Christ’s promise kept despite Luther
To the editor:
Robert Pieti’s recent letter, asserting our need for a Biblically-based “new Reformation,” was an offensive appeal and factually inaccurate.
Although Pieti professes Biblical fidelity, his perspective is irreconcilable with Christ’s promise, “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18) Despite 2000 years of greed and violence; of Visgoths, Vikings, Moguls, and Ottomans; despite the scheming of Borgias and Medicis; and despite Luther’s heresies; Christ’s Church stands strong…Christ’s promise kept.
Pieti portrayed Luther as a humble monk, committed to Church reform. Although compelling, Luther actually was a Wittenburg University professor, with a theology doctorate. Luther’s statue in Berlin accurately depicts his enormous girth and jowls, developed at table with German princes. A confiscated monastery became Luther’s home. He died abed following a stroke, possibly from gluttony.
Serious Luther scholars don’t support the October 31, 1517, hammer-wielding Reformation Day scenario. More likely, Luther enclosed his 95 Theses in letters to bishops. In 1519, Luther wrote Pope Leo X, saying, “I never approved of schism, nor will I approve of it for all eternity…Though nowadays everything is in a wretched state, it is no ground for separating from the Church.”
Yet, Luther separated and began reconfiguring the Bible. Luther deleted seven Septuagint books, discarding knowledge the disciples had quoted.
Next, Luther placed James, Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation last in the Bible. When questioned, Luther declared, “Thus I will have it; thus I order it; my will is reason enough.”
Luther was knowledgeable of Paul’s epistles. In Thessalonians 2:15 Paul wrote, “Therefore brothers hold fast to the traditions you have received from us, either by our word or by letter.” Defiantly, Luther proclaimed sola scriptura, and sola fide. Recall, Paul insisted on “faith working itself out in love.” (Gal 5:6)
Luther opposed confession, although it’s mentioned throughout the Bible. “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
Luther’s Bible was the 13th Bible published in German. Luther never worked with William Tyndale or Mikael Agricola on other translations.
Today, Reformation’s legacy is 23,000 denominations, “each man with a Bible and his own interpretation.” It repudiates everything Paul taught. At Gethsemane, Christ prayed “… that all of them may be one in us …” (John 17:20-26)