Reformation Day Halloween
Protestantism

Happy Reformation Day

 

Quite why Martin Luther chose to protest against Tetzel and his sale of indulgences on All Hallows’ Eve is unknown, unless it was simply a marketing decision to ensure that his 95 Theses were read by as many as possible on one of the busiest Holy Days of the year. But on 31st October 1517, the world was introduced to what became known as ‘Protestantism’, and Christendom was torn assunder.

Luther railed against the extravagances of the Roman Catholic Church, “whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus”, he wrote. He repudiated purgatory and indulgences, insisting that salvation is by faith in Christ alone. It was certainly not for sale, and the Pope of Rome had absolutely no authority to absolve buyers from anything they justly had coming to them by faith. The protest spread throughout Germany, and reached France, Italy and the shores of England. Thanks to the advent of the printing press, tens of thousands would go on to read On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and On the Freedom of a Christian in Luther’s own time.

And today we remember this.

Or perhaps not.

One might hope that the United Kingdom would commemorate the 500th anniversary of this momentous event in 2017 (if, indeed, the Kingdom is still united two years hence), but until then we’re stuck with pumpkins, skeletons, witches and trick-or-treating. Hallowmas has been stripped of its Christian origins and the festival has returned to its Celtic pagan roots. And yet the collecting of ‘soul cakes’ and the ringing of bells for the departed in purgatory are as pointless as Tetzel’s indulgences. One wonders what Luther would now make of it all.

The Christian response? Well, you could ignore it, like all but the most devout Christians do All Saints’ Day. You could carve out a Jesus pumpkin and witness to the trick-or-treaters that salvation is to be found in Christ alone and they’re going to hell if they continue to consort with the Devil and Harry Potter. Or you could participate in the cultural phenomenon, for a candle in a pumpkin is not an invocation to the demons of hell.

Father Gabriele Amorth, exorcist-in-chief at the Vatican, said a few years ago: “The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences.” Luther clearly thought the same. Yet Gabriele Amorth also said of Halloween: “If English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.”

One wonders if he holds the same generous view of those children who hold Reformation Parties, re-enact the 95 Theses with Playmobil, or dress up as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Foxe, Huss, Knox or Archbishop Cranmer himself to celebrate Reformation Day. Is there any harm in that?

  • David

    Like many committed Christians I face the annual dilemma of whether to separate myself from the contemporary ideas of the commercial Halloween or not. If I separate myself should this be done quietly and without giving reasons, or announced openly as the true Christian’s response to an evil celebration? If I do the latter, will my faith just be seen as a killjoy and totally incomprehensible, thus scoring an own goal ? If I celebrate with non-Christians, then what exactly am I celebrating, and again should I carve a “Jesus pumpkin”, or make some other declaration like that, to force my point ? Questions ….. questions, the endless questions that face a believer in our post-modern society, so often deeply ignorant of the true Christian roots of its now secular celebrations.
    The answers really do depend upon your particular circumstances I suggest. So it is worth giving a little bit of thought to how you, as a recognised believer, can best assist, or at a least, avoid hindering the faith, before making a conscious decision. However it is not something to agonise over for days, as I just do not see it as that hugely significant.
    In my case the local churches that I am associated with are doing nothing at all, so helping there is not an option. But a sports club which I belong to are having a totally innocent bit of fun, an archery competition, shooting arrows at a few pumpkin “heads”. To deliberately withdraw, accompanied by a lofty lecture on “evil creeping in through the backdoor”, would simply be to paint myself as a miserable old Christian. That would not advance the faith- but quite the reverse. So I shall join in, drink beer moderately, and shoot a few well aimed arrows at pumpkin heads. But, as always, if an opening arises to advance the Kingdom – from an inquirer – I shall always be ready “to give an account of the hope that is in (me)”. Others may reach different conclusions and I hope that I have decided wisely.

    • Anton

      Separate yourself. Terrible things go on at Halloween out at the far end of the occult. But there is no need to fear such people or the force that lies behind them.

      • sarky

        Whooooooh spooky!!!!

        • The Explorer

          I’d prefer the word ‘sordid’. But then, I have a soft spot for animals, and I object to their being mistreated.

          • sarky

            I take it animal sacrifice in the bible is ok though?

          • The Explorer

            Wrong tense. It’s ended. And the torture of animals was never part of the process.

          • sarky

            I think what your talking about is a bit of an urban myth, dragged up every year to put the wind up daily mail readers.

          • The Explorer

            Take it up with Anton. But I wasn’t talking primarily about Britain. Michael Green, who served as a missionary in Africa, experienced such things as a reality.

          • sarky

            Pretty sure Halloween isn’t celebrated in Africa.

          • The Explorer

            True enough, but I thought we were discussing the mistreatment of animals. However, we’re veering away from the topic of the thread. I suggest we end it.

          • sarky

            You started it 🙂

          • The Explorer

            Debatable, but that would extend the discussion. Assuming I did, I’m duly ending it.

      • David

        At “the far end….” – yes, agreed on that, and the fact that we need not fear evil, which Christ conquered.
        When I travelled in Cuba, where some dabble in African derived voodoo like practices, it was clear that many feared their “spells”, including the atheist communists, but not the Christians, Catholic or Protestant. So far here, pure evil is still restricted, although growing, but when you travel in regions where it is widespread, the Christian sees more readily the stark gulf between light and darkness.

        • dannybhoy

          You might enjoy the dvd “Father of Lights”…

    • sarky

      ‘Christian roots of secular celebrations’ ??

      you do know all our celebrations have pagan roots?
      I for one will be carving pumpkins, dressing up the kids and taking them trick or treating, then settling down to the exorcist with a four pack and a big bowl of haribo!!

      Happy halloween :-):-):-):-):-)

      • The Explorer

        Paganism preceded Christianity in Britain, so it figures that Christian festivals would have been based on the closest pagan (sometimes extremely reverent) equivalents.

        Whether paganism is older than the Judaism which is the root of Christianity is a moot point. Popular anthropology posited an original; polytheism evolving into monotheism; although more recent evidence (but I’m no expert on this) suggests rather an original monotheism deteriorating into polytheism.

        I’d say Christianity, with God’s blessing, fulfilled not only Judaism but also what was true in paganism. But not all Christians would agree with me.

        • dannybhoy

          Surely Paganism goes back further than Judaism?
          ” although more recent evidence (but I’m no expert on this) suggests rather an original monotheism deteriorating into polytheism.”
          That’s what I understood too. At the root of all religions there are remnants of a belief in one God.

          • The Explorer

            Don’t know, What I was trying to say is that the paganism Christianity encountered in pagan Britain might have been younger than the Judaism of which Christianity was a continuum.

        • Coniston

          “….Christianity…..fulfilled not only Judaism but also what was true in paganism.” C. S. Lewis touched on this in his essay ‘Myth Became Fact’.

      • David

        Enjoy the beer !

      • Martin

        Sarky

        “you do know all our celebrations have pagan roots?”

        Of course it did, as did All Hallows and other ‘church’ festivals.

        Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
        (Galatians 4:8-11 [ESV])

        Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
        (Colossians 2:16-19 [ESV]

        The only thing Christians are called to celebrate is the Lord’s Supper, that remembrance of His death.

        • sarky

          Always thought that was very halloween. Drinking blood and eating the flesh of a zombie.

          • The Explorer

            You’re really getting into the pagan spirit of this, aren’t you? Just so long as you personally remember to confine yourself to the beer and the haribo.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Zombies aren’t alive, nor can they walk through doors. Not that they exist of course. Nor do Christians eat flesh or drink blood, we leave such silliness to the superstitious. You make yourself look a fool with such strawmen

      • William Lewis

        Why are you teaching your kids extortion?

        • CliveM

          Oh Sarky doesn’t believe in “condemning” any behaviour.

          • William Lewis

            He has said that he takes his morality from that of the prevailing culture, so it’s probably par for the course.

      • Beer with gummibears? Disgusting. Blood and zombie flesh sound better.

    • William Lewis

      Good post David. Have an empathetic upvote. 🙂

      • David

        Thank you.

  • Anton

    BIG anniversary in two years time!

  • Manfarang

    Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Halloween didn’t used to be much.
    Maybe now it is a a sign of greater American
    cultural influence. I hear schools in England
    now have proms.

    • John Thomas

      Proms, yes – but where do American school proms come from? Is there any connection with “Promenade concerts”, started by conductor Sir Henry Wood at the Queen’s Hall, London (the site now houses shops and offices, following WWII bombing)?

  • dannybhoy

    ” But on 31st October 1517, the world was introduced to what became known as ‘Protestantism’, and Christendom was torn assunder…”
    You mean of course that the door to education, discovery and progress was pushed open, and reasonable people in their hundreds, thousands and millions poured through. Leaving “the doorkeeper” battered, bruised and much diminished….
    Was Christianity torn asunder?
    NO!!!!
    The successor to the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire was torn asunder. The Church, the Bride of Christ remained, flourished and continues to flourish.

    • Anton

      I think Cranmer knows that. What is worth pointing out is that Christendom was torn asunder in 1054 when the church divided into Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

      • Martin

        Anton & Danny

        Christendom is not the same as the Church, the gathering of God’s people.

        • Anton

          I know. I’ve given sermons on that. But in Europe there weren’t people like the Waldenses and the Lollards before the 11th century. The real Christians were in the institutional churches along with the nominals.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Or at least we have no record of them. Perhaps there were little groups scattered all over, below the radar of the powers that be.

          • Pubcrawler

            ‘Celtic’ Christianity was a bit of an outlier, though, leading to, for example, the Synod of Whitby.

          • Anton

            Wrong decision there!

      • Jon Sorensen

        What is worth pointing out is that Christendom was torn asunder when Paul met James?

        • Anton

          “Christendom” is generally used to denote politicised Christianity, as the word is a concatenation of “Christian kingdom”. This is what was seen in the mediaeval era, and I believe it is not authentic Christianity because it adds Old Testament law (politics) to New Testament grace.

          Do say more about Paul and James.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “I believe it is not authentic Christianity”
            There is no “authentic Christianity”. Everyone claims their view is the right one…

            James followed the Law, Paul didn’t.

          • Anton

            And it was discussed to agreement in Acts 15.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Galatians 2 is a lot older and showed the original problem. Acts 15 is written later to try to smooth over the differences from Gentile sect point of view. It would have been great to have James’ writing about that event if that ever happened. I bet he called Paul a heretic 😉

          • Anton

            So find me a contradiction.

          • Jon Sorensen

            James followed the Law, Paul didn’t.

            You would think people who walked with Jesus knew his teachings…

          • Anton

            I meant, find me a contradiction between Bible verses.

          • Jon Sorensen

            There are countless contradictions. Most famous ones are of course Jesus’ death scene. For example what were his last words? But that is not my point.

            The contradiction is that James followed the Law, Paul didn’t. Jesus did not teach both views.

          • Anton

            We needn’t restrict ourselves to the James/Paul issue, but you are making the claim of contradiction, so you tell me which verses contradict which.

    • Goodness, you’re sounding like a progressive-liberal who believes in the evolution of Church doctrine. And, do remember, many of those “reasonable people” didn’t so much “pour through” the door but were forcibly pushed through. You really think the common man understood Luther’s theology? Luther tapped into the resentments and grievances of an impoverished population and turned this against the wealth of the Church.

      • dannybhoy

        “You really think the common man understood Luther’s theology?”

        “You really think the common man understood the Church’s theology?”

        • No, Jack doesn’t. The reformation was as much about social revolution and political change as it was about Christianity.

          • Martin

            HJ

            On the contrary, the Reformation was about opening the Bible to the common people. The common people didn’t understand what the Bible said because Rome sought to hide it and destroy those who found it.

          • Then simple, illiterate people, who believed in the Gospel and lived it in their daily lives, were flooded with ‘learned’ and contradictory and competing versions of Christianity – that also flamed passions of envy, greed and hatred.

          • Martin

            HJ

            They had the Bible opened to them so they could now see what was error & what was truth. God gives His Spirit to the believer so they can understand Scripture.

          • … and just look at the fruits of protestantism in the 21 century – on individual souls and on society.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Just look at the splitting of the church of Rome. The current popes is at odds with many. Then you have the idolatry of the Mass & worshipping of Mary and the ‘saints’. And you criticise the Reformed?

          • Indeed, Jack does criticise the reformers. Everyone becomes their own pope. Indeed, many of the divisions in the Catholic Church spring from protestant ideas.
            You really should try to inform yourself better and begin to understand Mary is not “worshipped”. To continue to claim so just reveals you as ignorant. And the Mass, far from being ‘idolatry’, is God’s greatest gift to mankind and will continue being celebrated until Christ returns.

          • Martin

            HJ

            If it is bad that everyone should become their own pope it is worse that one man should do so and take upon himself the title that belongs to God alone, that of Holy Father. In any case, the Reformers freed the common man from the tyranny of the papacy, not to create another tyranny.

            You may pretend that Mary isn’t worshipped but the activity of adherents says otherwise.

            God’s greatest gift to mankind is Christ, not the superstitious nonsense that is the Mass.

          • We’ve no more to say to one another, Martin.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’ve plenty to say.

  • carl jacobs

    Post Tenebras Lux

    • Interesting observation:

      ” … the Reformation itself was about faith being taken out of the home or the parish church and taken into the hands of the specialists, the Doctors of the Law such as Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Cranmer. It moved from the heart to the printed page, from, something gained from books rather than something past on within the culture itself.”
      (Fr. Ray Blake)

      http://marymagdalen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/doctors-of-law-and-spirit-of-trent.html

      • Martin

        HJ

        What nonsense, the church of Rome removed faith from the ordinary people and made the leader of a congregation the master of the people whose rule used secret arts in a foreign language. Rome is responsible for many sorts of superstition, much of which is at the heart of Halloween!

      • Ivan M

        It is also the basis of the Protestant “work ethic”. Coral the peasantry in the princes and lords lands, stolen from the monasteries. Lands held in common when the Roman Church was around. Make them tenants, squeeze their leisure to work for a new rentier class. Call this emancipation, ring it around with punitive property rights and you have the petit bourgeois class, striving but not attaining to the class of their superiors, always fearful of the bedlam below consisting of disenfranchised vagrants. Our old friend Karl Marx had much to say about this necessary stage of the World Spirit.

  • Jon Sorensen

    Yesterday a pro-Jewish post and today a praise for Luther. This blog is really mixing it up.

    • The Explorer

      Nobody I know of has ever suggested that Luther got everything right. Look at his attitude to the peasants when things started getting out of hand. And remember, Luther did not start out hostile to the Jews; and his quarrel was theological, not racial.

      • Anton

        Telling the peasants to pipe down was absolutely right. Christ never supported violent revolution against the corrupt religious authorities of his day.

        • Timing is everything. Luther assaulted the established order; what did he expect?

          “Why does not the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?”

          “People in all layers of the social hierarchy – serfs or city dwellers, guildsmen or farmers, knights and aristocrats – started to question the established hierarchy. The so-called Book of One Hundred Chapters, for example, written between 1501 and 1513, promoted religious and economic freedom, attacking the governing establishment and displaying pride in the virtuous peasant. The Bundschuh revolts of the first 20 years of the century offered another avenue for the expression of anti-authoritarian ideas, and for the spread of these ideas from one geographic region to another.

          “Luther’s revolution may have added intensity to these movements, but did not create them; the two events, Luther’s Protestant Reformation and the German Peasants’ War, were separate events, sharing the same years, but occurring independently. However, Luther’s doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers” could be interpreted as proposing greater social equality than Luther intended. Luther vehemently opposed the revolts, writing the pamphlet Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants, in which he remarks “Let everyone who can, smite, slay, and stab, secretly or openly … nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel. It is just as one must kill a mad dog; if you do not strike him he will strike you.”

          “Historian Roland Bainton saw the revolt as a struggle that began as an upheaval immersed in the rhetoric of Luther’s Protestant Reformation against the Catholic Church but which really was impelled far beyond the narrow religious confines by the underlying economic tensions of the time.”
          (Wiki)

          At the end of his life, Luther turned very strident in his views; pronounced the pope the Antichrist; advocated for the expulsion of Jews from the empire and condoned polygamy based on the practice of the patriarchs in the Old Testament.

          • Anton

            What you mean by condoned is that he saw it as the lesser of two evils, if I recall; the point is worth debating in that context.

            The papacy was a pretty good guess for the Antichrist of the Book of Revelation in Luther’s time, based on the identification of the scarlet woman in that book, with whom the Antichrist is associated, as the Roman Catholic church. For, there is a reference to seven hills; Rome was executing evangelicals as heretics; and Catholic powers were extending their sway over much of the globe. Some protestants still insist on this identification (you’d be surprised how often I tell them they’re wrong), but I believe time has proven otherwise. I believe that the woman is either a New Age religious system or the world financial system. Time again will tell.

            It is hard to believe that the Peasants’ Revolt and Luther’s preaching were entirely unrelated if they took place in the same place at the same time. I do not know if Bainton is secular but secular historians tend to over-stress economic motives and under-stress religious ones.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “Nobody I know of has ever suggested that Luther got everything right.”
        Well that is the understatement of the year. Have you read his books ”
        The Jews & Their Lies”?. Let me repeat that; he wrote a book advocating calling Jews “stupid fools”, advocating to burn down Jewish synagogues taking away their religious writings to, forbid rabbis to preach, forced labour and kicking out of the country. … “a theological quarrel” all right…

        This is the guy Christians celebrate and they get upset when some artists just want a boycott?

        • The Explorer

          Luther got many things wrong, including his views about Copernicus. In 1523, though, he urged kindness towards the Jews in ‘That Jesus Christ was born a Jew’. He hoped that the Jews, presented with the Gospel in a new way, would accept it. When they refused, he became bitter. (Remember, this was a man fighting on many fronts, and constantly in danger of his life.)

          Luther was used by the Nazis, but wrongly, in my view. His quarrel was theological, not racial., and he was verbally combative. (Look at his language about the peasants, who were German.) For the Nazis, Jews who had converted to Christianity were still biological Jews. The conversion counted for nothing. For Luther, it would have counted for everything.

          • Ivan M

            Luther had another connection with Hitler at least it seems that way to me. Both men had problems with the lower gut. A diet of sauerkraut probably didn’t help. Adolph had Dr Morell’s quack pills to help, Luther had to make do with an ice cold toilet. No wonder the man was always angry. His portraits show him blocking a full head of steam.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “In 1523, though, he urged kindness towards the Jews”
            and in 1543 he published “On the Jews and Their Lies” becoming the leading Jew hater of all times.

            “Remember, this was a man fighting on many fronts, and constantly in danger of his life.”
            I know someone else who died 1945, also hated Jews and was a man fighting on many fronts, and constantly in danger of his life.

            “Luther was used by the Nazis, but wrongly, in my view.”
            LOL. They implemented what Luther wrote. Are you now a genocide apologists?

            “For the Nazis, Jews who had converted to Christianity were still biological Jews. The conversion counted for nothing. For Luther, it would have counted for everything.”
            So Luther hated Jews just because they were Jews. And this is the man you admire and celebrate? OMG!

          • The Explorer

            “I know someone else who died in 1945.” I thought Luther died before that.

          • Jon Sorensen

            WUT? *someone else*

          • The Explorer

            The target for genocide: all those named Jon who ignore what’s been said, or deliberately misinterpret it.

    • Martin

      Jon

      Luther was a great man of God, but he was still a man. The church of Rome does not produce men of God.

      • Jon Sorensen

        He was the biggest anti-semitist you can image and was inspiration to Hitler. And you call him “great”. hmmm…

        If anyone today would repeat anything from his book “On the Jews and Their Lies” you would not call them “great”. How can you call such a bigot “great”?

        • Ivan M

          It may be the other way round. The Reformer may have got the part of the Talmudists right and the part of salvation by grace alone wrong. The peasantry who thought that Luther heralded freedom from clerico-fascism got a nasty surprise when he urged the princes to whip their ass. Same boss, different management.

        • Ivan M

          In any case what would you expect, here was Luther labouring under the illusion that if not for superstitious Romans, the whole world would accept Christ only to be disabused by the filth he found in the Talmud. How, He Whose Name Be Forever Cursed is burning in excrement. His mother a two-dollar whore, opening her legs to every passing Roman. How it is all right to gouge the goyim since they are cattle anyway. At no time when did I feel Luther’s zeal for Christian welfare than when I read his diatribe.

        • Martin

          Jon

          Hitler was a politician who used whatever he could to support his position. And you must remember, that great king of Israel, a righteous man, was also a murderer.

          • Jon Sorensen

            But Luther was the biggest anti-semitist you can image and you think he was great 🙁

          • Martin

            Jon

            All Christians still sin, but that does not detract from their greatness and righteousness for that is of God.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So you endorse celebrating a person who wrote and anti-Semitic book? You are ok if you friends advocate stealing stuff from Jews and kick them out of the country? This is the standard of people you are happy to associate with?

  • len

    The one essential fact Luther Re-established was that salvation was by Grace through faith not works…. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
    Ephesians 2:8

    Anti -semitism seems to have been an accepted practice in the early RCC and continued into some of the Protestant Churches in the form of ‘Replacement Theology’ and Luther apparently never repented of this abomination much to his discredit.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/vat_hol11.htm

    • Just so you know, Roman Catholics also believe we are saved by the free gift of faith offered to everyone. Salvation comes from cooperating with this great grace and letting it grow in one’s soul and this is reflected in one’s life and one’s dealings with others. It was the latter part Luther struggled to accept as it appears he wanted greater certainty.

      Btw, Jack agrees with Luther’s criticisms of the abuses of indulgences by Rome.

      • Martin

        HJ

        That little word ‘cooperating’ gives you away. If you have to cooperate it isn’t grace, it’s earned.

        • One can resist grace … Plenty do.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No one can resist grace. When God saves the soul He does so effectually.

          • Those two assertions do not go together. The first is just wrong; the second a a truism. Calvin was wrong about predestination and so are you.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Of course they go together, and if Calvin was wrong then so was Paul, and indeed Christ Himself. According to you, God does not effectually save the soul for He relies on man to cooperate.

          • dannybhoy

            Martin, as we have discussed previously the Bible does not teach irresistible grace. Were that so all men would be saved because God is not willing that any should perish.
            2 Peter 3:9.
            If He is not willing that any should perish, then logically all should receive irresistible grace seeings as all are sinners and have fallen short of God’s standard.
            Romans 3: 23

          • Martin

            Danny

            That God would that none should perish does not mean that He would save all any more than that God’s desire that none should sin prevents them from sinning.

          • dannybhoy

            You said to me during that long discussion we had that men cannot help but sin, because we are born sinful.
            If that be true (which I for one dispute), then a just God would have to either save all (universalism) or condemn all.
            That He would choose to save some (whether they wanted to be saved or not), and condemn the rest would prove His power not His justice.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Salvation isn’t about justice, but mercy. Therefore God can save whom He chooses to save. As to being born sinners, what do you make of David’s comment:

            Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
            and in sin did my mother conceive me.
            (Psalms 51:5 [ESV]

            He isn’t saying his mother was a sinner.

          • dannybhoy

            Many Jewish authorities believe that he is..

            http://whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation5.html

            but consider too..
            http://redeeminggod.com/born-in-sin-psalm-51_5/

            http://ancientroadpublications.com/Studies/BiblicalStudies/Psalm51.5.html

            https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/276-original-sin-and-a-misapplied-passage

            I think the Bible teaches that all men are sinners, because they learn to sin: not because they can’t help but sin.

            Romans 2:12-16

            “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

          • Martin

            Danny

            Of course, since the Jews have failed to recognise their Messiah, what they may think a passage means is irrelevant.

            I see you have a bunch of people who are desperately trying to say David isn’t saying he’s a sinner and even one who suggests that David is saying his mother is a sinner! However, the context is of David confessing his sin, hence I think that all those claims are false.

            We sin because we have inherited Adams nature, we are born ‘in Adam’. Therefore it is our nature to sin, from our very first breath and before it. Remember, death is the punishment for sin and even babies die.

          • It’s all a tad more complex than you think. Try reading Aquinas and Molina – they disagree, btw – and then go back and study Augustine a bit more carefully.

          • alternative_perspective

            I’m a molonist.

          • It’s a complex and rich theology – mind blowing, in fact – and there is much to be gleaned from it spiritually. It helps Jack make sense of so many scriptural passages and verses. It was blogging here that made Jack dig deeper into this and he is thankful for this.
            Did you know that the dispute with those supporting Aquinas had all but succeeded and the then Pope, who’s name Jack cannot recall, was apparently on the verge of declaring Molonism a heresy? He died before doing so and was replaced by a Pope who allowed both Thomism and Molonism to exist side by side, considering God’s predestination remains essentially shrouded. Catholics are free to see merits in both.

          • dannybhoy

            Keith Ward’s “Is religion irrational?” draws quite heavily on the theology of Thomas Aquinas..
            Personally I think theology is a bit like a game of spiritual Buckaroo…

          • It was the reformation that led to the explosion in the variety of theological writings and the proposition each man can choose his own preferred perspective. Look how many contradictory “understandings” of scripture compete with one another.

          • dannybhoy

            In my saner moments I consider myself rationaI, (cue hysterical laughter)

            but I confess I struggled with some of Keith Ward’s ideas, which he develops from Aquinas T.
            For instance the way God interacts with His Creation -(Ward often refers to God as Mind rather than Spirit) and the risks God took in designing a world for carbon based life forms; (that’s you Jack..)
            But some of it was very good and reinforced my understanding that God constantly reaches out to His creatures in love and forgiveness, but will not force them to respond.
            I think you’re a bit fixated on exploding theology, Jack.
            I accept that there’s all kinds of “way out” stuff floating around, and that it would seem sensible to have a repository of sound Christian theology.

            I also accept that the Catholic Church has been more diligent in dealing with the quality of Christian doctrine as per Titus 2.
            However we know that Catholicism has not been error free theologically, either.
            My faith is in the Holy Spirit to use the Scriptures as our pole star or lodestone, and for Godly anointed men or women to teach us.
            The main thing is that we should NEVER put complete trust in any man or woman, regardless of their position. I am more than confident in our God’s ability to keep us on an even keel Jack.

            1 John 2:27
            “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have noneed that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”

            Balanced with…
            Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESVUK)
            “11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[a] and teachers,[b] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[c] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            Actually I’d rather read the Bible, the true authority.

          • Yes, but you are clearly following the interpretations of Calvin and others and not your own. So, really, they are your “authority”, not scripture alone.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, I’m following the clear teaching of Scripture.

        • CliveM

          Accepting a freely offered gift, does not mean you’ve earned it.

          • …. and one is at liberty to resist and refuse the offer.

          • CliveM

            Yes agreed and many do.

          • Martin

            Clive

            Salvation is the gift no one accepts, The parable of the Great Banquet applies, where the invited refused to come and those who came were compelled to.

        • Anton

          If I am drowning (in my own sin) and I grab a lifebelt that someone (Christ) throws me, “cooperation” is not the right word for my act of grabbing. Without the lifebelt being thrown to me I’d drown.

          The analogy is not exact because someone out of their depth in water knows that they are drowning, whereas many people don’t know that their bad acts will lead them to hell; and many aren’t even sure of what acts are good and what are bad; the conscience too is fallen. So we need also to be given God’s view of our own souls. But we do have to do something otherwise it is just a puppet show.

          I am not wholly happy with the Calvinist view and not wholly happy with the Arminian. Could it be that we are meant to grow in the pondering of the tension between the two?

          • Martin

            Anton

            You are not drowning, you are already dead, as dead as the bones in Ezekiel 37. Only God can raise those bones to life.

          • Anton

            So long as I have breath I may yet end up in heaven or hell.

            I’m not looking for a fight (NB I’m not saying you are); I’m looking for a discussion.

          • Martin

            Anton

            You didn’t actually respond to my point. BTW, I’m not saying that is your personal present state, just the state of the sinner.

          • Anton

            Quite true! I’m still pondering the question and am not really wired for output. Thank you for your comment which I’ve thrown into the mix.

          • William Lewis

            Could it be that we are meant to grow in the pondering of the tension between the two?

            Quite possibly.

          • alternative_perspective

            I think the Armenian view has suffered many years by Calvinist propopaganda. It certainly isn’t anything goes.

          • Anton

            Arminian, after a guy whose Latin name was Arminius! Nothing to do with the Armenians.

      • dannybhoy

        I rather thought you recently implied that whilst salvation is free, it is obedience to the church’s rules and ordinances that secures that salvation.
        If I got that wrong I of course apologise.

        • One can follow all the rules and ordinances of the Catholic Church and still be damned. What matters is a relationship with Christ. The law and the spirit of the law are one and the same for Catholics – or should be. The Church explains and sets forth Christ’s commands about how we should live our lives to become ever more perfect and offers the sacraments as channels to infuse sanctifying grace into the soul to strengthen us and pick us up when we fall.

          • dannybhoy

            I am delighted to say I misunderstood your original comment!
            “One can follow all the rules and ordinances of the Catholic Church and still be damned.”
            Which is also true of the Anglican Church and any highly organised Church or cult.
            It can happen too in the non conformist evangelical churches I am familiar and comfortable with. The difference is that in those churches the focus usually is on Salvation and all aspects thereof; including sanctification – although they may not use that word.
            I think the different traditions suit different kinds of people, and as long as the individual has that saving relationship with Christ through grace and the enabling of the Holy Spirit, that’s all that matters. All those folk in all those traditions make up the Church Universal.

          • len

            ‘The Church explains and sets forth Christ’s commands about how we should live our lives to become ever more perfect ‘.

            This is totally wrong!.

            You have substituted ‘the Church’ for the Holy Spirit and this is one of the main errors of the RCC.

            This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.(Jeremiah 31;33)

          • alternative_perspective

            Does not the Holy Spirit work in and through his church?

            Must we think in such, Greek, dualist terms? Cannot it be both, and?

          • What you fail to recognise, repeatedly, is that the Catholic Church believes it is divinely guided by the Holy Spirit in its teachings and doctrines. You are free to disagree, not to spread misrepresentations of the faith.

            The law of God is written in the hearts of all men – it is man’s mind that poses the barrier as this seeks to justify the inclination to sin. To free one’s mind, requires the gift of faith and an understanding of scripture and authentic teachings, based on this, showing us the path to salvation. And Jack believes that’ this is what the Catholic Church’s mission is, commissioned directly by Our Lord and promised His protection from error.

            We disagree and hostile snipping is rather pointless, Len.

      • len

        Salvation is either a gift or it is earned then it becomes no longer ‘a gift’.’Galatians’ in the Bible explains this..
        When one is ‘born again'(a direct command from Jesus not a suggestion) we have been given everything required for salvation.Salvation is then outworked through co operation with the indwelling spirit not by administrations of the RCC (which claims exclusivity of this process.)

        So whilst we might appear to be saying the same thing we most definitely are not.

        The real test of whether Roman Catholics are relying on Jesus Christ or the RCC for salvation would be the question can a Catholic leave the RCC and still be saved?

        • Ivan M

          Saved by the Church of Lenin? No thanks.

          • len

            Glad you read my post ….flattered to have at least one follower……

          • Ivan M

            Glad that you took it as a joke.

        • At least you acknowledge that man has to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and that the gift of faith, once given, can be resisted.
          Why would one leave the Catholic Church knowing it to be the means commissioned by Christ of achieving salvation? The Church is Christ’s Body, His spouse, on earth. Catholics meet Him there, in the Real Presence, whenever they celebrate the Mass and receive His forgiveness and mercy in confession. Believing this, one would be insane to leave. Those that do, unless it be through invincible ignorance, sometimes caused by some traumatic event in their life, risk their eternal futures.

    • Anton

      I thought he initially believed that the Jews would come to Christ if they heard the authentic gospel rather than the Roman Catholic version, but when he found that that was not so he turned against them. Certainly he died within a week of his most volcanic anti-semitic sermon. I’d be glad of any references to his works regarding his earlier attitudes.

  • The Inspector General

    One has little doubt that the early protestant ‘heroes’ would be sharpening their swords if they could see the little ones today dressed as witches and warlocks. Thanks Luther…

  • Malcolm Smith

    Quite why Martin Luther chose to protest against Tetzel and his sale of indulgences on All Hallows’ Eve is unknown…

    In fact, it is quite well known. All Saints’ Day was the day on which his ruler, Frederick the Wise would display his large collection of relics, to which were attached enough indulgences to wipe out a couple of hundred thousand years of Purgatory. Luther had given a sermon against it the previous year, but this time enough was enough.

  • The Inspector General

    “I did this cold night of All Hallows hear a knock on the door. There, in full view of our saviour, were two children, dressed as demons. I seized them both. The girl, I threw on the fire, where she screamed for her satanic master to save her. He did not. The boy, I choked the life out of, and Lucifer’s spirit fled from the corpse. Apart from that, it was a rather quiet night.”

    • dannybhoy

      :0)

    • IanCad

      Inspector,
      There are times when you are a treasure.
      This is one.

      • The Inspector General

        From the soon to be written “Inspector General’s Book of Bedtime Stories for Naughty Children”…

        • IanCad

          Scare ’em good Inspector.

          You could be the best thing since Hillaire Belloc.

          “—With open jaws a lion sprang
          And hungrily began to eat
          The boy, beginning at his feet
          Now just imagine how it feels
          When first your toes and then your heels
          And then by varying degrees
          Your shins and ankles, calves and knees
          Are slowly eaten bit by bit –“

    • William Lewis

      You were at the spirits again then last night.

      • The Explorer

        Nice one!

    • The Explorer

      Reads like the confessions of Fred West. Only he didn’t wait for Halloween, and two would have been a dismal tally for a night’s work and he’d have gone out looking for more. Never a dull moment in Gloucester.

  • prompteetsincere

    “Christendom was torn asunder”.
    Christendom was reconnected to its Apostolic/Primitive + Sola Scriptura roots.;
    it since has been uprooted – semper reformata, semper reformanda
    “The offense of The WORD is as undying as the offense of The Cross.”
    ‘The Creed of Presbyterians.’, The Reverend Egbert Watson Smith (1901).

    • Darter Noster

      “Christendom was reconnected to its Apostolic/Primitive + Sola Scriptura roots.”

      Except that it wasn’t. The Church existed before the Scripture did, and the canonical Scriptures were put together by a Church committee.

      Luther started off in the right place, and was supported by Catholics such as Erasmus and More, but then he began to misread the Pauline letters about faith and the law, which were addressed to Judaizing Christians, and apply Paul’s words about faith and the law to wholly different and unrelated situations.

      The early Protestants believed that they were reconnecting with the pure and ancient Church, but as more and more of the writings of the early Church fathers re-emerged during the 16th century the Protestants discovered that they actually agreed with the Catholic Church, and not with the Protestant doctrines. Thus the date at which the Church had become “corrupted” was pushed back earlier and earlier as Protestants decided that any Church fathers who didn’t agree with them must have been corrupted by the Papacy.

      The Protestants also made strenuous efforts to reconnect with the Eastern churches, on the basis that they had broken with the Papacy centuries before and therefore must have remained doctrinally pure of the Papist corruptions. It came as a bit of a shock when they realised that the Eastern Churches, like the Church fathers, agreed with the Roman Church on the great majority of doctrinal issues.

      Eventually, Luther and Calvin’s misreading of the Pauline Epistles was pretty much the only thing they had left.

      • dannybhoy

        “The Church existed before the Scripture did, and the canonical Scriptures were put together by a Church committee.”

        Before the New Testament canon was put together yes. But the Apostles were already reading the Jewish Scriptures. as of course had our Lord.The Scriptures foretelling the birth of Messiah existed years before the Church Darter.
        The early Church was initially made up almost entirely of Jewish believers, and many of them still attended synagogue, and kept themselves separate from Goyim. They would have read and quoted scriptures: Jewish scriptures…

        “10 The brothers[a] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.” Acts 17>

        • Darter Noster

          “The Scriptures foretelling the birth of the Messiah existed years before the Church”

          Yes, Jewish scripture existed long before the Christian Church, but Christian Scripture did not. Christian scripture and Jewish scripture massively overlap but they are not the same thing; Christian Scripture was not fixed until a Church Council decided what was Canonical and what was not. Christian Scripture includes the Pauline epistles, the Gospels, Acts and the Apocalypse as part of the Canon, and the whole point about a Canon is you can’t just pick bits out of it and consider them in isolation.

          In any case, the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament are not the bits Protestants and Catholics have been arguing about for centuries.

          • dannybhoy

            My point is that those disciples/Apostles based their teaching on the Jewish Scriptures and the teachings of our Lord, who was the fulfulment of the law and the prophets..
            The New Testament writings are similar to the Old in the sense that they record the history of our Lord, the proclamation of the Gospel and the development of Christian theology and practice.
            The bases of salvation and sanctification are clearly outlined in the Gospels, and the composition, structure and life of the Church is described in Acts and the Apostle’s letters. It is the official organised Church which decided they not only needed to be made more clear, but also to assume the right to add tradition to it.
            This I think is because the Church took over from the Roman Empire and assumed earthly power and authority for itsself.

  • IanCad

    Well; The day has come and gone, and, as with other great events, the world will little note, nor long remember the cause for which so many laid down their lives to honour God and truth.

    Nothing on the BBC to jog our memories of those seminal events which led to our freedoms, so lightly valued today. Not even any appropriate music:

    Perhaps history is doing us no favours. A point in time; it happened long ago. That was then; the time is now. It is over.

    Indeed, many events can be viewed as such – a moment come and gone. A date to be sometime remembered.

    Not so the Glorious Reformation. To view it thus, as an event in the past, is to assume that all light was revealed in those turbulent times. Such is a contradiction of scripture, it would negate the need of further study and cast in concrete the errors and misconceptions that we hold dear.

    I posted John Robinson’s farewell address a few years back. It seems to me that it would be timely to do so again:

    “We are now ere long to part asunder, and the Lord knows whether ever we shall live to see one another’s faces. But whether the Lord has appointed it or not, I charge you before God and His blessed angels, follow me no further than I follow Christ; and if God shall reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry. For I am confident the Lord has more truth and light to break forth from His holy word. I bewail the state and condition of the Reformed churches, who have come to a full-stop in religion, and will go no further than the instrument of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn beyond what Luther saw; the Calvinists, they stick where Calvin left them. This is a misery much to be lamented; for though they were shining lights in their times, yet God did not reveal His whole will unto them, and if they were alive today they would be as ready to and willing to embrase further light, as that they had received. Keep in mind our church covenant, our promise and covenant with God and one another, to receive whatsoever light or truth shall be made known to us from His written word. But take heed what you receive for truth- examine it well and compare and weigh it with other Scriptures of truth before you receive it. It is not possible that the Christian world should so lately come out of such thick anti-Christian darkness, and that the perfection of knowledge should break forth at once.”

  • Albert

    Quite why Martin Luther chose to protest against Tetzel and his sale of indulgences on All Hallows’ Eve is unknown

    I’d never noticed that Protestantism started on Hallowe’en. It seems providence has a sense of humour, even when it permits evils.

    • IanCad

      Trust you to pick up on that.

      • Albert

        It was crying out for it. I think I will file that away in the recesses of my mind, ready for use on a rainy day…

    • Ivan M

      To be fair the monk Martin Luther, would have understood it as All Soul’s Day.

      • Albert

        31st October?

        • Ivan M

          Sorry eve of All Saints’ Day. Still a very important day, for Catholics as they pray for remission of sins of their parents and loved ones.

  • Jonty Cecil

    There’s no harm in the children doing that. It would at least open the debate amongst lay people of that momentous thing of almost 500 years ago. For it is the thing that progressives of all shades everywhere hold sacred; even though as Butterfield pointed out in the “Whig Supremacy..”, If Luther was witness to the things done in his name, he’d be horrified. Because he didn’t want progress, but a regress to an earlier, in his mind, mythical piteous middle ages. He may of launched the early modern era but he wanted Germany to be the equivalent of Iran after the revolution – an austere totalitarian theocracy. Merkel in her faux pious Lutheranism welcomes the migrants to spite the Catholic west of Germany which is far more prosperous than her Prussian, Lutheran east. Similar to Luther she hopes in her subconscious that the destruction of Rome (represented by Munich & the southern ‘pig’ states of her EU) will bring about the fulfilment of the Revelation of St. John.

  • len

    If Luther was to try and nail his protestations on the door of the RCC today I doubt he would find enough space for them……..

    • Jonty Cecil

      Accurate scholarship can
      Unearth the whole offence
      From Luther until now
      That has driven a culture mad.

      – Auden