As the story goes, Luther and company split with the Catholic Church when they knowingly rejected Catholic doctrine in favor of “their own” interpretation of scripture.
This sounds reasonable today. Roman Catholics have a catechism, websites, and apologists to tell us what Roman Catholic doctrine is, so there is little doubt what isn’t. Was the same true in Luther’s day?
The reformation sparked a dispute as to what Christian doctrine was. Emperor Charles V wanted to settle this dispute to bring unity. Unity was a matter of some urgency because the Empire was being threatened by the Turkish military. The Emperor summoned both sides in the dispute to Augsburg in 1530.
Charles asked “the several estates of the Empire—on the strength of the Imperial edict—should submit their explanations, opinions, and judgments in German and Latin.”* The Lutherans submitted the Augsburg Confesson.
Rome did not submit their explanations, opinions, and judgements. I don’t know why. Perhaps because Rome wasn’t an estate of the Empire. Anyone know?
I find it odd that Rome didn’t submit anything. The Lutherans were supposedly in a state of heresy, but heresy against what? This would have been a perfect time for Rome to present its explanations to illustrate exactly what doctrines the Lutherans were contradicting.
Rome did not present its side, but it did orally deliver a rebuttal of the Augsburg Confession called [post=1807930]the Confutation[/post]. The Lutherans were not provided a written copy until 43 years later.
So, my question is as follows:
Is it reasonable to assume Luther was knowingly breaking from “Catholic doctrine” in 1517? What “Cahtolic doctrine”? If there was a body of doctrine that was recognizably “Catholic”, it was not presented when it could have been at Augsburg. Luther cannot be faulted in 1517 for rebelling against something that was presented so vaguely in 1530.
Also, what is the present status of the Confutation? In the age of the internet, it is hard to find. The only to places I know are not Catholic: “Project Wittenberg (a Lutheran site)” and project Gutenburg. Is it still “in force”. Catholics don’t seem very proud of it. It took 43 years to publish in the first place.
Should I count the Augsburg Confession as responded to?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
*From the preface to the Augsburg Confesson.