Moved from SEP board--about Martin Luther

CharismaticLady

Well-known member
Yeah BJ, shouldn't the Bible make perfect sense on everything? (yes, that's a softball for you to knock wherever you want and let the team run around the bases for a while, enjoy).

That is why we are to study to show ourselves approved. There is only one interpretation for every verse, so when something seems to contradict each other we need to stop and ask ourselves why.
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
So do you believe as Luther did that you can commit willful sins of lawlessness and they not be counted against you? That you are still justified?
Luther gets a bad rap in this regard through various misinterpretations and false claims. Upon which misinterpretation or false claim are you basing your question?
 
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BJ Bear

Well-known member
That was part of it, it has a lot of layers. In terms of responsibility though, Luther was certainly responsible for his own words and actions, regardless of who wrote what. No one forced him to write what he did, he chose to write what he did.

I caught the ending of To Kill a Mockingbird last night, and was intrigued again by the feel of emotion when Bob Ewell spits in the face of Atticus Finch, and the passive response of the later. I suspect the majority of people watching the film would have hoped Finch punched Ewell back, or worse. The passive response is an unnatural response. Luther does not appear to have excelled at verbal passivity. Take into account as well that most of the folks in the 16th century would get banned from CARM for the way they wrote to each other. Their style was polemical, and Luther was a master at trouncing his opponents.

There is a tension in Scripture between broad retribution and broad passivity, and it's not always easy to navigate through it. For instance, Jesus, in the way of a servant, washed the feet of his betrayer. On the other hand, Ananias and Sapphira don't fare as well under church discipline. Jesus teaches to turn the other cheek, yet, a number of people end up eternally separated from God, who does not turn the eternal, "other cheek." Tension, for sure.

Let me haphazardly apply this to Luther.

I could probably "argue" (in the technical sense) that Luther was wrong and sinful for writing what and the way he did against a number of his foes. It wasn't just the Jews, he had harsh polemic against a number of people / groups. At times, he personally attacked with his words.

I could probably "argue" (in the technical sense) that Luther was correct in some of his negativity towards those he opposed, though not all of it (particularly when he attacked the people themselves rather than their ideology). Check out this article, in which the writer links Luther's polemic to his view of salvation. The view being espoused rests on an older understanding of a sharp separation between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, while a newer understanding morphs anti-Judaism as part of anti-Semitism.
Rereading the article by Marshall at the link you provided has piqued my interest in Gristch.

Of particular interest is his Martin - God's Court Jester. If you have read it and have any comments to share then that would be appreciated.
 
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BJ Bear

Well-known member
What do you claim is the correct view of his on willful sinning? Will it separate us from God or not?
There is no imperative to sin in Scripture so it is not a scriptural idea. Since Christ is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, and that sacrifice can only be received through faith, what separates us from God in a lasting manner is unbelief. 1 John 2:2, Romans 3:24-26

God justifies the ungodly, Romans 4:5.
 

Tertiumquid

Active member
That is why we are to study to show ourselves approved. There is only one interpretation for every verse, so when something seems to contradict each other we need to stop and ask ourselves why.

Rereading the article by Marshall at the link you provided has piqued my interest in Gristch.

Of particular interest is his Martin - God's Court Jester. If you have read it and have any comments to share then that would be appreciated.
That's one of his most popular books on Luther... sort of a topical type of analysis (he took some big issues and fleshed them out rather than writing a chronological biography, if I recall).

In regard to Luther / Jews, Gritsch has changed his view. in 1993 Gritsch wrote, “Luther was not an anti-Semite in the racist sense. His arguments against the Jews were theological, not biological” [Eric Gritsch, “Was Luther Anti-Semitic? ” [Christian History, 39 (vol. XII, No. 3),39]. In God's Court Jester Gritch says, “And yet it must be said that Luther forged a theological ‘anti-Judaism’ rather than a biological ‘anti-Semetism.’ The biological, ethnic designation was disseminated in Germany during the financial panic following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Luther was not therefore the real father of German anti-Semitism, with its mass murder of Jews efficiently executed by Hitler’s bureaucratic henchmen” [Eric Gritsch, Martin- God’s Court Jester: Luther in Retrospect (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983), 145].

He later published, Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012). In this book, Gritsch states, Luther is not simply "anti-Judaic" but rather "genuinely anti-Semetic" "in accordance with the broad, contemporary definition of anti-Semitism." It appears to me his position on Luther has shifted from his earlier conclusions. One tangential point about Gritsch that I did not know was that he mentions in his recent book that he had been "a member of the Hitler Youth during the final days of World War II" (p. xiii).

JS
 

Bonnie

Super Member
That was part of it, it has a lot of layers. In terms of responsibility though, Luther was certainly responsible for his own words and actions, regardless of who wrote what. No one forced him to write what he did, he chose to write what he did.

I caught the ending of To Kill a Mockingbird last night, and was intrigued again by the feel of emotion when Bob Ewell spits in the face of Atticus Finch, and the passive response of the later. I suspect the majority of people watching the film would have hoped Finch punched Ewell back, or worse. The passive response is an unnatural response. Luther does not appear to have excelled at verbal passivity. Take into account as well that most of the folks in the 16th century would get banned from CARM for the way they wrote to each other. Their style was polemical, and Luther was a master at trouncing his opponents.

There is a tension in Scripture between broad retribution and broad passivity, and it's not always easy to navigate through it. For instance, Jesus, in the way of a servant, washed the feet of his betrayer. On the other hand, Ananias and Sapphira don't fare as well under church discipline. Jesus teaches to turn the other cheek, yet, a number of people end up eternally separated from God, who does not turn the eternal, "other cheek." Tension, for sure.

Let me haphazardly apply this to Luther.

I could probably "argue" (in the technical sense) that Luther was wrong and sinful for writing what and the way he did against a number of his foes. It wasn't just the Jews, he had harsh polemic against a number of people / groups. At times, he personally attacked with his words.

I could probably "argue" (in the technical sense) that Luther was correct in some of his negativity towards those he opposed, though not all of it (particularly when he attacked the people themselves rather than their ideology). Check out this article, in which the writer links Luther's polemic to his view of salvation. The view being espoused rests on an older understandingp of a sharp separation between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, while a newer understanding morphs anti-Judaism as part of anti-Semitism.
Oh, no doubt Luther was wrong in his response. But what I wrote just shows Luther's REASON for writing as he did--it does not excuse what he wrote.
 

CharismaticLady

Well-known member
There is no imperative to sin in Scripture so it is not a scriptural idea. Since Christ is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, and that sacrifice can only be received through faith, what separates us from God in a lasting manner is unbelief. 1 John 2:2, Romans 3:24-26

God justifies the ungodly, Romans 4:5.
BJ, are you saying that in Christianity the subject of sin is not important? Just have faith in Christ, and though you keep sinning, you are justified? To me that is a weird kind of faith. Aren't we suppose to love Jesus with all our hearts, mind and body, and love our neighbor? What do you mean by faith.
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
BJ, are you saying that in Christianity the subject of sin is not important?
No, not at all.
Just have faith in Christ, and though you keep sinning, you are justified? To me that is a weird kind of faith. Aren't we suppose to love Jesus with all our hearts, mind and body, and love our neighbor? What do you mean by faith.
Our chief article says it all, and it has references, but I've added some comments for context at the bottom of the post.

Article I: The First and Chief Article​

"1 That Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins, and was raised again for our justification, Rom. 4:25
2 And He alone is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, John 1:29; and God has laid upon Him the iniquities of us all, Is. 53:6.​
3 Likewise: All have sinned and are justified without merit [freely, and without their own works or merits] by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood, Rom. 3:23f
4 Now, since it is necessary to believe this, and it cannot be otherwise acquired or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us as St. Paul says, Rom. 3:28: For we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Likewise 3:26: That He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Christ.​
5 Of this article nothing can be yielded or surrendered [nor can anything be granted or permitted contrary to the same], even though heaven and earth, and whatever will not abide, should sink to ruin. For there is none other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved, says Peter, Acts 4:12. And with His stripes we are healed, Is. 53:5. And upon this article all things depend which we teach and practice in opposition to the Pope, the devil, and the [whole] world. Therefore, we must be sure concerning this doctrine, and not doubt; for otherwise all is lost, and the Pope and devil and all things gain the victory and suit over us."​

The person and work of Christ for us, which can only be received through faith, is greater than the sins of the world. Consequently, we are received by God as justified unto eternal through faith in Him.

The answer to your question of aren't we supposed to love Jesus with all our hearts, mind, etc., and our neighbor as ourself is an absolute yes. But since the renewal in this life is not complete or perfect we don't do that always or perfectly.

Christians are in the same boat as the publican, the sinner in the parable of Luke 18, who pled the sacrifice, be propitious to me the sinner, and went home justified.

"And the tax-gatherer, having stood afar off, would not even the eyes lift up to the heaven, but was smiting on his breast, saying, God be propitious to me -- the sinner!" Luke 18:13, YLT https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+18:13&version=YLT

Just as the publican in the parable, Christians implore God's mercy based upon the sacrifice, Christ, rather than upon our own merits. So Christians confess their sin and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, per 1 John 1:8-10.
 
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Authentic Nouveau

Well-known member
Yes, I am.

No, it is not like your example. Unlike a knife which can't be sterile and dirty at the same time in the same way simul justus et peccator refers to what a person is reckoned by God in Christ through faith and what a person is reckoned by God in and of himself or herself. It is just as 1 John states.
Posting excuses in Latin. That will turn heads at Starbucks.
 

CharismaticLady

Well-known member
Just as the publican in the parable, Christians implore God's mercy based upon the sacrifice, Christ, rather than upon our own merits.

One of my best friends was raised in the Lutheran church and yesterday told me about the different forms of Lutherans. Her husband is still Lutheran and is very strict towards his articles of faith. (I can't remember if that was her exact description name.) So they have come a llllooooonnnnnggggg way from Martin Luther's quote of no sin can separate us from God, which scared me to death for the whole Protestant Reformation and the denominations that came out of it. She is now word of faith, but I've told her the corrections that needed to happen in that denomination and she believes as I do now.

So I feel better about Lutherans now than I do for Calvinists and don't put them in the same barrel. Same with Seventh-day Adventists. By honoring God, you both keep the commandments to the best of your knowledge and ability. However, I don't see any difference between what you and SDA's do than what the OT Jews did. You've just added Jesus to the works of keeping the Law.

So Christians confess their sin and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, per 1 John 1:8-10.

How many times do you need to repent before you're born again with a nature that partakes of the divine nature of God? Do you, or do you not know that 1 John 1:9 and Acts 2:38 are both talking about the repentance that leads to righteousness? 1 John 1:9 is not as I used to think of a repetitious cycle of sin, repent; sin, repent; sin, repent; sin, repent ad infinitum.
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
One of my best friends was raised in the Lutheran church and yesterday told me about the different forms of Lutherans. Her husband is still Lutheran and is very strict towards his articles of faith. (I can't remember if that was her exact description name.) So they have come a llllooooonnnnnggggg way from Martin Luther's quote of no sin can separate us from God, which scared me to death for the whole Protestant Reformation and the denominations that came out of it.
While looking for the text of Luther's statement so that a person can know the context I came across this short article. In it you will find the pertinent text and some additional context. Also included is a scriptural example of how a statement can be misunderstood and people can be misled by taking a statement out of context.

Part of the additional context which is not at the link is that Luther in the same letter was previously writing of his concern that the Lord was going to come to Germany in judgement because of its sin and unbelief. So Luther was not writing that sin doesn't matter or the other wacky claims made by Roman Catholics and others based on that particular statement in that letter.

The bottom line remains that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the signs of the world, 1 John 2:2; God reconciling the world to Himself through the blood of His Son, 1 Corinthians 5:18-21; etc. What separates a person eternally is unbelief.
So I feel better about Lutherans now than I do for Calvinists and don't put them in the same barrel. Same with Seventh-day Adventists. By honoring God, you both keep the commandments to the best of your knowledge and ability. However, I don't see any difference between what you and SDA's do than what the OT Jews did. You've just added Jesus to the works of keeping the Law.
The one Lord God only has one body (church), one faith, etc., (see Galatians 4:4-6) from Adam to the last member that will be. That faith is based upon the Promise of the seed, the Messiah, Genesis 3:15. The central theme of the rest of Scripture is God's fulfillment of that promise in the person and work of the Christ.
How many times do you need to repent before you're born again with a nature that partakes of the divine nature of God?
Christians are partakers of the divine nature when they are baptized into Christ, receive His body and blood in Holy Communion, etc., through faith. Or in Peter's words we are partakers of the divine nature through great and precious promises, 2 Peter 1:3-4. Promises can only be rightly received through faith in the One who makes them.
Do you, or do you not know that 1 John 1:9 and Acts 2:38 are both talking about the repentance that leads to righteousness?
I can only go by what Scripture actually says in the God given perfect immediate context in which it was given. If you will point out your interpretation through the words of those passages or their respective immediate context then I will consider it.
1 John 1:9 is not as I used to think of a repetitious cycle of sin, repent; sin, repent; sin, repent; sin, repent ad infinitum.
The same request for this claim. If you demonstrate your interpretation from the words of 1John 1:9 or the immediate context then I will considerate it.

Just as a general comment, the renewal which has begun in this life is not complete, for example, consider Paul's use of now and then in 1 Corinthians 13:9-13.
 
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CharismaticLady

Well-known member
While looking for the text of Luther's statement so that a person can know the context I came across this short article. In it you will find the pertinent text and some additional context. Also included is a scriptural example of how a statement can be misunderstood and people can be misled by taking a statement out of context.

Part of the additional context which is not at the link is that Luther in the same letter was previously writing of his concern that the Lord was going to come to Germany in judgement because of its sin and unbelief. So Luther was not writing that sin doesn't matter or the other wacky claims made by Roman Catholics and others based on that particular statement in that letter.

The bottom line remains that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the signs of the world, 1 John 2:2; God reconciling the world to Himself through the blood of His Son, 1 Corinthians 5:18-21; etc. What separates a person eternally is unbelief.

I do have the letter, but there may be more. Here is what I've got:

Martin Luther "Sin boldly"):
"If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard, for you are quite a sinner."

It does seem a little short for a letter.

The one Lord God only has one body (church), one faith, etc., (see Galatians 4:4-6) from Adam to the last member that will be. That faith is based upon the Promise of the seed, the Messiah, Genesis 3:15. The central theme of the rest of Scripture is God's fulfillment of that promise in the person and work of the Christ.

The one thing I don't see in the SDA and Reformation denominations is the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to be born again of the Spirit.

To be part of Christ, He has to be part of us.

Some even believe a kind of sanctification that allows us time to overcome sin from knowledge and willpower. What do you say?

Christians are partakers of the divine nature when they are baptized into Christ, receive His body and blood in Holy Communion, etc., through faith. Or in Peter's words we are partakers of the divine nature through great and precious promises, 2 Peter 1:3-4. Promises can only be rightly received through faith in the One who makes them.

Yes, faith. But is it our faith in Christ, or our faith of Christ. There is a huge difference.

I can only go by what Scripture actually says in the God given perfect immediate context in which it was given. If you will point out your interpretation through the words of those passages or their respective immediate context then I will consider it.

Well, how many times do you receive the Holy Spirit? Does He come and go? Romans 8:9. What do you believe.

The same request for this claim. If you demonstrate your interpretation from the words of 1John 1:9 or the immediate context then I will considerate it.

Just as a general comment, the renewal which has begun in this life is not complete, for example, consider Paul's use of now and then in 1 Corinthians 13:9-13.

We have the Scriptures, but the knowledge of God through reading them is only a dim shadow of His magnitude. When we see Him face to face at the second coming, we will know Him just like He knows us now, just as He knows the number of hairs on our head.
 

Tertiumquid

Active member
While looking for the text of Luther's statement so that a person can know the context I came across this short article. In it you will find the pertinent text and some additional context. Also included is a scriptural example of how a statement can be misunderstood and people can be misled by taking a statement out of context.

Part of the additional context which is not at the link is that Luther in the same letter was previously writing of his concern that the Lord was going to come to Germany in judgement because of its sin and unbelief. So Luther was not writing that sin doesn't matter or the other wacky claims made by Roman Catholics and others based on that particular statement in that letter.
My 2 cents: there are basic hermeneutical problems typical of those who cite this text to summarize the entire Luther.

1. "Sin boldly" comes from a fragment of a letter. It has no address, salutation, or signature. It is not a complete context.

2. "Sin boldly" comes from a letter. It was not intended to be a definitive theological paradigm expressing Luther's full theology, but rather written to a lone individual.

3. Luther was prone to strong hyperbole. It's his style, "sin boldly" is a perfect example. Luther doesn't write analytical theology. He writes profound verbose sentiment driving one to think deeply.

4. Luther had books and sermons intended for a general audience which explains how he parsed out the relationship of faith and works. These books and sermons are not fragments.

Those who cite "sin boldly" typically have little understanding of Luther's theology. These are the type of people that need to be kept out of the jury pool because they're either lazy thinkers, they lack the ability to think critically, or they simply demonize that which they don't like. These are the sort of people who would send innocent people to jail.

JS
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
I do have the letter, but there may be more. Here is what I've got:

Martin Luther "Sin boldly"):
"If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard, for you are quite a sinner."

It does seem a little short for a letter.
Yes, that is only a part of the letter but it is enough to recognize that Luther wasn't advocating a life of sin or wanton sin. People can kid others or even themselves about their sin or their lack of it as was described elsewhere in the letter but there is no kidding or deceiving God in that matter or others.
The one thing I don't see in the SDA and Reformation denominations is the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to be born again of the Spirit.
I'm not familiar with the SDA and probably not familiar with every group you may class under, "Reformation denominations," but I am familiar with Scripture and the Evangelical Church, commonly additionally called Lutheran in the U.S.

We are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit into Christ so the expression, "the necessity of the baptism of Holy Spirit to be born again," is at this time at best superfluous.
To be part of Christ, He has to be part of us.
Sure, that is part of what is accomplished in Holy Baptism and Holy Communion through faith.
Some even believe a kind of sanctification that allows us time to overcome sin from knowledge and willpower. What do you say?
Jesus is our sanctification. Imperatives to those in whom the renewal has begun indicate volition and knowledge.
Yes, faith. But is it our faith in Christ, or our faith of Christ. There is a huge difference.
Ultimately it will be faith in Christ but that won't exclude the faith of Christ. Someone could write a book solely on the use and meaning of genitives in Scripture.
Well, how many times do you receive the Holy Spirit? Does He come and go? Romans 8:9. What do you believe.
Since you didn't provide evidence for your view from either passage or the immediate context of each it is clear that there isn't any.

If I look at the immediate context of Romans 8:9 I don't see the basis of your question. The not yet complete renewal in this life is indicated in the next verses. "And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness...," Romans 8:10ff -NKJV. If the renewal was complete in this life then the body would not be dead because of sin, etc.
We have the Scriptures, but the knowledge of God through reading them is only a dim shadow of His magnitude. When we see Him face to face at the second coming, we will know Him just like He knows us now, just as He knows the number of hairs on our head.
Sure, you've just acknowledged that the renewal in this life is incomplete because when we see Jesus face to face it isn't He that will have changed but the Christians.
 
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