Thursday, May 28, 2009
Martin Luther: Satan's Bagpipe Part I
It seems that some die hard Martin Luther fans have come unglued over my last post pointing out some of the defects in the character of Martin Luther. That was not my intention but I guess the truth hurts sometimes. Although there were many flaws that I pointed out in the last article I did not touch on the the division that Martin Luther brought down upon the Christian world, or the tactics and mentality that fueled him. Although Jesus came to bring division between the heavenly and wordly orders, he taught against disunity among his own followers. Luther however made a lifelong career in sowing division and the seeds of hate among all he encountered.
As I touched on earlier, Luther was quite happy when Zwingli was killed in battle. Luther actually thought that God was on his side in seeing Zwingli's death, since Zwingli disagreed with him on the central doctrine of the Eucharist. He also did not even get along with his so called friends. He was known to be an angry and foul mouthed person in general. But the most telling of all were the seeds of disunity he planted among the body of Christ. After his rebellion the world would see the birth of hundreds of mainline rebellious churches come into existence, all using his Scripture Alone methodology. A methodology I might add, that was unknown to the Christianity that came before him.
Although Luther was not the first man to rebel against the Church, his rebellion was unique and ultimately became the central catalyst in forming division amongst Christians. What made him such a strong catalyst in the beginning of his "career" was that Luther sided with individuals that were not even religious. Luther's hate for the Church and the Pope was so fierce that he sided with anyone he could find, including secular humanist individuals, who could care less about God or the Church.
The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us, "In the meantime Luther was saturating himself with published and unpublished humanistic anti-clerical literature so effectually that his passionate hatred of Rome and the pope, his genesis of Antichrist, his contemptuous scorn for his theological opponents, his effusive professions of patriotism, his acquisition of the literary amenities of the "Epistolae Obscurorum Vivorum", even the bodily absorption of Hutten's arguments, not to allude to other conspicuous earmarks of his intercourse and association with the humanistic-political agitators, can be unerringly traced here.
It was while living in the atmosphere surcharged with these influences, that he issued his first epochal manifesto, "Address to the German Nobility". It is in "its form an imitation of Hutten's circular letter to the emperor andGerman nobility", and the greater part of its contents is an abstract of Hutten's "Vadiscus or Roman Trinity", from his "Lament and Exhortation", and from his letters to the Elector Frederick of Saxony. This seems to be admitted by competent Lutheran specialists. He steps from the arena of academic gravity and verbal precision to the forum of the public in "an invective of dazzling rhetoric"."
Luther detached himself from the Church in such a way that much of his learning and speech model was based on secularism rather that of Christianity. In fact the more he immersed himself in that setting the more he took on the characteristics of a mere politician. He became an emotional wreck and his attitude was no longer recognizable as being Christlike. The Encyclopedia continues, "He addresses the masses; his language is that of the populace; his theological attitude is abandoned; his sweeping eloquence fairly carries the emotional nature of his hearers -- while even calm, critical reason stands aghast, dumbfounded; he becomes the hieratic interpreter, the articulate voice of latent slumbering national aspirations. In one impassioned outburst, he cuts from all his Catholic moorings -- the merest trace left seeming to intensify his fury. Church and State, religion and politics, ecclesiastical reform and social advancement, are handled with a flaming, peerless oratory. He speaks with reckless audacity; he acts with breathless daring." It is a fact that Luther became more of a hero not because of anything religious, but because he was inline with the political climate of Germany at the time. "He was the hero of the hour solely because he stood for the national opposition to Rome" (ibid., 148)" So although Luther may have thought he was riding on a religious high, he was actually riding on a political agenda. Luther however would use any means at his disposal to topple the Papacy.
Luther justified his terrible temper and harsh language against the Church by claiming that it was God inspired. "The "gospel", he now sees, "cannot be introduced without tumult, scandal, and rebellion"; "the word of God is a sword, a war, a destruction, a scandal, a ruin, a poison" (De Wette, op. cit., I, 417). As for pope, cardinals, bishops, "and the whole brood of Roman Sodom", why not attack it "with every sort of weapon and wash our hands in its blood" (Walch, XVIII, 245). This shows us the violent mentality of Luther. Some Luther fans have tried to downplay Luther's harsh temper and hate-filled words by claiming that this was common for the time period. We however know that this is not the case because the Church never stooped to this level in refuting Luther. In fact, even in reading the excommunication bull written by the Pope, it is nothing like the rhetoric that Luther regularly spouted off in his temper tantrums. No one in their right mind can say that the Church handled the whole absurd situation in any other fashion than with greatest of charity. How many chances can the Church give a heretic to repent? Luther was given great charity by the Church during the whole rebellious, heretical spectacle.
If we look at Luther's prayer life we will see that it was extremely demonic, at least at certain times of his life. He is recorded as saying that he could not pray without cursing. Where did Jesus tell us to curse our enemies in prayer? I must have missed that in the Gospels. The Catholic Encyclopedia records Luther's words as, "For I am unable to pray without at the same time cursing. If I am prompted to say: 'hallowed be Thy name', I must add: 'cursed, damned, outraged be the name of the papists'. If I am prompted to say: 'Thy Kingdom come', I must perforce add: 'cursed, damned, destroyed must be the papacy.' Indeed I pray thus orally every day and in my heart without intermission" (Sammtl. W., XXV, 108)." Even his friends thought that Luther had lost his mind. The CE continues, "Need we be surprised that one of his old admirers, whose name figured with his on the original Bull of excommunication, concludes that Luther "with his shameless, ungovernable tongue, must have lapsed into insanity or been inspired by the Evil Spirit" (Pirkheimer, ap. *Döllinger, "Die Reformation", Ratisbon, I, 1846-48). "
Martin Luther was also overjoyed by the destruction of the Augustinian order. His pride gave him great joy in seeing others abandon their lives from the monastic communities. All Luther scholars attest to Luther's self will and arrogance. He could not stand anyone who contested him. This also exhibits quite the opposite attitude of Our Lord. The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us, "Luther had one prominent trait of character, which in the consensus of those who have made him a special study, overshadowed all others. It was an overweening confidence and unbending will, buttressed by an inflexible dogmatism. He recognized no superior, tolerated no rival, brooked no contradiction." Once Luther saw that the political end of his plan was not going to work out the way he though it would, he shifted directions. I will continue in my next post.