Luther and Calvin said what?????

From this sermon.

Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage in the third century.

(1) “He is not a Christian who is not in Christ’s church”; (2) “He cannot have God for his father who has not the church for his mother”; and (3) “There is no salvation outside the church.”

Luther said, “Therefore he who would find Christ must first find the Church. How should we know where Christ and his faith were, if we did not know where his believers are? And he who would know anything of Christ must not trust himself nor build a bridge to heaven by his own reason; but he must go to the Church, attend and ask her. Now the Church is not wood and stone, but the company of believing people; one must hold to them, and see how they believe, live and teach; they surely have Christ in their midst. For outside of the Christian church there is no truth, no Christ, no salvation.

Calvin put it like this: But as it is now our purpose to discourse of the visible Church, let us learn, from her single title of Mother, how useful, nay, how necessary the knowledge of her is, since there is no other means of entering into life unless she conceive us in the womb and give us birth, unless she nourish us at her breasts, and, in short, keep us under her charge and government, until, divested of mortal flesh, we become like the angels, (Matth. 22: 30.)

Wow! A far cry from Sola Christus, Sola Fide or “Personal Relationship”…


This doesn’t contradict sola fide. Solo Christo, or whatever inflection it’s common to use, is a fairly modern term, I think, but of course the Reformers would say that salvation comes from Christ alone.

These are indeed very strong passages. I think Calvin actually has a more robust ecclesiology than Luther, but certainly neither of them were modern evangelical individualists!

The problem is that they define the Church by true doctrine, which they think they can discern from Scripture. This in the end led to the chaos of modern evangelicalism, even though they would be horrified by this result.


How does this work with your Ecclesiology?

I mean how do you see the Anglican Church as different than the Reformer Churches?

When I was looking for the Truth and began finding it in Catholicism, I made a brief stop in the Anglican Church (seemed more acceptable to become Anglican than Catholic), but I could not figure out how I could belong to a church that had as its sole motivator for its creation the divorce of a king to his wife that the Pope did not agree to.


Your quote is from Luther’s THE GOSPEL FOR THE EARLY CHRISTMAS SERVICE, LUKE 2:15–20]
Luther, Martin: Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan (Hrsg.) ; Oswald, Hilton C. (Hrsg.) ; Lehmann, Helmut T. (Hrsg.): Luther’s Works, Vol. 52 : Sermons II. Philadelphia : Fortress Press, 1999, c1974 (Luther’s Works 52), S. 52:32
“But what it means to find Christ in such poverty and what his baby diapers and the manger signify, these things have been stated in the previous Gospel.2 We saw that his poverty, teaches how we are to find him in our neighbor, in the lowliest and the neediest, and that his diapers are Holy Scripture. Thus in our active life we are to stick with the needy, while in our studies and in our contemplative life we are to stay only with God’s word, so that Christ alone is in both respects the man who is everywhere before us. The books of Aristotle and those of the pope and of any other man should be avoided or they should be read in such a way that we do not seek in them information concerning the edification of the soul, but we should use them to improve our temporal life, to learn a trade or civil law. It was not without intention that Luke writes: “They found Mary and Joseph and the babe in the manger,” mentioning Mary before Joseph and both of them before the infant. As we said above, Mary is the Christian church and Joseph the servant of the church, and this is exactly what the position of the bishops and priests should be when they preach the gospel. The church comes before the prelates of the church, as Christ, too, says in Luke 21 [22:26]: “He who wishes to be the greatest among you, must be the least.” Nowadays this has been reversed, and one need not be astonished about it because they have rejected the gospel and exalted the babblings of men. The Christian church, on the contrary, keeps all the words of God in her heart and ponders them, compares one with the other and with Holy Scripture. Therefore he who wants to find Christ, must first find the church. How would one know Christ and faith in him if one did not know where they are who believe in him? He who would know something concerning Christ, must neither trust in himself nor build his bridge into heaven by means of his own reason, but he should go to the church; he should attend it and ask his questions there.
The church is not wood and stone but the assembly of people who believe in Christ. With this church one should be connected and see how the people believe, live, and teach. They certainly have Christ in their midst, for outside the Christian church there is no truth, no Christ, no salvation. It follows that the pope or a bishop erroneously claims that he alone should be believed, posing as master; for all of them are in error and may be in error. Their teaching should rather be subject to the assembly of believers. What they teach, should be subject to the judgment and verdict of the congregation; to this judgment one should defer, so that Mary may be found ahead of Joseph and the Church preferred to the preachers. For it is not Joseph but Mary who keeps these words in her heart, who ponders them and keeps them or compares them. The apostle taught the same thing in I Corinthians 14:29–30] when he says: “One or two are to interpret scripture, the other shall sit in judgment, and whenever a revelation comes to him who sits, then the former must be silent.” But nowadays the pope and his followers have become tyrants; they have reversed this Christian, divine, apostolic order and have introduced an altogether heathenish and Pythagorean order, so that they are able to talk, babble, and act foolishly according to their own whims. Nobody is permitted to judge or interrupt them, or to command them to be silent. In this manner, too, they have quenched the spirit, so that one finds among them neither Mary, nor Joseph, nor Christ, but only the rats, mice, adders, and serpents of their poisonous teachings and hypocrisy.
This is not really a Gospel of strife, for, although it teaches Christian conduct and works, it does not set forth the articles of faith in plain language, even though there might be enough in its allegories, as has been shown; but allegorical passages must not be used in polemics. We need plain utterances which clearly set forth the articles of faith.”

Decree of nullity.


Wow thanks!

The sermon (link in original post) which quoted it was about the necessity of belonging to church and hence the context.

:eek: How have you been? :slight_smile:

This complete text shows how dangerous it is to lift something out of context to make a point. Thanks for this post!!! Very enlightening!!!

That, to quote Tolkien, requires a week’s answer or none:D


To me this just smacks of a simplistic understanding of the complex spiritual, political and economic environment in which Henry made his decision. England was struggling with the Reformation, aside from Henry. Royal decisions are seldom simple. If England had been firmly Catholic and the Pope firmly in control of it, do you think he would have risked the Papal anger? There was a lot more at play than Henry’s lusts.

If that is your perception of Anglicanism, it is a shallow one, and I would challenge your decision to reject Anglican belief on that basis as uninformed, possibly simplistic and arrogant. Perhaps you will decide the Catholic church has as its sole motivator keeping the pope in power? :shrug:

Do share the great theological changes that occurred in the Anglican Church when Henry Separated?

The only thing that changed was authority. The pope and the magesterium was done away with in exchange for Henry VIII alone. Further this was done for the sole reason that HenryVIII’s annulment was rejected by the Pope.

You can say its complex and I am simple etc , but give an example. In my research I have seen it was extremely simple.

The story of Hank’s Great Matter is indeed a complicated one, of the intertwined relations of politics and theology, in the day.


I did not say you were simple. I do not however think much of your “research” if you think it was a simple situation.

Anglican history is not my study, and the Anglicans here could certainly answer you better than I can. I will try. Henry faced both a corrupt and unresponsive papacy in dealing with corrupt clergy, as well as clergy who were agitating for Protestant-style reforms, Lutheran influences, etc. As king he had to deal with forces that threatened to tear his kingdom apart. Also, as king he wanted money for wars and the church had a lot of it. He could not move against the monks if they were protected by Rome - and moving against them both alleviated pressure for reform and provided monies. He had to deal with German Lutheran princes as well as Catholic princes. Royal marriages were political acts, and Henry was certainly a politician in motivation. He was also a Christian, and he attempted, I think, to thread the needle between needed reforms while remaining Catholic and remaining king and able to deal with foreign powers without losing his head and realm.

King and Parliament became the deciders of church law rather than the pope. It was only later he took all power to himself.

Theologically, the 39 Articles and later the Westminster Confession of Faith were developed. The former was more of a compromise between the religious forces at work than the latter, which is uncompromisingly Reformed.

It was far from simple, and this is only scratching the surface. Libraries have been written about these events. Your simplification of it into Henry wanting a divorce and that was the sole cause is an injustice to history, and, in your case, a possible cause for making an erroneous decision as to which church to join. There are better reasons to not be Anglican and better reasons to be Catholic.

I don’t want to waste a lot of time on this. My stop in Anglicanism was super short (like a month) because I accepted Catholicism for a number of reasons including the authority of the See of Peter.

At the end of the day, I asked the Anglican who posted the quote on Luther and Calvin how that fit into his own understanding of church.

As it is there is a great unification effort between Anglicans and Rome with many coming back to the Catholic Church.

This is largely because the theology is the same. The difference was loyalty to the King vs the Pope.

By the way there was nothing unjust about the popes handling of Henry’s annulment. Henry was a womanizer and a glutton. He was full of pride selfishness lust and envy. His quest for an heir and worldly pleasures was first and foremost in his life not God, and yet people believed it a good theological notion to follow him as head of their church.

The only reason they did was fear of death.


From The Church of England Website:

At the Reformation the Western Church became divided between those who continued to accept Papal authority and the various Protestant churches that repudiated it. The Church of England was among the churches that broke with Rome. The catalyst for this decision was the refusal of the Pope to annul the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon,** but underlying this was a Tudor nationalist belief that authority over the English Church properly belonged to the English monarchy.** In the reign of Henry’s son Edward VI the Church of England underwent further reformation, driven by the conviction that the theology being developed by the theologians of the Protestant Reformation was more faithful to the teaching of the Bible and the Early Church than the teaching of those who continued to support the Pope.

In the reign of Mary Tudor. the Church of England once again submitted to Papal authority. However, this policy was reversed when Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558.

The religious settlement that eventually emerged in the reign of Elizabeth gave the Church of England the distinctive identity that it has retained to this day

So yes there were underlying issues. Issues of Royal Authority over religion verses Papal. Issues that have no basis in the Apostolic Tradition (Kings over the church at time of Christ???)

The further issues such as 39 articles, westminster confession, and alignment with reformers as a middle ground between Luther and Calvin came later once the church broke for the unjust reasons it did.

The struggle between the Throne and the Church, for relative power in the realm, ran back at least 250 years (and even further back, to Henry II) . Acts of Parliament and Royal decrees limiting and abolishing Papal and Church prerogatives were numerous (Council of Westminster, Council of Clarendon, First Statute of Winchester, Statute of Mortmain, the Writ Circumspecte agatis , the Statue of Carlisle, and the double Statutes of Provisors and* Praemunire*, for example. Henry and his Great Matter were the perfect storm, for something that had been building for centuries. It was nascent nationalism that also drove the split.

Yes I completely agree.

It doesnt seem to change the fact that the Church was in fact founded on Henry VIII’s decree in response to his struggle over his annulment.

Even if the annulment had not played in, I can see no theological or historical reason today for accepting the authority of the King of England over the See of Peter.


Edit: I also want to say I very much enjoy the Anglican form of the Liturgy and I feel much hope for continued future reconciliation between Anglicanism and Rome.

Hank was certainly a fascinating train wreck, but what he sought (the decree of nullity) was a commonplace at the time. Happened all over the place; the system of impediments/dispensations/decrees of nullity established and continuously evolving was designed to accommodate just such issues related to dynastic marriages and matters of state. Henry played by the rules. While his causa was not as strong as it could have been (he actually had a stronger case he did not use), it was as strong as was common in the day; certainly stronger than that of his sister Margaret, who received her decree in 1525.

And, as noted, it was indeed a complicated story; intertwined politics and religion, as was everything back in the day. Been studying it for 10+ years, myself. Posted on it a lot.


I would suspect that would be related to your accepting the Papacy as possessing universal ordinary authority. Which would then lead to the relationship between the secular authority and the sacred, within the realm; the proper sphere of each. And of the political role of the Church, generally.

Edit: I wouldn’t mind a little reconciliation, here and there, myself. And I do love me the Anglican liturgy, properly done.


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