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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Doctrine or Moralism? Which Is It? Luther the Logician

Luther thundered, “Unless I am convinced by Scriptures and plain reason [for Luther, this meant logic], my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything. Here I stand, I can do no other!”

Those who want to downplay doctrines, that is, truth, might agree with Erasmus. In a letter to Louvain, Erasmus testified of himself, “I for my part would prefer to be deceived in a good many things rather than to fight for the truth in so great a universal tumult” (35). “Christianity, to Erasmus, was essentially morality.. . . Erasmus recognizes no organic dependence of practice upon faith. Peace in the Church was of more value than any doctrine” (43). Does this not sound remarkably like many neo-evangelical churches today-peace at the price of truth?
 
The opposite was true of Luther: “Christianity was to Luther a dogmatic religion, or it was nothing” (44). Fundamental to upholding a doctrinal Christianity is the upholding of logic. If logic is ignored or denigrated, no doctrine can be known to be true or false. Luther was himself a rigorous logician. In 1508, he lectured in Aristotelian logic at the University of Wittenberg (21). Roland Bainton wrote of Luther, “Reason in the sense of logic he employed to the uttermost limits” (47). At the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther was ordered to recant his teachings on threat of excommunication. Luther thundered, “Unless I am convinced by Scriptures and plain reason [for Luther, this meant logic], my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything. Here I stand, I can do no other!”  (Godwell Andrew Chan, Trinity Review, January 1996).

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