Martin Luther's Sacramental Gospel

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by Seeker Of Truth, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. Seeker Of Truth

    Seeker Of Truth
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    Was Martin Luther a heretic? He is widely respected ny evangelicals and fundamentalist alike. I also have a copy of the 2003 movie on version Martin Luther. But after examing some of his teaching one can only wonder if he truly preached the true gospel. He taught baptismal regeneration, in other words you must be baptized in order to be saved. He also taught that communion was a sacrament beacuse it imparts grace to the believer.

    Some have said that he was just leaving catholicism so he couldn't have figure all the wrong doctrines of the church. But Luther wanted to persecute the Anabaptist because they believe in believer's baptism. A doctrine Luther rejected, he also devoted himself to Mary teaching that she was sinless.

    My point is if anyone hold to these doctrines today we might think this person is outside of orthodoxy.

    How should think of Martin Luther? Was He a heretic? Did he added works to the gospel of grace by teaching baptismal regeneration?
     
  2. Kiffen

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    1. Luther did believe in Baptismal regeneration though it is very different from the Roman infused grace kind. (trying to understand Lutheran theology is often like trying to herd cats [​IMG] ) He believed the Water connected to the Word of God produced faith. His view of infant baptism was that all baptized infants were given faith and born again and that this faith would become visible later in life (What we might call conversion though Lutherans believe this to be the sprouting of Baptismal grace). It can be confusing but ultimately Luther taught that only by Faith alone is a person saved. Understand that Luther did not believe baptism was a work but a means of grace by which God imparts regeneration. Also if one baptized never exhibited Faith and died that way, Luther would have regarded him as lost because he had not Faith. So in the end he taught that one was saved only by his Faith.

    2. Luther's view of Communion was that Christ is in around and under the Eucharist (Some call it the spong theory) but that the elements remain Bread and Wine. He believe it did impart grace to a believer. I have problems with him on that but I also have problem with bare memorialism.

    3. The main Anabaptists Luther battled were very unorthodox. Many of them have more in common with modern day Charismatics than Baptists. Luther had major problems with all Anabaptists however both on what we call Arminian theology and believers baptism. I am not aware of him persecuting any Anabaptists directly. The idea of believer's baptism was something Luther could unfornately never grasp.

    3. The idea of Mary's sinlessness was an unfortunate theology held by many early Protestants such as Luther, Zwingli and even John Wesley. This is what happens when you try to explain how Jesus was virgin born without sin. This was an error though probably not as bad as such things as "Landmarkism" and "Left Behind" theology in many Baptist churches today.

    Luther like all of us had flawed theology in some areas but ultimately he remains one of the greatest Christian leaders in history. Read Luther's Large Catechism to try to get a grasp of his overall theology.
     
  3. PrimePower7

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    Listen, aren't we splitting hairs when we start saying there is a difference between working for salvation and something being a means for grace? Let me answer that? Yes, that is symantics! Luther believed in salvation by works, whether we pretty it up or not. Furthermore, one need not see in his 95 theses that catholicism did not get out of him at all. Look at his offspring today and see them heading back to the great mother whore!
     
  4. Kiffen

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    Nope. Most Protestants testify that the Lord's Supper is a means of sanctifying Grace but not justifying grace.

    On Baptism, Luther believed those baptized were regenerated and had faith but should also later have outward Faith. Works would mean that Luther believed he trusted in the Water to save him but if you read Luther's Catechism as well as his other works he believed the sacraments all pointed to Christ alone for salvation.

    I STRONGLY disagree with Luther on this but it is probably not a grave a error as some Baptists who tell people to trust in a sinners prayer they said 20 years ago for assurance of salvation.


    Luther at that point in his life had not fully developed his theology as of Oct. 31, 1517. It was still in a formation stage that would more fully develope over the next few decades.

    Which offspring? All Protestants be they Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists etc...are the spiritual offspring of Luther's Reformation.

    I would suggest to understand Luther more fully you read "Luther's Large Catechism" and Paul Altaus book "The Theology of Martin Luther".
     
  5. Mark Osgatharp

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    Luther rejected the book of Revelation. Jesus said that anyone who took away from the Revelation would have his part taken out of the book of life.

    Make all the excuses and justifications you wish; if Luther died believing the Revelation was not Scripture, then he died under Jesus anathema.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  6. robycop3

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    Luther was also very anti-Semitic. Not just against their religion, but against Jews because they were Jews, regardless of religion.

    The following URL is a link toa site containing excerpts from his 1543 book, On The Jews And Their Lies.
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Luther_on_Jews.html

    I have read some extensive histories on Luther; several of them gloss over his anti-Semitism because he had a Jew as his helper and proofreader while making his Bible version. But make no mistake; in his later years, he was quite the anti-Semite. Unfortunately, in Germany, his anti-Semitism was part of his profound influence upon the nation, remaining for centuries, until seized upon by one Julius Streicher, and a man, first name Adolf.
     
  7. PrimePower7

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    Kiffen,
    You are absolutely correct about the sinner's prayer nonsense!!!! I whole heartedly agree. Thank God, I found someone who sees the hypocrisy of trusting a prayer over trusting some other kind of work.
     
  8. Seeker Of Truth

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    Luther also did not believe the book of James was inspired by God. It is written that Luther hated the book of James so much that he placed the book as the last book of the Bible.

    He placed it after the book of Revelation in his German translation of the Bible.

    I think I also read that Luther prayed to Mary. As a former Catholic I see a problem with this teaching.
     
  9. Kiffen

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    Luther was a religious anti semite not a racial one. Luther did not believe in praying to Mary though he had a high respect for her.

    Luther was not the scholar that John Calvin and later Reformers were. There is no doubt he had problems with Revelation and James and is a blight on his life. That cannot be defended.

    All of us including Baptists of course have blights from Baptist churches in the South in the early 1900's giving church offerings to the KKK and to the German Baptist Union compromise with Hitler (Though in the 1990's they repented and apologized) we all have flaws.
     
  10. Rhetorician

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    Kiffen,

    I am not sure it is fair to say that Luther was not the scholar Calvin and later Reformers were.

    It would seem the evidence would indicate he was a scholar of a different sort. Calvin was a systematic theologian and also a classics scholar.

    Luther, I think we must remember, took a doctorate and translated the Scriptures into the venacular of the German people. So, he was no one's dummy by any means and was a scholar in his own right.

    Luther could quite possibly have been one of "The Doctors of the Church" had the Reformation not happened!

    I would love to dialogue further on these issues. It is the precise area where I have been reading lately.

    May I suggest Timothy George's "Theology of the Reformers."

    sdg!

    rd
     
  11. Kiffen

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    Thanks rd! Let me state I was not suggesting Luther was a poor scholar but that his theology was not as systemized as Calvin.

    You bring up some excellent points and I appreciate the correction.

    P.S. - I understand Timothy George's "Theology of the Reformers." is excellent. I hope to get it later this year.
     
  12. 4His_glory

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    Won't you be surprised to see him in heaven. [​IMG]
     
  13. rsr

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    While the 1522 preface cast doubt on the canonicity of Revelation, by the 1530 edition Luther had retracted his comments. He later put together a chapter-by-chapter analysis that identified the Antichrist with the papacy.
     
  14. Mark Osgatharp

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    This totally misses the point. Jesus said, in plainest terms, that anyone who takes away from the book of Revelation will have his part taken out of the book of life. I think that, by implication, the same would apply to any book of the Bible; but we know for an absolute fact it applies to the Revelation.

    Now Luther may have repented of his crime (rsr's post indicates that he did). But, assuming the report of his disposition toward the Revelation is true and if he never repented of it, then he fell under Jesus' anathema, the blights and flaws of other people notwithstanding.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  15. Kiffen

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    I completely agree with you Mark but as rsr states, Luther did later change those comments. I understand he also did say that James was a good book.

    I think Luther's problems with James and Revelation had to do with the work salvation he had been taught as a Roman Catholic and when he broke with RCC teaching he became overzealous in what he perceived to be teaching works for salvation in those 2 books. He was of course wrong and he made some heretical statements. In other words maybe he went from one extreme to another. Thanks however for your point.
     
  16. LadyEagle

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    You are correct. The Lutheran church issued a formal apology a few years ago.
     
  17. robycop3

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    Ya know, LE, that amazed me! Why should the Lutheran Church apologize for the beliefs of their namesake, who's been dead over 400 years? THEY cannot truly apologize for HIS actions!
     
  18. Gold Dragon

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    Agreed. Excellent posts throughout this thread Kiffen. [​IMG]
     

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