Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Which American Roman Apologist Should Be the Next Pope?

As I venture around the Internet, I keep coming across the sentiment that technically any baptized male is eligible to be the next Pope.  So, I started trying to determine which American Roman apologist, who already functions as an interpreter of Rome, should be deemed the next infallible interpreter of Rome. I've narrowed it down to Jimmy Akin and Scott Hahn. Suggestions?

The Pope and "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." 
I was just listening to a lecture in which is was pointed out that Lord Acton said this in regard to the question of whether the Pope has the power of infallibility. Sorry to say, I don't have any documentation to back this up, as it was only a passing comment in a lecture. It's interesting, if true, as I always thought this quote was in regard to secular rulers or political sentiment.

Luther: "I know that I have often done many things foolishly and very rashly"

"I know that I have often done many things foolishly and very rashly, so much so that I thought: “Why has God called me to preach when I do not have as much knowledge, discretion, and judgment as the importance of the office demands?” Although I performed everything with a pious and sincere heart, with pious devotion and zeal, yet a great deal of nonsense and many failures arose, with the result that heaven and the whole world seemed about to go to ruin. Then I was compelled to fall on my knees and to ask for help and counsel from God, who is powerful and turns a denouement in a tragedy into a catastrophe in a comedy while we are sleeping. Thus He creates Eve while Adam is sleeping. He takes a rib from him while he is sleeping, closes the place with flesh, and builds the rib which he took from Adam into flesh. Here someone may say that God had silken fingers, because He performs such a great work so nimbly and so easily. In the same manner He also governs His saints. Even if they have erred seriously in their thinking and have been guilty of great folly and rashness, from which countless evils can arise, yet He brings about a happy outcome, like the denouement in a comedy."
  [Luther, M. (1999). Luther's works, vol. 5: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 26-30 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald and H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (Ge 27:14). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House].

Monday, February 25, 2013

Luther's Sacristy Prayer

This will be the first blog post I've written on an Ipad, so I'm going to make it simple...

 I came across this Luther-related blog post: Luther's Sacristy Prayer.

This blog entry did a good job tracking down a Luther quote back to the primary source. They also provided an English translation. What I found interesting is that they didn't use LW for their translation, provided below:
But above all a ruler in the church should pray in this manner: “Lord God, Thou hast appointed me in the church as bishop and pastor Thou seest how unfit I am to attend to such a great and difficult office, and if it had not been for Thy help, I would long since have ruined everything. Therefore I call upon Thee. Of course, I want to put my mouth and heart to use. I shall teach the people, and I myself shall learn and shall meditate diligently on Thy Word. Use me as Thy instrument. Only do not forsake me; for if I am alone, I shall easily destroy everything.” [LW 5:122]
The blog entry states, "it isn't clear that Luther is offering this prayer for use just before worship." I don't see anything from the context that would indicate Luther has this in mind specifically, but it certainly could be used in such a way. They then provide what follows after from Luther, and here is how LW translates it:
The sects and the sectarians do the opposite, for they ascribe to themselves the wisdom and the ability to rule and to teach. Therefore they burst rashly into the church, do not pray, and do not believe that the administration either of the church or of the state is a gift of God; but they force themselves in as teachers and leaders. Therefore it eventually happens that they confuse and hinder what has been profitably built by others.
Interesting stuff. Here I thought I was the only one tracking this stuff down...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Martin Luther Teaching on Limited Atonement?

Here's a video I came across while searching for something else:

This video blogger asserts that "John Calvin was Martin Luther's greatest student."  Calvin held Luther in high regard and there certainly are a number of theological agreements between these two men. But I would not go so far as to suggest, as this video blogger does, that Calvin followed Luther's view on the extent of the atonement as his greatest student.  There's stronger evidence that suggests that it was, to a large extent, fellow Reformer Martin Bucer and an Augustian tradition that influenced Calvin on the extent of the atonement, not Luther.

The debate over the historicity of the doctrine of limited atonement is complex. It's actually more complex in regard to Calvin's view rather than Luther's. There are a number of scholars who argue Calvin did not hold to the doctrine of limited atonement. Then there are a number who argue the contrary. There are also typically two sorts of people who get involved with this controversy. Those in the first group are interested in history and in following the strands of evidence wherever it leads. They can either be Reformed or non-Reformed, and they can arrive at either position regarding Calvin's view. In the second group are those who are looking to refute Reformed soteriology by arguing Calvin himself did not hold to limited atonement (i.e. Geisler, etc.).

Jonathan Rainbow points out, "There is no single place where Calvin addressed the extent of Christ's redemption in a systematic fashion" (The Will of God and the Cross, p. 64). This means that each group of scholars arrives at their conclusion based on exegeting the strands of evidence throughout Calvin's writings. Rainbow points out that Calvin was never involved in any controversies involving the extent of the atonement. As far as I know, neither was Luther. This certainly means it requires much more work to sort out their views. Certainly by the late Sixteenth Century Lutheranism opposed limited atonement, while the Reformed tradition by the early Seventeenth Century embraced it with confessional statements (Rainbow, pp. 181-182).  For what it's worth, I think Rainbow has presented one of the best constructed non-polemical treatments of Calvin's view.

If Calvin's view requires a lot of work to figure out, the evidence in regard to Luther's view is even more difficult to sift through. The simple truth is that, contrary to my Reformed brethren, Luther's writings are not filled with comments about predestination, election, and the extent of the atonement. Certainly Luther's Bondage of the Will gets involved with predestination, but if you set out to read Luther writings you'll find that these soteriological issues so important to Reformed theology don't get center stage in Luther's treatises.  

This video-blogger cites Luther’s early work on Romans. There Luther comments on “God will have all men saved” (1 Tim 2:4). He says that sayings like this “must be understood only with respect to the elect” and that “Christ did not die for absolutely all.” From such comments it appears easy to conclude Luther taught limited atonement. But here's the crucial factor, as I see it:  Other than this pre-reformation comment, there is no other evidence I know of that Luther maintained such a view throughout his life on the extent of the atonement.

Luther would instead go on to say things like, “[Christ] helps not against one sin only, but against all my sin; and not against my sin only, but against the whole world's sin. He comes to take away not sickness only, but death; and not my death only, but the whole world's death.” For Luther, the revealed God did indeed die for the sins of every human being. Quotes similar to this are peppered throughout his later writings. For Luther, the Scriptures state that Christ died for all men and not all are saved. Nevertheless, Christ died for all men, and wants all men saved.

I maintain that it appears, based explicitly on this one quote, and implicitly from Luther's early work on Romans, that limited atonement was an early view Luther held. His later writings strongly imply a different conclusion on the extent of the atonement. Those people (particularly Reformed people) use the Romans commentary quote at the expense of Luther's entire written corpus, thus caricaturing his view. It is typically the only quote they use, and I challenge them to search through Luther's writings to find another. I certainly would be interested in any quotes they find... I'm doubtful though anything like Luther's Romans quote exists.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

For Lent I'm Giving Up...

For Lent I'm "giving up" giving up things...

Interesting post here: On Good Intentions, Spiritual Disciplines, and Christian Freedom

Wikipedia's "John Calvin's views on Mary" (Part 2)

This is an installment of  "Be Careful What You Find on Wikipedia."

I've been intrigued by the alleged "Mariology" of the Reformers for years because of the argumentation of Roman Catholic apologists. While searching around the other day, I came across Wikipedia's John Calvin's views on Mary entry. I didn't get far into the entry before I came across facts that appeared odd. I'm going to work through the entry, time allowing.

Here's another odd fact:

Regarding Marian relics, Calvin commented in an ironical way that since the Roman Catholics believed in the Assumption of Mary, at least nobody can claim to have Marian relics, otherwise there would be so many Marian bones in circulation, that a huge new cemetery could be filled with them.[3][3]Algermissen 1988, 641
Konrad Algermissen, John Calvin, in Marienlexikon, Regensburg, 1988 (quoted as Algermissen 1988)
Go ahead and try to search out the author "Algermissen" and the referenced work "Marienlexikon." It's not an easy find. The reference appears to be to a six-volume  Marian encyclopedia by Remigius Bäumer in which Algermissen provided an entry on Calvin. The "1988" refers to the first volume.

While I wasn't able to get a copy of this source, the Calvin quote cited by Wiki appears to be from Calvin's treatise on Relics:
The Blessed Virgin.—The belief that the body of the Virgin was not interred on earth, but was taken to heaven, has deprived them of all pretext for manufacturing any relics of her remains, which otherwise might have been sufficiently abundant to fill a whole churchyard; yet in order to have at least something belonging to her, they sought to indemnify themselves for the absence of other relics with the possession of her hair and her milk. The hair is shown in several churches at Rome, and at Salvatierra in Spain, at Maçon, St Flour, Cluny, Nevers, and in many other towns. With regard to the milk, there is not perhaps a town, a convent, or nunnery, where it is not shown in large or small quantities. Indeed, had the Virgin been a wet-nurse her whole life, or a dairy, she could not have produced more than is shown as hers in various parts. How they obtained all this milk they do not say, and it is superfluous here to remark that there is no foundation in the Gospels for these foolish and blasphemous extravagances.
If this is  the quote the Wiki article has in mind, the citation they use is a very loose paraphrase of what Calvin actually wrote.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wikipedia's "John Calvin's views on Mary" (Part 1)

This is an installment of  "Be Careful What You Find on Wikipedia."

I've been intrigued by the alleged "Mariology" of the Reformers for years because of the argumentation of Roman Catholic apologists. While searching around the other day, I came across Wikipedia's John Calvin's views on Mary entry. I didn't get far into the entry before I came across a few facts that appeared odd. I'm going to work through the entry, time allowing.

One of the first oddities of this entry is that it states early on, "Calvin shows a decidedly positive view of Mary, and he did not hold to a number of the Protestant views on her that became common after the Reformation." It shortly thereafter states, "The criticism of Calvin on the Catholic Church in general and in regard to Mary in particular, is severe." The entry then states:
To Calvin, Mary is an idol in the Roman Church, and she diminishes the centrality and importance of Jesus. Hence, his Genevan Catechism not only outlawed Marian veneration, it also punished related behavior, such as carrying a rosary, observing a saints day, or possessing holy relics.[2]
Certainly this type of punishment is consistent with the reforms put forth in Geneva in the 16th Century.  However, note what the Wiki article asserts: Calvin's Genevan Catechism outlawed and punished Marian devotion. Now that's interesting, isn't it? A catechism that outlaws Marian devotion and sets forth punishment.

The [2] in the Wiki entry refers to Will Durant's volume on the Reformation, p. 469. Here's what Durant states:
"To restore the religious basis of an effective morality, Farel issued a Confession of Faith and Discipline, and Calvin a popular Catechism,  which the Great Council approved (Novembver 1536). Citizens persistently transgressing the moral code were to be excommunicated and exiled. In July 1537, the Council ordered all citizens to go to the church of St. Peter and swear allegiance to Farel's Confession. Any manifestation of Catholicism- such as carrying a rosary, cherishing a sacred relic, or observing a saint's day as holy- was subject to punishment." 
Now I appreciate that the Wiki entry provided a reference, but if you compare what their entry says to what Durant says, it's two different things. The 1536 Confession of Faith can be found here. It doesn't have anything even remotely similar to what the Wiki article asserts. The closest you'll get to Wiki's assertions are the following:
XIX. Excommunication Because there are always some who hold God and his Word in contempt, who take account of neither injunction, exhortation nor remonstrance, thus requiring greater chastisement, we hold the discipline of excommunication to be a thing holy and salutary among the faithful, since truly it was instituted by our Lord with good reason. This is in order that the wicked would not by their damnable conduct corrupt the good and dishonor our Lord, and that though proud they may turn to penitence. Therefore we believe that it is expedient according to the ordinance of God that all manifest idolaters, blasphemers, murderers, thieves, lewd persons, false witnesses, sedition-mongers, quarrellers, those guilty of defamation or assault, drukards, dissolute livers, when they have been duly admonished and if they do not make amendment, be separated from the communion of the faithful until their repentance is known.
XXI. Magistrates  We hold the supremacy and dominion of kings and princes as also of other magistrates and officers, to be a holy thing and a good ordinance of God. And since in performing their office they serve God and follow a Christian vocation, whether in defending the afflicted and innocent, or in correcting and punishing the malice of the perverse, we on our part also ought to accord them honour and reverence, to render respect and subservience, to execute their commands, to bear the charges they impose on us, so far as we are able without offence to God. In sum, we ought to regard them as vicars and lieutenants of God, whom one cannot resist without resisting God himself; and their office as a sacred commission from God which has been given them so that they may rule and govern us. Hence we hold that all Christians are bound to pray God for the prosperity of the superiors and lords of the country where they live, to obey the statutes and ordinances which do not contravene the commandments of God, to promote the welfare, peace and public good, endeavouring to sustain the honour of those over them and the peace of the people, without contriving or attempting anything to inspire trouble or dissension. On the other hand we declare that all those who conduct themselves unfaithfully towards their superiors, and have not a right concern for the public good of the country where they live, demonstrate thereby their infidelity towards God.

Great Musical Performances...

And now for something completely different... Here's a few great performances I've been grooving to...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Shabir Ally refuted on the crucifixion of Jesus The Messiah ( المسیح )

This blog Does Not Have Malware

Recently, Google Chrome stopped people from visiting this blog saying there is malware present. The picture below is what they put up to warn people when they attempted to visit Beggars All. Well, there isn't Malware. What appears to have happened is that any links I posted to the CARM discussion boards caused Google Chrome to think I have malware. So, I've deleted all links to the CARM boards from the main page. Perhaps someone who knows Matt Slick should let him know about this.

Update from CARM:

Auto Response to many email questions: Forums are partially down, you may be able to view old links with error messages. Forums on and off for maintenance. Thank you for your patience. Apparently there are reports of "malware" that techs are working on, security reveals no "malware" on the forums but an error message related to attacks on our forum website.

Info from Google: 

"Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?

    Over the past 90 days, forums.carm.org/vbb did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.

Has this site hosted malware?

    No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.

How did this happen?

    In some cases, third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites, which would cause us to show the warning message."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Zwingli Believed in the Immaculate Conception?

Recently on the CARM boards someone stated, "Oddly, the father's of your Protestant heritage(i.e. Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli) all believed the teaching of the Immaculate Conception and it is only later Protestants that wandered from the truth." I've gone into detail on Luther's Mariology, and I've dabbled with the sparse comments Calvin made about Mary. But Zwingli hasn't been as easy study in regard to Mary.  His writings can be difficult to track down. A few years back there were barely any available, now at least there is The Works of Zwingli (7 Volumes), Logos Bible Software Edition.

While searching around, I found some interesting comments from Zwingli's Thought: New Perspectives By Gottfried Wilhelm Locher in regard to Zwingli and the immaculate conception. It says "There is no trace in Zwingli of the doctrine of the 'immaculate conception'..."

The page can be found on Google Books. Footnote #6 is quite interesting, particularly "Thus the holiness of Mary is serviced from that of Christ, and not the other way round." I'm curious as to which conception is in mind when the author states, "Mary was, at least at the moment of conception, wholly pure and free from original sin." With Luther, such a comment usually refers to the conception of Christ. I'm curious if this is the case with Zwingli as well.

Another book states, "Constantly as he insisted upon the certainty of the perpetual virginity of the mother of God he accepted neither her immaculate conception nor her assumption." Another book states, "The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was disregarded by Zwingli..."

That the early Reformers were devoted to Mary (or held distinctive Roman Catholic beliefs later rejected by Protestants) has been a favorite argument of Roman Catholic apologetics. While the conclusions of the authors mentioned above are intriguing, they are not primary sources. A primary context needs to be exegeted. It does though make me wonder if the same thing is happening to Zwingli's Mariology as that which happened to Luther's Mariology: are Roman Catholic apologists reading history the way they want to, rather than actually tracking down the evidence to see what's there?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mutual understanding

Scott Alt, replying to a commenter to the effect that I am willfully blind to think that the Scripture teaches both of the following facts:
1) Believers who have reached the end of their earthly lives are alive to God, and
2) God forbids us from talking to dead people,

says the following:
Scott_Alt33p· 20 hours agoI think that's right, though the concept of an obstinate refusal to see suggests the kind of freedom of the will that a Calvinist would deny. Interesting to speculate how Rhology would get himself out of that conundrum.

Thus he shows that he doesn't even have the first idea what Calvinism says about the human will. Or, say, Romans 8:

3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
It's just funny. Chalk this up to another "Protestant-to-atheist-to-Protestant-to-Catholic con­vert" who never got close to understanding Reformed theology. The problem here is that Alt thinks he does understand it. And the funny thing is that I get accused of misunderstanding Roman Catholic theology all the time but rarely does anyone attempt to demonstrate where I've mistaken its meaning. That's just projection.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The North American Magisterium: Catholic Answers, last stop before Purgatory

I've sometimes referred Catholic Answers as the North American Magisterium. Consider this e-mail I just received from Catholic Answers. Catholic Answers has "had the Pope's back for more than three decades." I don't recall the Pope appointing them his official defender.  Also, note the pitch at the end: you can keep Catholic Answers "in mind" before you arrive in purgatory.

Bragging a little about coming in second place may sound odd, but we want you to know that Catholic Answers’ website, Catholic.com, is the second most visited website in Catholic cyberspace.

“What’s the most visited site?”

I knew you’d ask. Well, it’s the Pope’s website, Vatican.va. If Catholic Answers has to come in second place, we’re happy to be behind the Holy Father. In fact, we’ve had the Pope’s back for the more than three decades we have been defending and sharing the Catholic Faith. Loyalty to the Holy Father and loyalty to the Magisterium are two of the hallmarks of Catholic Answers.

Our loyalty does not mean that some friendly rivalry is not called for. Our website is gaining on the Holy See’s.


Just a couple of weeks ago we added our new Catholic Answers Blog. With four or five daily posts from the likes of Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, Tim Staples, Trent Horn, Matt Fradd, Patrick Coffin, Michelle Arnold, and Peggy Frye, we have been drawing many more visitors to our site.

In fact, our unique visitor count has gone up by 20%! So check out our new blog right on the front page of Catholic.com, and do continue to pray for us and keep Catholic Answers in mind as you make your estate plans.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

And now, some slightly blasphemous prayers

While out at the abortion clinic, I've noticed that a few older Roman Catholic gentlemen come out as well for ~30 minutes, set out some pro-life signs, and pray what I was pretty sure was the Rosary.

Leaving aside the question of whether the Rosary has any effect on abortion (other than making demons laugh uproariously), last time I was out there, as they finished up their prayers and went back to their car, they passed my way and as we said hello, one of them handed me a pamphlet, saying, "These are the prayers we pray when we're out here."

I later flipped through it and found the following verses of sheer awesomeness, which I thought I'd share here. If you can pray these without wanting to throw up, you need to repent, and quickly.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

How to Write a Worship Song (In 5 Minutes or Less)

Clever. We don't have this problem at my church. In fact, I've never seen a guitar in my church.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Absurdity of Separated Brethren

I came across this old post from blog contributor Carrie while looking up some of the recent ecumenical meanderings of Rome's defenders.  Thanks Carrie, I frequently come across your old posts and enjoy  what I find...

Before Protestants were "separated brethren"...

Q. Does the Lord make use of apostate Catholics, such as Martin Luther, Calvin, John Knox, Henry VIII., King of England, to reform the manners of the people?

A. The thought is absurd. The lives of those men were evil, and it is only the devil that makes use of them to pervert the people still more. The Lord makes use of His saints, such as a St. Francis of Assisium, a St. Dominick, a St. Ignatius, a St. Alphonsus, to convert the people and reform their evil manners by explaining to them the truths of faith, the commandments, and the necessity of receiving the sacraments with proper dispositions, and by setting them in their own lives the loftiest example of faith, purity, and all Christian virtues.

Q. Are there any other reasons to show that heretics, or Protestants who die out of the Roman Catholic Church, are not saved?

A. There are several. They cannot be saved, because

1. They have no divine faith.

2. They make a liar of Jesus Christ, of the Holy Ghost, and of the Apostles.

3. They have no faith in Christ.

4. They fell away from the true Church of Christ.

5. They are too proud to submit to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.

6. They cannot perform any good works whereby they can obtain heaven.

7. They do not receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

8. They die in their sins.

9. They ridicule and blaspheme the Mother of God and His saints.

10. They slander the spouse of Jesus Christ —:the Catholic Church.

Q. What is the act of faith of a Protestant?

A. O my God, I believe nothing except what my own private judgment tells me to believe; therefore I believe that I can interpret Thy written word—the Holy Scriptures —as I choose. I believe that the Pope is anti-Christ; that any man can be saved, provided he is an honest man; I believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation; that good works, and works of penance, and the confession of sins are not necessary, etc.

Q. Have Protestants any faith in Christ?

A. They never had.

Q. Why not?

A. Because there never lived such a Christ as they imagine and believe in.

Q. In what kind of a Christ do they believe?

A. In such a one of whom they can make a liar, with impunity, whose doctrine they can interpret as they please, and who does not care about what a man believes, provided he be an honest man before the public.

Q. Will such a faith in such a Christ save Protestants?

A. No sensible man will assert such an absurdity.

Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine
For the Family and More Advanced Students in Catholic Schools (1875)
(pgs 70, 91-93, 97-98; with imprimatur)

Luther on Copernicus

A friend's blog entry made me aware of this, from the Skeptical Lutheran blog:

Martin Luther on Copernicus

1 Votes

I have run across this quote in several places attributed to Martin Luther, although I have been unable to find the original source.
People give ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon… Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but the sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, not the earth.

If someone knows the original, or conversely, disputes the authenticity of the quote, please post in the comment section. No doubt a Lutheran in the early sixteenth century would have found himself excommunicated for insisting that the evidence supports a rotating earth. Of course, Lutherans now insist that God was being metaphorical when he wrote the book of Joshua. I find this astonishing, since Luther himself found the language so clear he was ready to call anyone who insisted otherwise a fool.

If you visit this blog entry, a comment left states:

The quote was attributed to one of Luther’s “Table Talks” by Andrew Dickinson White in his work, “HISTORY OF THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE WITH THEOLOGY IN CHRISTENDOM,” available online at gutenberg.org. There, White references the Walsch 1743 edition of Luther’s Works. I’ve similarly looked and failed to find the exact quote in the “Table Talks.” Similarly with White’s quote from Calvin. I saw where Calvin said “We indeed are not ignorant, that the circuit of the heavens is finite, and that the earth, like a little globe, is placed in the centre” in volume 1 of his commentary on Genesis, but not the rejection of Copernicus that White quoted. Both of White’s quotes are found in Thomas Kuhn’s work, “The Copernican Revolution.” But it seems to me, that White misquoted his sources.

I looked over the reference in White's book: Walch 22:2260. As far as I can discern, there's no page 2260 in the edition I checked (White used a 1743 edition, the one online is from 1887, so there could certainly be page number discrepancies between the editions). It is though, Luther's Table Talk, as White mentions. I don't believe the page number is a fabrication, but rather a different numbering. Consider the following Table Talk comment from LW 54:
No. 4638: Luther Rejects the Copernican Cosmology June 4, 1539 There was mention of a certain new astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked,] “So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Josh. 10:12].” Luther, M. (1999, c1967). Vol. 54: Luther's works, vol. 54 : Table Talk (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald and H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (54:358). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
This seems to me to be very similar to that quoted by White. Keep in mind, sometimes there are multiple Table Talks referring to the same alleged statement from Luther. They usually say the same sort of thing, but can be longer or shorter. LW an English translation, often isn't a word for word translation, but thought for thought. Older translations can be very rigid.  I've found that older citations of Luther are a lot looser than modern citations. White's book is from a period in which that was certainly the case. I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that White conflated the longer Table Talk statement into the form he presents it in.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Leaving Your Church vs. Leaving Your Infallible Authorty

Whenever any “church” or “pastor” does not conform to what by one’s own judgment the Spirit is speaking in one’s own heart, through one’s own study of Scripture, one is both free and obligated to reject and disobey the “church” or “pastor.” (Otherwise one cuts off the very act of Luther by which Protestantism justifies its entire existence as separate from the Catholic Church.) So the teachings and decisions of the “church” and “pastor” are always subject to the individual’s internal judgment concerning what the Spirit is speaking in the Scriptures. For that reason, the individual’s interpretive authority *is* ultimate, because the “church” and “pastor” can never trump it, but it can at any time trump that of the “church” and “pastor.”
Why did you choose to attend a Reformed church, rather than a Baptist church, a Methodist church, a Pentecostal church, a Church of Christ church, a Lutheran church, etc., etc., etc., …. etc.
So says CTC's Bryan Cross.

As finite human beings, we never escape interpreting anything, be it an infallible Bible or an infallible church.

1. Did Mr. Cross use his own internal judgement when he chose the Roman church?  If so, was this judgment "subject to the individual’s internal judgment concerning what the Spirit is speaking in the Scriptures"? That is, fundamentally, did Mr. Cross compare his reading of the Bible to what various churches believed, and then choose which church he wanted?

2. How is it that Mr.Cross isn't himself now a private interpreter of what Rome teaches? Why is he the correct interpreter of Rome, and someone like Gerry Matatics is not?

Sentiment as that put forth by Mr. Cross defines the context of the discussion. Don’t allow that. The discussion is not about joining this or that church. It’s about ultimate infallible authorities. Either Rome is the infallible authority or the Bible is the infallible authority. Whether or not one leaves this or that church isn’t the issue. I can certainly leave my infallible authority (the Bible) just as Mr. Cross could leave his infallible authority (the Roman church). Mr. Cross could use his private judgment and choose another infallible authority like the Mormon church. I could choose the Koran.

 I choose not to leave my infallible authority. Sure, I might leave my church and join another, but this is not done at the expense of leaving my infallible authority. Mr. Cross could likewise choose to leave his particular flavor of Romanism for another flavor (a group in communion with Rome). He could do this without leaving Romanism. He would be using his private judgment… which he’s never stopped using.