MARTIN LUTHER AND HIS OPPONENTS #4
From the lectures by Philip Cary
Luther continued with his rebuttal against Swingly.
"To give up his diabolical back-talk against God, that would require a conversion, and God can do a miracle like that, but we don't have much record of God doing it, of leaders of great heresies who convert and return to the faith."
So Luther pretty well gives up hope on Swingly, and when writing against Swingly he's not tying to persuade Swingly or his followers. Luther is trying to persuade his own followers. He is basically trying to say, stay away from this stuff, don't believe Swingly. Or don't don't believe it when Swingly says, "Oh, Luther if you would be just a little more consistent you would be with me. I Swingly know what your deepest thought is, the spirit of Luther is heading in my direction, so if Luther was only a bit more clear-headed about what his own thought was, he'd be with me."
Luther's response is, "NO WAY, I do not want to be ANYWHERE NEAR YOU!."
AND that's where the HARSH language functions so powerfully. He's FLINGING FILTH at people like Swingly. It HITS and STICKS! And Luther's followers, the Lutheran Germans, say, "Oh, Yuck, that STINKS, we don't want anything to do with that guy."
And in fact it succeeds in its aim. He makes sure nobody who is Lutheran wants anything to do with the Swinglian's view of the Lord's Supper.
To this day the Lutherans will use the word Swinglian as a bad word, we don't want to be anything like THAT!
SO THE HARSH RHETORIC DOES WHAT IT'S SUPPOSED TO DO!
It's not just an accident of Luther loosing control, or expressing himself and blurting out nasty stuff. He's deliberately using this litorical strategy to achieve a litorical purpose. He's solidifying the Lutheran opposition to this devilish rejection of the Lord's Supper by Swingly.
But of course there's a lot of unintentional consequences of this hard and nasty rhetoric. It leaves a hard feeling between the Lutherans and the Reformed. In Zurich they hated the name of Luther for a long time to come, and you can't blame them. It left a legacy of kind of contentiousness among theologians in the next generation or two.
TO BE CONTINUED