Skip to comments.What was tragic about the Lutheran Reformation?
Posted on 10/31/2012 12:52:34 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
A blog post on the First Things web site some time ago was drawn to my attention by a couple colleagues as we were eating lunch the other day. A perceptive remark was made about it. The article, by a LCMS pastor, is rather typical of what the Roman Catholic journal, First Things, loves to publish: hand-wringing articles by Lutherans over the Reformation.
In the article, the pastor opines that the better color for Reformation Sunday would be a color of mourning, rather than a festive red. He laments the Reformation as a tragedy. He is correct, but for the wrong reason.
Must we lament our sin? Indeed. Must we lament our human pride? Yes! Is the Church always in need of Reformation? Absolutely. Is God, by His Most Holy Word and Sacraments constantly reforming you, me and the whole Christian Church on earth? Amen, Amen, may it ever be so! But, should we lament the fact of the Reformation? No, unless we wish to lament Gods gift of the Gospel, which came breaking through with great clarity once more at this time.
Ironically, though, the author of the article misses the actual tragedy of the Reformation; namely, that it was not wholly successful. The Roman Catholic Church, as such, was formed as a direct result of the Counter-Reformation Council of Trent. And at the Council of Trent the door was slammed shut on the very Gospel itself, the good news that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone. What was at least an option before Trent, was pronounced to be a damning error.
This is the tragedy of the Reformation!
....the author of the article misses the actual tragedy of the Reformation; namely, that it was not wholly successful. The Roman Catholic Church, as such, was formed as a direct result of the Counter-Reformation Council of Trent. And at the Council of Trent the door was slammed shut on the very Gospel itself, the good news that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone. What was at least an option before Trent, was pronounced to be a damning error.
This is the tragedy of the Reformation!
Concord where it counts does not come about by the sword or by the edicts of men.
Given what has happened to the Episcopal church, soon the UMC and the ELCA, why would one regard the Reformation as anything but tragic?
“The Roman Catholic Church, as such, was formed”
Absolutely one-hundred percent rubbish. If they weren’t trying to reform the Catholic church then what the heck were they trying to reform?
You are aware that Luther et all were all Catholic priests.
The Reformation is about correcting abuses, not endorsing them.
Here’s the article. It’s not written by a Catholic for a Catholic either... First Things is protestants although obviously the ‘wrong kind’ of protestant. ;)
Timothy George is a Southern Baptist. Maybe you should try checking your facts next time.
So we should expect to see a reform of the reformation to correct stuff like this?
LOL! How ironic - you posted the wrong article. And have you seen First Things' masthead ads? What was that you were saying about fact-checking?
Absolutely!! Actually, those who espouse a reformed understanding of the Scriptures would deem this organization just as cultish as Rome. It is as despicable and false representation of the Gospel as Rome promulgates when it claims the seven sacraments, sacerdotalism, indulgences, purgatory, papalism, icons, genuflecting, pater nosters, mariolatry, and so forth, have any basis in biblical reality.
The message of the Gospel rediscovered in the Reformation was that salvation is by grace, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by any action on man's part, lest a man boast. There is the Reformation needed everywhere, and all the time: Jesus is the One who is the Author and Finisher of faith.
A real reformation was probably impossible given the entrenched corruption of the clergy. So long as this unscriptural arrangement existed it would be a self serving class seeing its self above the ordinary Christian.
So a post by a Lutheran pastor and another post by a Southern Baptist equates with First Things being a Catholic site?
Interesting logic there. Anyhoo, it would have been great rather than posting the worthless blogpimp analysis of the article, if you actually posted the first thing article.
“have any basis in biblical reality.”
If you believe in scripture alone, why do you remain with a tradition that dates back no earlier than Luther?
Would it not make sense to go with what was actually written in the bible and not what the new tradition chose to keep?
The Reformation will not have its end of correcting abuses until the Last Day. That is its nature and purpose, so one would not expect to see it reform itself, any more than one would expect Truth to change and still be Truth.
the tragedy of the “reformation” was that is was rather a revolution. Luther had neither the authority nor the ability to reform anything in the Catholic Church. He did, however, have the ability to revolt against her, which he did. The result of his meddling, and convincing people that it was alright to do so,is the 20,000 or so “denominations” all of which think that they are correct and following the teachings of Christ......they are neither.
"We should preach the Word, but the results must be left solely to Gods good pleasure . . . I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote Gods Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything."
-- Martin Luther(LW 51:77).
Would it not make sense to go with what was actually written in the bible and not what the new tradition chose to keep?"
Advocacy for a "tradition", any tradition, was the problem which the Reformers identified. There is no "tradition". The Scriptures teach that those among the elect are saved by grace, through faith, and that not of oneself, it is a gift of God, not by works (as Rome advocates), lest any man boast. Check it out...Ephesians 2, Rom. 3 & 5, Col. etc. It is everywhere in the NT epistles, but suppressed by Rome for centuries.
If the Reformation were sincerely the vanguard of Christ - why then do we see the ECLA and the Episcopal church supporting gay marriage.
Which scriptures? What do you consider scripture? Which books, Dutchboy?
I certainly agree that denominationalism is no solution. A simple reading of the Scriptures was all the original reformers intended, an act the RCC suppressed. Today’s “Lutheranism” would not even approximate the views Luther found in the Scriptures. Read Bondage of the Will and compare it to today’s liberal “lutherans”. Not even close.
Well, the Jewish Torah, w'Nebuiim, w'Kethubim were well settled before Jesus began His three years of teaching. The twenty seven NT books & letters were well settled before there was ever such a thing as the RCC (appearing around the end of the 3rd century AD). Thus began the attempted usurpation of authority. Believers, however, were everywhere by the time Rome clammored for first place. The apocrypha is an addition many RCCs did not recognize as the Word of God...notice the distinction in name.
Because they are cults, like Rome. The RCC's denial of marriage by the "priesthood", canonization of "S"aints, sacerdotalism in general, papalism, indulgences, purgatory, sacraments for salvation, and the other 400 creepy traditions foisted on the poor unsuspecting public are just as ungodly as an organization promoting homosexuality. It is clear evidence of their error and disconnection from biblical truth.
Then how exactly does one distinguish true protestants from fake ones?
nope, he didn't...in fact he actually added a word to scripture that wasn't there...the bible says that we are saved by faith...he added "alone". Martin Luther, by leading untold millions away from the true church is probably responsible for the loss of more souls than any other individual in history.
the Catholic church did not supress reading of the bible. If you recall, all bibles, until Gutenberg invented a printing press, were hand copied and therefore extremely expensive. They were found in monasteries, libraries, royal households and very few other places. People would not have access to a bible until the 1600's. Since the Catholic church edited, wrote, saved, etc the bible that we know today, why would she have kept her members from reading it???
It always amuses me when Catholics fail to capitalize the word "Bible", esp. when they demonstrate the ability to capitalize a broad range of other words in the same post.
“The twenty seven NT books & letters were well settled”
By whom? What was the first bible which included all 27? When was it published and by whom?
“The apocrypha is an addition”
Nonsense, Luther tossed books that he didn’t like from the bible, and you hold to his tradition. Why?
We capitalize Jesus.
I had a problem with an old lap top of mine that had a defective left side shift key. I made a few posts with the word Bible with a lower case B and some of the proddys went mad. I think Alex was one of them. It seems that they have mistaken the Word for some words and have made the Bible into some sort of totem subject to their worship. LOL and they accuse us of worshiping objects.
Peace be to you
Since it's a Church of one, well, that condemns everyone else
My, my we have a revisionary historian here. terycarl, I'll address this after you have re-read the real history of the RCC and its hatred for the printed Bible. And, if you believe the RCC actually wrote, saved the Bible, you need more than a history lesson. The RCC has edited the Bible, if by that you mean altered it. No question. But, no RC had anything to do with writing it...please. There was no such thing as a RCC when the Bible was completed. Let go of the propaganda machine.
You have identified yet another tragic characteristic of folks entrapped by Rome...they value the org. more than the Scriptures.
I'd check that new laptop. Your post shows faults that will no doubt be blamed on the keyboard again.
In a highly illiterate world, within which there was often no written language for the hundreds of regional dialects, there was no practical demand for a printed vernacular Bible outside of universities, monasteries, and churches. What few vernacular bibles that existed before the printing presses were produced by the Catholic Church. Those that cropped up outside the Church did not receive the Church's seal of approval and the Church rightly it known to all that the content was at least suspect and often heretical.
In its place was religious art depicting scenes, characters, and stories from the Bible. This art, paintings, stained glass, tapestries, sculpture, icons, music and poetry, taught and inspired many generations and provided a necessary mnemonic to the illiterate masses.
Tragically, much of this unprinted Word of God was destroyed by the reformation in its efforts to undermine the Magisterium, re-brand Christianity and control the hearts and minds of the masses (and the wealth of the Church). This was by far a greater hate crime against God and humanity than any measures taken to preserve the orthodoxy of the Word against heresy.
Peace be with you
No sir, the icons & art were/are not in fact the "unprinted Word of God". They were nothing more than images of errant fanciful thoughts and downright pagan idols. The world is far better off with those errors destroyed.
And perhaps you view the past as a "highly illiterate world", but the fact is that copies of the NT letters, together with the Hebrew texts, existed and were read & circulated in nearly every city of the known world. Your organization survives on an imaginary preeminence the way the emperor who had no clothes pictured his regal robes. We invite you to experience a "reformation moment" and come out of this cultish den into the light of Jesus Christ, alone...if you are permitted.
That is a point on which you and the Islamic world agree, but disagree the vast majority of Christians. I suppose you equally condemn any media other than the written word such as music and movies depicting the Biblical stories. How joyless your world must be.
"And perhaps you view the past as a "highly illiterate world", but the fact is that copies of the NT letters, together with the Hebrew texts, existed and were read & circulated in nearly every city of the known world. "
You are ignoring that there was a lingua franca, Greek that enabled persons to read those writings or that there were many, many fraudulent and heretical versions in circulation at that time. (note that the Septuagint was one such collection in circulation for the majority of the world's Jews who could not read Hebrew and the growing Christian community.) When the need for a new vernacular was recognized the Church produced the Vulgate, whose very name revealed its intended audience.
No it is not the Catholic Church that is in the dark shadow of the reformation.
If I held to the errors of the Reformation I too would rather discuss punctuation than theology.
Peace be with you.
You are free to hold your own beliefs, but the fact that St. Peter, the first Catholic Bishop of Rome and the first Pope was a human author of two New Testament books is the most obvious proof that reality contradicts those beliefs. Other New Testament human authors who were Catholic bishops were St. John who was the Bishop of Asia Minor, and St. James who was the first Bishop of Jerusalem.
Pax et bonem
Stay locked in the closet of ingrown self-righteousness and deception, if you must. Rome has enslaved its millions, the way the Islamic cult has enslaved millions.
The joy and freedom of Jesus Christ, alone, exists now as it has existed since His blood was shed on Calvary. The elect welcomed the rescue and call to those who rely on props...come out, if you can. That one must be chained to men in bathrobes and pointy hats to have hope is not only tragic, but borders on demonic.
I pray for you
That someone held in Rome's clutches would call one living in the freedom of Jesus Christ, alone, a "sick person" is the epitome of one missing the message of the Bible. It is we who would pray for you, my FRiend. You will be talking to the ceiling.
It's not really a Roman Catholic journal, and that's not really typical of what they publish.
Otherwise, you're right on target.
“There was no such thing as a RCC when the Bible was completed”
Which raises four questions.
One, when did the Catholic church form?
Two, when was the Bible completed?
Three, who was responsible for founding the Catholic church?
Four, who was responsible for completing the bible?
Okay, a lurking ceiling cat? I need to be very careful.
And I you.
Please note that I formed my statement as a syllogism in which the premise was one who would see Catholics or Protestants as a greater evil than secular humanism or radical Islam. If you think that then I do recognize the depth of your spiritual despair. If you hold hatred in your heart for those whom you believe love God, however imperfectly, you are absent the Holy Spirit. If you believe that I do not love God then you are tragically wrong. To believe you are somehow elect while holding that hatred is the sin of presumption.
Peace be with you.
Two, when was the Bible completed?
Three, who was responsible for founding the Catholic church?
Four, who was responsible for completing the bible?'
Notice all of the questions (except perhaps #2) are more or less rhetorical, aimed at defending your organization. But, here goes...
1. If you mean the RCC, then as late as Augustine (circa 390AD) there were arguments about whether the so-called bishop of Rome was in charge. Sadly, even Augustine rolled over. But, this is approx. when Rome shoved its foot in the door. All the tripe about Peter is utter nonsense. Find any reference to him being named a "Pope" in the Scriptures and I'll send you to Rome all expenses paid. The Matt. 16 citation is simply Peter's confession that Jesus was in fact the Messiah of Israel, the Son of Yahweh. Notice, little rock Peter, massive bedrock Recognition of Jesus. Five verses later Jesus says Peter is acting like Satan. No Pope...sorry.
If you mean "catholic" as in "universal", then the universal "church" of Christ was formed as Jesus added the elect to His family. One cannot tell from the text the precise moment Jesus began to build His Assembly. It may have been while He was speaking. But, it likely now includes Adam, if he was among the elect, and Abel, possibly not Cain, etc.
The reference to Him creating His "assembly" and calling this a "Church" is yet another mangling of the text. There is no such word as "Church" in the text. If you don't believe me, read any decent Greek text and see for yourself. The term "assembly" was morphed into a Scottish word Kirk, and later church. Jesus referred to His gathered assembly of all believers. You are in this by virtue of Him choosing you...if you are among the elect.
2. The Bible was completed circa 91AD by the last entries of the apostle John. No exact date is available.
3. I suspect some pretty odd fellows are responsible and I'd like to see them brought to justice, kind of like the Benghazi fiasco. If you come across them, let us know.
4. The people responsible for completing the Bible are the Jewish writers, such as Moses, David, Solomon, the Prophets, and other Jewish men. The Jewish Scriptures do reference men who were considered Pre-circumcised believers (like Abram/Abraham, etc.), but they were not writers. The writers of the NT were the three Jewish gospel writers, Luke (the only Gentile writer), the Jewish fisherman Peter, James (brother of Jesus), Jude, and principally Paul, a Jewish Pharisee. Notice...no RCC. Let go of the ego grease.
Please re-read my posts. I have no hatred for anyone, lost or otherwise. Perhaps you project. But, in any case, you did not follow my remark very closely. I simply said, Rome has enslaved its millions, the way Islam has misled its millions; Rome has misled its millions. No bombed children connection with Rome, my FRiend. Just a similarity with numbers. You were the one originally attempting to connect me to the Islamic world.
"That is a point on which you and the Islamic world agree,"
And, certainly presumption would be wrong.
1, So what faith was Origen? Tertullian?
“All the tripe about Peter is utter nonsense”
What do you make of Matthew 16:17-19 where Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gives St. Peter the authority to bind and loose and gives him the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
“Jesus replied, Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Straight from the NIV. Jesus gives the keys and authority to St. Peter.
“One cannot tell from the text the precise moment Jesus began to build His Assembly. It may have been while He was speaking. But, it likely now includes Adam, if he was among the elect, and Abel, possibly not Cain, etc.”
Actually, the bible is very clear on this. Pentecost is when the Church begins.
“If you don’t believe me, read any decent Greek text”
The greek word is EKKLESIA -> which we see in the english words ecclesiastical, “of pertaining to the workings of the Church”.
2. “The Bible was completed circa 91AD by the last entries of the apostle John. No exact date is available.”
Oh, so why then does St. Augustine cite that the Canon is closed then? Why does Origen discuss the canonicity of the New Testament books and debates the merit of each? The Canon was not set until Pope Damasus - the first bible published with the entire NT canon in the form to which we are now familiar is the Vulgate.
The best Greek manuscripts we possess from the period prior (Sinaiticus + Vaticanus), both lack certain NT books. If the Canon were indeed set in 90 AD, we would expect both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus to use the same set. They do not.
3. Answer the question. Who founded the Catholic church?
4. “The people responsible for completing the Bible are the Jewish writers”. Then why do you reject some of the books the Jews wrote?
Exactly, my friend. You know me well enough. I am fairly balanced (I can ride a velocipede).
However, I must agree with my friend Natural Law. If one does not consider the Gospels the highest and most sacred revelation of God to man; the New Testament to be viewed through the prism of the Gospels and OT to be viewed through the prism of the New, why then, the very intent and importance of the Incarnation comes into immediate question.