(Continued from page 268)Don't check out the facts when your mind is made up?
You write: 'I have learned that anti-Catholic material is sometimes true, often half true, and often outright lies. I believe some of what you wrote, but most of it I would give the same legitimacy as a 'Father' Chiniquy novel or a Jack Chick tract.'
TCE: Following the outlook of all cults you simply refuse to believe the facts when they presented to you - even when many are reported by faithful Catholic historians, some of whom were excommunicated by your church for daring to tell the truth. If you believe Chiniquy's books are novels and not historical fact then all you have to do is prove it! We know that Chick has been deceived over other matters [such as the Rebecca Brown fiasco] and chooses inflammatory styles for his tracts, so we don't have much time for him. But your head in the sand approach merely reflects the spiritual blindness which afflicts all deceived by the evil one (1 John 5:19).
Are the scandals of Papal Rome acceptable?
You write: 'What does the Bible say about scandals, anyway? Jesus said that it was inevitable that they would come, and there would be woe to those who commit them, but He never said that they would bring down the Church.'
TCE: Jesus made it clear, in Matthew 16:18, that 'the gates of Hell would not prevail against His church' - but this word of warning to His disciples concerning 'scandals' was a warning to them about their behaviour too (Luke 17:1-3):
Lk 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: 'Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 So watch yourselves.
He used the same Greek word in His warning to Peter (Matthew 16:23):
Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.'
The word is used in a similar context in Romans 14:13:
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
But we learn, from Romans 16:17-19, that the ways to avoid 'scandals' are clearly set out in the Word of God:
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
As we have said before - they knew what would cause division and scandals (obstacles) because they had learned from the apostles teachings, both verbally and by the written word, who to avoid. Clearly, because you accept the views and traditions of men to be part of your standard of judging, Papal Rome does not know who and what to avoid - which is why John Paul II is deep in a mire which even historical Papal Roman Catholics recognise as heresy (by their past standards!).
Everyone who has ever been trapped in Papal Rome - and those who escaped from her whoredoms during the Reformation - has struggled to escape from the darkness that surrounded them. The inspired writer John described the problem (1 John 2:9-11):
9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
Why does Rome persecute those following the Bible alone?
How could these men torture, burn, behead and drown their fellow man - many of whom simply desired to follow the loving Lord Jesus Christ whom they had heard about? Because they were still in a darkness which had its Satanic tentacles around them still. Wherever you find a spirit that desires and plots the death of its fellow-man (excepting obvious cases of self-defence or defence of nation and liberty) then you have the spirit of Anti-Christ. The Munster Anabaptists, Lutherans, Calvinists, and some Puritans, had still not fully escaped this spirit!
The reason for their stumbling is found in several passages (Romans 9:30-10:4):
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the 'stumbling stone.' 33 As it is written: 'See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' RO 10:1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
To varying degrees they all made the same mistake as Israel and set out to follow the ways of men, setting up kingdoms and organisations based on the precepts of men rather than on the Word of God. And why do they stumble? Peter knew (1 Peter 2:7-8):
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, ' 8 and, 'A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.' They stumble because they disobey the message - which is also what they were destined for.
Christ is both the stone which serves as a foundation (Gk. themelios) for the church and the stone over which one can fall, the stumbling stone (Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8; referring to Isaiah 8:14; 28:16; Psalm 118:22; Rock). This explains why men, e.g. many Jews, do not come to salvation. Where Jesus and his message are refused, man finds his eternal destruction (cf. Luke 2:34). Luke's version of the saying about the corner stone presses the picture even further: 'Every one who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one it will crush him' (Luke 20:18). This combines the saying about the corner stone (Psalm 118:20; Isaiah 28:16; cf. Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7) with Isaiah 8:14 ff. which declares: 'And he [God] will become a sanctuary, and a stone of offense, and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble thereon; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and be taken.' But what was said of God by Isaiah is said of Jesus in Luke (cf. Romans 9:33; 10:11; 1 Peter 2:4 ff.). According to Luke 20:18, man will be broken by Christ in any case. He will be either broken on him now, as Christ shatters his preconceived plans for his life, or he will be broken by him in judgment.
Whether the disciple of Christ may cause offense to others is another matter. Paul expressly forbids the strong to cause the weak to stumble and to hurt their conscience (Romans 14:13, 21; 1 Corinthians 8:9). Their freedom, though justified in itself, must not cause others to fall. This is the law of love. He who hurts the conscience of another creates an obstacle for the gospel (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:12 f., 19 f.). Paul enlarges the circle still further, when he says: 'Give no offense [aproskopos] to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32).
Ironically, the English translation into 'stumbling-block' was first introduced by William Tyndale (who was strangled and burned by Papal Rome for daring to give the Word of God to the people!) in his translation of Romans 14:13: 'That no man putt a stomblinge blocke or an occasion to faule' [proskomma skandalon]. Later translators preferred to use it for skandalon. After Tyndale the expression was used in the senses of an occasion for moral stumbling, an occasion for falling into calamity, an obstacle to belief, understanding, progress, and, more rarely, literally of a kind of threshold or object sticking up in a road. Truly, Papal Rome has proved itself a 'stumbling block' to the nations with its false gospel and sacraments. 1 Corinthians 1:20-25 emphasises the difference between God's gospel and the foolishness of the 'wisdom of men':
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
To the unsaved Jews this message of a crucified Christ was a 'stumbling block,' an offense, (Gk. skandalon) for they expected a political deliverer. To the non-Jewish world (Gk. ethne) the cross was 'foolishness' - criminals died on crosses, and they could not see how the cross provided any moral philosophical standard to help them toward salvation. They could not get over it. They had a conceit that their expected Messiah was to be a great temporal prince, and therefore would never own one who made so mean an appearance in life, and died so accursed a death, for their deliverer and king. They despised him, and looked upon him as execrable, because he was hanged on a tree, and because he did not gratify them with a sign to their mind, though his divine power shone out in innumerable miracles and we know the Jews require a sign (Matthew 12:38). Furthermore, the Greeks and Romans looked on one crucified as the lowest of criminals, so how could such a one be considered a saviour? Lucian (in De morte Peregrini, 13) mocked those who worship a crucified sophist. He was to the Greeks foolishness. They laughed at the story of a crucified Saviour, and despised the apostles' way of telling it. They sought for wisdom. They were men of wit and reading, men that had cultivated arts and sciences, and had, for some ages, been in a manner the very mint of knowledge and learning. There was nothing in the plain doctrine of the cross to suit their taste, nor humour their vanity, nor gratify a curious and wrangling temper: they entertained it therefore with scorn and contempt. What, hope to be saved by one that could not save himself! And trust in one who was condemned and crucified as a malefactor, a man of mean birth and poor condition in life, and cut off by so vile and ignominious a death! This was what the pride of human reason and learning could not relish. The Greeks thought it little better than stupidity to receive such a doctrine, and pay this high regard to such a person: and thus were they justly left to perish in their pride and obstinacy. From their theocratical viewpoint, the Greeks would have had difficult in conceiving of how 'a god', being spirit, could become incarnate and thus provide a god-man atonement for sin. This was a philosophical problem for them, though they conceived of the Olympian gods - Zeus, Hera, Athena, etc. - as having human characteristics, including sin, and as somehow having the ability of begetting and of being begotten by humankind.
It is just with God to leave those to themselves who pour such proud contempt on divine wisdom and grace. To those who are called and saved he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God. Those who are called and sanctified, who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, discern more glorious discoveries of God's wisdom and power in the doctrine of Christ crucified than in all his other works. Those who are saved are reconciled to the doctrine of the cross, and led into an experimental acquaintance with the mysteries of Christ crucified.
In contrast to those who sought this gospel by following the Word of God through the leading of the Spirit alone - such as the Anabaptists - the Papal Church of Rome has been an utter scandal since its inception under Constantine, when it quickly began to show its true colours by persecuting true believers.
Have there really been only 'a few scandalous popes'?
You write: 'Yes, there have been a few scandalous popes, and Catholics are not afraid to admit that.'
TCE: A few? You would like to believe that there have been 'a few'! The scandalous popes are still around and there is not one exception, since they have all proved to be heretics bringing a false gospel. Your dishonesty is proven in your claim to have 'compare[d] the scandalous popes to Martin Luther' for you falsely claim that 'there is no comparison' for you 'have already' done this! Since you claim to have made a full comparison please write to us and tell us ALL of the sins and errors committed by the popes. Clearly you must be completely familiar with all of this information for this to be true, otherwise you prove yourself to be a deceiver again!
Has Rome really 'survived 20 centuries'?
You write: 'the fact that the Church has survived 20 centuries (not just 15) in spite of them is just one more proof of its divine origin'
TCE: First, you fail to prove that the Papal Roman Catholic Church has been around for this time. If you make a statement you should try and prove it beyond reasonable doubt. We will see later how your attempts to do so fail again.
How is your logic? How many other religions have also survived for thousands of years, such as Hinduism? Does this mean that they are also of divine origin?
According to John Paul II the answer is 'Yes,' for his anti-Christ activities have embraced these other religions as he meets with leading Muslims and Buddhists, including the Dalai Lama (whom he calls 'a great spiritual leader'), and in doing so has repeatedly called for a uniting of all the world's religions. He has long been occupied in his ecumenical strategies which are an affront to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ - and also to the Papal religion! He gathered representatives of many religions to Assisi, Italy - among them the Dalai Lama for a World Day of Prayer in 1986 and began an ongoing programme of 'prayer' (such as the Kalachakra Deity ritual) by all of the world's religions. These blasphemous pagan rituals are supposed to help bring about world peace! The Pope claims they have been effective and, on the second anniversary of Assisi's historic prayer meeting, John Paul II told an ecumenical gathering of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, et al, that 'their efforts were unleashing profound spiritual energies in the world and bringing about a new climate of peace.' The entire May/June 1990 edition of The Catholic World was devoted to Buddhism and included articles on 'The Buddha Revered as a Christian Saint' and a flattering biography of 'His Holiness the Dalai Lama.' The Tibetan Buddhist leader has frequent contact with Catholic leaders. He met twice with Pope Paul VI and many more times with John Paul II, whom he calls 'an old friend,' declaring: 'Both of us have the same aim.' That aim? To usher in the One World Religion of the Anti-Christ!
The blasphemy of Mariolatry
What did John Paul II do on May 13, 1982? - he 'prayed before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima [and] consecrate[d] the world to Mary as she had requested.' On May 13, 1984, he consecrated the world again to Our Lady of Fatima' who had promised: 'If my wishes are fulfilled...my Immaculate Heart will triumph, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace!' 'Mary' apparently brought about the amazing changes in Eastern Europe. In obedience to Our Lady of Fatima's request, an imposing series of popes consecrated the world and especially the Russian people to the 'Immaculate Heart of Mary,' thereby setting in motion the spiritual forces that she had promised would bring peace to the world. They were: Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1952; Pope Paul VI twelve years later, and Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1982, and again on May 13, 1984. Declaring that the Lord had 'confided the peace of the world to her,' the apparition that appeared as the Virgin of Fatima presented its plan for 'peace on earth':
'Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace....Pray, pray, a great deal, and make sacrifrices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them...If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.'
The substitution of Mary for Christ is no less abominable than the substitution of the Dalai Lama. It is equally blasphemous to claim that 'many souls go to hell because they have no one to make sacrifrices and pray for them.' There is only one sacrifice that can be made for sin and which can deliver the soul from hell, and that is the sacrifice accomplished once for all by Christ upon the cross. Instead, Papal Catholicism offers a false Jesus and a false gospel.
Professing for itself the place and attributes of Christ, the apparition of Mary at Fatima promised:
I will never leave you. My immaculate heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.. In order to save [mankind], God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart....I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who... make reparation to me.
'Jesus,' too, appeared at Fatima as a small child by his mother's side! The resurrected, glorified Saviour, who bears the marks of Calvary at the Father's right hand, is not still a small child! Those who saw this vision were either lying, hallucinating, or were deceived by demons masquerading as an obviously false 'Mary' and false 'Jesus.' Yet every pope in the last 60 years has endorsed the Fatima visions. On February 15, 1926, this 'Child Jesus' supposedly 'appeared to Lucia, asking her if she had spread this devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of His Holy Mother.' Reparation must be made to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for mankind to be saved? This is yet another abomination!
At Assisi the Pope encouraged the Dalai Lama and his monks to worship at the Church of St. Peter altar, on which they placed a statue of Buddha for their anti-Christian ceremony. Around the world the Pope has held masses in which various pagan rituals (in which he participated) were incorporated. The 'Vicar of Christ' has prayed with animists and even entered their sanctuary, consecrated to demons, to participate in pagan rituals which began with a sorcerer invoking ancestral spirits. Imagine the Apostle Paul worshipping at the Temple of Diana in Ephesus! Foolish contemporary Protestants made sure the Dalai Lama was welcomed into the pulpit in Geneva, Switzerland, where John Calvin used to preach to what many thought (and some still foolishly imagine) was the ideal Christian society. The cathedral's dean, William McCornish, General Treasurer of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, called the Dalai Lama 'His Holiness,' praised his 'spirituality' and declared that Calvin's cathedral was 'becoming a home for a new religious centre to experience understanding between the world's major faiths.' We reject all of these men and their anathematized gospel that contradicts the Bible and which the inspired apostle Paul would rightly reject (Galatians 1:6-9).
Matthew 23 describes the clergy of Rome!
You write: 'Jesus told his listeners to do what the Pharisees say, and not what they do'.
TCE: We are amazed that you can apparently read Matthew 23 without noticing the description there of the Roman clergy:
1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying, 'The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them. 4 'And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5 'But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries, and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 'And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi. 8 'But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 'And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 'And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 'But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 'And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. 13 'But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, even while for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you shall receive greater condemnation. 15 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. 16 'Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.' 17 'You fools and blind men; which is more important, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 'And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering upon it, he is obligated.' 19 'You blind men, which is more important, the offering or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20 'Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21 'And he who swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22 'And he who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it. 23 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 'You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 'You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 'Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 31 'Consequently you bear witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 'Fill up then the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 'You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?
Jesus also warned those who would be His disciples:
Matthew 5:20 'For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
What a great pity that the Papal Roman Catholic Church cannot even follow Christ's admonition (verse 9): 'do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
'Some popes were great sinners … Luther … was far more scandalous'
You write: 'Those words would certainly not have been in regards to Luther. For although some popes were great sinners, they never tried to teach Christians that their sins were acceptable. Luther, on the other hand, was far more scandalous. He taught that God made women for the primary purpose of satisfying the sexual desires of men. In a public sermon, he once said, 'If the mistress of the house is unwilling, then let the maid come.' When a young man asked Luther's advice about dealing with temptations he had to sin, Luther told him, 'Sin freely, and sin boldly, in order to mock the devil.''
TCE: We have already made it clear that Luther failed to fully shake off all his Roman origins and even continued to hold to the doctrine of the real presence of the body and blood of the Saviour in the bread and wine. That he was not fully clear of all the influences of Papal Rome is clear, particularly when you read his opinions of the Jews. Luther's writings appear in over sixty enormous volumes which have so far appeared in the latest - and incomplete - edition. Since he wrote partly in German and partly in Latin it is no easy task to tackle his works and even a lifetime of concentrated work by an outstanding scholar would scarcely suffice to read everything that Luther has written. His letters alone number well over three thousand and in all of his works he did express some frighteningly crude opinions. In 1904, Henri Suso Denifle published the first volume of his 'Luther and Lutheranism'. Denifle, sub-archivist of the Holy See, was a very well-known scholar and, through his work at the Vatican, had access to documents and writings such as few other scholars possessed and devoted his whole life to the study of the writings and influence of Martin Luther. As a result, he published his work on Luther with full and ample quotations for everything he said. As a result of doing little more than quoting Luther's own words, the true nature of the man was revealed. Far from hiding the facts - despite the onslaught of horror from the German public and desperately weak booklets and tracts by those who had idolised the man much as Papal Rome puts their popes up on pedestals from which they dare not fall off, a Protestant theologian, Ernst Troeltsch, Professor at Heidelberg produced a work, 'The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches,' which corroborated Denifle's views to some extent.
But this did not stop Luther from being correct in his appraisal of grace versus works which is made clear in his writings.
Fortunately, unlike Papal Roman Catholics, we are not reliant on the work or 'infallibility' of any man, for our beliefs are all thoroughly supported by Scripture and solidly based on the Rock who is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4), and we will leave defence of Luther to his legacy - many of whom have forgotten the reasons that he separated from Papal Rome after striving to reform the church from within. Although we documented some of the popes' sinful works (including the re-writing of Scripture by Sixtus V) you have chosen to gloss over these points and failed to answer important questions such as: how can you tell when a pope is speaking ex-cathedra and how can you trust a man who demands that you do as he says and not as he does!? The Biblical record is clear that this is not the example the apostles set:
Matthew 5:48 'Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect;
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.Hebrews 7:19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
So how do you think you can claim the apostolic succession and infallibility necessary for the Papal Roman Catholic Church, when the historical record proves you have neither? Doctrinal stability is found only in those Christian groups who rely on the Bible alone which is the sole source of the Holy Spirit inspired gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Luther left his University education and entered the Augustine Monastery on the 17th day of July 1505 (aged 21) he experienced more and more disillusionment. However Papal Roman Catholics view his works, he was under little illusion about the nature of his own life. His testimony was:
'Verily I was a devout monk, and followed the rules of my order so strictly that I cannot tell you all. If ever a monk entered into heaven by his monkish merits, certainly I should have obtained an entrance there. The doctors and theologians told me to do good works and thus to satisfy divine justice. But what good works can proceed out of a heart like mine, a heart full of evil thoughts and desires?'
When given the opportunity to visit Papal Rome he grasped it for, to Luther, as a devout papist, Rome was the eternal city. When he beheld the city from a distance, having covered a very long and difficult pilgrimage, he fell upon his knees and exclaimed, 'I greet thee, thou Holy Rome, thrice holy from the blood of the martyrs.' He was soon to be completely disillusioned as he observed that Papal Rome was neither historically, morally, ethically, spiritually or religiously the place he had been informed about by his tutors. Like all the other monstrous claims of Papal Rome, they proved to be without foundation.
While Papal Rome was still confining women, who sought the spirituality they only glimpsed through the man-made prism of un-Scriptural sacraments, to nunneries and a life of confused mysticism, Martin Luther married the former nun, Katherine von Bora in 1525. Protestant ministers emphasised domestication, insisting that women were to be married and then subject to their husbands. Biblical subjection is a divine state, but the nature of men of every age since Christ and the apostles is to use Ephesians 5:22 while ignoring the rest of the verse, particularly v25-20:
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church - 30 for we are members of his body. 31 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' 32 This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
The marriage relationship is set out in Scripture as being a reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church. This is to raise it to an unimaginably lofty level which was still lost in these Dark Ages. In 1 Corinthians 11:12 Paul had already marked out a hierarchy in which God is seen as the head of Christ, Christ as the head of the man, and the man as the head of the woman. Here he looks at it from another angle. If the head of the woman is the man and the head of the church is Christ (cf. Eph 1:22; 4:12, 16), then it is permissible to draw an analogy between the wife's relationship to her husband and the church's relation to Christ. Marriage is thus interpreted in the sublimest terms. It is compared with the marriage of the Lamb to his bride, for Christ is the Saviour of his body, the church, in a unique manner. The word Saviour (Gk. soter) is never used in the New Testament except of Christ or God but, having recognized that vital truth, we may legitimately pursue the analogy and conclude that Paul regards the husband, even if to an infinitely lesser degree, as the protector of his wife (cf. Ephesians 5:28-29).
When the behaviour of Martin Luther is questioned we have to take into consideration that distance from which the Papal Roman Catholic Church had fallen from Scriptural example - taking with her every priest and layman who came under her influence (as did most of the Reformers who broke away from Papal Rome, yet still carried the baggage that muddled their thinking and influenced so much of their thought for a large part of their lives or to the grave). It has been stated: 'Patriarchal control was exercised across Europe, across confessional boundaries and across backsides'. Thus Luther counselled, in Papal fashion, an immediate and forceful response if a wife claimed she had received a directive from God contrary to her husband's will:
'If you have a wife or a servant who claims they've been seized by the Spirit to go on pilgrimage, hear my counsel: take a good oaken crucifix and sanctify their backsides with firm strokes. Then you'll see that with this finger of God (that is, the crucifix) you'll drive out the evil spirit, which always tries to bend women to his will, since they let themselves be seduced by him so easily' [R. Bast].
That Luther should still regard the crucifix as having a place in the home speaks volumes of the influences that still clouded his judgment. The Roman view continued that wives, just as children, needed discipline, for the former had a propensity for rebellion.
The Protestants launched a more ambitious program of catechesis, but the emphases remained the same. Indeed, they intended to strengthen the role of fathers as instructors and discipliners over family members, including wives. Martin Luther was adamant on this point. Did he really reject the commandments of God - we think not? He underscored the importance and implications of the fourth commandment: 'Honour one's father and mother.' 'If anyone thinks that this commandment does not apply to wives, they should know that it requires everyone to honour all powers and authorities. And the husband is the head, master and lord of the wife.' Women required close supervision, according to Luther, for they stupidly succumb to Satan's wiles:
'Who can list all the foolish, ridiculous, laughable, wanton and superstitious things that females practice, and with which they are so easily lead astray? Such foolish business was born into them through Eve, who let herself be seduced by the serpent.' [R. Bast].
Luther did not attribute women's propensity for evil to their over-heated sex drives, as did the Dominican Inquisitor's Krämer and Sprenger. Instead he postulated that their wicked tendencies sprung from character or emotional disabilities. Women are naturally, according to Luther, more fearful than men. Moreover, they have less strength of will; thus, they succumb to weakness and resort to spells and superstition to protect their loved ones. In his commentary of the Decalog (1518), Luther chides young wives for loving too much:
'The little wives are easily seduced to sorcery because of their excessive love for their children and their dependence on earthly satisfaction.' [S. Brauner].
Protestant catechesis, as taught by Luther, harmonized with, rather than negated, Catholic fears about women's propensity to succumb to the Devil's wiles. Confessional adversaries could agree on one point: the Devil readily recruited women in his campaign to subvert the faith.
Some historians have argued that the Protestant reformers elevated the status of women since the Protestants valued matrimony over monasticism. Clearly, Protestant reformers appreciated their wives. Wives were esteemed, but in light of some of Luther's remarks, one must ask if wives were valued as individuals or for something else. In his last lectures on Genesis, delivered to prospective pastors in 1535-36, Luther commended marriage, for wives were needed as an 'antidote' and 'medicine' for sin. Unlike his Catholic counterparts, Luther did not believe that women were inherently inferior beings. Before the first man and woman sinned in the garden of Eden, Eve, according to Luther, was Adam's equal - mentally, spiritually, with no physical defects. But since the fall, all humans have become corrupted, especially their sexuality.
Luther clearly valued and adored his wife Katherine. Notwithstanding his devotion for her, he could not rid himself of the notion instilled in him by Papal Rome that sex, even marital sex, was 'dirty.' Here one can detect an overwhelming insecurity in him. Since the fall, sex had become incompatible with spirituality, which to Luther, included a strong dose of self-control and sexual union with a woman clearly exposed a man to dangerous liaisons with a member of the gender most susceptible to Satanic ploys. Luther's sexual qualms were no doubt fuelled constantly by his past sinful life and period as a priest of Papal Rome.
Luther taught that good works were to be avoided/performing them was a mortal sin
You write: 'Luther also taught that good works were to be avoided at all costs, and that performing them was a mortal sin.'
TCE: Can you supply the exact quote? Luther certainly stressed the correct Biblical route to salvation in which works play absolutely no part - as made clear by the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43) who admitted that he deserved his fate but was welcomed into Paradise that very day (Note: no mention of purgatory!) by the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that Luther had many problems coming to terms with Scriptures emphasising the necessity of works which prove our faith is real although it has no part to play in our salvation (James etc.) but, after your apparent inability to understand the context of your previous quote from Luther's works, we leave the onus on Lutherans - many of whom are now foolishly in bed with Papal Rome again - to defend their man.
'Luther's' Protestant society much more immoral than Papal Rome?!
You write: 'After Luther's 'success' of breaking away from the Catholic Church, Protestant society became much more immoral. Luther lamented that in his later years, but it was too late. His scandal was far worse than that of any pope's.'
TCE: Let us see you prove this and then compare it with life under the Inquisition and feudal control of the Papacy. Please give us details of those tortured and murdered by Luther and we will compare it with the millions killed by the Papacy. Later we will give a fuller record of the Papal record of heresy and murder!
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