / Against Henry VIII, King of England, 1522 [originally mistakenly listed as p. 15; my original 1991 research stated that the source was from p. 20, and this has been confirmed at Google Books)
Is it considered good form in your circles to then present an irrelevant assertion . . .
 
You haven't shown that it is irrelevant, nor have you shown that you even understand what is being asserted. Instead, you devoted yourself to a failed attempt to dwell on grammatical minutiae, in order to try to demonstrate my literary dishonesty. You are welcome to now show how my paper is "irrelevant," if you want to give it a shot; if you are in the mood for rational, mutually-respectful discussion.

??? Re-read my initial reply to TQ. By the way, how are we going to have a rational and mutually respectful discussion regarding the text when you haven't even read it?
. . . an irrelevant assertion based on the out of context "quotation?"

You haven't shown that, either. If you have the entire context in front of you (I don't), then you can easily show how I distorted anything.
 
??? God bless you Dave.
 
Feel free. I'm challenging you, since you have cast doubt upon my writing and research methods. "Put up or shut up."
 
Let's see ... your "quote" purportedly from one work written in 1522 spans spans thirty-one pages and includes text from a different work written in 1523. Nuff said. (See my reply to you above for the details.)
 
Of course, then people like Will Durant (real scholars unlike myself) would also be equally (if not more) guilty, as his quote was far shorter than mine and thus more likely to be out of context.
 
??? Your reasoning escapes me.
 
But I generally trust the scholarship of authors of ten-volume works (and 16 volume works, in Janssen's case), rather than assuming a stance of suspicion towards them because they include a short quote and happen to be of a different religious persuasion than my own.
 
See Luther's Works, Vol 39.
I leave you with a definition and recommended reading.
Context: the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a
specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect. Webster's
Unabridged Dictionary
How To Read A Book, by Mortimer J. Adler.
 
You have made no argument whatever showing that Luther's meaning was
not as I have interpreted it.
 
Well, lets see ...
You haven't read the doc but you know its meaning and context.
I demonstrated that your conclusions were in error by quoting Luther in a
post to TQ.
You then assert that Luther always contradicts himself.
If you read the doc you would realize that Luther didn't contradict himself.
The quote I provided to TQ contradicts your assertion.
You give no credence to the quote and instead write, "You haven't shown
that it is irrelevant, nor have you shown that you even understand what is
being asserted."
So how does one reason with a person who makes assertions based on a
document they haven't read and is not willing to make the effort to read the
doc?
What is the point of providing further information to a person that will not
consider a relevant quote that was previously given because it contradicts
their misguided assertion?
What is the point of trying to further help someone gain insight and
knowledge such that they own it by giving him questions to consider as he
reads the doc which his misguided assertion is based upon when they won't
read the doc?
 
Instead you have tried to switch the conversation over to citation and editing controversies.
 
You wrote, "Feel free. I'm challenging you,
since you have cast doubt upon my writing and research methods. Put up or
shut up." I replied by demonstrating some of the errors in your post. I wrote,
"Let's see ... your "quote" purportedly from one work written in 1522 spans
spans thirty-one pages and includes text from a different work written in
1523. Nuff said. (See my reply to you above for the details.)"
 
You ignore many other quotes I produced to back up my point,
 
??? Let's find out. You appended eight quotes of which four of them are from
the document which you haven't read and refuse to read, Against The Pope
And His Bishops (I assume you shortened the title for convenience sake.).
The next quote is from An Open Letter On Translation and does not help
your argument at all. I assume that this is another doc you haven't read.
The point is Luther's NT translation was plagiarized in great measure by
Emser because the papists didn't have someone capable of translating from
Erasmus' greek into German. Since Rome didn't have someone capable of
translating the NT into good German Luther didn't feel compelled to take
their advice. (Emser used the Vulgate and the late medieval German Bible as
the "basis" of his correction of Luther's translation.) On a side note, did you
know that Luther did not modify Jerome's rendering of Romans 3:28 in his
1529 revision of the Vulgate?
 
If you read the doc you would know that the following was omitted from
your "quote." You quoted, "If your Papist makes much unnecessary fuss
about the word (Sola, alone), say straight out to him, Dr. Martin Luther will
have it so, and says, Papists and donkeys are one and the same thing." but
omitted, "Sic volo, sic jubeo; sit pro ratione voluntas." (Which is satirical
poetry from Juvenal used to emphasize the point of the previous sentence.).
"We are not going to be the pupils and disciples of the papists, but their
masters and judges. For once, we too are going to be proud and brag with
these blockheads; and as St. Paul boasts over against his mad raving saints
[II Cor. 11:21ff]," etc, etc, etc. Luther's Works Vol 35, p 185. And so it
goes with the rest of your quote.
 
The last three quotes are from a doc that you most likely won't read either
since it is not readily available in English.
 
and also several clarifying arguments I made.
 
Would that be your statement of faith in your secondary sources?
 
This is the obscurantist behavior of a person who has no case.
 
??? You haven't read the docs, aren't willing to read the docs, but you feel
like you are the one spreading knowledge through misguided assertion? On
the other hand, I've demonstrated from the git-go through quotes and logic
that your assertion is simply unfounded and false.
 
A lawyer who has no case always obfuscates and attempts various diversionary tactics.
 
Agreed. So why don't you accept the evidence and read the docs? The
evidence and the argument won't change whether you read them today,
next week, next month, or next year.
 
That's no skin off my back.
 
It surprises me that you would hang your hat on assertions derived from docs you haven't read.
 
Luther's statements are self-explanatory, and context will not change them to the extent that you claim.
 
Simple question. If you haven't read the docs how do you know?
 
The burden of proof is on you.
 
How does one prove something to someone who won't accept the evidence?
How does one prove something to someone who essentially says, "Hold it. I
don't accept your evidence (quotation) because it falsifies my assertion?"
 
You have the material in front of you and claim that I have distorted Luther's meaning by not including massive context.
 
If you haven't read the doc and are not willing to read the doc why would
you think your quote is in context? As far as massive context it was your
choice to quote a few words here and there from a span of thirty-one
pages.
 
If indeed I have done so, it is easy enough for you to post your material and show it
 
I did. Presumably your response, if indeed you acknowledged the quote at
all, was by intimation. You wrote, "It would be easy to set up a paragraph in
which Luther contradicted himself, even without omissions, for it was a
constant occurrence in his writings. In this instance, however, no meaning
was distorted. He was consistent with himself in this particular regard."
 
(and I will in turn post that on my website
 
I don't care about your website.
 
and admit I am wrong,
 
I don't care if you admit you are wrong.
 
if you prove that, which will also be posted in the resulting paper).
 
I don't care about a future paper. I care about you.
 
Otherwise, your rhetoric is a bunch of hot air.
 
The would be apologist that makes assertions based on documents that he hasn't even read speaks of rhetoric and hot air?
 
The proof is in the pudding.
 
Agreed. I dispatched your assertion in my first reply to TQ. For your benefit I
dispatched the notion that your quote from another document you haven't
read supports your assertion in today's post.
 
I'm not gonna waste my time to make a 60-mile round trip to look at Luther's
Works, for your sake.
 
You wouldn't be doing it for my sake. I've read the docs and know what
the docs say. The trip and effort would be for your sake.
 
No one else cares,
 
You are the one that should care since this is your thread.
 
and I certainly won't do it for you,
 
You ought to do it for you.
 
when you show no inclination of dealing with the subject straightforwardly as
it is. I could spend all day, and you will likely reply with the vapid one-liners
that you used today. No go . . .
 
Well, if one day you were to spend all day you would be blessed. You would also be surprised at the conversation we could then have.
 
I responded to another correspondent on the board (with Bj Bear's comments interspersed). Ironically, the person who asked me about this text later pasted it on the board themselves, thus saving me a lot of typing from the photocopy I eventually obtained.
 
BJ Bear has it [i.e., the entire work I cited from at the top of this paper].
I do not have the entire work.
 
This will be interesting. If you don't have the entire work then what book or tract are you "quoting" from? If possible please include title, author, publisher, and ISBN. Thanks.
 
[Most of that was already provided to BJ Bear in the short citations above, which I had in my files, from secondary sources; but he ignored them prior to the time he made these comments]
 
I hope you urge him to give us the context, for that will prove that I haven't distorted Luther's meaning at all. It is a common theme in Luther's writings.
 
I guess that answers my previous question as to what is acceptable in your circles.
 
Of course BJ will probably balk (I hope I'm wrong), because that would mean
that he is proving his earlier comments about me to be incorrect. :-)
Hopefully, with a fellow Protestant asking, too, he will produce it for us. I
know I won't sleep until I see the whole writing of Luther's and the priceless
pearls of wisdom contained in it.
 
See Luther's Works Vol 39, page 247 and following.
 
[This was a non sequitur because I already knew the primary source information - from Bj's prior posts. I was saying that if he had it and was accusing me of bias and quoting out of context, that it was his burden of proof, and he should post it, rather than making me drive 60 miles to obtain it]
 
Alright, BJ.
You have pushed me too far now, with your constant insults against my research. I had already decided this morning that I would go look at these works of Luther, even before I read your post, out of curiosity, and in order to strengthen my assertions beyond all doubt (precisely to show how your demands for providing context are excessive and will not change the outcome of my assertions).
 
I said I could have done better with the quote and that I would admit I was wrong, if shown to be by context. But that's not enough for you. You refuse to discuss the actual content and what Luther meant. You won't quote the material and instead demand that I drive 60 miles to go get it, in order to make some misguided "point."
 
I don't take kindly to accusations of dishonesty, and this seems to be a theme now, what with your charges - and Brian Berean's - that I distort my opponents' views (including, now, Martin Luther) in my website dialogues, and try to make them look like fools, as if that is my intent and purpose in publishing dialogues.
 
Therefore, I can make a great and relevant point today by researching this further. The stakes are high. If you are wrong, you will be spectacularly proved to be wrong, and you will have made yourself look silly by refusing to deal with the substantive issue itself, and by pressing this "editorial" and "scholarly dishonesty" bit. Where before, I wasn't going to present all your charges on my site, because of their tedious and rabbit-trail nature, now I will post every word you have written in this thread, and show how your charges are unfounded.
 
Part of the point of my future paper now will be to show how Protestant polemicists make unreasonable and wrongheaded demands of Catholic apologists studying Luther and the so-called "reformation." 
 
This will accomplish several things:
 
1) Again, it will show that the demands of Protestant polemicists upon non-scholars, to always read all original documents in their entirety, are excessive. A non-scholar such as myself is not out-of-line if he cites scholars, who themselves have consulted the primary works. I am a popular apologist, not a theologian or Church historian. If indeed I were a scholar, you might have a point, because that is required of them. But alas, it ain't so.
 
2) It will put the lie to the stupid claim that I am cynically misrepresenting my opponents and engaging in inadequate, shoddy, deceptive research methods. Even though I'm not a scholar, I am, of course, concerned with honesty and accuracy at all times. If I make a mistake (as I will; like everyone else), it does not have to be because of deliberate nefarious intent, or evidence of some serious overall incompetence on my part, as the charges of some of my opponents (usually anti-Catholic or leaning in that direction) imply.
 
3) My paper will be strengthened considerably, which generally happens when I am challenged by an opponent such as yourself who won't "give up the ghost." If you know anything about me and how I view this sort of challenge, you would have known that your continued insults would only have the effect of making my argument even stronger.
 
4) If I bolster my original claims, you will look rather silly and petty, which is fine with me, since your attempt is to make me look that way. I didn't ask for this discussion on honesty and research methods. I was trying to analyze Luther's views in one respect. We shall determine who has a better case by doing what you demand: looking at the original documents themselves. This is an open forum, and I have every right to post anything here on my website. If you want to look like a polemical fool there, then that was your choice, not mine. I'm all for free speech; even foolish speech.
 
On the other hand, if I am wrong, I will admit it, publish that on my website, and that will put the lie to this idiotic myth (mostly among anti-Catholic devotees of White, Svendsen, King et al) that I think I am always right, and can never be corrected, etc. Either way, the outcome is good and helpful and educational for onlookers, however it comes out. And that is how it goes when one is simply seeking truth and not trying to distort and make people look like idiots and fools and dishonest pretenders.
 
I will write off the gasoline and photocopy expense on my taxes, and it's a gorgeous fall day here, so this will not be that bad of a thing after all.
Thanks for the challenge! Stay tuned.

* * *
Once I dispose of these silly, frivolous charges, I can get to the actual Luther material, and expand upon my argument. Suffice it to say that my case about Luther and his self-perception was greatly strengthened by my trip to the library. So I offer my wholehearted thanks to you for bolstering a Catholic apologetic argument that would have been much less effective and documented if you hadn't pressed so hard.
 
Glad to be of help in your acquisition of knowledge. I'm looking forward to reading an effective Roman Catholic apologetic argument.
 
I've already painstakingly made sure all your words in this thread are on my paper-to-be. Thank heavens TQ was nice enough to paste the whole article, so I can save my wrists much work. That wouldn't have happened, either, if not for you. I rather like how God's Providence worked out this conflict. :-)
 
Okay. Look for an examination of your assertions and reasoning in further clarifications later this week.
 
Now onto more of Luther's words:
 
Martin Luther, Luther's Works, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) and Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955. This work from Vol. 39: Church and Ministry I (edited by J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, and H. T. Lehmann).
 
Against the Spiritual Estate of the Pope and the Bishops Falsely So-Called, July 1522
 
Pages 239-299; translated by Eric W. and Ruth C. Gritsch. Sections especially relevant to the discussion of Luther's self-perception of his own authority over against that of the institutional Church up to his time will be in red, with extraordinary statements also bolded. Page numbers from Luther's Works will be indicated in brackets ( [ ] ). Footnotes are omitted, but I now have the photocopy in my possession.
 
[247] Jesus Martin Luther, ecclesiastic in Wittenberg by the grace of God: To the papal bishops (I offer) my service and self-understanding in Christ. Although I might be regarded as a fool by you, dear lords, because of the haughty title I call myself, an ecclesiastic by the grace of God, you should know that I am not at all surprised by this. You curse, slander, condemn, persecute, and possibly even burn me as a heretic for the sake of a high and noble cause. In this you act as you please, according to the pleasure of your idol. As a result of God's disfavor you have the virtue that you do not want to listen. Neither do you want to give an answer. Instead, like the hardened Jews you blasphemously and stubbornly want to condemn me without a hearing, without investigating the cause, without overcoming me. You are not even ashamed of letting a man defy you so frequently with such good reason. Very well then, since it is a question of lowering the horns and acting with brute force, I too have to lower my horns and risk my head for my Lord. In order to get things started, I call myself an ecclesiastic by the grace of God in defiance of you and the devil, although you call me a heretic
with an abundance of slander. And even if I called myself an evangelist by the grace of God, I would still be more confident of proving it than that any one of you could prove his episcopal title or name. I am certain [248] that Christ himself, who is the master of my teaching, gives me this title and regards me as one. Moreover, he will be my witness on the Last Day that it is not my pure gospel but his. Thus your raging and raving is not going to help you at all. Rather, the more you rage and rave, the haughtier we shall be toward
you, with God's help, and shall despise your disgrace. Even though you might take my life, since you are murderers, you will annihilate neither my name nor my teaching. For you too will have to die at last and put an end to murder. Now that I am deprived of my titles through papal and imperial disfavor and my bestial character is washed away with so many bulls that I need never be called either Doctor of Holy Scripture or some kind of papal creature, I am
almost as shocked as an ass who has lost its bag. For these masks were my greatest shame before God. I too was once in error (which I learned from your crowd at great price and with great effort), a liar, a cheater, a seducer, and a blasphemer against God's pure teaching, as you are now. But the Father of all mercy did not look at my vice, blasphemy, and my very
sinful, evil life; instead, out of the infinite richness of his grace, he permitted me to know his Son, Jesus Christ, and to teach to others, until we were certain of his truth. However, I need not have any title and name to praise highly the word, office, and work which I have from God and which you blind blasphemers defile and persecute beyond measure. I trust my praise will overcome your defiling, just as my justice will overcome your injustice. It does not matter if, with your blasphemy, you are on top for the moment. Therefore, I now let you know that from now on I shall no longer do you the honor of allowing you - or even an angel from heaven - to judge my teaching or to examine it. For there has been enough foolish humility now for the third time at Worms, and it has not helped. Instead, I shall let myself be heard and, as St. Peter [249] teaches, give an explanation and defense of my teaching to all the world - I Pet. 3:15. I shall not have it judged by any man, not even by any angel. For since I am certain of it, I shall be your judge and even the angels' judge through this teaching (as St. Paul says [I Cor. 6:3 ]) so that whoever does not accept my teaching may not be saved - for it is God's and not mine. Therefore, my judgment is also not mine but God's. Finally, dear lords, let this be the conclusion: If I live you shall have no peace from me, and if you kill me you shall have ten times less peace, for I shall be, as Hosea says, a bear on the road and a lion in the street [Hos. 13:8]. No matter how you handle me, you shall not have your will until your iron head and stiff neck are broken with either grace or disgrace. If you do not improve as I would like to see you do, then it is agreed that you threaten with hostility and I do not care. May God grant that you know
yourselves. Amen. 

Preface
 
So that some well-meaning hearts do not get the impression that I go too far when I attack the great lords - or that I might create rebellion and unrest, as the tyrants themselves interpret it - I must first present defense and explanation with scriptural proof that it is not only right but also necessary to reprove the high officials. The pope, to be sure, in his canon law forbade punishing the prelates. These dear squires and painted bishops count on it. They do not study, they know nothing, they are not engaged in any bishop's work, and they enjoy
peaceful, quiet, and good days. Yet they act as though they were bishops while in reality they are nothing but carnival masks and dummies who ruin the whole world in the name of bishop. But let us hear what God says about it . . . [252] . . . Thus we should punish bishops and spiritual dominion harder and more severely than worldly dominion for two reasons: first, because this spiritual dominion does not derive from God, for God does not know these masked people and St. Nicholas bishops, because they neither teach nor perform any episcopal duties. Nor did they derive from men. They have imposed themselves on others and placed themselves into this rule against God and men, as is the custom of tyrants who rule only out of God's wrath. Worldly dominion derives from God's gracious order to suppress the evil and protect the godly, Romans 13[:4] . Second, worldly rule, even though it commits
violence and injustice, hurts only the body and property. But spiritual dominion, whenever it is unholy and does not support God's word, is like a wolf and murderer of the soul, and it is just as though the devil himself were ruling there. That is why one should beware as much of the bishop who does not teach God's word as of the devil himself. For wherever God's word is
missing, there we certainly find only the devil's teaching and the murder of souls. For without God's word the soul can neither live nor be delivered from the devil.
 
But if they say that one should beware of rebelling against spiritual authority, I answer: Should God's word be dispensed with and the whole world perish? Is it right that all souls should be [253] killed eternally so that the temporal show of these masks is left in peace? It would be better to kill all bishops and to annihilate all religious foundations and monasteries
than to let a single soul perish, not to mention losing all souls for the sake of these useless dummies and idols. What good are they, except to live in lust from the sweat and labor of others and to impede the word of God? They are afraid of physical rebellion and do not care about spiritual destruction. Are they not intelligent, honest people! If they accepted God's
word and sought the life of the soul, God would be with them, since he is a God of peace. Then there would be no fear of rebellion. But if they refuse to hear God's word and rather rage and rave with banning, burning, killing, and all evil, what could be better for them than to encounter a strong rebellion which exterminates them from the world? One could only laugh if it did happen, as the divine wisdom says, Proverbs 1[:25-27], "You have hated my punishment and misused my teaching; therefore I will laugh at your calamity and I will mock you when disaster strikes you." Not God's word but stubborn disobedience [to God's word] creates rebellion. Whoever rebels against it shall get his due reward. Whoever accepts God's word does not start unrest, although he is no longer afraid of the masks and does not worship the dummies . . . [262] . . . Moses shows, first of all, that all this refers to the miserable plague of human teaching which God inflicts on the world today through pope and bishops. When he commanded, Deuteronomy 4[:2] , that they should neither add to his commandments nor take anything from them but instead obey them, he continued immediately and said, "For your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-peor, and how he destroyed all those who worshiped it," etc. [Deut. 4:3]. Why should Moses make such an example of Baal-Peor - that
they should neither add nor take anything from God's commandments - if he did not want to show that this idol is human teaching? Human teaching always takes away from God's commandments and adds its own commandments -- just as the pope has now taken away all of God's commandments and substituted his own. As one can hear, the papists teach that it is not necessary to love God with all one's heart, and so the first
commandment is taken away. Again, that faith is not necessary for justification and that works save, and so the second and third commandments are struck down. Again, they teach children to be disobedient to their parents, just as they themselves are, as was said above, and so the fourth commandment is struck down. Again, they teach that it is not necessary to love one's enemy, and so they teach one to hold on to one's wrath, contrary to the fifth commandment. Again, he has many ways to break up marriages and to make them, and so the sixth commandment is taken away. Again, they teach one how to attain and keep
ill-gotten goods, usury, and interest, contrary to the seventh commandment. Again, all their teaching is false witness, which is contrary to the eighth commandment. Thus under the pope there are no divine commandments any longer; they have all been taken away. On the other hand, he adds some on how one can serve God and do good works through tonsures, cowls, orders, fasting, begging, eating milk, eggs, meat, butter, singing, organs, censing, bell-ringing, celebrating, buying indulgences, and [263] the like, all of which God does not know. That is why his teaching is the true Baal-Peor . . . [268] . . . It is enough for the time being to have these two apostles, Peter and Paul, on our side. They show us the papists with their un-Christian and pernicious spiritual nature and teaching. [They [269] also show us] that with all their pretensions they are accursed children and should be avoided. We shall save what Christ, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets say about it until the pope, the
bishops, and their followers get angry at this booklet and blow the fire into a full flame . . .
[273] . . . Tell me, pope, from where do you have the power to claim ill-gotten goods? God himself, the creator of everything, will neither accept nor approve this. And you, God's greatest slanderer, want to be more than God. You assume a higher power than God himself. You teach the people to destroy God's commandment and to engage in theft, robbery, usury, and all unnatural works . . . [278] . . . Doctor Luther's Bull and Reformation All those who work toward this end and who risk body, property, and honor that the bishoprics may be destroyed and the episcopal government rooted out are God's dear children and true Christians. They keep God's commandment and fight against the devil's order. Or, if they
cannot do this, at least they condemn and avoid such a government. On the other hand, all those who obey the government of the bishops and subject themselves to it in willing obedience are the devil's own servants and fight against God's order and law. I shall prove this thoroughly and surely as follows: St. Paul said to Titus that he should appoint a married and blameless bishop in every town [Titus 1:5-7]. That is undoubtedly God's order, will, and opinion. Our papal bishops fight against this; they removed the bishops from every town and made themselves bishops over many towns. But St. Paul stands here - indeed, the Holy Spirit stands here firmly and strongly - saying that every town should have a bishop and that they must all be equals. St. Paul speaks of every town and considers all bishops to be equal. Well, come on, you masks! Be cheerful and brave! Here you stand against St. Paul, against the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit stands against you. What will you say now? Or have you become dumb? Here you have your verdict: all the world must destroy you and your government. Whoever stands on your side falls under God's disfavor; whoever destroys you stands in God's favor. By no means do I want such destruction and extinction to be understood in the sense of using the fist and the sword, for they are not worthy of such punishment -- and nothing is achieved in this [279] way. Rather, as Daniel 8[:25] teaches, "by no human hand, shall the Antichrist be destroyed." Everyone should speak, teach, and stand against him with God's word until he is put to shame and collapses, completely alone and even despising himself. This is true Christian destruction and every effort should be made to this end . . . If someone said to me at this point, "Previously you have rejected the pope; will you now also reject bishops and the spiritual estate? Is everything to be turned around?" my answer would be: [280] Judge for yourself and decide whether I turn things around by preferring divine word and order, or whether they turn things around by preferring their order and destroying God's. Tell me, which is right: for them to turn God's order around, or for me to turn their
blasphemous devil's order around? Do not look at the work itself but at the basis and reason for the work. Nobody should look at that which opposes God's word, nor should one care what the consequences may or may not be. Instead, one should look at God's word alone and not worry - even if angels were involved - about who will get hurt, what will happen, or what the result will be . . . [283] . . . Since it is clear, then, from these three passages that the bishops are not only masks and idols but also an accursed people before God - rising up against God's order to destroy the gospel and ruin souls - every Christian should help with his body and property to put an end to their tyranny. One should cheerfully do everything possible against them, just as though they were the devil himself. One should trample obedience to them just as though it were obedience to the devil; and one should see to it that one or more devout married men become pastors or bishops in every town. Moreover, those who are pastors now should recant such obedience, because with their promises of chastity they were obedient to the devil and not to God. They should do so in the same way someone recants his allegiance to the devil. They should marry in defiance of the devil and for the sake of hurting these "bishop gods," so that the divine order instituted by St. Paul against these accursed masks might be re-established. Let this be Dr. Luther's bull which grants God's grace as a reward to all who heed it and obey it. Amen . . .

Comparison of This Edition of Luther's Words With My Previous Patchwork Citation
Inasmuch as I know for certain that I am right, I will be judge above you and above all the angels, as St. Paul says, that whoever does not accept my doctrine cannot be saved. For it is the doctrine of God, and not my doctrine; therefore my judgment also is God's and not mine . . . [jump of 4 pages] It would be better that all bishops were murdered, all abbeys and cloisters razed to the ground, than that one soul should perish . . . [jump of 6 sentences] If they will not listen to God's Word . . . [jump of a third of a sentence] what can more justly befall them than a violent upheaval which shall root them out of the earth? And we would smile did it happen. [missed gap of 25 pages] All who contribute body, goods . . . [jump of a few words] that the rule of the bishops may be destroyed are God's dear children and true Christians.
I have discovered by looking over my older papers (I did a lot of Luther research in 1991), that the "mistake" (if indeed it is one; see below) of the missing gap of 25 pages (i.e., in the latest English edition) - gee, it sounds like Watergate and Nixon's tapes - was made by the famous non-Catholic, secular historian Will Durant. That is how I came to construct this patchwork citation. Here is how Durant's citation reads in its entirety, in his 1025-page work, The Reformation (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957, 377):
It were better that every bishop were murdered, every foundation or cloister rooted out, than that one soul should be destroyed, let alone that all souls should be lost for the sake of their worthless trumpery and idolatry. Of what use are they who thus live in lust, nourished by the sweat and labor of others? . . . If they accepted God's Word, and sought the life of the soul, God would be with them . . . But if they will not hear God's Word, but rage and rave with bannings and burnings, killings and every evil, what do they better deserve than a strong uprising which will sweep them from the earth? And we would smile did it happen. All who contribute body, goods, and honor that the rule of the bishops may be destroyed are God's dear children and true Christians.
Durant then footnotes to the German works of Luther; his exact footnote 146 for Chapter XXVI, on page 963, reads: "Werke, XXVIII, 142-201, in Bax, German Society, 188-90." In his "Bibliographic Guide," on page 947, he informs the reader that the German edition of Luther's Works usually referred to is the Weimar edition of 1883, and on page 941, that the full name of the above-mentioned book is German Society at the Close of the Middle Ages, by Belfort Bax (London: 1894).
 
Now, assuming Durant knows how to use sources and has not made a rather spectacular, inexcusable error of missing a gap of 25 pages without including ellipses, I venture to guess that the German edition reads a bit differently than the English version. Secondly, Durant may have been solely utilizing his cited secondary source. This shows six things:
1) Even scholars utilize secondary sources;
2) I got my information from Durant; therefore it "proves" neither incompetence nor deliberate deception on my part;
3) If anyone is wrong here, it is Durant (though I highly doubt that), not I. His alleged or actual error was "passed on" to me;
4) Durant even uses ellipses twice in a citation that is paragraph-length, utilizing material ranging over three pages in a secondary source. :-) ;
5) He thought that a 63-year-old 19th-century historiographical work was still relevant enough to cite (and perhaps even sufficient as a sole secondary source).
6) You are all wet.
This annihilates all of your charges of editorial incompetence or outright "deliberate bias" that you have made against me. My citation has been more or less completely vindicated, and the claim that context shows otherwise will also be shortly disposed of (I was not disabused of my confidence on this, at the library), and you will be forced to make some sort of argument from actual texts and established facts about Luther and his opinions, rather than groundless (and rather smug) assertions, as you have been doing. Or you can simply concede and save yourself a lot of trouble.
 
One thing I found very funny and neglected to mention till now was your argument that another work of Luther from no less than 23 years later, - originally left unnamed, till I asked you what it was (Against the Roman Papacy: An Institution Of the Devil) -, somehow provides a "broader context" about Luther's views on ecclesiastical authority. Even when you cited that, you omitted an entire section where Luther was railing against the Catholic Church, to the exclusion of analyzing the work at hand. Yet you chose to endlessly quibble about my ellipses and supposed violation of immediate context. And when I cited comments from a work against Henry VIII from the same year, that was ignored by you as of no relevance. You wrote:
The immediate context is plain enough but here is an excerpt from another letter that will give other readers on this board a broader context of Luther's thoughts in this regard . . . Context. My reply was to TQ ["Tertium Quid"] . . . He wrote, "I wouldn't mind a reference on this to see the quote and context . . . so I gave a second LW reference by volume and page number that demonstrated consistent thought with the work that you, um, "quoted".
[Gritsch translation from Luther's Works] For since I am certain of it, I shall be your judge and even the angels' judge through this teaching (as St. Paul says [I Cor. 6:3 ]) so that whoever does not accept my teaching may not be saved - for it is God's and not mine. Therefore, my judgment is also not mine but God's.

[Johannes Janssen / tr. A.M. Christie] Inasmuch as I know for certain that I am right, I will be judge above you and above all the angels, as St. Paul says, that whoever does not accept my doctrine cannot be saved. For it is the doctrine of God, and not my doctrine; therefore my judgment also is God's and not mine.


[Gritsch translation] It would be better to kill all bishops and to annihilate all religious foundations and monasteries than to let a single soul perish, . . . if they refuse to hear God's word and rather rage and rave with banning, burning, killing, and all evil, what could be better for them than to encounter a strong rebellion which exterminates them from the world? One could only laugh if it did happen.


[Johannes Janssen / tr. A.M. Christie] It would be better that all bishops were murdered, all abbeys and cloisters razed to the ground, than that one soul should perish . . . If they will not listen to God's Word . . . what can more justly befall them than a violent upheaval which shall root them out of the earth?

[Will Durant or Belfort Bax] And we would smile did it happen.

[Gritsch translation] All those who work toward this end and who risk body, property, and honor that the bishoprics may be destroyed and the episcopal government rooted out are God's dear children and true Christians.

[Will Durant or Belfort Bax] All who contribute body, goods . . . that the rule of the bishops may be destroyed are God's dear children and true Christians.

Further Remarks from Luther's Tract Against Henry VIII, King of England (1522)
Through me Christ has commenced His revelations concerning the abominations in the holy place.

I am certain that I have my dogmas from heaven,

. . . but the devil tries to deceive me through Henry.
God blinds the devil, that his mendacity is made manifest through me.

(From: Martin Luther: His Life and Work, Hartmann Grisar, Adapted from the 2nd German ed. by Frank J. Eble, edited by Arthur Preuss, Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1950 [orig. 1930], 261 / from Werke [Weimar], Vol X, II, pp. 180 sqq., 227 sq. Opp. Lat. Var., pp. 385 sqq., and Werke, Erlangen ed., Vol. XXVIII, pp. 343 sqq.)

Against all the sayings of the Fathers, against all the arts and words of angels, men and devils I set the Scriptures and the Gospel . . . Here I stand and here I defy them . . . The Word of God I count above all else and the Divine Majesty supports me; hence I should not turn a hair were a thousand Augustines against me, and am certain that the true Church adheres with me to God's Word.

(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1915; volume 4, 391 / from Werke [Weimar], Vol X, II, p. 256 f.)
Elsewhere, in the same year, Luther wrote:
Each man must believe solely because it is the word of God and because he feels within that it is true, even though an angel from heaven and all the world should preach against it.


(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1915; volume 4, 391 / from Werke [Weimar], Vol X, II, p. 90; Von Menschen leren tzu meyden, 1522)
St. Thomas More wrote Response to Luther in 1523, in reaction to Luther's tract against Henry VIII. He makes some very interesting arguments against Luther's new principle of sola Scriptura:
. . . if as you consistently affirm, all extrascriptural matter is to be maintained only freely and none of it held fast by faith, what is the meaning of this Apostolic admonition: "Stand and hold fast the traditions which you have learned through our word and letter"? [2 Thess 2:15] The preservation of both word and letter is equally charged by the Apostle. Extrascriptural matter was thus handed down, and on a binding, not a take-it-or-leave-it basis! What do you say to that, Luther? And to this: "Many things were done which are not written in this book," a passage of the Evangelist's? [John 20:30] These things which you have remarked as absent from the other scriptural books also, and of which John says that the whole world cannot contain them - aren't they to be regarded as miracles at least? Wouldn't you also find that an ignorance of many of them would jeopardize faith? . . .
What force has this pronouncement of Christ's: "The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, when He comes, will guide you into all truth"? [John 16:13] He doesn't say that the Spirit will "write" to you or whisper in your ear, but he will lead you, will form oyu interiorly, and with His breath will show your hearts the way to all truth. Was it the Apostles, here addressed by Christ, to whom the way was to be shown? Were they alone told, "I am with you to the consummation of the world"? [Matt 28:20] Who can question the direction of this message to the Church? Will not the Holy Spirit show her the way to all truth? Was she not told, "Go, preach the Gospel to every creature"? [Matt 28:19] Did they read the Gospel or preach it? And did Christ cast the new law in bronze or strike it on stone tablets, commanding that everything else be considered valueless and caast out?
Can God's own word as set down by the Apostle leave Luther untouched, "I will put my laws in their hearts; I shall inscribe them on their minds"? [Heb 8:10, 10:16] He makes no mention of stone or wood, for as the old law was stamped by Him upon external stone, so will the new be inscribed with His own finger in the book of the heart; that which existed so briefly upon the hardest material will be made to last forever on the softest. So it has pleased God to show His power. Though the old stone tablets were quickly shattered, the new remain. The word of God will remain forever uneffaced in the heart of man. The heart, the Church of Christ, will forever contain the true Gospel of Christ, written there before any of the Evangelical books. However ingenious the apparent scriptural evidence heretics may bring against the true faith, God has engraved His law in such a way that it is impervious to their guile. The strength of this spring has preserved the faith of Christ against assaults upon both His mother and Himself from their respective enemies, Helvidius and Arius . . . it is certain that Christ would not disappoint His Church on the essentials of her faith.
But if you continue dully to insist upon the written as the only valid form of transmission, and doggedly persist in ignoring the scriptural evidence from the king's book, at least clear up the enigma posed by these facts: the Father is never, at any place in all of Scripture, called "uncreated," the Son is never called "consubstantial," and the Holy Spirit never clearly described as "proceeding from the Father and Son." . . . Would you have, then, each individual man, freely and without spiritual hazard, decide for himself whether or not to believe in the Father as uncreated, the Son as consubstantial, and the Holy Spirit as proceeding from both?


(From: The Essential Thomas More, selected and edited by James J. Greene and John P. Dolan, in modern translation, New York: New American Library, Mentor-Omega, 1967, 115-117)

Luther's Tract, An Argument in Defense of All the Articles of Dr. Martin Luther Wrongly Condemned in the Roman Bull (1521)
. . . They accuse me of setting myself up all alone to be everybody's teacher. I answer, I have not set myself up, but have preferred at all times to creep into a corner. It is they who have drawn me out by wile and force, that they might win glory and honor at my expense. Now that the game is going against them, they think me guilty of vainglory. And even if it were true that I had set myself up all alone, that would be no excuse for their conduct. Who knows but that God has called me and raised me up? They ought to fear lest they despise God in me.
Do we not read in the Old Testament that God commonly raised up only one prophet at a time? Moses was alone in the Exodus, Elijah was alone in King Ahab's day, Elisha, after him, was alone, Isaiah was alone in Jerusalem, Hosea alone in Israel, Jeremiah alone in Judaea, Ezekiel alone in Babylon, and so forth. Even though they had many disciples, called "children of the prophets," God never allowed more than one man alone to preach and rebuke the people.
Moreover, God never once made prophets out of the high-priests or others of lofty station; but usually He raised up lowly and despised persons, even at last the shepherd Amos. King David was an exception, but even he came up from lowly rank. Therefore the saints have always had to preach against those in high places - kings, princes, priests, doctors - to rebuke them, to risk their own lives, and sometimes to lose them . . .


I say not that I am a prophet, but I do say that the more they despise me and esteem themselves, the more reason they have to fear that I may be a prophet . . . If I am not a prophet, yet for my own self I am certain that the Word of God is with me and not with them, for I have the Scriptures on my side, and they have only their own doctrine. This gives me courage, so that the more they despise and persecute me, the less I fear them. There were many asses in the world in the days of Balaam, but God spake by none of them save only by Balaam's ass . . .

The lie has always had the majority, the truth the minority on its side. Nay, if it were only a few insignificant men who were attacking me, I should know that what I wrote and taught was not yet of God. St Paul raised much disturbance with his doctrine, as we read in Acts; but that did not prove the falsity of his doctrine. Truth has always caused an uproar; false teachers have always said, "Peace, peace," as Isaiah and Jeremiah tell us.

(From: Works of Martin Luther, Philadelphia: A.J. Holman Co. and the Castle Press, 1930; rep. by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1982 , Volume 3, 12-14,17; translated by C.M. Jacobs)

Luther's Tract, Reply to the Answer of the Leipzig Goat (1521)
. . . My great and joyful courage hurts you to your very heart. But in spite of you and Eck, the pope and your whole crew, yea, in spite of the devil too, I am, and please God, will remain in a constant, fearless, proud state of mind, defying and despising you all as fools and blind men and malignant liars. I would, indeed, that your hate-filled eyes could see my joyful spirit day by day, although the mere hearing about it causes you grief enough. All your envy, pain, rage, and whatever evil thing you may do shall help you not one whit. You call me proud because I will not humble myself before such furious, bloodthirsty tyrants and do not accept your lies and your poison. In the same way, even Christ and John were accused by the Jews of having a devil.

But if I knew that my teaching brought injury to one simple-minded man - which cannot be, since it is the Gospel itself - I would rather suffer ten deaths than allow such a teaching to spread or go unrecanted . . .

I have said repeatedly: Assail my person if you will, and in any way you will; I do not claim to be an angel. But I will allow no one to assail my teaching with impunity, since I know that it is not mine, but God's. For on this depends my neighbor's salvation and my own, to God's praise and honor.

(From: Works of Martin Luther, Philadelphia: A.J. Holman Co. and the Castle Press, 1930; rep. by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1982 , Volume 3, 293-294; translated by A. Steimle)
Other Similar "Infallibilist Remarks"
All who shun us and attack us secretly have departed from the faith . . . Just like Zwingli . . . It pains me that Zwingli and his followers take offence at my saying that 'what I write must be true.'


(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1915; volume 4, 309)

Oecolampadius, Calvin . . . and the other heretics have in-deviled, through-deviled, over-deviled, corrupt hearts and lying mouths. (122:448/20)

(From: Will Durant, The Reformation, vol. 6 of 10-vol. The Story of Civilization, 1967, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957, 448 / Werke, Halle ed., 1753, ed. J.G. Walch, vol. 20, 223)

Heresiarchs [referring to fellow Protestants] . . . remain obdurate in their own conceit. They allow none to find fault with them and brook no opposition. This is the sin against the Holy Ghost for which there is no forgiveness.

(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1915; volume 6, 282 / Werke, Weimar ed., 19, 609 ff.)

Those are heretics and apostates [referring to fellow Protestants] who follow their own ideas rather than the common tradition of Christendom, who . . . out of pure wantonness, invent new ways and methods.

(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1915; volume 6, 282-283 / Werke, Weimar ed., 7, 394)


We must needs decry the fanatics as damned . . . They actually dare to pick holes in our doctrine; ah, the scoundrelly rabble do a great injury to our Evangel.


(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1915; volume 6, 289 /Werke, Erlangen ed., 1868, 61, 8 ff.)

Not only the spiritual but also the secular power must yield to the Evangel, whether cheerfully or otherwise.

(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubnerand Co., 1915; volume 6, 245)

Men despise the Evangel and insist on being compelled by the law and the sword.

(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1915; volume 6, 262 / Werke, Erlangen ed., vol. 3, 39 / Letter to Georg Spalatin in 1527)
At the end of 1530, Luther's associate Philip Melanchthon drafted a memorandum in which he defended a regular system of coercion by the sword (i.e., death for Anabaptists). Luther signed it with the words, "It pleases me," and added:
Though it may appear cruel to punish them by the sword, yet it is even more cruel of them . . . not to teach any certain doctrine - to persecute the true doctrine . . .


(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1915; volume 6, 251)

Although we neither can nor should force anyone into the faith, yet the masses must be held and driven to it in order that they may know what is right or wrong.

(From: Luther, Hartmann Grisar, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1915; volume 6, 263 / Werke, Weimar ed., 30, 1, 349 / Preface to Smaller Catechism of 1531)

That seditious articles of doctrine should be punished by the sword needed no further proof. For the rest, the Anabaptists hold tenets relating to infant baptism, original sin, and inspiration, which have no connection with the Word of God, and are indeed opposed to it . . . Secular authorities are also bound to restrain and punish avowedly false doctrine . . . For think what disaster would ensue if children were not baptized? . . . Besides this the Anabaptists separate themselves from the churches . . . and they set up a ministry and congregation of their own, which is also contrary to the command of God. From all this it becomes clear that the secular authorities are bound . . . to inflict corporal punishment on the offenders . . . Also when it is a case of only upholding some spiritual tenet, such as infant baptism, original sin, and unnecessary separation, then . . . we conclude that . . . the stubborn sectaries must be put to death.


(Johannes Janssen, History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages, 16 volumes, tr. A.M. Christie, St. Louis: B. Herder, 1910, orig. 1891, vol. 10, 222-223 / pamphlet of 1536 written by Philip Melanchthon and signed by Martin Luther)
The Protestant historian Thomas Babington Macaulay wrote:
    Protestant intolerance, despotism in an upstart sect, infallibility claimed by guides who acknowledge that they had passed the greater part of their lives in error . . . these things could not long be borne . . . It required no great sagacity to perceive the inconsistency and dishonesty of men who, dissenting from almost all Christendom, would suffer none to dissent from themselves, who demanded freedom of conscience, yet refused to grant it . . . who urged reason against the authority of one opponent, and authority against the reason of another. (From: Patrick F. O'Hare, The Facts About Luther, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, rev. ed., 1987, orig. Cincinnati, 1916, 297-298 / Essays [Hampden] )
See also Luther's remarks on Holy Scripture, as documented in my paper, Luther's Outrageous Assertions About Certain Biblical Books.

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Uploaded on 13 November 2002 by Dave Armstrong, from public dialogue. Added to my blog on 30 September 2006.



 

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