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Author Topic: Did Martin Luther mean to do what he did?  (Read 2553 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 15, 2012, 10:40:31 PM »

I mean, by launching the protestant reformation, do you think he intended to have all of these "make it up as you go" churches with names like "relevant church" popping up on every corner?

Honestly, I dont know too much about the guy other than the well known basics.  I just cant imagine him looking at the chaos we have today in protestantism and being happy with the outcome.  Ive heard, although I'm not sure how true, that he hated when his followers were referred to as Lutherans and also that he told his own mother to stay Catholic.  I also know that the reformation was a revolt against the RC rather than the Orthodox church. 

From an Orthodox perspective, is it safe to say that Luther had good intentions even though the results havent been too great?
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 10:58:29 PM »

From an Orthodox perspective, is it safe to say that Luther had good intentions even though the results havent been too great?

The old saying goes that the road to perdition is laid with good intentions.  Luther was no fan of the Greeks; he just wanted to use them to justify his twisted theology.  The Patriarch Jeremias II who corresponded with the second generation of Lutheran "theologians" grew tired of the Lutherans incessant whining and vain attempts to convince him that the Lutherans held the apostolic faith.  From that point Jeremias II told them to stop bothering him unless they wanted to chat for purposes of friendship.
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2012, 12:01:17 AM »

Well, Luther did not intend for the various Protestant sects to end up as what they became- but at the same time, his own version of Christianity was not quite Orthodox, though far more recognizable as such than much of what came later. Still, there is much in the modern Evangelical ethos that builds on his foundation- rock band churches are pretty much Luther adapting hymns to German folk tunes. I would say that he would be horrified by the "make it up as you go along" approach to the church service proper and many Protestant turns of theology (especially in those churches that bear his name), but possibly approving of the much maligned powerpoint projections and contemporary music used in a lot of services.
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2012, 09:57:15 AM »

From an Orthodox perspective, is it safe to say that Luther had good intentions even though the results havent been too great?

The old saying goes that the road to perdition is laid with good intentions.  Luther was no fan of the Greeks; he just wanted to use them to justify his twisted theology.  The Patriarch Jeremias II who corresponded with the second generation of Lutheran "theologians" grew tired of the Lutherans incessant whining and vain attempts to convince him that the Lutherans held the apostolic faith.  From that point Jeremias II told them to stop bothering him unless they wanted to chat for purposes of friendship.

Interesting. I did not know that.
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2012, 09:59:10 AM »

Part of me wonders if he would take back an idea like "sola sciptura" if he had the chance.  It seems like it may have done more harm than good.  I guess during his time, I can kind of see what he felt it somewhat necessary, but I think its gone a little too far.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2012, 10:26:13 AM »

Luther adapting hymns to German folk tunes.

Not really. He was of that opinion that liturgical music should be different from popular music.
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2012, 05:21:42 AM »

Luther probably and arrogantly expected others to agree with his interpretation of the bible, but when he brought into Christianity the concept of Sola scriptura he all but wiped any hope of anyone agreeing with him completely and this is what allowed many different groups with many different interpretations to arise, by forgetting the central place of the Church on earth Christianity to the reformers ceased to be communion but personal philosophy and if you were lucky you could have some that would agree with you.
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2012, 07:23:55 AM »

The reformers' view of Orthodoxy:  http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/asktheexpert/feb08.html   http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/asktheexpert/feb08.html


Also: intro to Davey & Goliath with refrains from: a Mighty Fortress is our God.

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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2012, 07:45:42 AM »

Luther probably and arrogantly expected others to agree with his interpretation of the bible, but when he brought into Christianity the concept of Sola scriptura he all but wiped any hope of anyone agreeing with him completely and this is what allowed many different groups with many different interpretations to arise, by forgetting the central place of the Church on earth Christianity to the reformers ceased to be communion but personal philosophy and if you were lucky you could have some that would agree with you.

Simple answer,marvelously executed!!
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2012, 08:31:52 AM »

There are no simplistic answers to this question.  The true answer comes from reading the quite voluminous written works that he left behind.  I doubt too many on this list have taken the time to do so.  Luther's theology developed over time.  He was not alone in believing what he did.  The abuses of the Roman Church were such that the stench could be smelled by anyone who had any idea of what real Christianity was.  Luther was set on his way of salvation by Faith and Grace by his superior in the monastery.  He was not the first to believe this, just one of the first that did not get burned at the stake by the Roman Church.  Luther was also not alone in his beliefs during the Reformation.  Some of the best educated men in Europe were in Germany at that time, and many sided with Luther.  In the beginning, it was his intention to simply correct the most obvious abuses of the RC Church.  However, once he was excommunicated, there was really no choice but to form another church.  Had Rome not completely PO'd a large number of German princes with their continuous grab for money, Luther would have ended up like every other "reformer" before him, burned at the stake.  However, Luther's religious objections to the legitimacy of the Pope's strangle hold on religion / politics gave many German and other Northern European leaders the "religious" backing to do what they had wanted to do for a long time; break with Rome.  The term "Protestant" was a political term at that time and not a religious term as it is today.  However, it would be safe to say that most of the secular "Protestants" had already broken with Rome in mind and heart, and used either Luther's beliefs or those of one of the other Reformers as the claim to the legitimacy of them going against the "Vicar of Christ" in Rome.

So, the Reformation is not just about the theology of Martin Luther.  It cannot be fully understood without taking into account the other religious, scientific, and political things that were going on at this same time.  Humanism was making strong inroads into the philosophy at the time.  Rome's abuses were causing a lot of people to see religion is nothing other than a method of one man controlling many in the name of some cloud being that would zap them all if they did not do what the man behind the curtain in Rome wanted them to do.  If anything, Luther still believed in a God that was both Creator and Savior, and he strove to return the Church to its Apostolic roots.  History shows that he did not succeed, but there were a lot of things that were acting against him, too. 

As to the relationship between the early Lutherans and the Orthodox, who knows where that correspondence would have gone over time had Constantinople not fallen to the Turks.  The group from Tutlingen was only one group of German Lutherans.  There were sects of Lutherans that were not so "Protestant" that may have benefited from communication with the East.  Even Luther had written that he thought the Eastern Church had kept the faith of the Apostles very closely.  But it was not Luther that corresponded with the Patriarch.  To many Germans, the fall of Constantinople to the Turks was a sign that even the Eastern Church had lost favor with God, and it was now time for the "new" Church to rise.  And lastly, what rose from the ashes of Europe after the long and bitter wars against the Roman Catholics and the "Protestants" bore little resemblance to Luther's original ideals.  So little so that many groups of what are today called "confessional Lutherans" had to leave Germany and other parts of Europe to escape the changes made by the various princes and kings. 

I certainly hold to the idea that Luther was well intentioned.  It is the strong education that I received from Lutheran schools and Lutheran parents that started me on my way to Orthodoxy.  It was Luther's own words about the "Eastern Church", and the Lutheran theologian's discussion of the "Fathers" that interested me in reading these Fathers words myself.  I do not look down on Martin Luther, but consider my conversion to the True Church to be what he was trying for all along.
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2012, 09:33:15 AM »

Luther was right to reject the abuses of Papism, but was entirely wrong in the remedy that he offered.  From his writings, he seems to be a “heretic” in the true meaning of the word, as one who "chooses" to follow his own mind and his own path.  He was very proud of his learning and his ability to read and translate Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; and seemed to think that by virtue of his learning he was more capable of understanding and interpreting the Scriptures than the Fathers or the ancient Church.  He may have referred to and quoted from Fathers sometimes, but subjected everything to his own ideology and his own mind, rather than humbly submitting his mind to the Fathers and to the consensus of the universal Church. 

The following quotes from a Catholic apologetical site show a different side of Martin Luther than what is usually depicted by Protestants:

http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/protestantism/matluther.htm

There are also some important comments made by the esteemed Fr. George Florovsky of blessed memory, in his article "The Ascetic Ideal in the New Testament: Reflections on the Critique of the Theology of the Reformation."  This article is excellent.  Read especially, near the end, the section entitled "The Epistle of St. James and Luther's Evaluation".  Among other things, Fr. George states:

http://www.romanity.org/htm/flo.01.en.the_ascetic_ideal_and_the_new_testament.01.htm

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Luther’s attitude toward the Epistle of St. James is well known. In fact, Luther positioned not only James at the end of the German Bible but also Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation. And his criterion was that they lacked evangelical "purity." He was not the first to do so. His colleague at Wittenberg, upon whom Luther later turned, Carlstadt, had distinguished among the books of the New Testament—and the Old Testament—before Luther took his own action. As early as 1520 Carlstadt divided the entirety of Scripture into three categories: libri summae dignitatis, in which Carstadt included the Pentateuch as well as the Gospels; libri secundae dignitatis, in which he included the Prophets and fifteen epistles; and libri tertiae dignitatis.

Luther rejected the Epistle of St. James theologically but of necessity retained it in the German Bible, even if as a kind of appendix. The ending of Luther’s Preface to his edition of the German Bible, which was omitted in later editions, reads in the German of his time: "... for that reason St. James’ Epistle is a thoroughly straw epistle, for it has indeed no evangelical merit to it." Luther rejected it theologically "because it gives righteousness to works in outright contradiction to Paul and all other Scriptures ... because, while undertaking to teach Christian people, it does not once mention the passion, the resurrection, the Spirit of Christ; it names Christ twice, but teaches nothing about him; it calls the law a law of liberty, while Paul calls it a law of bondage, of wrath, of death and of sin."

Luther even added the word "alone"—allein—in Romans 3:28 before "through faith" precisely to counter the words in James 2:24: "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith only." What is more is that Luther became very aggressive and arrogant in his response to the criticism that he had added "alone" to the Biblical text. "If your papist makes much useless fuss about the word sola, allein, tell him at once: Doctor Martin Luther will have it so and says: Papist and donkey are one thing; sic volo, sic jubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. For we do not want to be pupils and followers of the Papists, but their masters and judges." Luther continues in a bantering manner in an attempt to imitate St. Paul in the latter’s response to his opponents. "Are they doctors? So am I. Are they learned? So am I. Are they preachers? So am I. Are they theologians? So am I. Are they philosophers? So am I. Are they writers of books? So am I. And I shall further boast: I can expound Psalms and Prophets; which they cannot. I can translate; which they cannot . . . Therefore the word allein shall remain in my New Testament, and though all pope-donkeys should get furious and foolish, they shall not get the word out." In some German editions the word "allein" was printed in larger type! Some critics of Luther’s translation have accused him of deliberately translating inaccurately to support his theological view. As early as 1523 Dr. Emser, an opponent of Luther, claimed that Luther’s translation contained "a thousand grammatical and fourteen hundred heretical errors." This is exaggerated but the fact does remain that there are numerous errors in Luther’s translation.

Indeed, the entire Reformation in its attitude towards the New Testament is directly in opposition to the thought on this subject of St. Augustine, who was highly esteemed in many respects by the Reformation theologians and from whom they took the basis for some of the theological visions, especially predestination, original sin, and irresistible grace for Luther and Calvin. On this subject, as on some many others, there is no common ground between Luther and Calvin on the one hand and St. Augustine on the other. St. Augustine wrote: "I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Church." It should be pointed out that Calvin did not take objection to the Epistle of St. James.

Luther was so caught up in the abstraction of a passive righteousness, so infuriated by his experience as a monk in practicing what he would refer to as "righteousness of works," so caught up in attempting to create a specific meaning to one line of the thought of St. Paul that he misses the very foundation from which the theological thought of St. James comes forth—and that is the initiative and will of God. Luther’s criticism that St. James does not mention the passion, the resurrection, and the Spirit of Christ is inane, for his readers knew the apostolic deposit—there was no need to mention the very basis and essence of the living faith which was known to those reading the epistle. Such a criticism by Luther reveals the enormous lack of a sense for the historical life of the early Church, for the Church was in existence and it is from the Church and to the Church that the epistles are written. Historically, the Church existed before any texts of the "new covenant" were written. The Church existed on the oral tradition received from the apostles, as is clearly revealed from the pages of the New Testament itself.

The very foundation of the theological vision of St. James is the will of God. In 1:17-18 St. James writes: "Every good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom change has no place, no turning, no shadow. Having willed, he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." In 4:15 St. James writes: "You are instead to say: if the Lord wills, we will both live and will do this or that." One theologically weak text in the Epistle of St. James is in 4:8: "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." Taken by itself it has a Pelagian ring to it. And in monastic and ascetical literature one often encounters such expressions. But the meaning in both this epistle and in monastic and ascetical literature must be understood within their total context. Once the synergism of the redemptive process takes place in the human heart, then the existential reciprocity of grace and response is so dynamic that one can, as it were, use such expressions, precisely because it is assumed that God has initiated and that grace is always at work in the human heart, in all the depths of the interior of man as well as in external life. The text in the Epistle of St. James must be understood within the context of 1:18 and 4:15. Moreover, it is to be noted that this text is preceded by "Be subject, therefore, to God." In being "subject to God," a relationship is already in place, a relationship which presupposes the initiative of God and the response of man.

The Epistle of St. James contains many expressions that will be used in monastic and ascetical life. Temptation (1:14), the passions (4:1), purifying, cleansing, humbling oneself (4), and "be distressed and mourn and weep" (4:9). The excoriating words against the rich (5:1-6) underguird the monastic vow of poverty.

So, in Martin Luther, we see a man who was correct in opposing the abuses of Papism, but who by much learning became puffed up and deluded by his own pride such that he cared little for any kind of authority apart from his own mind.  He often spoke very disrespectfully about the Fathers (“Jerome has merited hell rather than heaven for it-so little would I dare to recognize or call him a saint.”), and was willing to eliminate books from the canon or add words to the Scripture to conform the Scriptures to his own mind.  He seemed entirely ignorant of ecclesiology, early church history, and of the Orthodox Church.  It was not his opposition to Papist abuses, but his haughtiness and pride which led to the “mass delusion” of Protestantism, whereby every man becomes convinced that he alone is an infallible interpreter of Scripture, and nobody has the right to tell you what you should believe.  In rejecting the authority of the Pope, he exalted his own mind as his authority, thereby rejecting all outside authority and inspiring the spiritual and ecclesial anarchy that has become Protestantism. 

If Martin Luther saw what became of the Reformation, it is very possible that he would have regretted and repented of many things.  However, what has resulted from his delusion cannot be reversed, and the irreparable damage is not easily undone. 
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 12:26:31 PM »

There's evidence in Luther's own writings that he was not pleased with the trajectory of the Reformation even while he was alive:

Quote
"See how foolishly the people everywhere behave towards the Gospel, so that I scarcely know whether I ought to continue preaching or not." [Walch. XI, 3052]

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"If God had not closed my eyes, and if I had foreseen these scandals, I would never have begun to teach the Gospel." [Walch. VI. 920]

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"Who would have begun to preach, if we had known beforehand that so much unhappiness, tumult, scandal, blasphemy, ingratitude, and wickedness would have been the result?" [Walch. VIII. 564]

-Taken from the book by Henry O'Connor, S.J.: Luther's Own Statements Concerning His Teaching and Its Results (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1884, second edition)
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 01:10:23 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

My two cents, Luther initially started as a frustrated and well-intentioned priest who was exasperated at the conditions of the Latin Church and was simply expressing his views, no differently than in the way Saint Athanasius always fought the good fight for Orthodox.  However, as in the historical periods of division within Orthodox, politics ruined the reform efforts.  I believe that political figures and wealthy merchants who all wanted to avoid their financial obligations to the Latin Church and further resented the economic restrictions imposed by the Church.  Greed overpowered even Luther's good intentions.  I think by the end, he was as caught up as anyone else..

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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2012, 10:59:34 PM »

While there were some good things about him, such as recognizing obvious abuses in the Roman Church and wanting to fix them, he still was a con-man no matter how you want to put it. He removed books from the Old Testament of the Bible that did not correspond with his personal theology and did not develop a defense (and a lousy one at that, Javneh) until later when he was questioned about it, and tried to remove books from the New Testament but did not. Luther relied on himself instead of God and truly was a heretic in the true sense of the word. But perhaps his heresy can be somewhat understood considering what led to it. The Roman Catholic Church is what drove him to heresy in the first place.
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 09:01:48 AM »

Yea I knew he wanted to take out some NT books. James, Hebrews and Revelation I think....Huh  Thats crazy to me.  And a lot of Protestants today dont realize that.
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2012, 07:43:06 AM »

Yea I knew he wanted to take out some NT books. James, Hebrews and Revelation I think....Huh  Thats crazy to me.  And a lot of Protestants today dont realize that.
Most protestants which I have seen this brought up against are as quick to abandon luther as they are to support him.
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« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2012, 09:59:58 AM »

Yea I knew he wanted to take out some NT books. James, Hebrews and Revelation I think....Huh  Thats crazy to me.  And a lot of Protestants today dont realize that.
Most protestants which I have seen this brought up against are as quick to abandon luther as they are to support him.

Haha. Yea. "oh well, uhhh... im not a Lutheran... Im a Calvinist"
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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2012, 11:27:13 AM »

Yea I knew he wanted to take out some NT books. James, Hebrews and Revelation I think....Huh  Thats crazy to me.  And a lot of Protestants today dont realize that.
The books he wanted removed were:

Hebrews
James
1 Peter
3 John

These were kept, not because of some pious reservation, but because of the push back Luther received. They're now in the very back of the Lutheran bible  laugh

He didn't really care for Galatians very much either :0

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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2012, 07:43:01 AM »

Con-man … twisted theology … added words to the bible … delusion … cared little for any kind of authority apart from his own mind … Yup, you guys have almost as low an opinion of Martin Luther as we Catholics do.
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2012, 10:45:07 AM »

Con-man … twisted theology … added words to the bible … delusion … cared little for any kind of authority apart from his own mind … Yup, you guys have almost as low an opinion of Martin Luther as we Catholics do.
Oh come on Peter, tell us how you really feel  laugh

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« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2012, 09:23:47 AM »

No, he wouldn't have wanted things to turn out the way they have but it's still better than the Papacy. Just think, the Papacy essentially states that in order to find the truth of the Gospel you must 1st submit to the Pope (a man) which is the worst kind of blasphemy. If the Catholic Church would just stop this nonsense of Vicar of Christ and supreme infailable authoity all Catholic Churches (Orthodox, Roman, Angelican, Lutheran) could probably re-unite. Although that would never happen.

Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.
http://www.bookofconcord.org/treatise.php
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« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2012, 10:05:44 AM »

Yea I knew he wanted to take out some NT books. James, Hebrews and Revelation I think....Huh  Thats crazy to me. 

True and I disagree with Luther on this and the other early Lutherans disagreed with Luther also. However he clearly was not the first to question James, Jude or Revelation. They were the mostly highly debated books to make the canon. St Jerome said he questioned it and considered Revelation to be of 2nd Canon but no-one ever bags on St. Jerome:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_of_James

"In the first centuries of the Church the authenticity of the Epistle was doubted by some, including Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia. Because of the silence of several of the western churches regarding it, Eusebius classes it among the Antilegomena or contested writings (Historia ecclesiae, 3.25; 2.23). St. Jerome gives a similar appraisal but adds that with time it had been universally admitted. Gaius Marius Victorinus, in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, openly questioned whether the teachings of James were heretical."
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« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2012, 10:12:37 AM »

No, he wouldn't have wanted things to turn out the way they have but it's still better than the Papacy. Just think, the Papacy essentially states that in order to find the truth of the Gospel you must 1st submit to the Pope (a man) which is the worst kind of blasphemy. If the Catholic Church would just stop this nonsense of Vicar of Christ and supreme infailable authoity all Catholic Churches (Orthodox, Roman, Angelican, Lutheran) could probably re-unite. Although that would never happen.

Or, to look at it another way, if Lutherans and other protestants would just stop this nonsense of denying the Pope's authority, we could re-unite. Although that would never happen.

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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2012, 10:20:48 AM »

"In the first centuries of the Church the authenticity of the Epistle was doubted by some, including Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia. Because of the silence of several of the western churches regarding it, Eusebius classes it among the Antilegomena or contested writings

You do recognise he was conemned as a heretic, don't you?
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« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2012, 10:39:07 AM »

No, he wouldn't have wanted things to turn out the way they have but it's still better than the Papacy. Just think, the Papacy essentially states that in order to find the truth of the Gospel you must 1st submit to the Pope (a man) which is the worst kind of blasphemy. If the Catholic Church would just stop this nonsense of Vicar of Christ and supreme infailable authoity all Catholic Churches (Orthodox, Roman, Angelican, Lutheran) could probably re-unite. Although that would never happen.

Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.
http://www.bookofconcord.org/treatise.php

The papacy is certainly the biggest issue I have with Catholicism, but is that really worse than having thousands and thousands of different denominations?  In a sense all these non-denominational Churches out there have their own popes, despite being so 'anti real pope.'

And ive noticed that I find it harder to talk about this stuff now after I started the thread about being tough on protestants.  Im not trying to be rude when discussing any of this.  Just simply discussing.

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« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2012, 11:14:04 AM »

"In the first centuries of the Church the authenticity of the Epistle was doubted by some, including Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia. Because of the silence of several of the western churches regarding it, Eusebius classes it among the Antilegomena or contested writings

You do recognise he was conemned as a heretic, don't you?

St. Jerome clearly wasn't. My point is although I and the other early Lutherans disagreed with Luther he certainly wasn't the 1st to question these books.
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« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2012, 11:19:34 AM »

Timon, 2 points.

1st, no I think the blasphemy of the pope is worse because like I said the premise is to find the truth of the Gospel 1st means being subject to a human.

2nd in free societies like we have now many of these new denominations would have sprung up with or without the Reformation. I don't know anyone in the Western world that wants to go back to religious controlled governments.
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« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2012, 11:26:21 AM »

Quote
2nd in free societies like we have now many of these new denominations would have sprung up with or without the Reformation. I don't know anyone in the Western world that wants to go back to religious controlled governments.

Thats probably true.
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« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2012, 11:49:19 AM »

I'm pretty sure if he saw 99% of Protestant churches today he would go completely Calvin and Zwingli on them
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« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2012, 12:50:00 PM »

"In the first centuries of the Church the authenticity of the Epistle was doubted by some, including Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia. Because of the silence of several of the western churches regarding it, Eusebius classes it among the Antilegomena or contested writings

You do recognise he was conemned as a heretic, don't you?

St. Jerome clearly wasn't. My point is although I and the other early Lutherans disagreed with Luther he certainly wasn't the 1st to question these books.
Of course not. However, Luther questioned these books long after the canon of the New Testament had been pretty much finalized. Why did he feel the need to revisit what had already been decided centuries earlier?
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« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2012, 02:01:37 PM »

No, he wouldn't have wanted things to turn out the way they have but it's still better than the Papacy. Just think, the Papacy essentially states that in order to find the truth of the Gospel you must 1st submit to the Pope (a man) which is the worst kind of blasphemy. If the Catholic Church would just stop this nonsense of Vicar of Christ and supreme infailable authoity all Catholic Churches (Orthodox, Roman, Angelican, Lutheran) could probably re-unite. Although that would never happen.

Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.
http://www.bookofconcord.org/treatise.php

The papacy is certainly the biggest issue I have with Catholicism, but is that really worse than having thousands and thousands of different denominations?  In a sense all these non-denominational Churches out there have their own popes, despite being so 'anti real pope.'


To me this almost seems like an apples-to-oranges comparison. Every Roman Catholic has the pope, but no Reformer started more than one denomination and no individual Protestant has 'thousands and thousands of different denominations'. Sincere Protestants (as opposed to the nominal ones--and it's not like Rome or Orthodoxy don't have plenty of nominal Christians as well) belong to the one church (or even in some cases the one congregation) that they believe is getting them closest to the true doctrine of God and the practice He desires. We can dispute whether they are correct in that belief--but the exact same thing is true of those who cling to Rome in the belief that it has true doctrine and practice.

From an Orthodox perspective, one can certainly argue that on this or that particular teaching Rome or this or that particular Protestant group is 'closer'  or 'farther' from Orthodoxy as compare to others, but on the fundamental question here--whether it is better to be wrong in one's own right (Protestantism in general) or wrong because one is following an institution which is wrong (Rome)--I don't see how one can place a value judgment. After all, RC's are as wrong in their own right in accepting the false doctrines about the role of the Papacy as any Protestant is in accepting their particular doctrines.
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« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2012, 04:16:01 PM »

  I just cant imagine him looking at the chaos we have today in protestantism and being happy with the outcome. 

Are you serious?  Queer bishops, hamburger and coke communion, clown masses/liturgies, liturgical dancing.  Thank Luther I'm no longer limited to stuffy and somber.
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« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2012, 04:34:23 PM »

No, he wouldn't have wanted things to turn out the way they have but it's still better than the Papacy. Just think, the Papacy essentially states that in order to find the truth of the Gospel you must 1st submit to the Pope (a man) which is the worst kind of blasphemy. If the Catholic Church would just stop this nonsense of Vicar of Christ and supreme infailable authoity all Catholic Churches (Orthodox, Roman, Angelican, Lutheran) could probably re-unite. Although that would never happen.

Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.
http://www.bookofconcord.org/treatise.php

The papacy is certainly the biggest issue I have with Catholicism, but is that really worse than having thousands and thousands of different denominations?  In a sense all these non-denominational Churches out there have their own popes, despite being so 'anti real pope.'


To me this almost seems like an apples-to-oranges comparison. Every Roman Catholic has the pope, but no Reformer started more than one denomination and no individual Protestant has 'thousands and thousands of different denominations'. Sincere Protestants (as opposed to the nominal ones--and it's not like Rome or Orthodoxy don't have plenty of nominal Christians as well) belong to the one church (or even in some cases the one congregation) that they believe is getting them closest to the true doctrine of God and the practice He desires. We can dispute whether they are correct in that belief--but the exact same thing is true of those who cling to Rome in the belief that it has true doctrine and practice.

From an Orthodox perspective, one can certainly argue that on this or that particular teaching Rome or this or that particular Protestant group is 'closer'  or 'farther' from Orthodoxy as compare to others, but on the fundamental question here--whether it is better to be wrong in one's own right (Protestantism in general) or wrong because one is following an institution which is wrong (Rome)--I don't see how one can place a value judgment. After all, RC's are as wrong in their own right in accepting the false doctrines about the role of the Papacy as any Protestant is in accepting their particular doctrines.

I don't know how far that is true, at least today. Protestant groups are becoming less exclusive in their ideas than they were even a century ago. You have some groups that are pretty hard-core about maintaining a sort of "purity"- the more conservative Synods of Lutheranism, and the stricter Pentecostals (the "you aren't saved unless you speak in tongues" types) are good examples. But there has been a sort of weakening of denominational lines so that between, say Baptists, the more evangelical Presbyterians and Calvinists, and certain descendants of the Wesleyan churches there is more of an over-arching "Evangelical" denomination.

My parents used to be pretty "Baptist-only" in their church searching whenever we moved to a new town. Within the past decade, however, they have both been more open to attending churches outside of the Baptist milieu, especially when the local Baptist congregations don't quite hit that right spiritual place with them. It started with non-denominational churches and expanded to the point where my mom was music director at a Presbyterian church for a while and is currently attending a (I believe) Nazarene church with her latest husband (might be run-of-the-mill Methodist, though).

But I think what Timon was saying is something that has often been said here on OCnet. While different Protestants might belong to the same denomination and even attend the same church, Sola Scriptura and the Protestant ideals of private interpretation have made it so that, indeed, every Evangelical church has hundreds (thousands at the mega-churches) of popes- the church members themselves- if not infallible, at least there is no force on earth that can tell anyone they are wrong on any point with any actual authority. When conflict gets to be too great, it's time to form another denomination.
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« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2012, 05:04:24 PM »

This discussion is completely irrelevant and anachronistic.

Let's face it:  Martin Luther would no more recognize (much less claim responsibility for) the current state of Protestantism just as the apostles would feel out of sorts at Divine Liturgy.  Nevermind Luther: Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, Theodore Parker, Francis Schaeffer, Billy Graham - would any of these men be able to recognize modern Protestant Christianity?  And yet, they have contributed more towards it modern manifestation than Luther.
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« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2012, 05:45:24 PM »

My parents used to be pretty "Baptist-only" in their church searching whenever we moved to a new town. Within the past decade, however, they have both been more open to attending churches outside of the Baptist milieu, especially when the local Baptist congregations don't quite hit that right spiritual place with them. It started with non-denominational churches and expanded to the point where my mom was music director at a Presbyterian church for a while and is currently attending a (I believe) Nazarene church with her latest husband (might be run-of-the-mill Methodist, though).

Which actually goes to my point that when we talk about individual Protestants (instead of some monolithic 'Protestantism' which is in actuality so diverse that few generalizations about it are particularly useful), none of them belong to 'thousands of denominations' but rather to the single place, whether it's a single overarching denomination or just their local congregation, that they consider their best option for following Christ as He wants to be followed.

Yes, in doing so, they are relying on an incorrect understanding which places their own understanding over the Church. But Rome has an equally incorrect understanding which places the contemporary Pope's understanding over the Church. In both cases, the key to either a Protestant or a Roman returning to Orthodoxy is exactly the same thing--to recognize that their understanding of authority within Christianity is incorrect and to submit to the actual authority of the Church. It doesn't matter how many doctrines or practices they have to relearn/correct vs. how many they can keep basically as is (and obviously a Baptist has many more on the relearn side than a Roman Catholic) because so long as they do not accept that key point, neither will (nor has any reason to) correct anything; and once they do accept that key point, then they will change whatever they need to, however far afield they started on something like icons or sacraments or justification.

Perhaps I missed the main thrust of this discussion, but it seemed like some were arguing that it was somehow 'better' if everyone is joined in the same error (Rome) as opposed to everybody having their own personal error (Protestantism). But that seems a weird valuation to me. Either way, it's error.
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« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2012, 07:35:08 PM »

In both cases, the key to either a Protestant or a Roman returning to Orthodoxy is exactly the same thing--to recognize that their understanding of authority within Christianity is incorrect and to submit to the actual authority of the Church.

Which, oddly enough, is also the key to an Orthodox returning to Catholicism.  Smiley  Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2012, 10:24:19 PM »

In both cases, the key to either a Protestant or a Roman returning to Orthodoxy is exactly the same thing--to recognize that their understanding of authority within Christianity is incorrect and to submit to the actual authority of the Church.

Which, oddly enough, is also the key to an Orthodox returning to Catholicism.  Smiley  Smiley
Don't you think you might be posting this on the wrong board? After all, this is the Orthodox-Protestant board, NOT the Orthodox-Catholic board.
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« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2012, 10:57:10 PM »

In both cases, the key to either a Protestant or a Roman returning to Orthodoxy is exactly the same thing--to recognize that their understanding of authority within Christianity is incorrect and to submit to the actual authority of the Church.

Which, oddly enough, is also the key to an Orthodox returning to Catholicism.  Smiley  Smiley
Don't you think you might be posting this on the wrong board? After all, this is the Orthodox-Protestant board, NOT the Orthodox-Catholic board.

Yes, I might have. I got a little caught up in the symmetry.
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« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2012, 02:47:36 PM »

A different, somewhat related question; If Martin Luther were to come back from the dead right now and see what Protestantism has become--how divided and splintered it became--would he feel regret for his actions? When Martin Luther was alive, I am pretty sure that Lutheranism was the only mainstream Protestant branch, so how would he feel about there being thousands of Protestant branches because of him?
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« Reply #39 on: May 20, 2012, 02:58:08 PM »

A different, somewhat related question; If Martin Luther were to come back from the dead right now and see what Protestantism has become--how divided and splintered it became--would he feel regret for his actions? When Martin Luther was alive, I am pretty sure that Lutheranism was the only mainstream Protestant branch, so how would he feel about there being thousands of Protestant branches because of him?

Too much is made of Martin Luther and his effect on the Reformation.  Luther was part of a much larger movement that had many brilliant, and often pious men.  Given the better communication that we have today, and given that there are Orthodox Churches in nearly every country and on literally every continent, it is likely that Luther and many of the German reformers would have become Orthodox - just as many of their followers have today.  Particularly if they saw the effects of some of their teachings taken to the extreme conclusion that they have been taken.
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« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2012, 04:38:29 PM »

Like someone else mentioned, I think it's safe to assume we would still have a lot of other denominations by now even if Luther had never existed. Especially in America.
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« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2012, 04:57:20 PM »

No, he wouldn't have wanted things to turn out the way they have but it's still better than the Papacy.


Better to deal with one Roman Pope than millions of individual protestant popes.  Cool
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« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2012, 05:01:14 PM »

Martin Luther would no more recognize (much less claim responsibility for) the current state of Protestantism just as the apostles would feel out of sorts at Divine Liturgy.


Read the Didache my friend and you will find that they may not be as out of sorts as you imagine.  Smiley
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« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2012, 10:46:24 PM »

No, he wouldn't have wanted things to turn out the way they have but it's still better than the Papacy.


Better to deal with one Roman Pope than millions of individual protestant popes.  Cool

Why? I know lots of 'individual protestant popes' who have ended up converting to Orthodoxy. I am not aware of single Roman Pope who has done so in the last 900+ years.
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« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2012, 08:22:36 AM »

No, he wouldn't have wanted things to turn out the way they have but it's still better than the Papacy.


Better to deal with one Roman Pope than millions of individual protestant popes.  Cool

Why? I know lots of 'individual protestant popes' who have ended up converting to Orthodoxy. I am not aware of single Roman Pope who has done so in the last 900+ years.

According to Scott Hahn (formerly protestant, now neo-conservative Roman Catholic):

Quote
Upon closer examination, I found the various Orthodox churches to be hopelessly divided among themselves, similar to the Protestants, except that the Orthodox were split along the lines of ethnic nationalisms

(See the thread Something rotten in the state of ecumenism.)
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