Martin Luther Question


#1

Now that I have been shown the true validity of Christ’s Catholic Church I am having questions about the origins of the protestant church.

I heard recently from a friend that Martin Luther had gone through a difficult or traumatic time in the Church leading up to his separation from it. Can anyone elaborate on his experience and what if any good it did to split the church?

At this point there are a million different flavors of Christianity in the world. That all seems to have started with one person in Mr. Luther. This in not meant to insult Protestants it is meant to objectively analyze what was in Luther’s heart and why when he proclaimed what he proclaimed.

I have a feeling this may have been a seriously painful experience for him as he was leaving the Church he loved. Was this a revolution or a tragedy?

-D


#2

From my understanding Luther didn’t want to split from the Church but rather reform it so as to stop Pope Leo X who was a Malachi, from handing out Indulgances at a price. Luther was against paying to have your sins forgiven and rightly so, but I do not understand much beyond this like I’ve heard so many contradictory stories it’s all so confusing! Like one story was the Luther was lazy and another in that he was evil etc etc etc.

Just another interesting note I’ve also heard the Pope John Paul II has offically appoligised to Luther too.


#3

The popes and church teaching consistently condemned the practice of selling indulgences and pardons, which had become a widespread practice. The church did and has always maintained its authority to forgive sin and grant indulgences for the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, as its authority was granted by Christ himself. Like anything else, abuses arise when money is a factor. There were notorious priests preaching on indulgences and running side businesses, but they themselves were condemned by the Church. Luther began with a protest against this illicit practice, but used the issue to attack Catholic doctrine and teaching on a number of other issues, all resting on the concept of teaching authority of the Church.

His personal struggle involved scrupulosity, the feeling that sins are not forgiven even in confession (a denial of divine mercy and the direct promises of Jesus Christ), which is a psychological and spiritual disorder. Today we might call it OCD. He would repeatedly go to confession and impose penances upon himself. His whole theology if the inherent sinfulness and evilness of man is the foundation of his differences with authentic Catholic theology. Had he been able to find direction and help in dealing with his problems, his great mind could have been turned to reforming a Church badly in need of it.


#4

[quote=puzzleannie]The popes and church teaching consistently condemned the practice of selling indulgences and pardons, which had become a widespread practice. The church did and has always maintained its authority to forgive sin and grant indulgences for the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, as its authority was granted by Christ himself. Like anything else, abuses arise when money is a factor. There were notorious priests preaching on indulgences and running side businesses, but they themselves were condemned by the Church. Luther began with a protest against this illicit practice, but used the issue to attack Catholic doctrine and teaching on a number of other issues, all resting on the concept of teaching authority of the Church.

His personal struggle involved scrupulosity, the feeling that sins are not forgiven even in confession (a denial of divine mercy and the direct promises of Jesus Christ), which is a psychological and spiritual disorder. Today we might call it OCD. He would repeatedly go to confession and impose penances upon himself. His whole theology if the inherent sinfulness and evilness of man is the foundation of his differences with authentic Catholic theology. Had he been able to find direction and help in dealing with his problems, his great mind could have been turned to reforming a Church badly in need of it.
[/quote]

Well answered PuzzleAnnie!

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#5

Dave Armstrong has an extensive section on Martin Luther at his site: ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ387.HTM#MARTIN%20LUTHER.


#6

As others have elaborated on, Luther saw the selling of indulgences all around him. In the 1500s the church weren’t exactly on it’s height, the renaissance also saw popes from the Medicis and Borgias, men who were quite the opposite of what a pope should be like. But still, the Church has always taught the truth, The selling of indulgences had come to be a practise that were done, but not that the church condoned.
The 95 thesis of Luther (that he suppousedly hung on the church door) were most likely meant for a scolarly debate. This was a common thing to do at the time.

He had gone through a hard spiritual time before he did all this. He was regarded as a great scripture scolar and had been pondering the meaning of redemption in Paul’s letter to the Romans. One night he was reported to have a breakthrough, the so-called tower-experience, and it was after this he started all his changes and protests. It was from this experience that he worked out the Sola Fide (by faith alone) doctrines.

At this point there are a million different flavors of Christianity in the world. That all seems to have started with one person in Mr. Luther. This in not meant to insult Protestants it is meant to objectively analyze what was in Luther’s heart and why when he proclaimed what he proclaimed.

Actually, it didn’t just start with Luther. At the same time you also had Zwingli and Calvin working in France and Switzerland, and from these two, the reformed church has sprung. There has also been other, not so well known people who have tried to do the same, but failed. Either they’ve been stopped by the authorities, church or failed to gain support. Actually, since the earliest times of the church there has been groups that has split off, some still exists today.

I have a feeling this may have been a seriously painful experience for him as he was leaving the Church he loved. Was this a revolution or a tragedy?

-D

I seriously believe that Luther himself saw the split as a tragedy, but as something that had to be done. It seems that he honestly meant that the church needed reforms to put it back on track, to clean up the bad things that had managed to sneak in. He didn’t mean to split from the church at all, but when he was faced with the threat of excommunication, he had to follow his own convictions. This is where he probably made the biggest mistake.


#7

First let us remember that an indulgence cannot forgive a sin, nor could it ever. An indulgence remits the temporal punishment due to a sin that (has arlready been committed, not future sins) is already forgiven. Or an indulgence pre-supposes the sin has already been forgiven, like when we today commit grave sin and ask forgivness(from God, saying a perfect act of contrition) before we go to confession. Luther was unable to follow the rules of monastic life and grew, little by little to resent the Church teachings and disciplines and so his faith weakened, grew cold and came into a dangerous state. As time went on he became more unduly critical and contentious. He was a quarrelsome man in his way and habits.
Mathesius, his pupil and first biographer says “As early as 1515 he was arleady called a heretic”. His rector, the famous Dr. Pollich said he had strange fancies and was disturbing orthodoxy at the universities. Luther called the theology being taught as “buffoonery”.
Juliusll wanted to restore the basilica of St. Peter which had fallen into decay, so he gave a lot of money and started the project but the funds eventually ran out. Leo the 10th, the successor of Julius decided to appeal to the Christian world and proclaimed a simple indulgence to all, wherever they may be, who would contribute according to their means for this holy project.
Leo 10th was acting in no way different from the practice of the Church before or since his time. The Pope has the right and privilege to grant and proclaim indulgences for charitable reason’s to help the building up of the Church. Special prayers, the visiting of a holy place within a certain time frame or as in this case the rebuilding of a basilica that was integral to Christian tradition and worship.

The person who was sent to preach on the indulgence came to Luther’s district and gave a talk at the university where Luther was a prof.Luther, already against the doctrine on indulgences did not like this very much and so he preached against this and said that remission of sin required nothing more than contrition and denied any satisfaction of forgiveness regarding the sacrament. He told everyone to disregard indulgences
and to give their money, not to the building of St. Peter’s but to the poor."(Smith Luther and Tetzel, 20, 26).

Luther could not stand the fact that he wasn’t garanteed salvation.
He went to far, for the abuses of the clergy then, as they are visible to us today, are not a reason to start a new thing against the true thing. Luther’s attacks on indulgences (not beleiving the doctrine) were used as a cloak to conceal his own mad agenda. Did the Church need reforming? Doesn’t it always? Saint Francis and Catherine of Sienna helped the Church in this regard, they didn’t tear it asunder. Lutheran’s today have their own Bible because of Luther. He changed words to give credence to his Sola Fide idea and removed books to fit his fancies. Please see also,Galatians 1:8-9 / 2 John 1:9-11/ Acts 20:28-30 /

Peace and Love
I would like to see where the Pope has apologized to Luther and what the content was.:hmmm:
(See: The Facts about Luther msgr. Patrick O’Hare,LL.D.)


#8

Thank You,

These answers give me a much more clear understanding as to the sequence of events in Luther’s life leading up to his final decisions.

Now I have questions on indulgences, contrition, and confession and how they are properly applied in the Catholic faith.

With regards to Luther, in what I have read here it seems like he was very angry and had substantial leadership qualities. This can be a dangerously effective combination. He may have gotten more done in the end if had controlled his anger and dealt with his concerns and the church in a patient manor.

There is certainly a time and a place for reformation but the important things in dealing with sensitive matters are tact and mutual respect. If I wanted to report a problem I have with a Church to its leadership, I would damage my credibility to them right off the bat if I called them a bunch of buffoons and began stirring the masses. At this point it wouldn’t matter if I were right or wrong in my concerns. The church leadership likely would view me as a variable needing to be brought under control.

-D


#9

[quote=Darrel]These answers give me a much more clear understanding as to the sequence of events in Luther’s life leading up to his final decisions…Now I have questions on indulgences, contrition, and confession and how they are properly applied in the Catholic faith.
[/quote]

Have you seen these Catholic Answers tracts yet?

Primer On Indulgences
catholic.com/library/Primer_on_Indulgences.asp

Myths About Indulgences
catholic.com/library/Myths_About_Indulgences.asp


#10

Confession:Jesus didmake the *telling * of our sins an essential part of the sacrament. In bestowing the power to forgive sins upon his priests on Easter Sunday night, Jesus said" Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them,and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained (read John20:23).Jesus, with the infinite wisdom of God, did not use words carelessly; and his words do not make sense unless they presuppose the confession of sin. How could the Apostles and the priests who would succeed them know what sins to forgive and what sins not to forgive if they didn’t know what the sins were? And how could they know what the sins were unless the sinner himself would tell?
By requiring explicit confession of our sins God protects us against the universal human weakness of self justification. It’s all very well to say "In the secrecy of my own heart , I will tell God I’m sorry,and God will forgive me. If that were all that had to be done, it would be so easy for us to fool ourselves into thinking we were sorry, while we went blithely forth to sin and sin again. God, who knows our every thought, blessedly preserved us from our own self-deceit. You feel the weight of the world off your shoulders, peace and serenity.

If you know the exact sin,you have to say it, and how many times if you can remember. Not just,"I sinned against the second commandment. The peace you receive flows from a certainty rather than from an unsure hope. Just as darkness disappears from a room when the light is turned on, so too must sin disappear from the soul with the return of sanctifying grace (that you receive with the words of absolution from the priest). The priest is merely acting in the person of Christ as a means to dispense the graces received from the sacramrnt of Christ’s institution. Venial sin does not need to be confessed, only mortal sin, however sins against the 10 commandments (mortal) sometimes have others within them that you might think are not mortal or grave matter (like any misuse of your sexual faculty falling under the sin of adultry). This is a great sacrament and I recommend using it often. It keeps us heading to the narrow gate.
There is more, obviously, find and talk to a good priest.
Peace and Love (The Faith ExplainedLeo J. Trese) :thumbsup:


#11

CONTRITION: Contrition comes from a Latin word which means to grind or pulverize. Contrition is meant to reduce ourselves to dust, causing the self to stand before God in utter humility. Briefly
contrition means a sorrow of heart and a hatred for the sin committed with a resolve to sin no more. Perfect contrition means we are sorry for our sins in that we know how much they have offended God. Imperfect contrition is a bit of a selfish sorrow. Not that we don’t know that we have offended God but we are more concerened maybe with the loss of salvation (going to Hell, a real place). You have to have at least imperfect contrition and as your journey continues, the grace of God will help you discern better his call to love.
Peace and Love


#12

:At the same time you also had Zwingli and Calvin working in France and Switzerland,:

A minor caveat. Calvin was more than twenty years younger than Luther and Zwingli, being born in 1509. He was eight years old when Luther published the 95 Theses; twelve years old when Luther appeared before the Diet of Worms, and barely in his teens when Zwingli persuaded Zurich to adopt his reforms. Calvin entered the theological scene in 1536, by which time the Protestant movement was well established.

This does not negate your basic point, of course. No one really knows for sure how true Zwingli’s claims of independence from Luther are. He didn’t burst on the scene as dramatically, but he claimed to have developed many of the same ideas before he heard of Luther. At any rate, he certainly did have a different take on things and was not at any point a follower of Luther, even if he learned from him in important ways. The “Reformed” movement never did depend on one figure the way the Lutherans did. The dominance of Calvin was a much later phenomenon (after his death), and never as complete as that of Luther.

Edwin


#13

[quote=Darrel]At this point there are a million different flavors of Christianity in the world. That all seems to have started with one person in Mr. Luther. This in not meant to insult Protestants it is meant to objectively analyze what was in LutherÕs heart and why when he proclaimed what he proclaimed.
[/quote]

I think in all honesty you can’t put it all on Luther, and the Church of England separation did not follow the Lutheran line of Reformation; in fact, the Church of England and Calvinist Reformers had very little in common other than geography.

The Reformation was a sad chapter in the history of Christendom, and as many have said before (including official Catholic documents, if I’m not mistaken), there was fault on both sides.

I grew up in an area in the U.S. where you can drive 30-50 miles and not find a Catholic church. So at least part of the problem with (proper) information is that there is no Catholic presence. As connectional and world-wide as the Catholic Church is, why isn’t it doing a better job of converting the unchurched and becoming an active presence in areas where there is no Catholic presence? As fervent as many here about Catholicism (as you should be) - why isn’t evangelism a priority?

O+


#14

I thought you might find this informative. Dr. Scott Hahn was Protestant ( a minister I think) and is a professor in Ohio. This link is to the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. You may or may not like his style, but he has many interesting books and if you want his conversion story which covers the common “stumbling blocks”, it is called Rome Sweet Rome. Anyway, I thought this link may be helpful to you.
www.salvationhistory.com/library/apologetics/Topics.cfm


#15

Hi Guys,

Thought I would throw my 2-cents in.

From my Medaeval History Course in College, my (Jewish) history professor lectured that it might possibly happened that Martin Luther was put up by several German princes, as a dupe or a front or a willing pawn, to defy what the princes saw as the increasing secular and political power of the Pope in the 1500s.

Martin Luther might not have been acting on his own or motivated by faith but for political reform, which was suggested why he was so well protected by several German princes - they wanted to break away from the current system and Indulgences were used as a **pretense **in 1517 just as Taxation was used as a pretense by Boston patriots in 1776 to break away from their current governmental system.

I have viewed the Protestant Reformation in this regard ever since my history course; and I have justified the Vatican’s counter-reformation policy based on this viewpoint in any of my debates with critics of Roman Catholicism.

Any opinions? Or am I really mistaken? Thanks!


#16

Luther started with objections to the abuse of Indulgences, but his deeper problem was a sense of never gaining forgiveness for sin. He had a neurotic sense of his own pollution by sin, and so developed his theory of salvation by Faith Alone. This enabled him to feel “saved” while still being a sinner.

The problem with Luther IMO is that he grew arrogant and began to believe that he was a tool of God’s grace (as great as any man since the Apostles, he claimed), and that he had authority to reform the Church in line with his thinking, setting up a new church of his own. He used violent words against all who opposed him, and started claiming the Catholic Church was anti-christ. He even started stripping books from the bible.

To do this, he made a cynical bargain with the German princes. They would protect him, and hand over Catholic church property to him and his followers, and Luther would back them, giving them monastic lands and a big share of the wealth of the Church. He also backed the princes against the German Peasants, causing much hatred when he urged the Princes to massacre the peasants without mercy. He also urged the persecution of Jews, and their expulsion from Saxony.


#17

Might I suggest reading Luther: Man between God and the Devil. Luther was an important figure in the Reformation but he was by far the most influential in my and many other peoples minds.

For the most part the whole of Germany and later Scandinavian areas were the culprits in many of the instances. Luther was used as a tool by the Princes and others of Germany.

To put undo emphasis on Luther in the break of the Church is not quite fair. The schism was due mostly to angst against the behavior of Rome, irregardless if the Pope was involved, and the wish for German Princes to have greater control of their own lands - that included control of the local Churches.

The fact that things like The Denotation of Constantine being proven as a fraud, did not help matters.

The state of the Church as it stands today does not fall on the shoulders of one man.


#18

[quote=Kevin Walker]Hi Guys,

Thought I would throw my 2-cents in.

From my Medaeval History Course in College, my (Jewish) history professor lectured that it might possibly happened that Martin Luther was put up by several German princes, as a dupe or a front or a willing pawn, to defy what the princes saw as the increasing secular and political power of the Pope in the 1500s.

Martin Luther might not have been acting on his own or motivated by faith but for political reform, which was suggested why he was so well protected by several German princes - they wanted to break away from the current system and Indulgences were used as a **pretense **in 1517 just as Taxation was used as a pretense by Boston patriots in 1776 to break away from their current governmental system.

I have viewed the Protestant Reformation in this regard ever since my history course; and I have justified the Vatican’s counter-reformation policy based on this viewpoint in any of my debates with critics of Roman Catholicism.

Any opinions? Or am I really mistaken? Thanks!
[/quote]

The impetuous of the princes can be questioned to be sure, but Luther ever was and only was concerned with Faith and God.


#19

I find it intresting that in the countries where Luther and then Calvin were born people have quit going to church. Less then 10 percent of the populations claim to be weekly church goers. Looks like a great place to re-evangelize to the faith.

savedbygrace


#20

Hi Axion,

After reading the assigned history book: The German Peasant’s Revolt (1524-1525), and then reading Martin Luther’s biography on the Catholic Encyclopedia, the New Advent, it appears to me that the question of Luther’s mental health was an issue.

It could be surmised that the German princes found their man in Luther as a front for the upcoming split with the Pope.

From what I had read of the 95 Theses, indulgences did not appear to me to be the major point of reform with the church, in fact I was struck with how weak and flimsy an argument those 95 Theses contained in criticizing the church.

That is why I am reminded of how a Tea tax was used as a pretense for protest by Boston patriots in 1774 against their lawful government, England; and it seems analagous that indulgences were used as a similar pretense for a split back in 1517.

I don’t doubt that Martin Luther had great faith, but I am curious as to the state of his mental health at the time. Some one suggested he had Bi-Polar Mood Disorder to more serious mental health problems (insanity).

[quote=Axion]Luther started with objections to the abuse of Indulgences, but his deeper problem was a sense of never gaining forgiveness for sin. He had a neurotic sense of his own pollution by sin, and so developed his theory of salvation by Faith Alone. This enabled him to feel “saved” while still being a sinner.

The problem with Luther IMO is that he grew arrogant and began to believe that he was a tool of God’s grace (as great as any man since the Apostles, he claimed), and that he had authority to reform the Church in line with his thinking, setting up a new church of his own. He used violent words against all who opposed him, and started claiming the Catholic Church was anti-christ. He even started stripping books from the bible.

To do this, he made a cynical bargain with the German princes. They would protect him, and hand over Catholic church property to him and his followers, and Luther would back them, giving them monastic lands and a big share of the wealth of the Church. He also backed the princes against the German Peasants, causing much hatred when he urged the Princes to massacre the peasants without mercy. He also urged the persecution of Jews, and their expulsion from Saxony.
[/quote]


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