MARTIN LUTHER AND HIS ENEMIES
from the lectures by Professor Phillip Cary
Poor Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560), who outlived Luther by a decade and a half, had to live in the middle of swirling controversy. Poor Philip, is a man who like to compromise; he likes to come to agreement with his opponents. He's willing to give a little to make peace with his theological opponents, and the authentic Lutherans as they call themselves say, "Oh, those Melanchthonians they are crypto Calvanists." Because Melanchthon was in correspondence with Calvin. And they agreed about a lot of things. So the true, the authentic Lutherans just attacked poor Philip, because he was willing to compromise, willing to make peace.
When Philip Melanchthon died as matter of fact, he left a scrap of paper by his death bed, with a list of why you shouldn't be afraid to die. you get to escape all kinds of evils by dying, like: you no longer have to sin, and you escape the rabid fury of the theologians. Isn't it nice you are no longer involved with these controversies, people ripping each other to shreds, attacking each other's conscience.
It's a terrible legacy. Let me give you an example of this.
Luther attacks one person: the man writes a conciliatory treatise: :Mr. Luther, don't you mean it's a more spiritual view than what you said before. You really want to be more spiritual. I'm sure the Lord's supper is more a spiritual event; isn't that really your intent?"
And of course that's the thing that will really get Luther off.
Don't tell me that I agree with you. I have nothing to do with you! Attitude of mind.
So Luther's reply by the messenger to this man is:
"Dear Sir messenger, tell your man I have received from you the booklet and letter. i wish to God he would be silent! That mad fool processed by the Devil, does not understand anything. Does not know what he's babbling! If he doesn't stop it let him at least stop bothering me with these books the devil spits and blurts out of him. And give him this as my final judgment and answer: THE LORD REBUKE YOU SATAN and the spirit that called and the course your taking!"
Getting into a theological argument with Luther left WOUNDS; you talk about ABRASIVE!
In his eulogy for Luther, Melanchthon said this:
"Some people, and by no means evil minded ones, have complained that Luther had displayed too much severity. I will not deny this."
This is Luther's best friend at his funeral in 1546.
"But my answer in the language of Erasmus: Because of the magnitude of the disorders, God gave a violent physician. When God raised up this instrument of Martin Luther against the arrogant enemies of the truth, he spoke as he did to Jeremiah - Behold I place my words in your mouth - destroy and build - OVER AGAINST THESE ENEMIES, GOD HAS SET THIS MIGHTY DESTROYER - MARTIN LUTHER - IN VAIN DO THEY FIND FAULT WITH GOD."
THAT'S QUITE THE EULOGY ISN'T IT!!
Luther is HARSH - TOO SEVERE - but He's God's instrument - we can't find fault with God.
That's Luther's best friend speaking at his funeral.
(Of course Luther was NOT God's instrument. He was a man who found SOME truths only, and could see the corruptions in his Roman Catholic church. He remained for the most part a Roman Catholic - he called the book of James "an epistle of straw"! He remained totally blinded to the 4th commandment and the true weekly Sabbath. Luther was just a man used by Satan the Devil to fulfil prophecy, whereby the Mother church would bring forth daughters - various daughters but keeping various beliefs, practices, and customs and traditions, from their mother. God was standing by watching what He had said would come to pass in prophetic history - Keith Hunt)
WELLLL....... I don't know if it's finding fault with God. There IS something to find fault with here!
Let me try to zero in on what going wrong with Luther's polemics. Because this will be important when we talk about Luther and the Jews in our next lecture.
I would suggest, what drives the most destructive aspect of Luther's rhetoric against his theological opponents, is the desire for CERTAINTY!
Not just the desire for TRUTH, but for CERTAINTY!
There's nothing wrong with thinking your beliefs are true, the logic of belief is to believe something is true. So everyone believes their beliefs are true. But CERTAINTY is different!
CERTAINTY is STRONGER! AND MUCH MORE DANGEROUS!
IT'S RELATED TO THE DESIRE THAT IT'S RIGHT!
DESIRE TO BE RIGHT IS VERY MUCH DIFFERENT FROM THE DESIRE FOR TRUTH!
Because if what you DESIRE is TRUTH, you'll be glad to learn WHEN YOU ARE WRONG!
Because that gets you closer to TRUTH. SO SOMEONE WHO DESIRE TRUTH IS NOT AFRAID TO BE WRONG!
But someone who wants to be RIGHT, is someone who NEVER WANTS TO BE WRONG!
Someone who wants to be right is someone who never wants to be wrong.
Therefore someone who wants to be right all the time, is someone who wants to be CERTAIN!
If you are CERTAIN, then you don't have to consider the possibility you are EVER WRONG!
AND THAT I THINK IS PROFOUNDLY DESTRUCTIVE!!
THE ONLY WAY YOU DON'T HAVE TO CONSIDER YOUR EVER WRONG, IS TO KILL ALL YOUR OPPONENTS!
WE SHOULDN'T WANT THAT, IT SEEMS TO ME.
CERTAINTY IS NOT WHAT WE SHOULD BE AIMING AT.
BUT CERTAINTY WAS WHAT LUTHER WAS AIMING AT.
His impatience with his opponents, that they have no right to be saying what they are saying, that flow out of his sense that you've got to be basing this on certainty. If your opponent is wrong, if YOUR telling the truth, and they have it wrong, then you just argue with them: you say: "I don't think that is true." But if your certain, and it obvious, it's clear what is truth, and your opponent doesn't get it, then your opponent is being STUPID, or DISHONEST, or SPEAKING FOR THE DEVIL!
TO BE CONTINUED
I THINK CARY IS RIGHT ON THE BULLS EYE IN SHOWING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING CERTAIN, AND DESIRING THE TRUTH.
IN DESIRING TRUTH YOU LISTEN, YOU READ, WHAT OTHERS SAY. YOU STUDY IT ALL TO DESIRE THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER. IF YOUR ALREADY CERTAIN, AND YOUR OPPONENT DOES NOT SEE IT YOUR WAY, THEN YOU DO NOT ENGAGE IN THE ARGUMENT, FOR TRUTH, BUT YOUR OPPONENT IS STUPID, AND SPEAKING FOR THE DEVIL.
IN THIS ATTITUDE YOU CAN EASILY BE A TOOL FOR SATAN THE DEVIL TO USE FOR HIS DECEPTIVE WORK ON EARTH.
MARTIN LUTHER WAS INDEED A TOOL FOR THE ADVERSARY, AS WERE OTHERS AT THE SO-CALLED REFORMATION - THEY ONLY REFORMED IN CERTAIN AREAS OF THEOLOGY AND PRACTICES. SO THE DAUGHTERS OF BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION CAME INTO BEING. NONE OF THEM WERE A PART OF THE TRUE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST.