reformation 500
Protestantism

Reformation 500: we are all Protestants now

‘Reformation’ is an awkward word; so, of course, is ‘Protestant’. Both terms convey a sense of theological unity or ecclesial uniformity wrapped in a righteous evangelical zeal, when, in fact, they are loaded with murky historical complexities and layered like the muddled onion of Catholic Christianity. And there’s another awkward word – ‘Catholic’. Is it the whole Church, or just the Western bit? Is it confined to Roman, to which it is usually appended, or does it embrace Eastern Orthodoxy? Is it defined by loyalty to the Bishop of Rome, and, if so, what do we call those professing Catholics who think their pope is preaching heresy? Have they ceased to be Catholic, or do they remain catholic? And what in the name of all that’s sainted is an Anglo-Catholic?

We can talk about the Reformation as a single historical event or as a process of ‘returning to Scripture’. We can talk about Protestants as being true gospel activists or of protesting against the errors of the Church of Rome, such as the selling of salvation. And then we have to negotiate contemporary politics, exegesis, the social setting or Sitz im Leben of the text, and then define what we might mean by ‘error’ or ‘heresy’, and the true source of religious authority. What role (if any) is played by tradition and experience? Who determined what constitutes ‘Scripture’? An ecumenical council? You mean a catholic council or a Catholic one? Who convened that council, and why? And then we can ponder the counter-Reformation or the Tridentine movement which some might term the Catholic Reformation. And then we might cavil about St Peter and petros, and argue over rocks and pebbles.

On 31st October 1517 – this very day 500 years ago – an insignificant monk and university lecturer called Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle Church of All Saints in Wittenberg, thus beginning what we now call the Reformation. But it was, in reality, lots of mini-reformations, each one peculiar to its own national struggle between spiritual awakening and political identity, yet all united by a desire for individual renewal and a return to the Catholic Christianity of the Early Church.

Or was it to the catholic Christianity of an early church?

Some now follow Luther, some Calvin, some Zwingli, and still others follow Cranmer.

For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Is Christ divided? (1Cor 1:11ff).

Christ has been divided since the Church was founded: schism did not begin with the 16th-century Reformation, or even with the 11th-century rupture which divided the Greek East from the Latin West. We no longer talk about the churches of Paul or Apollos, but the question of the universal jurisdiction of the Throne of Cephas still resonates. Who is this man who professes to exercise the power of God in the world? Is he a mere man, or is he some kind of demigod that he may occasionally speak infallibly on matters of faith and morals? If this is Christ’s Vicar on earth, how can he have no jurisdiction in this realm of England, as Article XXXVIII states? How can he be the Antichrist, as the early Lutherans attested? Most people now can deal rationally with such questions as they would a lecture on the Psalter; others just hurl ‘anti-Catholic bigot’ at the inquisitor. It’s easier, isn’t it? A bit like excommunicating heretics.

In 1520 Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther from the Catholic Church: the catalyst of Protestantism was considered to be an unholy fomenter of discord and division, and a heretic.

In 2015 Pope Francis declared: “I also believe it is important that the Catholic Church courageously carry forward a careful and honest re-evaluation of the intentions of the Reformation and the figure of Martin Luther in the sense of ‘Ecclesia sem­per reformanda’.” He said the Church must follow “in the broad wake traced by the Council, as well as by men and women, enlivened by the light and power of the Holy Spirit”.

In 2016 he said: “I think that Martin Lu­ther’s intention was not wrong… He had taken a step forward and justified him­self for his actions. And today, we Lutherans and Catholics, with all the Protestants, have agreed on the Doctrine of Justification: on this important point he had not been wrong.”

When Pope Francis was asked what the Roman Catholic Church can learn from the Lutheran Tradition, he replied: “Two words come to mind, ‘Reform’ and ‘Scripture’. I shall try to explain them. The first word is ‘reform’. At the beginning Luther wanted to introduce a reform at a difficult time for the Church. Luther wanted to solve a com­plex situation. The second word is ‘Scripture’: the word of God. Luther had taken an important step: to put the word of God in to the hands of the people. Reform and Scripture are both fun­damental subjects we can deepen and increase our knowledge of the Lutheran Tradition.”

From conflict to communion; from schismatic and heretic to sainted vessel of the Holy Spirit. It has only taken 500 years for the successors of St Peter to concede that the Reformation helped to restore Scripture to the heart of Christian life, and Christ to the centrality of the Christian faith.

That is to say, all Christians are now Protestants, in the sense that the theological ideas which inspired the Reformation continue to illuminate the whole Church, which is now eager to explore new terrain, to delve deeper into theological disputes, and understand the intricacies of the differences between man and man and church and church. We are no longer burning each other over Eucharistic differences, or hanging, drawing and quartering one another over the temporal jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome: “We have learned once again to love one another,” the Archbishop of Canterbury says, “And to seek to bless and love the world in which we live.”

Some take the view that Martin Luther destroyed Europe’s common culture, but it was already falling apart: kings, princes and electors were each vying for supremacy; arguments over sin and salvation became a convenient shroud for political cynicism. If the devoutly Catholic Elector of Saxony had not protected Luther and defended him against his enemies, the Wittenberg protest might have been short-lived, but it would certainly have erupted in another place at another time. If the University of Wittenberg had not been founded without the imprimatur of the Church, they might never have employed such a free-thinking monk in their theology faculty, but such a university would have arisen elsewhere, and such a theologian would have eventually found employment. If not Germany, it would have been in Switzerland. If not Switzerland, it would have been in England. Public opinion was showing signs of independent thought, and this coincided with the advent of the printing press. The Reformation would have begun no matter what, because freedom of the individual conscience and salvation by faith are works of the Holy Spirit – a truth to which both Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin now attest:

At the heart of the Reformation was something Luther had seen as he read the Bible. He saw that God offers forgiveness of sins, and the promise of heaven, not because we do good works but because we trust in God. There’s an old hymn that says: “Nothing in my hand I bring,/Simply to your cross I cling.”

That was Luther’s immense discovery: the grace and love of God for human beings in all their failings and faults.

Luther might be best known for railing against the soul-prayer Indulgence industry, but he was by no means the first Catholic to do so: clerical confidence tricks are, after all, as old as Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-24). Others take the view that he was just an ignorant upstart, yet he was steeped in humanist learning and the writings of the Church Fathers: it was Augustine which pointed him to the authority of the Bible and the revealed will of God in Scripture. While Luther’s opponents wanted to talk about authority and obedience to Rome, he only wanted to talk about God’s abundant grace and the primacy of faith in Christ. This was his revelation and salvation: Christ is head of the Church, not the Pope. By faith are we saved, not by works. “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none,” he wrote in The Freedom of a Christian, then adding: “A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”

Luther probably never said “Here I stand; I can do no other”, but the rallying cry of Protestants has become the motto of all Christians. As each of us embraces our salvation with gratitude, we spread the good news with joy – often against the scorn and scoffing of the world – because we are all evangelical, because all Christians are called to be so. Every time we argue for Church institutions to be overhauled, practices adapted, liturgies amended or hearts renewed, we are yearning for reformation – individual and corporate. And every time we rail against error, bureaucracy, inefficiency and corruption, we are protesting for the restoration of righteousness.

We are all Protestants now, and all Protestants are catholic. And the whole Christian world has become Protestant because it longs to be free, and in that freedom is the opportunity to discover the immanence of Christ, the beauty of communion, and grapple individually with how theology relates to modernity.

The Reformation isn’t back there; it is still here. It worked, and it is still working. Only when we grasp what Christianity was meant to be can we understand Luther’s central quest for a right doctrine of justification. Redemption through Christ resonates throughout the New Testament: God has achieved the redemption of sinful humanity through the death of Christ on the cross. We don’t need popes and bishops or liturgies of penance: “God has made a testament and a covenant with us,” Luther wrote, “so that whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.” Faith is personal: it concerns the promises of God, and unites the believer to Christ. “Faith unites the soul with Christ as a bride is united with her bridegroom.” This is the believer’s assurance of salvation, and this understanding is Luther’s unifying gift to the Church.

  • carl jacobs

    Sola Fide.
    Sola Scriptura.
    Solus Christus.
    Sola Gratia.
    Soli Deo Gloria.

    Post Tenebras Lux.

    • You’re a Lutheran now? In America there are at least three principal Lutheran bodies. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the largest and most liberal group but not the only one. Each distinguishes itself from the others in doctrinal terms. The Lutheran Church of Sweden to which Pope Francis went to mark this event accepts contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and female clergy.

      The principle of sola scriptura is a principle of disunity. From the earliest years of the Reformation the reformers disagreed among themselves about Scripture’s meaning and in doing so produced a wide range of conflicting truth claims. And they still disagree today.

      • carl jacobs

        I spent 35 years in the Lutheran church. I was baptised, raised, and confirmed in the what is now ELCA. I was married in the Missouri Synod, and had both my children baptised in the Missouri Synod. It was the Missouri Synod that ejected me into the wilderness. Yes, Jack, I am a Lutheran. I was born a Lutheran. I live as a Lutheran. I will die a Lutheran.

        Except for the Reformed Theology, of course. That was a big part of why they kicked me out.

        • Mike Stallard

          ‘It was the Missouri Synod that ejected me into the wilderness. ”
          Do tell!

      • Anton

        Poor God, he gives us his Son and he gives us the Bible and it’s still not enough according to some.

      • Manfarang

        Disagreement goes back to earliest times of Christianity.
        Acts 15:36-41

    • Mike Stallard

      Sola Scriptura

      Well now…
      Have you ever read St Paul?
      Have you ever read the bits about divorce, lust and all that stuff?
      Have you ever read Genesis – is it an allegory?
      And what about Leviticus then? And don’t forget that all this was (wittily) summed up Jesus saying that not one little dot on a (Hebrew) letter has to be overlooked.

      • Martin

        Mike

        Yes
        Yes
        Yes and no
        Apply Acts 10, 11 and 15

        • Mike Stallard

          My point still stands: the Scripture needs interpreting. Alone it is not enough.

          • Anton

            Certainly it needs discussing within the community of faith, because no man is an island. But you cannot derive the Roman system from that fact.

          • Mike Stallard

            I’m not. I love scripture as a converted Prot! The strangest things is that I find, in our local church the same attitude as when I was brought up. The difference is the warmth and the people from all round the rworld.

          • Little Black Censored

            You can’t derive any system that way and be sure you have got it right. Scripture is brought to us by the Church, and we can understand it only from within the Tradition. “Sola Scriptura” is nonsense.

          • Martin

            LBC

            No, Scripture isn’t brought to us by the Church.

          • ardenjm

            Yeah. Thing is. It kind of is.
            Even though the Holy Spirit is its principal author, nevertheless, Scripture is the writing down of the Deposit of Faith of Revelation that had happened in Christ Jesus which the Holy Spirit guiding the members of the Church inspired to write it down, has also committed in written form. Hence Scripture is written Tradition and this is both written down from within the Church’s tradition, by members of the Church, read within the Church and understood and intepreted by the Church.
            Without the Church, in fact, as the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts discovered, Scripture is not fully understood: Philip explains to the Ethiopian the meaning of Scripture.
            In this he does what Our Lord Himself did on the Road to Emmaus.
            Sorry but the notion of un-Churched Scripture is anti-scriptural and thus anti-Christian.

          • Martin

            The Church is every believer, it isn’t an organisation. God breathed out the words of the Bible to men. The traditions they had then we only have in the Bible, there is no oral tradition.

          • Martin

            Mike

            Scripture is interpreted by applying Scripture.

          • Martin

            Mike

            Scripture is interpreted by Scripture. And every saint has the Holy Spirit to guide him.

    • Anton

      Sola power!

  • prompteetsincere

    Pope Francis’ ‘Ecclesia semper reformanda’ was recently quoted by a Roman doctrinal revisionist who also misquotes the Sola Source of Authority for the Reformation:
    ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum Verbum Dei.
    “I also ask you one thing, which if ye tell Me, I in like wise will tell you by what Authority I do these things.” + Matthew 21:24.

  • Perhaps Jack, to Carl’s five solas, we may add a sixth, sola Spiritus. He reveals and illuminates Scripture.

  • It seems Pope Francis has a naïve understanding of the theological dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics. This off-the-cuff statement on a plane to journalists about Martin Luther is personal opinion, not papal pronouncement.

    His enthusiasm is based on a Joint Declaration between Catholics and Lutherans on the Doctrine of Justification. However, the Vatican issued a detailed official clarification document wherein Pope Benedict (still serving as Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith) pointed out that there was not a consensus between Catholics and Lutherans on the understanding of justification. “The level of agreement is high, but it does not yet allow us to affirm that all the differences separating Catholics and Lutherans in the doctrine concerning justification are simply a question of emphasis or language. Some of these differences concern aspects of substance and are therefore not all mutually compatible.”

    Here’s the Catechism’s presentation on Justification – based on the Canons from the Council of Trent:

    “No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods” (Catechism, par. 2027).

    “Merit is to be ascribed, in the first place, to the grace of God, and secondarily to man’s collaboration. Man’s merit is due to God” (Catechism, par. 2025).

    “Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man” (Catechism, par. 2019).

    “Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons”(Catechism, par. 2021).

    “The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearning of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom” (Catechism, par. 2022).

    “The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful” (Catechism, par. 2008).

    “Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the body of Christ” (Catechism, par. 2003).

    “As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins” (Catechism, par. 1394).

    “As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God” (Catechism, par. 1414).

    “Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father. Every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes the forgiveness of our sins” (Catechism, par. 1437).

    “Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is called “penance” (Catechism, par. 1459).

    If you accept all this then “Welcome home” – you’re a Roman Catholic.

    • Mmmm. Where to begin? And is there a point since we each know what the other thinks?

      We each believe that a man is justified by faith AND justified by works. The question is how these apparently contradictory principles marry, or more accurately, how they are married in Scripture? How can they be reconciled without doing violence to one or both?

      The RC answer, in my view, construes in a way that lays too much emphasis on works. Or better, construes the relationship between faith and works in a way that ultimately does violence to the primacy of faith and its initial full and complete justification.

      In Scripture the believer is not being justified by faith rather he has been justified by faith. Romans 5 says ‘Therefore, since we are justified by faith we have piece with God…

      Justification is God’s final verdict declared in the present.. He declares a man to be either justified or condemned, either in the right or in the wrong. The forgiven sinner is assured of his position before God in the final day for it has been declared in the present. His faith has justified him. His faith has saved him. The verbs are describing an event settled. His faith is not said to have begun to justify him but has completely justified him. And what is it about this faith that justifies? Is it its heroics? Is it its perseverance? No, though genuine faith will be heroic and persevere. Rather it is the focus of the faith. It is the confession that I cannot be right with God through my efforts. I am a sinner incapable of justifying myself. God must justify me. And he must justify me (declare me in the right) by some means outside of me. And that he has done just this through the atoning death of Jesus. Faith that justifies recognises that justification is only sourced in grace (we are justified by grace) and grounded on Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice (justified by blood).

      And this justification is ‘unto good works’ which ‘God has prepared beforehand for us to do’.

      I submit that, in Scripture, justification is understood as being sourced in grace, based on Christ’s atoning sacrifice, received by faith, and evidenced even realised in works.

      However works is construed in justification it must never be seen as the basis of justification. It is unwise even unbiblical to speak of such works as meretricious for this seriously tilts and distorts the symmetry of the gospel of justification by faith. I think the RC church distorts the biblical nuancing. It makes justification a process that all too easily becomes justification by works in the sense that Paul condemns in the C1 judaisers.

      • But the Catholic Church doesn’t say what you accuse her of.

        Both of these conceptions of salvation – as a past and as a future event – are found in the Bible. The idea of salvation as a past event is present in passages such as Ephesians 2:5, which states that “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.” Since this passage speaks of salvation in the past tense, something that has been done to us, it is conceiving of salvation as a past reality.

        But this is only one aspect of salvation. There is an ongoing aspect to salvation as well, as is indicated in 1st Peter 1:8-9, which states, ” … Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving … the salvation of your souls.”

        The same idea of salvation as something that is taking place presently is found in the writings of the St. Paul in Philippians 2:12: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”

        Salvation in scripture is therefore a process which is still being worked out in the life of the believer’s life. And it is a process which will not be finally completed until the Last Day, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11) Therefore, salvation has past, present, and future aspects or dimensions.

        If Catholics were to offer a general definition of salvation, including its past, present, and future dimensions, we would say something like, “Salvation is a process which begins when a person first becomes a Christian, which continues through the rest of his life, and which concludes on the Last Day.” This definition allows the faithful Christian to do justice to all of the Biblical data by saying, “I have been saved; I am being saved; and I will be saved.” It embraces all three of the aspects of salvation which are present in the biblical literature. It also incorporates the free cooperation and response of the individual to the grace made available to all of us.

      • Retired Paul

        “We each believe that a man is justified by faith AND justified by works.” This is a common misunderstanding and misrepresentation of what James says.

        He does not say that your salvation is because you do good works. What he actually says is that, by your good works, you demonstrate that your faith and your salvation have had an impact on your life that is evident to anyone who knows you or meets you.

        In other words, your good works are a RESULT of your salvation (which is by faith alone), not a cause of it.

        • Except that isn’t what he says:

          “Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God.” (James 2:21-23)

          • jsampson45

            See Calvin on this text.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You’re ignoring v18 again. Context, context, context.

    • Martin

      HJ

      Pretty pointless having discussions with others who, like you, have an authority other than God’s word. The dead cuddling up to the dead.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Does this mean, Jack, that you are not yet ready to accept His Grace’s generous invitation to “come out” as a Protestant? Some of your fans will be disappointed.

    • Anton

      That’s from the Council of Trent? Then we are indeed all protestants now. Personally I’d call it Trent Bridge… to Protestantism.

  • Daniel

    Francis is a Vatican II heretic same as all Vatican II Popes.

  • len

    What the dead need is not religion but Life and only Christ can give Life.
    Salvation is entirely of God and it is a gift, if we can earn our salvation through good works or some sort of religious ritual then we no longer need Christ.Works based religion appeals to the pride and’ the logic’ of natural man but it is not of God and will not earn one salvation.

    • IanCad

      Good to see you back Len. You’ve been missed. I hope all is well.

      • Mike Stallard

        I wish there was a “LIKE” button on here – I would have pressed it for that superb comment by IanCad.

        • Murti Bing

          It’s the little up arrow right there.

      • len

        Thanks Ian, and others

    • Hooray Len is back ! Everyone was worried about you….

      • len

        Hi Hannah, Had some probs with my computer which I tried to sort out then eventually gave up and went on holiday.
        Hopefully my old computer will keep going….

        • CliveM

          Glad it was as simple as that.

  • John

    It is not so much that the church constantly fragments, becoming less united; it is that the Holy Spirit constantly leads the church to rediscover her true identity, becoming more holy, unspoiled by legalistic religion, human hierarchical constructs, and an unhealthy emphasis on mere externals. He is the Spirit of truth and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

  • Martin

    All Christian churches are Catholic, for the gospel is a worldwide gospel. But if a church does not have the gospel it is clearly not Catholic. It seems that churches that aspire to power and sacralism soon find that is their gospel, rather than God’s gospel of power, joining Rome as they do.

    Many other churches have also slipped their moorings, as Spurgeon foresaw they would, and are lukewarm, having chosen friendship with the World over obedience to God.

    Happy Reformation Day, may you always be reforming and testing your beliefs against Scripture.

  • andrew

    Complexities aside, how anybody can regard Protestantism as a working model is pure lol. Statistically numbers show Christians of the protestant Ilk are dwindling year on year. Take Germany, UK and Netherlands – three of the most historically significant protestant nations, nations that today are witnessing an unavoidable tidal wave of atheism, Islamic replacement and even (albeit in smaller numbers) Catholic conversion. Protestantism has never worked, and as the Lord suggested himself: you shall know them by their fruits.

    • Martin

      Andrew

      The majority of people in the last ~1600 years who have called themselves Christians haven’t been such. You can thank sacralism for that.

    • CliveM

      Hows Catholocism doing in, oòh lets think, how about France?

      There are no grounds for smigness by any denomination.

      • andrew

        As Martin points out below: our numbers may be dwindling, though not quite as hastily as ‘the other side’; however I’ll take lesser numbers made up of true, passionate catholics, who understand the magisterium – and irrespective of their personal sin and fallibility, wish to remain in the orbit of our most blessed prince of the Apostles.

        • CliveM

          Strange you use the term other side. I would have thought those would be the forces of atheism and secularism.

          Like so many Christians you appear to want to create enemies from your friends and ignore the real threat.

          • andrew

            Apologies. I do not. And I view all Christians as brothers and sisters, even the ‘charismatic’, acoustic guitar playing types, eg Life Church. I attended a charismatic service at Michael Le Belfry in York, and heard first hand the superb work they’re doing on behalf of folks, often young people trapped in a vicious cycle of depression, alcoholism and drugs. I’m in no position to judge such decent, Christ loving people. However for me the magisterium, its history, roots and message shall always remain incredibly important. When earthquakes move us and leave us in fear, I want to know that the house I dwell in rests on stable, unshakable foundations.

          • CliveM

            Oh well it’s good to end this discussion reconciled.

        • Martin

          Rome’s count of Christians is pretty close to zero.

          • andrew

            According to whom? I hope you’ve pulled that splinter from out of your own eye Martin. Please do not fall for Nietzche’s view that the only Christian who ever lived died on the cross. You seem close to jogging down that particular way.

          • Martin

            Andrew

            According to the council of Trent:

            CANON 9: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is
            justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to
            co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and
            that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by
            the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

            That excludes all Christians from Rome’s religion.

          • andrew

            And how does this apply to Rome, or are you the all seeing eye?

          • Martin

            Andrew

            It’s Rome’s decree, they exclude Christians from membership.

          • andrew

            ‘You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” That said, it is not for me to weigh too heavy on this issue. But the magisterium is God’s word and seal. And it is not for me to adapt what he has made ready and viable.

          • Martin

            Andrew

            You pluck a verse out of context, which is created by verse 18:

            But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18 [ESV])

            It is about showing faith by works, not that works are required before faith. In any case, faith is the gift of God:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 [ESV])

            Works demonstrate the faith is real, they are not required to create the faith.

          • Martin

            Andrew

            Context, Context, Context!

            You’re ignoring verse 18:

            But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18 [ESV])

            James is talking about showing faith, not gaining it. Ephesians 2 tells us that faith is the gift of God, a gift, not something achieved.

            There is no magisterium, we have God’s word as our authority.

          • CliveM

            You don’t know that Martin. Let’s be grateful that the judgement of that lies elsewhere.

          • Martin

            Clive

            We can make that assumption based on their rejection of sola fide. They reject all those saved by faith.

          • CliveM

            Making assumptions on what is Gods prerogative, is very dangerous and best avoided.

          • Martin

            I’m not making assumptions on what is God’s prerogative, I’m pointing out that Rome rejects those saved by faith alone.

    • Retired Paul

      This is a very Euro/Western-centric view. If you look across the world, in Africa and Asia particularly, you will see the Christian Church is growing in leaps and bounds. And this is without the imposed or cultural conversions that other religions seem to go in for.
      We think we are doing really well if we can manage 1 or 2 baptisms every month or so. There are Churches in the third world who are baptising 10’s or more every week!
      What are they doing that is different? There are several elements, but most important is that they still see the Church as Christ Centred. That is what they preach, and that is how they live. As the first disciples found, that is a compelling attraction for people who have lost their way, lost hope, suffer broken relationships and more.
      Perhaps we need more missionaries to come to UK and preach the Gospel to a lost people.

      • andrew

        That’s absolutely fine, apart from the fact that they (third world) will learn, like we had no choice but to learn, without a magisterium, without an arbiter to protect the divine word and all her work, the faith is open to misinterpretation, exploitation, and crass posturing for the purpose of self, or national interest. We, as a much historically troubled Christian nation know all about that. That is why I do not glee or jump in delight at the mere prospect of high conversion rates. Because without a magisterium to explain and educate, the error of man will soon distort the perfection of the son of man.

        • Retired Paul

          A magisterium sounds fine in principle, but it too tends to veer towards the worldly.

          A significant cause of the Protestant Movement 500 years ago was the recognition that the Church hierarchy had become highly corrupt, riddled with personal power struggles and financial deals intended to enhance the physical well-being of the bishops and archbishops rather than the spiritual welfare of the congregations.

          More recently, one of my big concerns over the introduction of women bishops into the CofE was not whether women had a role or calling to lead the Church. It was that they seemed to view their Church work as a career, not a calling. They wanted ‘promotion’ as the next step in that career. No doubt they will be seeking their next career-based promotion to arch-bishop in due course. I am much happier with a bishop who steps down to lead a parish in a poor and challenging part of the East-end of London. This is the Christ-centred view of a calling to serve; it would help the members of the magisterium to consider their membership in the same way. But history shows that they do not.

          I agree that the history of the Church is also littered with individual leaders and fellowships who have turned in on themselves and isolated themselves from any other church, deeming them all unworthy in some way. Generally, these fellowships die with their leader.

          But Churches that focus on Christ as presented by the New Testament (and significant parts of the Old Testament as well) generally thrive and take great pleasure in coming together with other churches, even of a different tradition, to serve Christ as He calls.

  • Mike Stallard

    “The Reformation isn’t back there; it is still here. It worked, and it is still working. ”
    And, as a Catholic, I would like to give thanks for the enormous impact of Vatican II which has brought life into the creaking old Catholic Church and made it new again.

  • CliveM

    Actually the 500th anniversary should be a good time for all Christian churches to take stock and reflect where we, in the west at least, are going wrong. Triumphalism by any Church wiĺ make it look rediculous. Its time to look to what is needed in the future, by remembering the lessons of the past.

  • Hi

    What are the guys with the pointed hats doing or trying to do? If it were a scene from star wars I’d say they were trying to force choke the Monk….

    • Sarky

      I think it looks like a ‘dance off’.

      • Anton

        Dan Soff is innocent!

    • Anton

      I think the artist means them to be crying out “Heretic!”

    • Dominic Stockford

      I think it conveys the terror felt by those confronted by God’s truth.

  • Anton

    Your starter for ten… Was Luther factually correct to add the explanatory word “alone” in his translation of Romans 3:28?

    ” a man is justified by faith *alone* apart from the deeds of the law”

    In other words, reconcile James 2:24 with Ephesians 2:8-9:

    James: “a man is justified by works, and not by faith only”

    Ephesians: “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works”.

    • Yes, he was correct. Mark 5:36. “Don’t be afraid; only believe!”

      The James and Ephesians passages are quite easily reconciled.

      • Anton

        I agree and we shall be doing it in homegroup later this week. But it’s a good day to air it. Both sides of the Reformation accept the authority of scripture.

      • Go on then ….

        • Always happy to oblige. Please look up the Scripture references as I don’t have time to write them out in full.

          To ‘justify’ in Scripture means to ‘declare righteous’ (c.f. Deut. 25:1). The Scripture tells us that Christ ‘justifies the ungodly’ (Rom. 4:5). In the light of Proverbs 17:15, how can He do this? How can God be an abomination to Himself?

          The answer lies in the propitiating work of Christ. He has lived the life that we cannot live, the life of complete righteousness and obedience to God; and He has willingly suffered the penalty that our sins demanded. Therefore when God looks at believers, He sees no sin in them because Christ’s righteousness covers it over (Psalm 32:1; Isaiah 61:10) and demands no payment because Christ has paid the penalty in full (Romans 8:1).

          This justification comes by the grace of God through faith, and faith alone, ‘for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing’ (Gal. 2:21). The moment you add anything to grace it is no longer grace and the cross is nullified.

          But faith is not the mere acquiescence to an unproven proposition. Real faith will always result in works. If I tell you that Tesco is giving away £10 notes for a fiver tomorrow, what will be the evidence that you believe me? It will be if you are foolish enough to toddle down to Tesco clutching a pile of £5 notes. Your faith will be proved by your actions. Mere acceptance that there was someone called Jesus of Nazareth who lived a long time ago and did a lot of good stuff saves no one. True saving faith is seeing oneself as a poor lost sinner, rightly under the condemnation of God; turning from that sin to the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in nothing else but His blood shed upon the cross to save you. This is the faith that saves, and it results in immediate justification (Luke 23:43). The thief on the cross was saved by faith alone; he did not have time or opportunity to do works of any kind. Justification comes from faith without works of any kind. The works come later.
          .
          The scribe in Like 18:25ff wanted to justify himself (v.29)– that is, he wanted to declare himself righteous in front of the Lord Jesus.

          In James 2:21-23, it is Abraham’s works that declared him righteous– that is, they declared what God had previously declared. Abraham was already justified by faith way back in Gen. 15:6 when he ‘believed in the LORD and it was credited to him for righteousness.’ His actions, which came afterwards, were the proof of his faith, not the cause of his justification (Rom. 4:1-5). This accords with Paul in Acts 26:20; ‘That they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.’

          True saving faith will always result in works, because believers are born again by the Holy Spirit, and God declares,
          ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit in you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My commandments and do them’ (Ezek. 36:26-27). But the works come after justification, otherwise God does not justify the ungodly and Christ died for nothing.

          • Colin McCormack

            I have waited 2 days to see if your interlocutor on this issue would reply. I’m not surprised that he hasn’t. Your presentation of the biblical basis for justification is concise yet comprehensive. It embraces both Old and New Testaments .Moreover, it illuminates the central issue faced by Luther in his quest for assurance.

            As such, it undermines the all too prevalent tendency in this( and other) posts to subjugate biblical texts to the demands of dogmatic theological positions and thereby exposing a paucity of scriptural understanding.

    • James clearly tells us:

      “Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God.” (James 2:21-23)

      • Anton

        I’m asking a question. You seem to think I am giving a reply. I’m not, and you haven’t yet either…

        • Luther was clearly wrong.

          The Catholic Church has successfully reconciled these scriptural passages. You agreed below that Luther was correct to add the word “alone” to scripture. But he wasn’t. This is why he wanted James removed from the Canon of scripture – because he recognised the contradiction and, as the Holy Spirit cannot possibly contradict Himself, he faced an irresolvable dilemma.

          Abraham was justified on at least three different occasions: he was justified in Genesis 12, when he first left Haran and went to the promised land; he was justified in Genesis 15, when he believed the promise concerning his descendants; and he was justified in Genesis 22, when he offered his first promised descendant on the altar. Protestants generally conceive of justification purely as a state rather than also as a process. Scripture tells us different. Justification is not a once-for-all event, but is a process which continues throughout the believer’s life.

          Luther himself wrote: “For we understand that a man who is justified is not already righteous, but moving toward righteousness.” and “Our justification is not yet complete … . It is still under construction. It shall, however, be completed in the resurrection of the dead.”

          The Decree On Justification from the Council of Trent (1545-1564) infallibly resolved this seeming contradiction. The Catholic Church, true to scripture, teaches that justification is a process. It is something that begins when we first become a Christian, which continues in our life, and which will be completed when we stand before God at the end of our life and on the last day.

          Trent divides this process into a number of stages: first, there is an initial justification which occurs at conversion; second, there is a progressive justification which occurs as a person grows in righteousness; and lastly there is a final justification which occurs on the last day. There is also the possibility of a loss of justification and a subsequent re-justification which occurs when a believer returns to the faith.

          • Anton

            I did not say that Luther was correct to add the word “alone” to scripture. I said he was correct that that was its meaning.

            You are either justified before God or you are not. There are no intermediate steps, for one goes ultimately either to heaven or hell. That means it can’t be a process. Sanctification is a process, of course.

          • You believe then that the initial justification of the believer cannot be lost or rejected subsequently in his life?

          • Anton

            I didn’t say that. I tend not to believe “Once saved always saved” but it’s not the point I’m concerned with here and I’m not going to discuss it today. The point is that, because we end up either in heaven or hell, and because our final fate is sealed at the moment of our death, we are at every moment in our lives in a state such that if we were to be killed suddenly, eg by lightning, we would end up in one or the other of heaven and hell.

            If you are in a state such that you would end up in heaven if struck by lightning, you are said to be justified. If you are in a state such that you would end up in hell, you are said not to be justified.

            You can’t glide between those two states. If you change state, it is necessarily instantaneous. Hence justification is not a process.

            The run-up to justification is a process, and sanctification is a process, but justification itself is not and that is why.

            You are raising a separate question, namely if one passes from being unjustified to being justified, can one pass back? It’s a good question but not what I’m interested in today.

          • But its a central question … It cuts to the heart of Christ’s sacrifice and what His atonement achieved. You’re creating artificial divides between justification, righteousness and sanctification.

            Absolutely agree that “our final fate is sealed at the moment of our death.” But what you’re saying is that once justified, always justified. And you’re using the term forensically. What does “the righteousness of Christ” mean? On the one hand, it could mean the righteousness which belongs to Christ as his own, personal possession. On the other hand, it could mean the righteousness which comes from Christ.

            Protestants employ a legal metaphor. They say that when we are justified God declares us righteous, just as a judge declares a person innocent of having committed a crime. They therefore often say that when we are justified we receive a legal or forensic righteousness because God simply declares us to be righteous before the courts of heaven.

            Catholics go beyond this and say that God gives us more than merely forensic righteousness; that the righteousness he gives us is more than a legal fiction, more than an accounting procedure. Instead, when God justifies us he actually constitutes us in righteousness; it’s an infusion of grace and a discharge of our debt to God so that we are restored to a state of righteousness.

            To explain how this goes beyond the legal fiction view of righteousness, Catholics use metaphysical language which conceives of guilt and innocence as objectively real properties which cling to our souls. When we sin, we become guilty and our souls grow dark and dirty before God. But when we are justified, God purifies us and our souls become brilliant and clean before him. Guilt and innocence, righteousness and unrighteousness, are therefore conceived of as properties of our souls, properties which change depending on our sins and our subsequent justification by God.

            Our actions are either right or wrong, good or bad, and they are that way objectively. If you intentionally commit a objectively wrong act, then you become objectively guilty. Guilt is an objectively real moral property. If you commit say a homosexual act, it is simply wrong and perverted, no matter what you think about it. It’s just wrong. Wrongness is an objectively real moral property that attaches itself to certain actions. It darkens grace in the soul and kills Christ’s righteousness. The same goes for positive moral properties. If you intentionally perform an objectively righteous act then you become objectively righteous. Righteousness, like guilt, is an objective property just as guilt is, and it clings to your soul just in the same way that guilt does.

            We both agree that when a person is justified, God starts to change his behaviour. He starts to purify our thoughts and intentions so that we begin to behave more righteously than we did before. But you are opposed to saying that the term “justify” applies to our receiving of this kind of righteousness. Instead, you use the term “sanctification,” which means “to make holy,” to refer to this change and draw a sharp distinction between sanctification, where God puts the love in our hearts that makes us act more and more righteously, and justification, where God declares us righteous. Jack uses the terms differently. He do not draw a sharp distinction between justification and sanctification. Instead, Jack believes, like you, that at the time we are justified by God, God plants his supernatural love in our hearts, enabling us to love him and love others in a new and unselfish was that we could not love before.

            This new, supernatural love is something that we are fundamentally incapable of without the grace of God. And without this new, supernatural love, we are fundamentally incapable of pleasing God in a real, substantial sense. Therefore, without God’s grace we lack the love that is needed in order to please him.

            The essence of supernatural love is unselfishness – doing something not because it will help us somehow, but because we want to do it out of sheer love for the other person, whether that person is God or one of our fellow human beings. At the time God justifies us, we both agree, God puts this love in our hearts. The difference is that Catholics use the term “justification” to include this putting of love in our hearts, while Protestants commonly do not. When a person is justified he is not rendered incapable of sin, nor do his sinful inclinations vanish. When a person is justified his sinful inclinations – the stain of original sin – remain with him throughout the rest of his life. But as he grows through the sanctification process, these sinful inclinations lesson and grow weaker, while at the same time the love – the experiential righteousness – which God planted in his heart at justification continues to grow. Or, it can die through acts that are grievously sinful that kills the love in our heart, separates us from Christ. Our justification is not complete in this life, but it grows throughout our life and will ultimately be completed at the resurrection of the dead – or it can be lost.

          • Anton

            The atonement is complex and I agree with a good deal of what you say. But it doesn’t knock over the smaller point that I was making and with which you were disagreeing.

          • Martin

            Anton

            “Once saved always saved” is clearly false, but since it is God who justifies the sinner:

            For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29 [ESV])

            “Once saved always saved” puts the emphasis on Man, the Bible always puts the emphasis on the act of God. Thus, Christ always saves those that the Father give Him, who were foreknown before Creation.

          • Anton

            Don’t think I disagree! But I want to stay on Lutherian topics on this thread.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Which Luther is that, the early or larer. Or is it really Melanchthon?

      • The Snail

        One of the problems is that we reify actions. That is we turn actions into things. We do this all the time. We say “I went for a walk this morning” My action of walking has become a noun ‘ a walk’. But you can’t do a walk without walking. ‘ Love is a very spendid thing’ or so they say, but how can there be this thing called Love without some loving going on? If you say I have faith, but do nothing to express it, that is proof you just don’t have it.

        However if the motive for one’s works is to build up a ‘works balance ‘in the divine bank’ to buy one’s salvation, that is futile since the price has been paid and in gratitude we will do good works , as our saviour did. Faith and works are inseparable.there is no dichotomy,

    • Ray Sunshine

      Was Luther factually correct to add the explanatory word “alone” in his translation of Romans 3:28?

      http://biblehub.com/interlinear/romans/3-28.htm

      Is Pubcrawler around? It would be important to see what a Greek specialist has to say about this. It’s not just the added word “alone” – the problem goes deeper than that, I’m afraid. The root of the trouble, I suspect, is that the preposition (or adverb) χωρις, meaning basically “without” or “except”, has shades of meaning, one of which can sometimes be “apart from”, “in addition to”. Two examples: Matt 15:38 and 2 Cor 11:28. In the first case, the evangelist isn’t saying there were no women and children present at the Feeding of the Four Thousand. He’s saying there were 4,000 adult males, apart from — in other words, not counting or in addition to — the women and children. In the second case, also, there can be no doubt about Paul’s meaning: “Apart from (or, once again, in addition to) external things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”

      So the question is this: If someone had told Luther at the time, No, it doesn’t mean “faith alone”; what Paul is saying is “faith is needed as well, in addition to works” – then what would Luther’s answer have been? (Expletives deleted, of course.)

      BTW, I make no claim at all to a knowledge of Greek. I can just about find my way around the lexicon and the concordances at the Bible Hub website, but no more than that. My purpose here is only to ask a question, not to answer it.

      • Pubcrawler

        An interesting question. Here is what St John Chrysostom, whose Greek was better and more expert than almost anyone else’s ever, has to say on Rom. 3.28ff:

        Ver. 28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law.

        When he had shown that by faith they were superior to the Jews, then he goes on with great confidence to discourse upon it also, and what seemed therein to annoy he again heals up. For these two things were what confused the Jews; one, if it were possible for men, who with works were not saved, to be saved without them, and another, if it were just for the uncircumcised to enjoy the same blessings with those, who had during so long a period been nurtured in the Law; which last confused them more by far than the former. And on this ground having proved the former, he goes on to the other next, which perplexed the Jews so far, that they even complained on account of this position against Peter after they believed. What does he say then? Therefore we conclude, that by faith a man is justified. He does not say, a Jew, or one under the Law, but after leading forth his discourse into a large room, and opening the doors of faith to the world, he says a man, the name common to our race. And then having taken occasion from this, he meets an objection not set down. For since it was likely that the Jews, upon hearing that faith justifies every man, would take it ill and feel offended, he goes on,

        Ver. 29. Is He the God of the Jews only?

        As if he said, On what foot does it then seem to you amiss that every man should be saved? Is God partial? So showing from this, that in wishing to flout the Gentiles, they are rather offering an insult to God’s glory, if, that is, they would not allow Him to be the God of all. But if He is of all, then He takes care of all; and if He care for all, then He saves all alike by faith. And this is why he says, Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. For He is not partial as the fables of the Gentiles [cf. Ov. Tr. I. ii. 5. sqq] are, but common to all, and One. And this is why he goes on,

        Ver. 30. Seeing it is one God.

        That is, the same is the Master of both these and those. But if you tell me of the ancient state of things, then too the dealings of Providence were shared by both, although in diverse ways. For as to you was given the written law, so to them was the natural; and they came short in nothing, if, that is, only they were willing, but were even able to surpass you. And so he proceeds, with an allusion to this very thing, Who shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith, so reminding them of what he said before about uncircumcision and circumcision, whereby he showed that there was no difference. But if then there was no difference, much less is there any now. And this accordingly he now establishes upon still clearer grounds, and so demonstrates, that either of them stand alike in need of faith.

        Complete homily here:

        http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/210207.htm

        • Ray Sunshine

          Thank you, Pubcrawler! I’m glad you’ve joined in. So it’s more complicated than I thought. I was assuming that “works” in this verse had to do with living a godly life, along the lines of the qualifications for an elder set out in 1 Timothy and Titus: “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not dependent on wine, not violent but gentle, peaceable, and free of the love of money.” Now, however, having battled my uncertain way through St John Chrysostom’s homily, what I think he is saying is that the “works of law” in this context (Romans 3:28) mean observance of the Jewish Law, i.e. keeping kosher, keeping the Sabbath, and so on. If that is, in fact, Paul’s meaning here, then I would be tempted to infer that this verse is not intended as a statement of the doctrine of justification by faith. Rather, Paul is explaining that – in accordance with James the Just’s ruling in Acts 15 – gentile Christians are exempted from the full rigour of the Torah, and that it is their faith that has entitled them to this exemption. Have I understood it correctly?

          • Pubcrawler

            I think that is what Chrysostom is saying, yes. I incline towards agreeing with him, too.

            Must duck out again. Clue’s in the name…

          • Ray Sunshine

            Cheers!

          • Pubcrawler

            And to you. I suppose that this is as good a time as any to note (that I am what might be called a ‘classic Anglican’, but for many years, and recently accelerated, I have felt a greater affinity with Orthodoxy, so this colours my comments.

            Pray for me, as I will for you.

  • Your Grace,
    We are not all Protestants now. In fact, the majority of Protestants and not Protestants now.
    What I mean by that is that the vast majority of those who attend churches that would be classed as Protestant have no conception of the Gospel, and if one quoted the five solas of the Reformation to them would be utterly bemused.
    .
    My church has been carrying out some door-to-door visitation in my area, and every so often we come across someone who declares themselves to be Christian. In such cases we ask that person whether, if he died that day, he is confident of arriving in heaven. Regardless of denomination, the usual reply is “I hope I’ve done enough.”
    .
    I have said before that what is needed is not more unity sans truth, but a new reformation whereby the great truths of the Bible are re-discovered and taught anew. God speed the day!

    • “We are not all Protestants now. In fact, the majority of Protestants and not Protestants now.”

      Gotta love the irony in that comment.

  • Anton

    Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason – for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves – I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen – Luther before the Holy Roman emperor Charles V at Worms, 1521.

  • Anton

    There is no finer account of the life of Martin Luther than that by James Wylie written in his History of Protestantism in the 19th century. Its sources remain unquestioned (whereas Wylie was relying on now-discredited sources for his chapter about the Waldenses) and the author had a magnificent sense of the dramatic. Here it is:

    https://archive.org/details/historyofprotest01wyli

  • Dominic Stockford

    Some here might find this book of interest. Special offer. https://www.10ofthose.com/products/22757/reformation-anglicanism?

    • Anton

      I greatly appreciated your full page ad for the Reformation and the Protestant Truth society in today’s Daily Telegraph. Thank you.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Our pleasure. We wanted to do something, and having done a similar thing when some bloke in white came and claimed sovereignty over the UK it was suggested that we did it again, so we did!

        • ardenjm

          I’ve just read your explanation for why you left the Catholic Church:
          http://www.whateverycatholicshouldknow.com/dominic_stockford.pdf

          I’m sorry to hear about your depression and run in with the law.
          Did you find therapy and or drugs worked to cure you of your depression or is it an ungoing issue for you?
          I’m assuming the run in with the law wasn’t anything significant and was resolved quite straightforwardly. You don’t clarify what it was – whereas you do clarify, extensively, all of the protestant thinking you were already enforcing on your Catholic parishoners whilst still a priest. Perhaps you’d be good enough to let us know what that problem was? (But don’t, of course, if it’s too personal.)

          I note that you were surprised that the Church didn’t look after you (give you money) having basically been a protestant pastor in Catholic priest’s clothing for years and subverting Catholic teaching and practise from within. You still expected the Church to look after you after such blatant dissemblance and dishonesty?
          Really?

          Anyway: Happy Reformation Day!
          Do you subscribe to Soul-sleep and Bigamy like Luther did? Or is your brand of protestant heresy of the Calvinist, unbiblical, Double Predestination kind?

        • Anton

          I shall be holding up the page when I give my sermon about the Reformation.

  • Anton

    It is also in question whether Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, but he certainly sent them to the Archbishop of Mainz 500 years ago today, for his covering letter is dated “on the vigil of All Saints Day MDXVII”.

    Incidentally, nailing them to the church door would not be the grand dramatic gesture that it is often taken to be today. Church doors routinely doubled as ecclesiastical noticeboards.

  • Dolphinfish

    I suppose we should have expected such a triumphalist screed on Hollowe’en, the night when the gates of Hell are supposedly open. However, since the gates of Hell will, we are reliably informed, not prevail against us, I must demur and emphatically state, no, we are not all protestants now, of ANY one of the fifty-odd-thousand-and-growing branches of that hydra-headed chimera. Despite Cranmer’s fog of loquacity, the entire post can be summed up in three words – “it’s all good”. No, it isn’t all good, it’s the same now as it was back in the day (Christ’s, I mean, not Luther’s). It’s good and evil and if you’re not serving one, you’re serving – however inadvertently – the other.

    The Orthodox theologian, David Bentley Hart, once wrote of the Thirty Years War that the German princes did not rebel because they had turned protestant, the turned protestant that they might rebel, and that’s what protestantism has been good for in the last half millennium. It’s not about man changing to serve God, it’s about changing God to serve man. Catholics, as all here know perfectly well, do not consider the pope to be infallible, except under the most rigourous conditions. What we DO consider infallible is the Magisterium, of which the reigning pope is a small part, and one who is, in himself capable of error. The Magisterium, not the pope per se, is what is protected from error, and in it are the answers to all the questions posited in the post, despite the implication that they can’t be answered. Yes, the pope IS capable of error, and no, that doesn’t invalidate Catholicism.

    http://www.correctiofilialis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Correctio-filialis_English_1.pdf

  • Anton

    Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott,
    ein gute Wehr und Waffen.
    Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,
    die uns jetzt hat betroffen.
    Der alt böse Feind
    mit Ernst er’s jetzt meint,
    groß Macht und viel List
    sein grausam Rüstung ist,
    auf Erd ist nicht seins gleichen.

    Words and melody by Martin Luther.

    • Murti Bing

      Wunderbar! Ehrlich gemeint.

  • Anton

    Kenneth Clark was no theologian, and his brief in his TV series was to concentrate on art, but his take on Luther and the effects of the Reformation on society remain gripping, if idiosyncratic:

    The opening is magnificent, and the Reformation is from 23:55 to 34:17.

  • Anton

    Prior to Luther the papacy had grown even more corrupt. For several decades a century earlier there were even two rival Popes. It was not unusual for Renaissance Popes to pass off their illegitimate sons as nephews and make them Cardinals (which is why the word ‘nepotism’ comes from the Italian for nephew, nipote). The papacy itself was bought by whoever could better bribe the cardinals for their votes. Corruption ran right down the Roman Catholic church, for many priests were absentees who lived far from the congregations they were meant to run and simply harvested tithes, church taxes. The mediaeval church had demanded (unscripturally) that churchmen not marry, and celibacy scandals were consequently regular. Doctrinally, the Catholic church had invented a place called Purgatory where people who were ultimately destined for heaven supposedly went to work off their sins after they died and before they entered heaven. The Catholic church encouraged prayer for persons in Purgatory and encouraged the wealthy to leave money to endow houses of prayer for their souls after they had died. In order to get money from the poor, the church even allowed preachers to suggest that leaving it money would get a loved one, already in Purgatory, time off there before they entered heaven; and to suggest that donations to the church would remit specified sins of one’s own, past and even future, if the Pope said so (‘indulgences’). Salvation for sale! The Bible was available only in Latin, and the Roman Catholic church made no attempt to translate it into the everyday languages of Europe’s peoples. The people therefore had no way of comparing church practice against the New Testament for themselves.

    But God is never without witness. John Wycliffe, an Oxford scholar, founded an underground dissenting movement that became popular in 15th century England, the Lollards. They attended Catholic services but avoided Rome’s most unscriptural practices and met in secret for prayer and, if possible, Bible study. Wycliffe translated the Bible into English for his followers. The Catholic church dug him up and burnt his bones. Around the Alps there was a similar movement, the Waldenses. The Catholic church’s Inquisitions did their utmost to expose these movements, often torturing confessions out of innocent people (that is the origin of the ridiculous legend of witches flying to meetings on broomsticks). Rome asserted divine right to enforce an ecclesiastical monopoly and, with grotesque irony, had all the Lollards it could catch burnt as heretics.

    Into this situation was born Martin Luther, in one of the Germanic States in 1483. He became a monk. Luther had an acute sense of his own sinfulness before God, but he was unable to find peace by doing all of the Catholic things – going on pilgrimages, fasting intensively, confessing for hours at a time, praying to Mary and the saints, and so on. As a monk, Luther had access to the Bible, and he had a superior, Staupitz, who guided him wisely. Finally Luther came to the realisation that a man needed only faith in Jesus Christ in order to be forgiven. Nothing else. To reach that point Luther had passed through a great inner journey, for unlearning is far more difficult than learning and Luther had been taught that Catholic trappings – pilgrimages, sacraments, penances and so on – were Christianity. At this stage he supposed that, although the Catholic church was corrupt in Germany, things must be better in Rome, the heart of the church where the Pope sat. Luther was sent from Wittenberg to Rome on monastic business in 1511 and was deeply shocked to find that it was actually more worldly, more corrupt. Still he thought simply to do his best to make the church better. Then a travelling preacher passed by to raise money for the (re)building of St Peter’s basilica in Rome – the church we see there today – by soliciting people to pay to get their dead friends and relatives out of Purgatory to heaven. Luther, disgusted, wrote against this practice and against the sale of salvation and other churchly abuses and sent a letter, with 95 assertions (‘theses’), to his Archbishop in Mainz. The accompanying letter is dated “on the vigil of [meaning the day before] All Saints’ Day, 1517”. (All Saints’ Day is November 1st.) Luther probably also nailed a copy on the door of a church in Wittenberg – a church door doubled as a theological noticeboard – stating that he would debate the issues.

    Two things caused this event to catch the imagination of Europe. First, Luther was of the heroic mould and not a man to back off. The scholar Erasmus also complained about churchly abuses, but he was not prepared to do anything that might wreck church unity, and he went unheeded. Luther put gospel truth above church unity around a lie. Second, printing had been invented a few decades earlier (in Mainz, by Gutenberg), and Luther proved to be a pamphleteer of genius. Any literate German could read his pungent pamphlets out to a listening crowd. Printing was the internet of its day. Soon Bible translations in the languages of Europe became available, too.

    Luther’s complaints went up through the church hierarchy. When it was pointed out to him that he was disagreeing with the Pope and with church tradition he was prepared to stand on the Bible as a higher source of authority and argue it from there with whoever was before him. In 1520 he received a decree (a ‘bull’) from the Pope that he must recant within 60 days or be excommunicated as a heretic, and presumably face a heretic’s fate. But it was the decree that was burnt, by Luther in front of a crowd of supporters. The next year he found himself standing before the most powerful man in the world, the 21-year-old Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, ardently Catholic and ruler not only over the princes of the German States, but also of Spain and its growing Empire in the Americas. Finally asked by an opposing churchman if he would retract, Luther answered with historic words:

    Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason – for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves – I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.

    Legend has it that he added “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Luther was able to depart and was protected by a sympathetic local ruler while he continued his writings.

    Among a peasantry resentful of paying taxes to support the church’s privileges, Luther’s message touched off an anarchic revolution across much of Germany. Luther was no social revolutionary and he supported the authorities who put it down. To galvanise the Germanic princes, Rome asserted that Luther’s protestant movement was a threat to their authority. But some of them, mainly in the north, declared themselves protestant – perhaps opportunistically – and seized church land. In their realms Luther reformed the church (hence ‘the Reformation’). He led the way by renouncing monasticism and marrying a former nun. Protestant worship was conducted in the local language, whereas Catholic services were in Latin and not understood by the people. Luther wrote hymns for congregations to sing, transforming them into active participants in services.

    Luther retained, at first reluctantly, church links with political power. Protestant rulers might enforce protestantism in their lands, just as Catholic rulers enforced Catholicism (cuius regio, eius religio, meaning ‘whose realm, his religion’). There would not now be anarchy, but neither would there be the freedom of conscience that Luther found in the Bible. At this point such freedom was limited to rulers, in an agreement to disagree after a stalemate was reached in multipartite conflicts (in 1555). Protestantism probably survived because Catholic powers were also combating an Islamic drive against Europe; Constantinople had fallen to the Turks in 1453, and Muslim armies continued to press west in the decades after that. But European Christianity remained politicised – Catholic and protestant – and this led to a further century of war in which religion supplemented reasons such as tribal hatred, jealousy, and the desire to plunder and exploit others. Worst was the Thirty Years War, which devastated Germanic lands from 1618 to 1648. The later parts of it were stoked by Catholic France.

  • the whole Christian world has become Protestant because it longs to be free

    I don’t understand. If Protestantism is synonymous with freedom, why would the West’s Protestant churches welcome the influx of non-Western peoples and religions which has destroyed the cohesiveness and stability on which our freedom was founded, freedom which has now had to be discarded in favour of thought crimes and the surveillance state?

  • Anton

    Thank you very much, Your Grace. I trust you are recovered from the events of 1556.

  • ardenjm

    Happy Reformation Day to all the heretics on here!
    How wonderful to remember bigamy-justifying, “soul-sleep” endorsing heresiarch, Martin Luther!

    I’ll ask Our Lady and all the Saints to intercede for your return to Holy Mother Church and just leave these little gems of Luther’s wisdom and Christ-like example here:

    “Whoever wants to be a Christian must be intent on silencing the voice of reason.”
    Sermons on the Gospel of St. John in Works, Vol. 23, p. 99.

    “Whoever wishes to be a Christian, let him pluck out the eyes of his reason.”
    Lectures on the First Psalm in Works, Vol. 11, p.285.

    “If I had all the Franciscan friars in one house, I would set fire to it. … To the fire with them!”
    Source: Dave Armstrong. Martin Luther and The Protestant Inquisition
    (Grisar, VI, 247; Table Talk [edited by Mathesius], 180; summer 1540)

    “What wonder if princes, nobles and laity should smite the heads of the pope, bishops, priests, and monks, and drive them from the land?”
    Assertion of All the Articles Condemned by the Last Bull of Antichrist, March 1521

    “Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay, and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel. It is just as when one must kill a mad dog; if you do not strike him, he will strike you, and a whole land with you… They cloak this terrible and horrible sin with the Gospel, call themselves “Christian brethren.” … Thus they become the greatest of all blasphemers of God and slanderers of His holy Name, serving the devil, under the outward appearance of the Gospel, thus earning death in body and soul ten times over. … Fine Christians these! I think there is not a devil left in hell; they have gone into the peasants. Their raving has gone beyond all measure. I will not oppose a ruler who, even though he does not tolerate the Gospel, will smite and punish these peasants without offering to submit the case to judgment. … If anyone thinks this too hard, let him remember that rebellion is intolerable and that the destruction of the world is to be expected every hour.”

    Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants, May 1525

    “I shall give you my sincere advice:
    First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians…
    Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed….
    Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them….
    Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb….
    Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home….
    Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping….
    Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3:19). For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”

    On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)

    • Anton

      You would do well to understand what Luther really meant by “reason” in those first two quotes.

      His attitude to the Jews shifted. At first he was favourably disposed to them, supposing that they would respond to the gospel when it was preached to them properly, rather than Romes’ mutated version. When they still did not respond, he unfortunately turned against them.

      He was supporting Catholic princes in putting the Peasants’ Revolt down. Luther was no social revolutionary. You can’t have that one both ways.

      • ardenjm

        And you would do well to understand what is meant by reason by the Church – since Luther rejects it – mistakenly.
        But, as he rightly observes, Erasmus got to the heart of the REAL issue which set him outside of the Church’s truth: On Freedom of the Will.

        • Anton

          And you would do well to understand what is meant by the church.

          • ardenjm

            Well since it IS Martin Luther’s special day we do need to recognise that he didn’t believe he was setting up a churchlet all of his own.

            I don’t know…maybe we can call you all (how many thousands of you is it now?) “Ecclesial Communions”.
            Yes, let’s call you that.

            Oh – and if I may speak for Maronites, Melkites and associated Catholics who are and have always been united to the Pope but who were never Latin-rite and thus never Roman Catholics: Catholic already means more than what Cranmer is trying to claim Catholics want to narrow it to mean. But that it will always, essentially, include being united in the same Faith as that guaranteed by Peter’s successor is beyond dispute. You don’t need to be Latin-rite and thus Roman for that. But you can’t be Catholic without it.
            Tu es Petrus and all that!

            Sorry. Not sorry. As the meme goes.

          • Anton

            The church is meant to be a network, not a hierarchy.

          • ardenjm

            Nope. The Church is a BODY. It has many members. It also has a Head – Our Lord. And Our Lord gives His authority in a direct echo and fulfilment of Isaiah 22 – to St Peter. Which is why we see in Acts of the Apostles what we see – at Pentecost and then subsequently: culminating in the Council of Jerusalem. Nota bene: not all the people of God were at that Council deciding what the whole Church would do but only members of the Church’s proto-hierarchy.

            That hierarchy, though, is CONSTANTLY admonished by Christ Himself to be one of service and feet-washing. But a hierarchy it nevertheless is.

          • Anton

            Nope. Arbitrary assertion of the apostolic succession.

          • ardenjm

            Yeah, yeah. Keep on repeating that to yourself.

            Rinse and repeat until brain is thoroughly washed.

          • Anton

            I’m brainwashed all right. We can wash or bodies but who can wash our souls?

          • Martin

            The Church has only one head, Christ, who is also it’s foundation.

    • CliveM

      An almost entirely pointless post. Really whats the purpose except to say ya, boo look at this? We could respond with a list of Catholic atrocities, episcopal corruption and pervert bishops and popes. We could highlight the moral corruption of the indulgences scam, but what would be the point? A 16th Century former monk espousing anti semitic views, well i wont say im shocked.

      But really apart from giving secularists and atheists a laugh what would it achieve?

      The only person this sort of behaviour helps is the devils and I’ll leave doing his work to others.

      • ardenjm

        Which is about as close as you can get, I assume to saying this:
        Human nature is sinful.
        Abuses have always existed in the Church and always will.
        Whilst we mustn’t be fatalistic about this we do need to be realistic.

        And so in that sense Luther’s revolt was entirely redundant.

        But to my knowledge, corrupt and perverted bishops aren’t lionised as heralds of the bright new dawn of genuine and purified – and reformed – Christian truth. They’re shamefacedly acknowledged and repudiated by the Church they tainted by their presence.

        Luther however, is lionised and isn’t repudiated….
        Oops.
        A special case of simul justus et peccator, no doubt.

        But since he is the founding father of the protestant heresy, he’s your problem.
        Not mine.

        • CliveM

          It’s good of you to admit that that there was ample grounds for the revolt.

          It constantly amazes me that Catholics admit that their church was an absolute mess of corruption, sexual immorality and vice, wedded to earthly politics and then express outrage that some people decided to make a stand against this. The reformation didn’t happen because of Luther, it happened because of the corruption of all types with your church. I suspect this isn’t how HG meant it, but when he says we are all Protestants now, it’s not simply because of the return to scriptural fidelity it provoked, but because Protestantism is as much a creation of the Catholic Church as it is Luthers.

          • Hi

            I kinda got the impression HG was arguing that the reformation was by the 1500s inevitable. So in an alternative universe where , say, Luther was a good Catholic lad and became the Pope or where Henry 8th didn’t split from Rome: Someone else would have been there?

            Actually , question here for the history buffs : if Henry had died childless but a good Catholic , who would have been his heir, e.g. cousin, nephew or whatever ? And if none , would that have provoked a civil war like the roses?

          • CliveM

            Yes i think you are right about what HG says. Its also clearly right. Im not a historian, but medieval society rested on the “three pillars”. Those that pray (the church), those that fight (the aristocracy, monarchs knights etc), supported by the third pillar, those that work (the serfs, merchandising class etc.) In return for the support, the first two pillars were meant to keep the third one physically and spiritually safe. I have read that with the coming of the plague and the largescale deaths and the obvious impotence in the face of this by the two pillars, this led to widespread questioning and disillusionment with this social contract, the death of surfdom and eventualy played a part in the creation of the reformation. Im not qualified to judge

          • Hi

            I guess I wouldn’t have made it even into the serf caste. My bro quipped surf class! Or maybe even Smurf! (:

          • Anton

            The Black Death which wiped out possibly half the population in the mid-14th century ushered in change because the price of labour went up. The aristocracy tried to keep it down but there were fewer people to work the fields that the aristocrats owned.

            The feudal system in England was very different from the Continental, a little-known fact. People were not tied generationally to the land; they chose their lord to whom they pledged allegiance. The historian Alan Macfarlane is the main man about this.

            It is the system of land ownersjhip from which all else followed in the feudal system. The aristocracy taxed the peasantry hard. So different from the Mosaic system in which every family owned land outright! And not a peep from the church about it.

          • CliveM

            I agree that there was a simple economic part to the changes experienced as you describe.

            Part of the argument I was presenting went along the following lines.

            The plague was devastating to Europe, the worst event in its history.

            People at the time tried to understand why this was happening. Many , including those within the RCC, believed it was a judgment from God.

            The Church, despite all its ritual and claimed ‘authority’ was unable to mitigate the effects of Gods judgement.

            Partly it justified its privilege, because of its position of being the body that interceded on our behalf with God.

            Clearly this failed and people asked why, started taking a closer look at it and saw a lot that was corrupt and non biblical about its behaviour. In short it started to lose moral authority.

            Finally when the bible became more available many were unable to reconcile what it claimed for itself with what they read.

            None of the above contradicts what you are saying, rather I think of them as complimentary. Despite the differences in serfdom here and on the continent, the effect of the above would be equally felt.

          • Anton

            Counterfactual history is pretty dangerous, especially when you are trying to guess what God would have done. I’m not so sure what would have happened but I’m glad that His Grace is bigging up the day.

          • Hi

            I’ve asked my arty politics , history and economic friends and relatives:

            In historical studies I understand there’s the” great men” theory of history e.g. ONLY Luther could have started the reformation and other theories ( not just Marxist) that say history is to do with the bigger picture , such as economic, social and political change and context (as Clive has mentioned) . So I don’t see the issue here and I’m not second guessing God. I’m indulging in a legitimate historical debate.

          • ardenjm

            Yes, you are.
            Don’t worry.
            This is just Evangelicals getting all puritanically censorious.
            Again.

          • History is to do with God’s Providence working itself out through individuals in the context of their time and place. We’re all given free will to choose how we use the gifts God endows us with. Some will be used for the good; some for evil. And, of course, God foreknows exactly how we will respond and all things work together for good to those who love God.

          • Anton

            My note of caution about counterfactual history was actually triggered by His Grace’s words, not yours.

          • ardenjm

            It would have been disputed by the offspring of Henry VII’s daughters Margaret Tudor and Mary Tudor (who were thus great aunts to Henry VIII’s son and daughters.) My guess is the Scottish who Margaret married in to, would have done a century earlier what they did when Elizabeth I died. But the French, who Mary married in to, still contested the Crown during the 16th century precisely because England had fallen in to error.

          • Hi

            It’s all so fascinating.

          • Pubcrawler

            “would that have provoked a civil war like the roses?”

            That was his fear (he knew his history well), and one reason for his desperation to get a male heir — and quickly, too.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, Rome was corrupt. But the bigger problem was the Sacramentalist Priestcraft by which people were held in bondage. Luther undermined the mechanism of power possessed by Rome. “Obey us or we shall deny you the sacraments!” That’s why we don’t have to fear the rumblings and pontifications of Rome.

            Catholics will admit to the temporal problems of Rome in 16th Century. But they won’t address the principle issue that Luther forced into the open. They won’t confront the issue of Justification. Trent proved that in spades. The doctrinal errors of Rome make the corruptions of Rome look trivial and insignificant by comparison.

          • CliveM

            Maybe, but I would argue that the cancer eating at the heart of the church was its corruption and love of earthly power, which is what led to sacramentalism. Sacramentalism was a tool of this corruption. It supported it and fed it, but it was the moral corruption that led to it.

            However lets be honest, this love of power and abuse of it, is not limited to the RCC. I’ve seen it in the most evangelical gospel hall.

            I’ve often thought that the best argument for women ministers/priests/pastors etc is how this love of power gets it source from a very male weakness.

            I have no difficulty in saying that being a RC and a Christian are not contradictory, but ardenjm smugness brings the worst out in me.

          • ardenjm

            “I have no difficulty in saying that being a RC and a Christian are not contradictory, but ardenjm smugness brings the worst out in me.”

            Offer it up for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

          • CliveM

            And what possible point would there be in that!

          • ardenjm

            It’s a spiritual work of mercy.
            Our Lord would be very happy with you.
            Spreading His love around, you see.

          • CliveM

            As there is no purgatory, it would be an act of utter futility.

          • ardenjm

            Then I guess we’re not ‘all Protestants now’.

            Funny that.

            Do make sure you ALWAYS correct EVERYONE of your Church who says, spontaneously and in heartfelt manner, “God rest their soul” or “May they rest in peace” or any other imprecatory prayer of intercession for the soul of a recently deceased loved one to God.
            Remind them that this is Catholic error and that either the person they loved is in Heaven so don’t need to “rest in peace” or they are in Hell in which case there is nothing you can do for them.

            I do wish Protestants would be coherent with their own protest.
            So few are. Even for that most fundamental part of their protest: the prayers for the dead.

          • CliveM

            No I’ll leave irritating people with long lists of their supposed doctrinal error to you, you appear to find it important.

            If I was interested in doing so, I could start trolling Catholic sites during, oh lets say the Solemnity of Mary, quoting the anti semitic history of the RCC etc, etc (I’ll let you fill in the gaps) and slap myself on the back in a self conglatulatory manner.

            But I’ll leave that sort of behaviour to others.

          • ardenjm

            But of course Catholics go in to missionary fields to convert those lost in error.
            Where else should I be but here?
            You can, of course, do as others like Carl, have done, and put me on mute. That way you can continue to blithely exist in your self-righteous bubble.

            Alternatively, you could do the scriptural thing and see me as a kind of online virtual Shimei – throwing stones at King David. If it’s any consolation – it doesn’t finish well for Shimei. But King David sees that the hand of God may be involved in it so acts sparingly at first until he’s sure.

            Toodle pip.

          • CliveM

            I only block the abusive. Being full of yourself isn’t enough.

            I have to say your missionary work has done wonder for my Protestantism, so maybe in that sense you are doing Gods work.

          • Hi

            So how do you offer up blogging comments to holy souls in purgatory and why would you want to do so?

            Like Deuteronomy says :

            “There shall not be found among you one who passes his son through the fire; a diviner, an astrologer, one who reads omens or a sorcerer. One who charms animals, one who inquires of Ov or Yideoni, or one who consults the dead. For anyone who does these is an abomination of Hashem; and, because of these abominations, Hashem, your God, banishes the nations from before you.”

          • ardenjm

            ‘For’ not ‘to’.
            All our worship is offered to God alone.
            But just as we can intercede for each other so it is a great work of spiritual mercy to pray to God for the souls in purgatory. Attaching acts (inspired and made possible by God’s grace since He wants us to become those “good and trusty servants faithful in small matters”) to that prayer includes attaching things we find hard and difficult. Think of it as a spiritual sacrifice – you know, in the way Paul interceded for his people the Jews with tears and supplications.
            Since CliveM finds me difficult to deal with – don’t let it go to waste: unite it to Christ Crucified and Risen and, in that act of charity and love remember the souls in Purgatory. Your dead family members, for example, who died in the hope of the Resurrection. Since, as Our Lord says, those who are alive in Christ are still with us in the communion of the saints it is, as the Bible says, good to offer prayers and sacrifices for them. Our only sacrifice, of course, is Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross re-presented for us at the Mass where Our Lord, making use of His instrument, the Priest, allows His once-and-for-all sacrifice on the Cross to be made present in our here and now and thus allow us to receive His saving, sacramental grace.

            Perhaps CliveM could go to Mass or ask a priest to offer Mass for the souls of the faithful departed.

            #justsaying

          • Martin

            On the contrary, you worship Mary and the ‘saints’. You imagine those poor souls have sufficient merit to get them to Heaven and to spare. Christ alone was without sin and one sin destroys all a man’s good works.

          • ardenjm

            Ah…
            Bless.

          • Martin

            You imagine Moses wouldn’t have stoned one who prayed to Mary? Seeking the aid of the dead is explicitly condemned.

          • ardenjm

            “God is not the God of the dead but of the Living”
            Take it up with God.
            He’s the one who started the Communion of the Saints. Not me.

          • Martin

            You imagine that the medium at En-dor would have been OK because it was Samuel she was calling up? It’s just the same as what you do. And I’m part of that communion of saints, but Rome isn’t.

          • Hi

            I’m a Jew and Christians who have in the past tried to evangelize me (e.g. alpha course) in the past have said in subtle and not so subtle ways that my mum, dad , grandparents and other relatives are in hell, burning and suffering in torture for eternity due to rejection of the loving god Jesus and that’s where I’m heading as an unbeliever Jew, unless I repent , get born again and convert to Christianity . I have no ill will to Christians as that’s what you guys believe . I do understand that there are heretical Christians who I know who believe in dual covenant theory.

          • ardenjm

            Oh God-botherers! Wouldn’t they drive you nuts?

            This one kind of gets it – and is a beautiful, if complex and troubled soul – should you be interested…
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etty_Hillesum

            This one really gets it – and is utterly remarkable:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_Weil

            And this one is beyond luminous and is now a canonised saint:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Stein

            Happy reading.

          • Martin

            Guess what, God makes saints, and all who are saved by faith alone are saints.

          • Martin

            HOL

            Abraham believed God, why don’t you?

          • Hi

            I do believe in God : what I don’t believe in is Christianity. A statement of the obvious surely?

          • Martin

            Hannah

            You don’t believe God, else you would be a Christian.

          • Anton

            I would never try to evangelise by telling someone that if their deceased relatives had heard the gospel and rejected it then they were hell-bound (although you are correct that that is what Christians believe). Real evangelism begins by getting someone to see the horror of his or her sin, by which I mean their inner state – of which their sinful acts are just an outworking. We are not saved by any merits of our own, I assure you; there is no holier-than-thou in authentic evangelism.

            As for dual-covenant theory: it is true that a Jew could in principle get to heaven by keeping all of the hundreds of written laws of Moses and never breaking so much as one on any day or his or her life. (That’s every law – it doesn’t help to tell a speed cop that you haven’t committed murder!) But: this was never true for gentiles, and it is impossible for Jews today because the sacrificial system based on the Temple is gone. Dual covenant theory is not so much wrong, as impossible to apply.

            Dual covenant theory is an error coming from the philosemitic wing of the Christian church. That is the wing to which I belong, and be assured that most people in this wing do not accept dual covenant theory. We believe Jews are saved from hell in exactly the same way as gentiles. You know what that way is. Our wing is, however, delighted that the State of Israel has been revived (remember Ezekiel’s dry bones?), and honoured that God used the gentile nation of England to that end. I don’t know if you joined in our 500th anniversary celebration yesterday, but I shall be joining in your 100th anniversary celebration tomorrow.

          • CliveM

            I don’t find you difficult to deal with, I find your manner smug and self regarding. Normally I’d point out that as a way of engaging with people it’s self defeating, but as the purpose would appear to simply play to the gallery, it would be redundant for me to do so.

          • ardenjm

            Shucks.

          • Lol ….

          • carl jacobs

            There is a certain attitude that may be displayed by a commenter, and if I see it I simply block the commenter. I don’t tolerate it at all anymore because it doesn’t get better. I learned from Linus that there is no redemption.

          • ardenjm

            I’m more than happy to “confront” the issue of Justification – but, of course, carl jacobs has muted me so it would be largely a waste of time.
            Where he is right is to highlight, as I’ve been doing, that the real quarrel wasn’t Luther “bravely denouncing corruptions” – it was in the doctrinal heresy of the man.

            As if God, in His good Providence would have left the Church in such egregious doctrinal error for 1500 years until a constipated German canon who had been influenced too much by Nominalist voluntarism and excessive Augustinian pessimism came along…

          • Martin

            The Church wasn’t left in error, Rome was. Many are the saints that Rome murdered, with the pope as the pagan Pontifex Maximus.

          • ardenjm

            Ah.
            Bless.

          • Martin

            And look at the blood of the saints on the hands of Rome. Rome is another Nero.

          • ardenjm

            That’d be the Nero who killed the Catholics.

            Bless.

          • Martin

            There was no Roman Catholic Church in Nero’s day, they were those who believed in sola fide. It was Rome with its pope, once it gained the power, that took up the mantle of Nero and persecuted God’s people throughout Europe.

          • Anton

            The sacraments went hand in hand with an ordained officer class of Christians who alone may minister them to the others and which you can nowhere find in the Bible.

          • carl jacobs

            But … but … Sacred Tradition! And without that Officer class, who would tell us what to believe? Why, without Pope Francis we wouldn’t be able to discern what Truth is.

            Tell us, Francis. Tell us about divorce and remarriage! What should we believe?

          • Albert

            I’ve asked you before to state his heresy on this divorce and remarriage. But you don’t.

          • carl jacobs

            Fascinating. My post didn’t mention heresy at all. It mentioned Francis’ teaching on divorce and remarriage. And yet you managed to infer a charge of heresy against him. Your feelings betray you.

            Of course, that was the apologetic point – to highlight the dissonance inside Catholics who say “You must submit to the Pope” even as they struggle against what the Pope says. I mentioned to my Catholic friend at work yesterday “It’s amazing how Protestants get when confronted with a heretic Pope.” Whereupon he admitted to me that he had no answer. He’s never done that before. Not in the 20+ years I’ve talked to him.

            It’s Catholics who tell me Francis is a heretic. Go read your own sources. As for me, I am beginning to appreciate this Pontificate in ways I never thought possible.

          • Albert

            Fascinating. My post didn’t mention heresy at all.

            You made the claim in an earlier post.

            “You must submit to the Pope”

            Not on everything. Attack us for what we believe, not on what we don’t.

            It’s Catholics who tell me Francis is a heretic.

            There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. I expect you can find Catholics who say that Francis is a heretic. But what is it that he has said that shows he is a heretic?

          • carl jacobs

            No, Albert. I am not going to serve as a proxy for the arguing about the legitimacy of Catholic charges that Francis is a heretic. If you ask me why I think Francis is a heretic, I will tell you. But you are free to to investigate and refute your own in-house sources.

            In the meantime, I’m going to keep reminding Jack that Francis is stuffing the Magisterium with people that cause Jack “concern”. The time will come when that Magisterium will make a decision. And then Jack will have to make a decision – which decision will constitute private judgment. Jack has integrity. I know which way he will choose. He won’t be able to rationalize his way out of what he is doing.

            I’m not making the argument. Francis is making the argument for me and Catholics can see it. All I have to do is amplify what they already know.

          • Albert

            Francis is making the argument for me and Catholics can see it.

            No he isn’t. These statements are not mutually inconsistent:

            1. Marriage is indissoluble
            2. Adultery is grave matter
            3. Someone not in a state of grace cannot receive Holy Communion
            4. Persons who have been divorced and remarried can sometimes receive Holy Communion.

            That looks contradictory, and some complain that Francis is risking causing heresy (probably by giving the impression that 1 is false), or creating poor discipline, but his position is not heretical.

            And as for all your private judgement stuff, you really don’t understand Catholicism, do you?

          • ardenjm

            “It constantly amazes me that Catholics admit that their church was an absolute mess of corruption, sexual immorality and vice, wedded to earthly politics”

            Not an ABSOLUTE mess – because this would be to despair of Christ’s promise to His Church to ‘be with you always’.
            But that there were abuses, sure. Always have been, always will be. Again, Our Lord says as much.
            Just as there are saints – even perhaps especially – at the worst of times.

            “and then express outrage that some people decided to make a stand against this.”
            He didn’t ‘make a stand’ – Luther torn down, tore at, tore apart and irrevocably cast the salvation of many millions into terribly jeopardy. Why on earth would anyone celebrate that? But to expect a Catholic to do so is just daft. (And daft are the Catholic Churchmen who expect us to do so. And misguided is the Pope in undertaking to do so.)

            “The reformation didn’t happen because of Luther, it happened because of the corruption of all types with your church.”
            And if only it had solved them!
            But it didn’t: The Catholic Church still has corrupt members – and guess what! so do the Protestants! What a surprise.

            But, of course, as I said above: this isn’t about abuses it’s about one man auto-papalising himself and passing that on as protestantism’s DNA: MY judgement is the right one. It’s Satan’s Non serviam in ecclesiastical garb.

          • CliveM

            If there is a single argument against the magesterium (and there isnt there are many) its the fact that it gives powerfull and corrupt men a tool with which to shut down those who stand against it. Luther had to be shut up not because of any heresy, but because of his shining a light on the corruption at the heart of your church. Did he get everything right? Probably not, but his biggest crime as far as the Church was concerned wasnt in putting the salvation of millions at risk, but by challenging the corrupt abuse of power and authority of the few.

          • ardenjm

            Nonsense.
            He was protected by incredibly powerful friends himself – one of whom, the bigamist Philip of Hesse has Luther’s doctrinal support for his bigamy!

          • CliveM

            You’re trying to divert attention from the abuse of power excerpted by your Church. It isn’t nonsense, the abuse of power by the RCC at the time is generally accepted even by RCC. We should ask Francis to arbitrate on this point? Luther being given protection by a powerful man doesn’t in any sense change this or justify the abuse by the Church.

            Indeed I can’t see that Luther did wrong to accept this protection.

            Magesterium, magisterium, who really cares. It’s what the predictive text came up with.

          • Martin

            Christ left Rome to it’s wickedness long ago.

          • ardenjm

            Ah:
            Bless.

          • Martin

            Sis Christ ever say, look at the worldly power and glory my Church will amass?

          • ardenjm

            Well, yes. He kind of did:
            Matthew 19 vs29
            “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

            Of course that abundance needs to be used in the service of the Gospel. And persecutions will accompany that growth of the Church. But Our Lord can’t be outdone in generosity.

          • Martin

            Well actually Jesus sets the scene in verse 28:

            Jesus said to them, Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28 [ESV])

            So unless you are claiming that this is the world to come you are spouting nonsense.

            Tell me, how is the gold leaf on the dome of St Peters in Rome being used in the service of God?

          • Anna

            Well said.

    • Martin

      Idolater.

      • Come now, you can do better than that!

        • ardenjm

          I think we both know that he can’t.
          I think we both know that all we can say is, “Bless” – and look sympathetically in Martin’s direction.

          • One is just trying to unstick the stuck record. It’s a thankless task but someone has to try to do it.

        • Martin

          HJ

          I don’t need to.

    • Hi

      What the blazes is “soul sleep”???

      • ardenjm

        God invented google search for a reason you know….
        But anyway: here’s a link to the Lutheran weirdness – shared by other heretics:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mortalism

        William Tyndale (1494–1536) argued against Thomas More in favour of soul sleep:

        And ye, in putting them [the departed souls] in heaven, hell and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection… And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good a case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?

        However, the best known advocate of soul sleep was Martin Luther (1483–1546).

        Luther states that

        As soon as thy eyes have closed shalt thou be woken, a thousand years shall be as if thou hadst slept but a little half hour. Just as at night we hear the clock strike and know not how long we have slept, so too, and how much more, are in death a thousand years soon past. Before a man should turn round, he is already a fair angel.

        • IanCad

          Good chaps were Luther and Tyndale. Read their bibles they did.

          • ardenjm

            And Satan quoted Scripture to Our Lord in the desert.
            It’s no guarantee of right interpretation.
            You need the Holy Spirit guiding you (the apostles, the Magisterium of the Church) into all truth, for that.

          • Martin

            But Jesus said He would give the Holy Spirit to all His people so that they would understand, or don’t you believe that?

          • ardenjm

            Of course. The Church has always believed that: it’s called the Sensus fidei and we are given it as a gift in our baptism.
            Our pastors must listen to the people of God precisely for that reason.
            But, just as at the Council of Jerusalem, some of the Church have a responsibility for governance – including doctrine. And they must exercise that responsibility – guided also by the Holy Spirit. Thus, “to those whom much has been given, much will be asked.”
            Accordingly, Luther, as a heresiarch is FAR more responsible for heresy than the people who followed him in good faith.

          • Martin

            Unless the person baptised believes the gospel there is nothing happening. If they are a believer they are blessed by their obedience. Baptising babies is just splashing water about, it gives nothing, creates nothing.

            The only governance the New Testament decrees is the team of elders in each local church. Councils are not binding without the authority of Scripture.

          • IanCad

            For sure we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit; Not however, the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, unless we hold that august body as being infallible.

          • ardenjm

            Which ordinarily we do – in matters of faith and morals.
            But that ordinary magisterium is merely looking after the Deposit of the Faith as understood down the ages. On exceptionally rare occasions, a new clarification is needed at which point the charism of papal infallibility allows the Faithful to have confidence that whatever is being dogmatically affirmed is revealed and true from God: The Assumption of Our Lady being the most recent example. We call these ex cathedra pontifical statements. Again they must be consistent with the Tradition of the Church. In that sense papal infallibility is merely the right understanding of Our Lord’s promise in the farewell discourse of St John’s Gospel to send the Holy Spirit to reveal the things to come and lead the Church into all truth.

          • IanCad

            Although a Protestant I have to conclude there is more consistency within the Catholic doctrine than we squabbling denominationalists can ever hope for.

        • Hi

          Google is okay , but I assume nothing. I like to get things from the horses mouth so to speak.

      • Sounds like a performing poorly Motown group.

      • IanCad

        It is generally understood as what you do when you’re dead. However, Ecclesiastes tells us very clearly that when death occurs there ain’t no soul left.

        • Anton

          Except that you have to explain Rev 6:10.

          • IanCad

            Anton, It was nearly three weeks back when we had a similar conversation about this proof text, so often cited as evidence to further the cause of the false doctrine of the immortality of the soul.

            I did respond to you then but quite likely you didn’t see it.

            Blogging is a bit like sex – the moment passes all too soon and other interests occupy.

            Here is a copy of my response to you:

            “The language is symbolic. There are no souls under the altar. The passage relates to those who have died through persecution for their faith in Christ.
            Similarly, we have the blood of Abel crying out for justice. Symbolic terms again.”

          • Anton

            And Abraham and Moses on the mount of transfiguration? They were symbolic too?

          • IanCad

            Elijah was taken up to Heaven in a whirlwind. A little less clear with Moses, but the assumption must be made that when Christ (in the form of Michael) and Satan were disputing about the body of Moses, Christ prevailed. Thus both great patriarchs were translated to Heaven and would be able to appear with Christ upon the mount.

          • Anton

            Elijah? I said Abraham.

          • IanCad

            I know Anton, but as you mentioned the transfiguration I assumed you meant Elijah. There are so many characters in scripture that I find myself regularly mixing them up, especially all the patriarchs and prophets.

          • Anton

            Do explain Abraham away at the Transfiguration…

          • IanCad

            From the Gospel of Mark 9:2-4. Matthew and Luke are similar.
            There is no account of the Transfiguration in John.

            “2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
            3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
            4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.”

    • Chefofsinners

      And a very happy bonfire night to you, when it comes. Consider the flames and flee the wrath to come.

      • ardenjm

        There we go!
        I knew at least one of you heretics would get the gallows humour of it.

        (But ssshhh, no barbecue jokes, out of respect for our kind host.)

      • There was an interdenominational Protestant gathering, and a fire started in the sanctuary. The Pentecostals got up and screamed: “Fire!” The Baptists shouted: “Water!” The Presbyterians said: “Order.”

        • Chefofsinners

          There was a Catholic gathering. No fire started.

          • ardenjm

            oh dear
            denying reason “the devil’s harlot” Luther, is a failing of Fideism. Fideism – faith alone, without reason, is condemned by the Catholic Church as heresy.
            Accordingly, if our reason judges it to be fire, the Magisterium can’t really gainsay it. It’s not de fide after all.
            Gratia non tollit naturam sed perficit.
            The old scholastic dictum pertains.
            Sorry.

            Far better would be, “And the Catholics got up and cried, ‘Repent!'”

  • Anton

    When truth and unity enter into tension, love is often a lost ingredient.

    • David

      The world hates the truth. Jesus told us to expect this.

  • David

    A brilliant article Your Grace, and fitting to on so important an anniversary.
    I am grateful to Luther because his work succeeded in making it very clear to me that sinner as I am, I am washed clean through Christ’s salvific work on the cross, all through the Grace of God. All I am asked to do is to repent and trust in Christ my Saviour – what an incredible gift of eternal assurance !

  • Chefofsinners

    For all you Catholics out there, the online Martin Luther insult generator:
    http://ergofabulous.org/luther/?

    • David

      I’ll admit he had a talent for it – incredible !

      • Incredible?!

        “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control …. “
        (Galatians 5:22-23)

    • Royinsouthwest

      I wonder what Luther thought of Matthew 5:22?

      But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

  • Norman Yardy

    ‘Every time we rail against error, bureaucracy, inefficiency and corruption, we are protesting for the restoration of righteousness’
    There is much to rail against in the church today with it’s distortions of the scripture to fit in with society so ‘restoration of righteousness’ come quick lest we perish.

    • Mike Stallard

      We had a little Sikh convert priest who came to our English Church – full of Irish and working class pensioners. It had been almost dead for as long as I can remember. He spoke with a strong accent, the Presbytery always smelled of curry. Just the person to empty the church finally…
      WRONG!
      By dint of sheer faith in people and, more, in God and in trust and genuinely liking his parishioners, Fr John transformed us into a really healthy community of friendly people. We threw open the doors to all immigrants and the Church was quarter full of Indians who identified with him.
      You can do it if God and neighbour are truly loved and followed with faith.

  • Chefofsinners

    When Christ died the veil of the temple, which was His flesh, was torn in two and the way to God was opened for all.
    By 1517 men had replaced that curtain with a wall and a toll booth.

    Mankind’s contribution to his salvation is limited to this: five nails. Four which held Christ to the cross and one which held Luther’s theses to the church door.

    • Oh, Jack rather thinks the early Christian martyrs are owed a great debt as are the great Father’s of the Church. Many were themselves crucified. Against these, Luther’s “sacrifice” pales into utter insignificance and his writings are unworthy.

      • Anton

        And Tyndale?

        • William Tyndale was condemned? Was translating the bible into English illegal? No. A law was passed in 1408forbidding unauthorised translations in reaction to John Wycliff who had produced a translation that was corrupt and full of heresy. It was not an accurate rendering of sacred Scripture. Both the Church and the secular authorities condemned it and did their best to prevent it from being used to teach false doctrine and morals.
          S
          Many English versions of Scripture existed before Wycliff authorized and perfectly legal. Also legal would be future authorised translations. All this law did was prevent any private individual from publishing his own translation of Scripture without the approval of the Church.

          Tyndale was an English priest of no great fame who desperately desired to make his own English translation of the Bible. The Church denied him for several reasons. First, it saw no real need for a new English translation of Scripture at that time. In fact, booksellers were having a hard time selling the print editions of the Bible that they already had. Second, this was a time of great strife and confusion for the Church in Europe. The Reformation had turned the continent into a volatile place. So far, England had managed to remain relatively unscathed, and the Church wanted to keep it that way. It was thought that adding a new English translation would only add confusion and distraction where focus was needed. Lastly, if the Church had decided to provide a new English translation of Scripture, Tyndale would not have been the man chosen to do it. He was known as only a mediocre scholar and had gained a reputation as a priest of unorthodox opinions and a violent temper. He was infamous for insulting the clergy, from the pope down to the friars and monks, and had a genuine contempt for Church authority.

          He left England and went to Worms, where he fell under the influence of Martin Luther. He produced a translation of the New Testament that was swarming with textual corruption. He willfully mistranslated entire passages of sacred Scripture in order to condemn orthodox Catholic doctrine and support the new Lutheran ideas. The bishop of London claimed that he could count over 2,000 errors in the volume (and this was just the New Testament). And this was not merely a translation of Scripture. His text included a prologue and notes that were so full of contempt for the Catholic Church and the clergy that no one could mistake his obvious agenda and prejudice. Did the Catholic Church condemn this version of the Bible? Of course it did.

          The secular authorities condemned it as well. Anglicans are among the many today who laud Tyndale as the “father of the English Bible.” But it was their own founder, King Henry VIII, who in 1531 declared that, “the translation of the Scripture corrupted by William Tyndale should be utterly expelled, rejected, and put away out of the hands of the people.” So troublesome did Tyndale’s Bible prove to be that in 1543 – after his break with Rome – Henry VIII again decreed that “all manner of books of the Old and New Testament in English, being of the crafty, false, and untrue translation of Tyndale . . . shall be clearly and utterly abolished, extinguished, and forbidden to be kept or used in this realm.”

          It was the secular authorities who proved to be the end for Tyndale. He was arrested and tried (and sentenced to die) in the court of the Holy Roman Emperor in 1536. His translation of the Bible was heretical because it contained heretical ideas — not because the act of translation was heretical in and of itself. In fact, the Catholic Church would produce a translation of the Bible into English a few years later (the Douay-Rheims version, whose New Testament was released in 1582 and whose Old Testament was released in 1609).

          • Anton

            Why did Rome never make any translations of scripture into Europe’s vernacular languages post-Gutenberg until the protestants had made theirs?

          • Do tell …

          • ardenjm
          • Anton

            Did you not read what I said properly? Why did Rome never make any translations of scripture into Europe’s vernacular languages post-Gutenberg until the protestants had made theirs? In other words, why did it not oversee the creation of the plates for the pages of the Bible in vernaculars using moveable metal type? Then it could just turn the press and roll those Bibles off. Rome did this only after the protestants did, saying that protestant translations were errant. If romewanted people to read the Bible in the vernacular, why did it not do this post-Gutenberg and pre-Luther? That interval is an entire lifetime.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Another variant of Anton’s question would be to ask “why did the Douay-Rheims version have so little influence compared to translations into various languages by Protestants?”

          • ardenjm

            I’ll just leave this here.
            Take a look – it’s a genuinely interesting presentation of all the pre-reformation translations of the Bible into vernacular languages. With the Church’s approval (tacit or open.)

            https://twitter.com/Calthalas/status/925362019410341888

  • David

    Those wishing to hear an easy to follow lecture on Luther and the Reformation, from an acknowledged expert, can log onto The Church Society website where Lee Gatiss, the Director, speaks for 1hr 20mins, including questions. I’d recommend it highly.

  • Inspector General

    Enjoy the party chaps, but do think about who is going to reform Protestantism…

    From what one has seen of various Protestant ghastliness from its (in many cases fallen and unsuitable) clergy on Cranmer’s site over the years, it makes the, shall we call them ‘idiosyncrasies’ of the Western church 500 years ago equitable to a choir boy merely having a crafty cigarette behind the cemetery wall…

    Blessings and toodles to all.

    • carl jacobs

      Oh good. The voice of Orthodox Catholicism arrives.

      • Inspector General

        Mr Predestination himself. You wait til Jesus gets his hands on you…

      • Hi

        Inspector for Pope?

        • Dope, more like.

          • Hi

            If the Borgias could and so could” anti pope ” Francis (as per mundabor who repeatedly calls him ” the evil clown”, along with pictures of donkeys and”IT” type sinister closes ) , so could Mr I ….

          • Mr M. has never referred to him as an “anti-pope”. He’s not a Sedevacantist.

          • Hi

            Pure evasion worthy of a well paid lawyer. …

            But the Mr M is free to call Francis all sorts of disrespectful names and have an attitude that would be more appropriate to an anti Catholic blog, rather than a raving fundamentalist Ultra Roman Catholic one?!?

            If Carl or Martin wrote half of what “Mr M” writes then EVERY CATHOLIC ON THIS BLOG WOULD CRY FOUL BIGOTRY or LOOK AT THAT EVIL PROTESTANT , Henry 8th, Cromwell , etc etc

            Personally I doesn’t care whatever nonsense he spouts, and it is utter nonsense , but someone said to me “exhibit a , of why Jews should give Rome a wide berth”. In other words he’s a repellent to anyone who’s mildly intelligent or is mildly interested in your faith.

          • Ray Sunshine

            The same old insults all the time. It soon starts to get mundaboring.

          • He’s not to everyone’s taste and should show the office of Pope greater respect and perhaps tone some of his comments on homosexuality down. That said, he is a good antidote to all the sugary “pastoral accompaniment” and “feel the pain of the sinner” that is being dished up today.

          • Anton

            I should think not given that you have two popes at the moment!

          • Ah.
            Bless.

          • Anton

            Thank you!

      • Time to ask for your permission to use this:

        “The Inspector self-identifies as Roman Catholic but his religious understanding has no vague relationship to RCism.”
        (Carl Jacobs 27th October 2017)

        • carl jacobs

          Sure. I was making an ironic reference about an unorthodox Catholic giving advice on “reforming” Protestants. You should be more discerning, Padawan.

          • Jack accepts no instruction f rom a follower of Anakin Skywalker. He too was well motivated but his rage and impatience, and lack of trust in the Force, led to him falling under the power of the Sith.

          • carl jacobs

            Ah look. A sniveling relativist Jedi. Only a Sith believes in absolutes, after all.

          • But that’s an absolute statement. There are absolutes but how best to honour them requires intelligence and discernment which is not possessed by the Sith.

            As Yoda says: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

          • carl jacobs

            Which means not only are they sniveling relativists, they are inconsistent sniveling relativists.

            The Sith. Bringing Order and Stability to the Galaxy.

    • Hi Inspector ,

      As ever you do make me chuckle…. anything on pink news? One understands that in other news there’s an alleged heterosexual scandal about one of our nuclear submarines:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5025485/HMS-Sex-Cocaine.html

      • Inspector General

        Kevin Spacey is in trouble. They’re furious at Marmite House after he proved irrefutably that…

        Well, you know, Hannah, and Cranmer doesn’t like this sort of business brought up all the time so we’ll say no more.

          • Hi

            That man is a disturbed bigot , who discredits your religion with every poisonous and downright malicious blog post he writes.

          • CliveM

            He even hates Catholics.

        • Hi

          No surprises from you in your attempts to demonize gay people !

          • Inspector General

            Oh, you mean the golden ones from another planet who could teach us so much about the best way to live if only we listened to them.

            Apparently not…

          • Hi inspector,

            Hey I think you’re the only golden one around here : Like a solid as is golden bronze statue of Michelangelo’s David.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          It is with some trepidation that I bring it up at all, but a few hours ago I watched this:

          Anglican Unscripted #337- English Thought Police – YouTube

          And looking and Theresa May’s recent pronouncements, how come such matters have become the touchstone of good-chappiness in the Conservative Party?

          • Inspector General

            Theresa May has become what is known in queer circles as a ‘Fag Hag’. A rather horrible sounding whatever but the Inspector has nothing to oppose those who lovingly call her that.

    • Ah, the blog’s most esteemed Protestant arrives.

      Are you offering to lead them from their darkness into the new light of your “Higher Understanding”?

      • Inspector General

        “Lord. thou knowest the pitiful scallywags Jack and Carl only too well. Tell me, is there no room for physical violence in the Higher Understand?

        {Silence}

        (More Silence}

        “Lord. Can you not advise on this important question?”

        “Shut up for a moment. I’m considering…”

        • Chefofsinners

          And finally the reply is in…

          “Clean up your act, Inspector.” – Martin Loofah

      • Chefofsinners

        Everyone knows the Inspector is a Cathaholic, a bastard religion conceived of Catholicism seduced by malt whisky. This is the true source of the dire understanding.

        • carl jacobs

          You forgot to mention that Rudyard Kipling is the prophet of the Higher Understanding.

          But, alas for Jack, the Inspector is a Catholic in good sacramental standing – despite the Higher Understanding. Perhaps the Magisteriumites recognize a kindred spirit?

          • Alas for you Carl, he’s actually a protestant heretic who has severed his communion with the Church because of stubborn and unrepentant errors – the Inspector, that is.

          • carl jacobs

            Uh huh. Maybe you should tell his Priest that.

          • If Jack was a member of his parish and he was spreading this nonsense to other communicants – he would.

  • Hi

    I might of mentioned this before, but I half wrote a novel nodded on the premise of taking a 21 st century British village / town that gets transported to the English civil war between the roundheads and Cavaliers . I’ve got some distant relation that does renactments of the civil war battles. Not that I can discuss this with my bro Sam who read history . I asked if we’d have been roundheads or Cavaliers . He paused, laughed and says ” I’m a roundhead as are your other bros”…..

    • CliveM

      I don’t want to know what he meant by that!

  • Reformation 500: we are all Protestants now

    (AB Cranmer)

    Comment of the day …..

    “We are not all Protestants now. In fact, the majority of Protestants and not Protestants now.” (Martin Marprelate)

  • Chefofsinners

    The good old BBC has chosen to celebrate this anniversary by arranging hallowe’en specials of every major programme. Every channel is running… horror films, what else? The Google logo today celebrates… hallowe’en.
    Satan is truly the prince of this world and his servants flock to worship.
    If only that monk had been called Martin Luthifer.

    • David

      Hateful organisation !
      All quite deliberate of course.
      Apart from the faith implications, looking purely from the secular historical point of view, to overlook the outstanding tsunami of change that the Reformation caused is incredible, intellectually vacuous at best.

      • Chefofsinners

        To desecrate, deform and gravy train.

      • Coniston

        Not quite fair: there has been quite an emphasis on the effects of the Reformation for some weeks (on radio at least), vying with ‘Revolution’ – on the Russian revolution of 1917. Remarkably enough, one TV programme about the 1917 Russian Revolution did point out its dreadful consequences.

        • Dominic Stockford

          But not on the day itself.

  • David

    The point which must not be overlooked is that in each generation each Church and each church must be reformed of the sloppy, perhaps sinful, ideas and practices that will build up, simply because of our human nature. The emphasis must always be on preaching the gospel and showing God’s love to a needy world.
    In the west we seem to be going through a low point, culturally, theologically and spiritually. The vast majority, including some within the Churches have rebelled against God. Come Holy Spirit of God and send us a religious cleansing and revival !
    I see hope though in the mass conversions of places like China, the Global South and in Orthodox Christianity generally.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Luther had piles. I think it significant…

    • not a machine

      I am sure it was 95 articles 🙂

    • Ray Sunshine

      And Karl Marx suffered from boils on his buttocks. In both cases their rage against the unfairness of being the victims of fate in such an unglamorous manner clearly shows through in their writings.

      • HedgehogFive

        Karl Marx was a very disturbed young man: http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/communism/marx.htm

      • Martin Luther seemingly suffered badly from constipation. He famously told his table companions that “the spiritus sanctus imparted this creation to me on dis cloaca.” Is it possible the “dreck” of Protestantism surfaced together with the poops in the latrine of the mighty Reformator. He once said that if he farted in Wittenberg, they smell it in Rome. In 2004, archaeologists discovered the private loo of Martin Luther in a niche set inside a room measuring nine by nine metres. A secret place where he did a ton of writing? Is it possible that the 95 Theses originated from 95 hard strained faeces?

        • CliveM

          Diet was really unhealthy with a suspicion of vegetables. Bad constipation wasn’t unusual.

          • Manfarang

            Luther does talk as though he would have liked to be a vegetarian:
            “nevertheless a diet of herbs rather than of meat would be far finer today. Indeed, it is clear that at the beginning of the world herbs served as food and were created for this use, that they might be food for man”
            Luther, Martin: Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan (Hrsg.) ; Oswald, Hilton C. (Hrsg.) ; Lehmann, Helmut T. (Hrsg.): Luther’s Works, Vol. 1 : Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 1-5. Saint Louis : Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1958 (Luther’s Works 1), S. 1:36

    • Chefofsinners

      He needed Anusola scriptura.

      “I have a cream today…”

    • Manfarang

      A Diet of Worms.

      • Pubcrawler

        Arf! At least not a surfeit of palfreys.

      • Strongyloides stercoralis?

        • Manfarang

          Avoided by those in the habit who wear sandals.

    • len

      Piles of what?.

      • Skubalon, as HG would say.
        Welcome back. Where have you been hiding. Jack surmised a test-run of the rapture.

  • not a machine

    Your grace writes thoughtfully and I can only thank the archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his holiness pope Francis in their prayers and comunicaes today. It is clear a long period of time has passed and much new thinking and ways of life have occurred. For the past few years I have been considering how it is we have had this one bible and yet it has been so difficult and perhaps always will be difficult that it’s light shines in our darkness and ignorance. I have met Roman Catholics who have the contemplative gift and CofE who talk in terms of the church action. I do not wish to say who is right as all churches have had difficult times to deal with. My own view of the reformation is it was the result of some sort of failure, questions around other things were forming the renaissance and scientific understanding were beginning. Scientific understanding was of course to have its own errors. The returning to the scriptures unto the people perhaps kept some of the bad social science theories at bay. I don’t buy into those who see the meaning as no church structure or those who think the old buildings don’t mean anything. We may well learn from studying history and this moment gives me a great deal of hope in that the Christ is a light within ourselves and it is no easy task to either discern or keep or lighten others with that light.Oh Lord I pray you be our guide and that we may serve you in and for your kingdom, that we may inherit the promise of your son and salvation through Jesu Christ amen.

  • Luther was have a splendid Reformation Day. Until the piggybacking protestants started trying to improve his Reformation.

    • ardenjm

      Oh I think Luther was quite capable enough – as we’ve seen in his writings on the Jews – of being a monster.
      Here he is on the handicapped.

      The compassion!

      Clearly, the Lord’s chosen instrument for the Reformation of His Church!

      https://www.independentliving.org/docs7/miles2005b.html

      In 1540 came the notorious reported discussion about a strange 12-year-old boy at Dessau, who was said to do nothing but eat voraciously and to excrete.

      Luther suggested that he be suffocated. Somebody asked, “For what reason?” He {Luther} replied, “Because I think he’s simply a mass of flesh without a soul. Couldn’t the devil have done this, inasmuch as he gives such shape to the body and mind even of those who have reason that in their obsession they hear, see, and feel nothing? The devil is himself their soul. The power of the devil is great when in this way he holds the minds of all men captive, but he doesn’t dare give full vent to the power on account of the angels.” (LW 54: 397, No. 5207)

      Much caution is needed in studying this report. The editor adds a footnote about a later version, in which John Aurifaber

      “elaborated on the original by stating that Luther had himself seen and touched the boy and that he advised the prince of Anhalt to have the boy drowned. What had at first been the private expression of an opinion here became a formal recommendation to a ruler.” (Ibid.)

      • Inspector General

        Protestantism setting off on an awful footing. As for…

        “who was said to do nothing but eat voraciously and to excrete”

        …he wouldn’t last a day with the ladies of Gloucester…

      • Did he ever suggest removing Galatians 5:22-23 from scripture?

    • Hi

      I bet he would be celebrating with a pint of Guinness?

  • CliveM

    Don’t you mean a Paddington bear hard stare?!

    • Hi

      That’s my movie itinerary for the next 2 months :

      Paddington 2
      The last Jedi
      Justice league ( Wonder woman : fab!).

      Did you get to watch the new blade runner?

  • William Lewis

    A catholic defence and exposition of Protestantism, Your Grace. Eloquent, salient and apposite too. One is heartened to learn of the Bishop of Rome’s improved understanding in this matter.

    • ardenjm

      Yes. The Pope is a generous soul. Letting bygones be bygones and appreciative of your tacit acknowledgement that, in the end, you just want his approval.

      In that sense: few are the rebelling Protestants who don’t want a Papal blessing these days.
      Cranmer is positively obsessed with getting Papal approbation, for example.
      He can hardly BE a heretical protestant without running it past the Holy See first.
      No doubt that explains his pilgrimage there a few years back.

      Still, all is not lost if you’re pro-life.
      Whilst the churchlets you belong to are institutionally compromised on the question – no surprise, look at what Luther wanted to do to the handicapped boy – many are the protestant heretics who remain in Catholic truth on pro-life issues. (And too many, alas, are the nominal Catholics who no longer do.)

      • Inspector General

        Sir. The Higher Understanding is well above doctrinal disputes, but have an uptick anyway.

      • William Lewis

        There is only one man’s approval worth having. I see that the process of the Reformation still has a way to go in convincing some of this eternal truth.

        • ardenjm

          I agree.

          Which is why people who claim to have Our Lord’s approval should get Matthew 7vs21-23 tattooed across their foreheads.

          You can use Lutheran Schwabacher typeface if you prefer….

          • William Lewis

            A bold typeface to go with your bald-faced accusation?

          • ardenjm

            You should be thanking me! Sola scriptura and all that. (Which, given Matthew 7vs21-23 is one more of the solas that clearly won’t be enough to save you.)

            Mind how you go.

          • William Lewis

            If you sincerely meant to help then I thank you for your efforts.

            “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
            Mt 7:21

            “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
            Jn 6:40

            Good night.

          • ardenjm

            That’d be the “eternal life” referred to in that same discourse in John 6:47-55 which explains how we receive that life:

            47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.
            Believes what?
            Believes this:
            48 I am the bread of life.
            49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died.
            50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.
            51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
            52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
            53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
            54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
            55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
            56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.
            57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
            58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
            59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

            And of course as the rest of that chapter relates: when quizzed on whether He REALLY meant to say we must eat His flesh and drink His blood Our Lord is uncompromising:

            66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
            67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
            68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
            69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
            70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”
            71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

            So Judas – diabolically – denied the truth of the Body and Blood of Our Lord.

            So that’s the ‘believing’ we need to do. That’s the act of faith we need to make.

            Good night.

          • John 6:47. ‘Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has eternal life. I am the bread of life………and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world’ (John 6:47-48, 51).
            Christ Jesus gave His body to death for the life of the world– Jew and Gentile, male and female, rich and poor. We feed upon Christ by faith when we contemplate His once-for-all sacrifice upon the cross and worship Him. The idea that we can literally chew, swallow, digest and excrete our Lord and God is bizarre and disgusting.
            ‘Then if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Christ!” Or “there!” Do not believe it’ ( Matt. 24:23). The Lord Jesus ‘has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to Him’ (1 Peter 3:22). When He comes again, it will be in the same way that His disciples saw Him go– physically and in a human body (Acts 1:11).
            Over-literal interpretations were the bane of the Pharisees (John 2:20; 3:4; 6:52). The words of the Lord Jesus are spirit as well as truth and must be read with spiritual eyes (1 Cor. 2:14).

          • ardenjm

            “The idea that we can literally chew, swallow, digest and excrete our Lord and God is bizarre and disgusting.”

            Is it as disgusting to you that Almighty God took flesh from the Virgin, chewed, swallowed, digested and excreted? Is it as digusting to you that Almighty God was scourged and bled and gave His life in ignominy for us? Because that is what He did: He was true God and true man.

            And if, as is CLEAR in John 6 Our Lord INSISTS that we must take of His flesh and blood are you not like Peter who refused to have his feet washed because He didn’t think Our Lord should do such a humble thing? Who then, are you, to say to Jesus: You must NOT, you CANNOT want us to eat your flesh and drink your blood. And in saying that you repeat exactly the incredulity of the Jews how heard it first – as John 6 very clearly reveals.

            So OF COURSE we feed on the ‘spiritual body’ which nourishes our soul with His life which is saving grace. But, just as He chose to come to save us in the flesh, so to He comes to nourish us in the Bread from Heaven: His Body and Blood. And that is how He chooses – in His Divine humility – to communicate His life to us: in Communion.

            Your quarrel is not with me: Your quarrel is with Our Lord the Word made Flesh.

          • Anton

            Jesus said I am the Door too. But people reckoned he looked more like a man.

          • And people understood on that occasion He was speaking allegorically – not literally. When He stated He was the bread of life and must be eaten, He scandalised His listeners and in the face of their scandal restated His teaching. When His disciples questioned Him, He said: “Does this try your faith?”

          • Anton

            Exactly, Jack. Allegorically.

          • “That occasion” being when He referred to Himself as a “Door”, Anton. Don’t be obtuse.

            “Does this try your faith?”

          • Anton

            I meant, of course, that He drew other allegories too. Not least in certain words at the Last Supper…

          • The Last Supper makes plain the meaning of John 6.

          • Anton

            Round we go again…

          • “Does this try your faith? ……… After this, many of his disciples went back to their old ways, and walked no more in his company. “

          • Anton

            Who is who?

          • ardenjm

            And if Our Lord had said, “you have to hang me on hinges and walk through me” and if people had replied, “you what? you can’t want us to do that! how’s that possible?” and if Our Lord had replied, “I tell you solemnly unless you do that and walk through me you will no have eternal life” and if, in response, many stopped following Him, and if He re-iterated to His disciples that this is exactly what they had to do
            THEN, and only then, does your attempt to turn Our Lord’s teaching on the eucharist in John chapter 6 into the same as all the other ‘I am’ statements of the Gospel, actually work.

            But of course, that’s NOT what happens because there is something unique to Our Lord’s eucharistic teaching. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world as St John the Baptist points out at the start of St John’s Gospel. And as we know from Exodus, the flesh of the Lamb must, indeed, be consumed.

            And lastly: as always with Protestants, we’re back with the authority of your many different and contradictory interpretations. I’ll stick with the Tradition of the Church and her perennial authority.

            There are just three of my reasons why you are mistaken. There are others.

          • Anton

            Take it up with Aquinas then. In Summa Theologiae III, Q.75 he argues that atomism – the notion that matter is not indefinitely divisible – is fatal to the doctrine of transubstantiation. In the 13th century it was not known whether atomism is true. In the 19th, scientists found atoms of various chemical elements and determined that it was not. You have Aquinas against you.

            In John 6 Jesus was speaking before the Last Supper at which he instituted Communion, of course.

          • ardenjm

            Well perhaps that makes sense to you but it certainly doesn’t make sense when you go and look at the Summa!
            Transubstantiation is a miracle.
            You might as well say Our Lord couldn’t walk on water, mutliply loaves and fish or transform water into wine because of ‘atomism’.

            So, no, Anton: I don’t have Aquinas against me.

            Try again.

          • Anton

            An odd sort of a miracle that is invisible! The whole point of miracles is that they gobsmack the senses.

            Aquinas’ reasoning as to why transubstantiation would be impossible if matter were not indefinitely divisible rests on a great deal of scholastic philosophy/theology, but he is clear about his conclusion, is he not? He is against you.

          • ardenjm

            “An odd sort of a miracle that is invisible! The whole point of miracles is that they gobsmack the senses.”

            Oh dear. And the hidden Incarnation of the Word made flesh in the womb of the Virgin. Did that “gobsmack the senses”? Did the hypostatic union of the two natures divine and human appear visibly until the Transfiguration?
            Oh and what do you think Our Lord means when He says to doubting Thomas who said, “I’m not going to believe until my senses are gobsmacked”
            “Happy the one who believes without seeing.”

            You have not understood Divine Pedagogy very well, I’m afraid.

          • Anton

            John uses the Greek word having literal meaning “sign” for what is conventionally translated as Miracle.

          • ardenjm

            Err – yes.
            So the semion of sharing the bread of the Eucharist points to the reality of us being in Communion with God – and in the communion of the saints.

            It aint that difficult.

          • Albert

            The whole point of miracles is that they gobsmack the senses.

            Really? Who says?

            he is clear about his conclusion, is he not?

            Really? Yes, he is clear that the substance changes, but ask him what he means by that, and he will become less clear (beyond saying, as he already has that it isn’t a change like the other kinds of change). Can you give a clearer reference as to where Aquinas speaks of atomism?

          • The Muslims would agree with him though. Good company, what?

          • Catholics do look on the Son every time they celebrate Mass and we are also mightily blessed to receive His Body and Blood too – just as He commanded. And you? You look upon a symbol as a commemoration.

          • Alas! You look upon a piece of bread and suppose it to be your god.
            It is hard to think of anything more foolish, unless it be supposing that some fellow has the power to conjure him up.

          • Ah.
            Bless.

  • Sybaseguru

    A few years ago a new vicar to our parish asked me how he could set up a local fellowship of ministers who could have a reasonable degree of agreement on scripture (our next door neighbour was “sea of faith”). “Why not make entry conditional on being able to say the Apostles and Nicene Creeds without your fingers crossed( a.k.a. lying)” said I. This Lent we had some brilliant early morning prayer meetings in the various local churches – ranging from RC to Conservative Evangelical. It seems the creeds are a good test of Christianity – but then it should come as no surprise as that was their origin.

    • Pubcrawler

      Being able to recite both without cue cards would I suspect be rare these days.

  • Pubcrawler

    Yeah, so anyway. Over the last month there has been a series of posts and guest posts on the Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy blog presenting various Orthodox reflections on the Reformation. Those who are interested can find them here:

    https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/

    Of course, if you’re not interested, feel free to ignore without comment.

    • Well, I had a look, and had to hold back bringing up my lunch when witnessing the sickening arrogance of the Orthodox newer converts yet again. I’m married to an ex-Orthodox, whose entire family have left the Orthodox, who’s friends have left the Orthodox, and who’s extended family have left the Orthodox. Yet in the new-convert western Orthodox echo chamber, the whole of the Protestant and Catholic faith are “discovering” Orthodoxy (complete with its arrogant nationalism, endless jurisdictional bickering, confused soteriology etc etc)

      That website should come with a warning and a sick bag.

      • Anton

        Two huge changes happened in the church’s first four centuries that moved it form the faith of the apostles: its transformation into an intellectual faith by the philosophers, and its institutionalisation by Constantine and its successors. That is why I reject the claim of the Orthodox as much as I do the claim of Rome to be the faith of the apostles. Protestantism didn’t undo these changes very much either. Persecution will.

        • Anton, I wouldn’t say that the philosophers made Christianity an intellectual faith- it already had that prior to the Advent of Jesus. Certainly Paul doesn’t mess around when it comes to using the mind in his epistles- we’re still arguing over his work. Even Peter found it difficult in places.

          I guess one could argue that theology is best when it is simplified, but humans like to think things through as a matter of habit. I’m also not sure institutionalisation by the state is altogether a bad thing. It can be a bad thing, and it certainly can be a bad thing too. God allowed all of these things to happen for a reason.

          I totally agree that persecution is not only coming but that it will bring things back into the focus God intends.

          • Anton

            Institutionalisation by the State is a covenant between the church and the world.

            From the Bible we may reliably infer that God is Trinity and that Christ is wholly divine (in the same sense as the Creator) and wholly human. The philosophers started going into HOW, causing needless division about things unknowable and the illusion that you had to be an intellectual to be a serious Christian.

        • Jonathan

          The church was NOT institutionalised by Constantine.

  • Father David

    Well, thank goodness that’s over with and we can forget all about it for the next 500 years until the millennium celebrations of the Reformation in 2517.

    • Albert

      There will be no millennium celebrations in 2517.

      • Father David

        One definition of millennium – “an anniversary of a thousand years”
        So, Anton – what were they celebrating in Holy Mother Russia in 1988 – why “the millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church”
        Similarly in 2517 they will undoubtedly be commemorating the millennium of Luther’s Reformation – unless, of course, Our Blessed Lord puts in an appearance before then!

        • Albert

          Firstly, I’m not Anton, secondly, millenniums can occur without being celebrated. They won’t be celebrating the millennium of the holocaust in the 2940s. Certainly a commemoration would seem appropriate.

  • Albert

    we are all Protestants now

    No, it’s more like the other way around. As the Emperor said at the Diet of Worms: He [Luther] is pagan in his denial of free will.

    And that’s the choice Luther gives us. Permit free will and you join the Catholics (as far as that debate is concerned) deny it and you join the pagans. Most Christians today – Protestants too – would not agree with Luther on free will, still less with his concomitant doctrine of double-predestination.

    Secondly, I think Luther has been largely whitewashed. He was incredibly self-obsessed, when the Lord commands him to love his neighbour. He was a vicious anti-Semite, even for his time. Anyone reading the following without knowing, would think Luther’s words are Nazi propaganda (they are so apposite in that context that they became Nazi propaganda):

    “What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews”

    “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …”
    “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.”
    “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.”
    “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …”
    “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …”
    “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them …”
    “Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow … But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country …”

    Yes, he wanted people to read the Bible for themselves, but not when he discovered that they did not agree with his reading (hardly surprising). When, as a result of his revolution, the peasants rose up, he said:

    let everyone who can, smite; slay, and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or dev­ilish than a rebel.

    Thirdly, the OP says Christ has been divided since the Church was founded. No. When Paul says “Is Christ divided?” the question is rhetorical. Christ is not divided. Thus if there are divisions amongst Christians, then there is, to that degree, division from Christ not in or of Christ.

    These things are the among the legacy of Martin Luther.

    • Anton

      About free will, both sides are right and both sides are wrong. You cannot expect to resolve a paradox. God means us to live and grow in the tension. I have my own view and I’ve not seen it elsewhere (although I doubt that it’s original) but it’s still only one man’s view. It’s better than either pole of the argument, though, because each pole is subject to valid criticism from the other.

      The church was divided long before Luther. What happened in 1054?

      Luther was originally sympathetic to the Jews because he reckoned, rightly, that they hadn’t heard the authentic gospel from Rome, but when they still didn’t covert after hearing it from him he turned against them. It is certainly one of his negative points. You say nothing about the good he did. Who is it that concentrates only on the bad when speaking of a man?

      • Albert

        About free will, both sides are right and both sides are wrong. You cannot expect to resolve a paradox.

        But this is the issue. In any case, what do you think the Catholic Church was wrong about in terms of free will?

        The church was divided long before Luther. What happened in 1054?

        Cranmer’s claim was that Christ was divided. No he wasn’t. All schism results in breaking from the fullness to something less.

        You say nothing about the good he did. Who is it that concentrates only on the bad when speaking of a man?

        What I see if people speaking positively about Luther. There are positive things in him. But as they are already said, and as the darkness is so dark, it needs to be pointed out. I don’t think Protestants have much room for complaint on this one – they always talk about the failings of Catholicism and you are no stranger to that. So, in answer to your question, I would say “Anton”.

        • Anton

          Of which man, when summing him up, have I spoken only of the bad?

          • Albert

            Pius XII

          • Anton

            Not so. I affirmed that he helped the Jews of Rome and was not antisemitic. Check for yourself.

          • Albert

            But in any case, you always critique Catholicism, and seemed for a while to have criticism as the basis of your reading. You seemed to delve into such obscure topics, one minute you were on about Pius XII, the next Franco, and so forth. In any case, in writing about Luther, as I have made clear, I was wanting to provide a corrective. Obviously, I do not think he was all bad. If I did, I’d be a Calvinist.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      But it is important to remember what Luther did NOT do, as explained in this extract from The Well and the Shallows, by G.K.Chesterton (1935):

      but it is clearest of all in what is confronting us to-day; the Race Religion of the Germans.

      Needless to say, there was no such nonsense talked in Luther’s time, or for long after his time; and, least of all, to do him justice, by Luther. Germans were turbulent and a little barbaric, as he was himself; but it is only fair to him to say that he was a Christian, in the sense that he believed that nothing could be done except in the strength of Christ. A superbly typical story reaches me from Germany; that some of the Nazis started out to sing the great reformer’s famous hymn, “A strong fortress is our God” (which sounds quite promisingly militaristic), but found themselves unable to articulate the very words at the beginning of the next verse, which ran, “Of ourselves we can do nothing.” Luther did, in his own mad way, believe in humility; but modern Germany believes simply, solely and entirely in pride. That is an example of what I mean by a void being filled up, not only by another substance, but actually by an antagonistic substance.

      Luther was subject to irrational convulsions of rage, in one of which he tore out the Epistle of St. James from the Bible, because St. James exalts the importance of good works. But I shudder to imagine into what sort of epileptic convulsion he would have fallen if anybody had told him to tear out the Epistles of St. Paul, because St. Paul was not an Aryan. Luther, if possible, rather exaggerated the weakness of humanity, but at least it was the weakness of all humanity. John Knox achieved that queer Puritan paradox, of combining the same concentrated invocation of Christ with an inhuman horror and loathing for all the signs and forms and traditions generally characteristic of Christians. He combined, in the way that puzzles us so much, the adoration of the Cross with the abomination of the Crucifix. But at least John Knox would have exploded like dynamite, if anybody had asked him to adore the Swastika. All this new Nordic nonsense would seem to have nothing whatever to do with Protestant theology; or rather to be completely contrary to it.

      • Albert

        Yes, Luther went the other way, to the degree that the words:

        work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

        surely no longer make sense.

        • Anton

          Luther did. Are you not aware of his struggles with his own soul in the confession box before his wise superior, Staupitz? He spent 6 hours a time in there, seeking peace. (One of my early Bible teachers made a dry comment about which of them might have found it harder!) Staupitz made the wise comment that Luther was trying to deal with God without a redeemer, and pointed Luther to Romans, and the rest is history.

          • Albert

            Sorry, I’m not sure I’m understanding your point here. Luther did what?

          • Anton

            I’m explaining that Luther himself worked out his salvation with fear and trembling, in the years before 1517.

          • Albert

            Well then I’m really confused. It would appear that you think that when he was a Catholic he was following Paul’s teaching, and when he kicked off the Protestant Reformation he departed from that teaching. But I’m sure that isn’t what you mean, so what do you mean?

          • Anton

            I’m not sure when you think he ceased to be a Catholic; presumably at his excommunication? I can’t interpret it in Catholic terms, not being a Catholic, but he came to understand, from within, the biblical teaching a few years before 1517.

          • Albert

            I see. What are you taking 1517 to mean then?

          • Dominic Stockford

            A year when people responded to his teaching because it hit their pockets.

          • Albert

            Somehow, I think we are all at crossed purposes!

      • betteroffoutofit

        “He [Knox] combined, in the way that puzzles us so much, the adoration of the Cross with the abomination of the Crucifix.” A person thought on that to the following effect:

        The Crucifix depicts the body of Christ. Since the 7/th/8th century AD, iconoclasts had condemned such graven imagery (and worship of it) as contravening the Second Commandment. They retained the Cross, though, to remind us of the greatest crime ever committed: mankind’s killing of God.Incarnate. As the poem “Dream of the Rood” (partly quoted on the Ruthwell Cross-now in Scotland) points out, the cross in Christ’s time was a symbol of shameful death for criminal activity. However, the Cross of Christ bore him up, and through the nails became joined with him – therefore it served a symbol, rather than as an image of Christ Himself. Sixteenth century protestants (who included Knox) revived that stance.

        You certainly make me wonder if Knox might also have distinguished linguistically between “adoration” .of the Crucifix (as of saints and relics) and “reverence” or respect for what a symbol represents. Did he also recognise the Cross’s relation to the ‘Christian Paradox’ wherein the Greatest Evil (antithesis) becomes the Greatest Good (Salvation – thesis) — through the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross (Synthesis)?

  • Terry Mushroom

    The Times Of Israel carried a think piece about German celebrations of Luther. It says, in part,

    “Yet a shocking part of Luther’s legacy seems to have slipped though the cracks of the collective memory along the way: his vicious Anti-Semitism and its horrific consequences for the Jews and for Germany itself.

    At first, Luther was convinced that the Jews would accept the truth of Christianity and convert. Since they did not, he later followed in his treatise, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543), that “their synagogues or schools“ should be “set fire to … in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christian.“ He advised that the houses of Jews be “razed and destroyed,“ their “prayer books and Talmudic writings“ and “all cash and treasure of silver and gold“ be taken from them. They should receive “no mercy or kindness,“ given “no legal protection,“ and “drafted into forced labor or expelled.“

    He also claimed that Christians who “did not slay them were at fault.“ Luther thus laid part of the basic anti-Semitic groundwork for his Nazi descendants to carry out the Shoah. Indeed, Julius Streicher, editor of the anti-Semitic Nazi magazine “Der Stürmer,“ commented during the Nürnberg tribunal that Martin Luther could have been tried in his place….

    “…Some clerics may well say they distinguish between the founder of the Reformation and the Reformation itself, but this means that they are closing their eyes to the reality that the two are inextricably interwoven and that the reformer and the reformation are in fact being glorified in unison by churches and organizations throughout the country.”

    For full article, see http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/martin-luther-paved-the-way-for-the-holocaust/

    • IanCad

      No doubt about it Terry, Luther did not like the Jews, so much so that Dr. Johann Eck got the better over him during the Leipzig Debates on the point of Sola Scriptura.

      • Anton

        Whereas the Roman Catholic church of the era loved them?

        • IanCad

          No, Anton, I was implying no such thing. All Christendom has done its share in persecuting the Jews, and should hang its head in shame.

  • Anton

    Honour to Martin Luther on this great anniversary for what he did right, and thanks to God.