Martin Luther – Reluctant Revolutionary

From PBS Empires Series- http://www.pbs.org/empires/ – Luther teaches that one gains salvation through faith alone. VIDEO by PBS

Reclame

MARTIN LUTHER (Black and White) Reformation Day October 31, 1517

Another, older film version of Martin Luther’s life. (Photo wikipedia)

English: Postage stamp depicting Martin Luther...

Martin Luther is a 1953 film biography about the life and times of the greatest figure of the Protestant Reformation – Martin Luther, a 16th century German monk, priest, and theology professor’s efforts to reform the Catholic church, his excommunication, and the developments that started the Protestant Reformation.

Luther’s observations and studies led him to be critical of the materialism of the Roman Catholic church; with its use of indulgences, relics and other wayward teachings and practices that are unsupported by the Bible (scripture) forced him to write and nail his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg church that was pivotal in leading a ‘spiritual revolution’ shaking the principalities of the Holy Roman Empire and the entirety of Medieval Europe that changed history forever. VIDEO by emmthreejonny

‪The Forbidden Book – „History of the English Bible”

A 1777 Philadelphia edition of the English Bible – photo source here

Discover the fascinating story behind the preservation of the Bible, the best selling book of all times.

During the Dark Ages, superstition and ignorance controlled the minds of the masses.A few brave men obeyed God and brought the Scriptures to the world…..historical figures responsible for bringing us the Bible as we know and love it today: Wycliffe, Hus, Gutenberg, Colet, Erasmus, Tyndale, Luther and so on.

John Wycliffe, the brilliant 14th century Oxford scholar, translated the Bible from Latin into English in order to enlighten the masses oppressed through ignorance. His work was so despised by the established church, that Pope Martin the Fifth ordered Wycliffe’s bones to be dug up and burned forty years after his death.
Martin Luther was one of the few who challenged church authority in the 16th century and lived to tell the tale. In exposing the folly of indulgences (paying money to the church in order to obtain favor with God), he revealed what had always been written in Scripture, that justification was through faith and faith alone.
William Tyndale was not spared like his friend Luther. Tyndale spent the last 500 days of his life in a cold castle dungeon. He was then tied to a stake, strangled, and burned. His crime?.. printing Bibles in the English language!

This one-hour documentary takes us on a fascinating journey through time. It was shot all across Europe and shows all the important places of Christian history. Here you will learn how God’s Word was originally scribed and discovered and how the Word was preserved through the 1,000 year period of the Dark and Middle Ages. It will also enlighten you how the King James version was created.

There are many amazing facts worked into the presentation. Dr. Lampe shows a scroll that is 1000 years old, and tells the viewer that it is word-for-word the same as the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were written a full millennium before.

Being reminded of the blood that was shed to bring the Bible to common folk like us will make us consider just how flippantly we treat the Scriptures. It will make us truly realize how privileged our generation is to have not just one Bible but an entire stack of them in many outstanding translations. It will make us thank God for the faithful men and women who gave their lives that we can have unlimited access to His Word.

See also these other great links (some containing videos) 

VIDEO by abramski2

Traducatorul Bibliei DUMITRU CORNILESCU Un Luther al Romaniei de Ziua Reformarii 31 Octombrie 1517

Dumitru Cornilescu grave Photo Laurentiu Balcan

Photo credit Laurentiu Balcan Dumitru Cornilescu mormant in Montreux, Elvetia

Dumitru Cornilescu (n. 4 aprilie 1891, comuna Slașoma, județul Mehedinți – d. 1975, Elveția)

Dumitru Cornilescu, traducatorul Bibliei in Limba Romana este considerat ca fiind un Luther al Romaniei. Odata cu traducerea si tiparirea Bibliei in Limba Romana in anul 1921 de catre Cornilescu, poporul roman a avut pentru prima data accesul la citirea Bibliei si de atunci incolo fiecare putea sa aiba Biblia in posesia lor. Lui ii datoram faptul ca multi oameni au auzit si citit Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu si au primit Mantuirea prin Isus Christos.

In continuare veti afla scrieri despre acest om al lui Dumnezeu, care s-a intors la credinta in Isus Christos in timp ce traducea Biblia dintr-o alta limba, pentru folosul poporului roman. A.C.

DOCUMENTARUL:


Simpozionul – Dumitru Cornilescu

Editie Speciala, Pastor Dan Duca (Moderator) si Invitati:

Dr. Prof. Iosif Ton, Daniel Cuculea, Timotei Mitrofan, Petru Hututui la Centrul Crestin Oradea.

Urmatoarele informatii sunt de la Wikipedia:

Noul Testament 1920

Pagina de titlu a NT Cornilescu 1920. Exemplarul se găsește în biblioteca Facultății de Teologie Ortodoxă din București.

Cornilescu a tradus mai întâi Noul Testament, care a văzut lumina tiparului în 1920. O primă informație despre tipărirea acestei ediții se află într-o scrisoare din 14 mai 1920, trimisă de John Howard Adeney (capelan anglican la București) către Robert Kilgour, unul dintre editorii Societății Biblice Britanice: „Cornilescu, ajutat de niște prieteni din Elveția ai dlui Broadbent (Dl. Berney) va începe săptămâna viitoare tipărirea unei prime ediții a NT tradus de el.” Vestea tipăririi acestei versiuni era anunțată în Noua Revistă Bisericească, iunie-iulie 1920, p. 55: „în curând va ieși de sub tipar Noul Testament tradus de D. Cornilescu”. Ulterior, arhimandritul Iuliu Scriban avea să scrie: „În cursul lui 1920, d. Cornilescu, cu ajutorul principesei Calimaki, a izbutit să-și tipărească traducerea lui cuprinzând Noul Testament și Psalmii.”

În prima sa ediție a NT, Cornilescu a folosit din belșug parafraze, recurgând adesea la soluțiile de traducere adoptate de traducătorul elvețian Louis Segond. Influența versiunii Segond asupra versiunii Cornilescu a fost semnalată de către Gala Galaction la scurtă vreme după publicarea NT din 1920, într-un articol publicat pe 21 iulie 1920, în Luptătorul. Între altele, Galaction scria următoarele:

„De subt teascurile tipografiei Gutenberg a apărut zilele acestea Noul Testament al Domnului nostru Iisus Hristos. tradus de D. Cornilescu, Stăncești-Botoșani. E o carte de 467 de pagini, tipărită cu îngrijire, pe două coloane, cu hârtie destul de bună, și care, după cât aud, a costat în aceste vremuri grele, o avere întreagă. Este o adevărată surprindere acest eveniment tipografic! (…) Autorul acestei noi traduceri a Noului Testament, este – din capul locului – vrednic de toate laudele și de toate încurajările. (…) Traducătorul merită să fie lăudat pentru lucrul cu care ni se înfățișează. Nu-l cunosc nici personal, nici impersonal. Se zice că e față bisericească și anume preot călugăr. A mai apărut de câte ori, în câmpul literaturei bisericești, cu mici publicații pioase, dintre cari în acest moment, nu-mi aduc aminte de nici una.”

Biblia 1921

Pagina de titlu a Bibliei Cornilescu 1921

Cu privire la versiunile Cornilescu (și îndeosebi la Biblia 1921) s-a afirmat uneori că ea a fost tipărită „sub autoritatea Bisericii Ortodoxe Române” și că „inițial traducerea lui Dumitru Cornilescu s-a publicat cu aprobarea autorităților eclesiale ortodoxe.” Într-un comunicat dat publicității în aprilie 2012, cu ocazia distriburii Bibliei Cornilescu (ediția GBV) împreună cu ziarul Adevăru, Ioan Enescu, directorul editurii Orizonturi, afirma următoarele: „Subliniem în mod deosebit că traducerea preotului Dumitru Cornilescu a fost acceptată de Biserica Ortodoxă Română, apărând cu binecuvântarea Patriarhului României. Ar fi acceptat oare Patriarhul României să binecuvânteze o Biblie neoprotestantă?! Biserica Ortodoxă Română nu și-ar fi putut însuși, în niciun caz, o versiune neoprotestantă așa cum se apreciază în comunicatul Patriarhiei. Faptul că, ulterior, Biserica nu a mai agreat traducerea preotului Cornilescu nu a fost generat de vreun viciu al traducerii, ci de neînțelegerile dintre Patriarhia Română și persoana traducătorului. O versiune ortodoxă nu putea deveni brusc o versiune neoprotestantă.” Afirmația este eronată, după cum indică pagina de titlu a acestei versiuni. Contrar celor afirmate de Ioan Enescu, ea nu s-a bucurat niciodată de aprobarea oficială a Sf. Sinod al BOR, a cărei ultimă ediție (înainte de Cornilescu) a fost publicată în 1914, următoarea versiune ortodoxă oficială fiind publicată abia în 1936.

Potrivit unei scrisori (27 nov. 1920) trimise Societății Biblice Britanice de către J. W. Wiles de la Belgrad, textul VT tradus de Cornilescu era deja gata, iar traducătorul aștepta cu nerăbdare ca Societatea să-i trimită hârtia necesară tipăririi întregii Biblii.

Nu există informații despre data precisă la care s-a încheiat tipărirea Bibliei 1921, dar ea trebuie să fi avut loc în prima parte a anului, dat fiind că într-o scrisoare din 22 august 1921, Robert Kilgour îi comunica lui John Howard Adeney (capelan anglican din București) că Societatea Biblică are deja un exemplar în bibliotecă și că ar mai fi nevoie de încă trei.

Biblia Cornilescu 1921 reia fără modificări textul NT 1920. Analiza comparată a Bibliei Cornilescu 1921 și a versiunii Segond confirmă parțial afirmațiile lui Galaction, dar, conform unui studiu detaliat dedicat acestei chestiuni, „Influența mare exercitată de versiunea Segond nu trebuie să ne facă să credem că traducătorul român a copiat în mod servil traducerea biblistului elvețian. Există suficiente versete care arată că versiunea Cornilescu 1921 diferă de cea a lui Segond”.

Biblia 1924

Pagina de tilu a Bibliei Cornilescu 1924

Deși în mod curent se afirmă că ediția revizuită de Cornilescu a fost publicată în 1923, scrisorile privitoare la Biblia Cornilescu din arhiva Societății Biblice Britanice arată fără dubii că ea a ieșit de sub tipar în septembrie 1924.

Această ediție, tipărită pe hârtie de India, s-a remarcat prin calitatea tipăriturii și a legării. Totuși, faptul că traducătorul nu a putut supraveghea direct tipărirea ei a dus la apariția unor greșeli de tipar (încălecarea unor rânduri la Evrei 1:10).

În primii câțiva ani care s-au scurs de la publicarea ei, Biblia 1924 s-a vândut în tiraje uriașe pentru vremea respectivă, devenind un adevărat best-seller. J. W. Wiles, reprezentantul Societății Biblice Britanice pentru țările din Balcani, raporta în februarie 1928 următoarele date cu privire la Biblia Cornilescu: „Am lăsat în urmă numere ca 5.000 pe an, ca de exemplu în 1920, și am urcat la 85.000, 95.000 și aproape 100.000 de exemplare pe an.” Statisticile se referă, desigur, nu doar la Biblie, ci și la Noul Testament, care fusese tipărit în ediție de buzunar.

Biblia 1931 – Pagina de titlu a Bibliei Cornilescu 1931

Critici aduse versiunii Cornilescu 1924

Ediția Cornilescu 1924 a fost întâmpinată cu suspiciune de către unii reprezentanți ai Bisericii Ortodoxe Române. La începutul anilor ’30, succesul ei uriaș a făcut ca autoritățile religioase să încerce să oprească difuzarea ei în mediul rural. În acest scop, s-au făcut demersuri pe lângă ministrul de interne (G. Mironescu), al cărui ordin (22 martie 1933) interzicea distribuirea Bibliei Cornilescu 1924 în satele și comunele României.

Pentru a debloca situația, Societatea Biblică Britanică, sub a cărei siglă fusese publicată această versiune, l-a trimis pe J. W. Wiles, reprezentantul ei de la Belgrad, să ceară o audiență lui Nicolae Titulescu. Acesta l-a informat pe reprezentantul Societății Biblice Britanice că între motivele pentru care Biblia Cornilescu nu este agreată este faptul că în Iacov 5,14 termenul grecesc presbyteroi a fost tradus prin „prezbiteri” și nu „preoți”, cum ar fi preferat ierarhia ortodoxă. Wiles a explicat că nici versiunile sinodale rusești ale Bibliei nu folosesc termenul „preoți”, ci tot „prezbiteri”. În urma acestei întrevederi, ordinul a fost revocat.

  • Evrei 7:24 – aparabatos

O acuzație care a fost adusă mai recent versiunii Cornilescu privește traducerea versetului din Evrei 7:24. Bogdan Mateciuc, evanghelic convertit la ortodoxie, scrie pe site-ul lui: „La Evrei 7:24, în Biblia ortodoxă (traducerea ÎPS Bartolomeu Anania) se poate citi: «dar Iisus are o preoție netrecătoare prin aceea că El rămâne în veac», pe când în traducerea Cornilescu scrie «Dar El, fiindcă rămâne în veac, are o preoție, care nu poate trece de la unul la altul». Citatul este folosit de protestanți pentru a justifica necredința lor față de succesiunea apostolică.” Acuzația de mai sus este nefondată, deoarece, așa cum dovedește un studiu dedicat versiunii Cornilescu, soluția de traducere folosită de fostul ieromonah se regăsește și în câteva versiuni ortodoxe ale Bibliei: Galaction 1938, NT sinodal 1951 și Biblia sinodală 1968. În realitate, Cornilescu a recurs la această soluție de traducere fiindcă ea fusese propusă deja de Louis Segond și de lexicograful american Joseph Thayer în dicționarul său grecesc, folosit de Cornilescu în procesul traducerii.

  • Apocalipsa 20 – mia de ani

Bogdan Mateciuc afirmă că „în cartea Apocalipsei, capitolul 20, Cornilescu traduce din Biblia engleză, nu din originalul grecesc. În timp ce în original se vorbește despre ‘mii de ani’, Cornilescu traduce ‘o mie de ani’, aliniindu-se astfel ereziei neoprotestante a ‘împărăției de o mie de ani’. Dacă el ar fi fost, așa cum încearcă să-l prezinte neoprotestanții, un erudit în limbile ebraică și greacă, în mod evident ar fi văzut și înțeles originalul grecesc!” Deși începând cu NT 1979 echivalarea secvenței grecești ta hilia ete (τὰ χίλια ἔτη) s-a făcut în edițiile ortodoxe (inclusiv în Biblia Anania) prin expresia „mii de ani”, această traducere este eronată, după cum arată un studiu academic extins asupra acestei probleme. Cu referire la această expresie din Apocalipsa 20, cunoscutul patrolog C. Bădiliță scria următoarele: „Fără a intra în polemici inutile, ta chilia înseamnă, în limba greacă adevărată, nu aceea inventată de B. Anania, ‘o mie’, nu ‘mii’ (la plural).”

Photo Credit Wikipedia Fila din Editia 1921

  1. Cum m-am intors la Dumnezeu, marturie scrisa de Dumitru Cornilescu (traducatorul Bibliei in Limba Romana)
  2. Din viata si lucrarea lui Teodor Popescu (Crestin dupa Evanghelie si prietenul lui Dumitru Cornilescu)
  3. Dumitru Cornilescu predica audio din Monte Carlo, 1970-75 (si o scurta biografie a translatorului de Biblie)
  4. Cartea online (mai jos-click pe capitol sa citesti)

Cuprins
Prefata
Ia ) Primii pasi
I b) O descoperire cruciala
I c) Scurta retrospectiva istorica
I d) Traducerea Bibliei
I e) Tiparirea Bibliei
II a) Incepe sa se lumineze de ziua!
II b) Intoarcerea la Dumnezeu
II c) O intarire si un inceput
II d) Cuibul cu barza
II e) Marea confirmare
II f) Adevarul se raspandeste
II g) Impotriviri
III a) Peregrinari
III b) Ländly
III c) In doi
III d) Pe cont propriu
IV a) Privind inapoi spre tara lui
IV b) O alta usa deschisa: America
IV c) Din nou acasa… la lucru
IV d) Recunostiinta
V a) O viata sfanta
V b) O cale de urmat

Reformation Day October 31, 1517: The Bible and Martin Luther

English Bible History

Martin Luther

Martin Luther had a small head-start on Tyndale, as Luther declared his intolerance for the Roman Church’s corruption on Halloween in 1517, by nailing his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door. Luther, who would be exiled in the months following the Diet of Worms Council in 1521 that was designed to martyr him, would translate the New Testament into German for the first time from the 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus, and publish it in September of 1522. Luther also published a German Pentateuch in 1523, and another edition of the German New Testament in 1529. In the 1530’s he would go on to publish the entire Bible in German. Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a Christian theologian and Augustinian monk whose teachings inspired the Protestant Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines of Protestant and other Christian traditions.

Martin Luther was born to Hans and Margaretha Luder on 10 November 1483 in Eisleben, Germany and was baptised the next day on the feast of St. Martin of Tours, after whom he was named. Luther’s call to the Church to return to the teachings of the Bible resulted in the formation of new traditions within Christianity and the Counter-Reformation in the Roman Catholic Church, culminating at the Council of Trent.His translation of the Bible also helped to develop a standard version of the German language and added several principles to the art of translation. Luther’s hymns sparked the development of congregational singing in Christianity. His marriage, on June 13, 1525, to Katharina von Bora, a former nun, began the tradition of clerical marriage within several Christian traditions.

Portraits of Hans and Margarethe Luther by Lucas Cranach  1527

Luther’s early life

Martin Luther’s father owned a copper mine in nearby Mansfeld. Having risen from the peasantry, his father was determined to see his son ascend to civil service and bring further honor to the family. To that end, Hans sent young Martin to schools in Mansfeld, Magdeburg and Eisenach. At the age of seventeen in 1501 he entered the University of Erfurt. The young student received his Bachelor’s degree after just one year in 1502! Three years later, in 1505, he received a Master’s degree. According to his father’s wishes, Martin enrolled in the law school of that university. All that changed during a thunderstorm in the summer of 1505. A lightening bolt struck near to him as he was returning to school. Terrified, he cried out, „Help, St. Anne! I’ll become a monk!” Spared of his life, but regretting his words, Luther kept his bargain, dropped out of law school and entered the monastery there.

Luther’s struggle to find peace with God

Young Brother Martin fully dedicated himself to monastic life, the effort to do good works to please God and to serve others through prayer for their souls. Yet peace with God escaped him. He devoted himself to fasts, flagellations, long hours in prayer and pilgrimages, and constant confession. The more he tried to do for God, it seemed, the more aware he became of his sinfulness.

Johann von Staupitz, Luther’s superior, concluded the young man needed more work to distract him from pondering himself. He ordered the monk to pursue an academic career. In 1507 Luther was ordained to the priesthood. In 1508 he began teaching theology at the University of Wittenberg. Luther earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies on 9 March 1508 and a Bachelor’s degree in the Sentences by Peter Lombard, (the main textbook of theology in the Middle Ages) in 1509. On 19 October 1512, the University of Wittenberg conferred upon Martin Luther the degree of Doctor of Theology.

Martin Luther’s Evangelical Discovery

The demands of study for academic degrees and preparation for delivering lectures drove Martin Luther to study the Scriptures in depth. Luther immersed himself in the teachings of the Scripture and the early church. Slowly, terms like penance and righteousness took on new meaning. The controversy that broke loose with the publication of his 95 Theses placed even more pressure on the reformer to study the Bible. This study convinced him that the Church had lost sight of several central truths. To Luther, the most important of these was the doctrine that brought him peace with God.

With joy, Luther now believed and taught that salvation is a gift of God’s grace, received by faith and trust in God’s promise to forgive sins for the sake of Christ’s death on the cross. This, he believed was God’s work from beginning to end.

Luther’s 95 Theses

On Halloween of 1517, Luther changed the course of human history when he nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, accusing the Roman Catholic church of heresy upon heresy. Many people cite this act as the primary starting point of the Protestant Reformation… though to be sure, John Wycliffe, John Hus, Thomas Linacre, John Colet, and others had already put the life’s work and even their lives on the line for same cause of truth, constructing the foundation of Reform upon which Luther now built. Luther’s action was in great part a response to the selling of indulgences by Johann Tetzel, a Dominican priest. Luther’s charges also directly challenged the position of the clergy in regard to individual salvation. Before long, Luther’s 95 Theses of Contention had been copied and published all over Europe.

Here I Stand

Luther’s Protestant views were condemned as heretical by Pope Leo X in the bull Exsurge Domine in 1520. Consequently Luther was summoned to either renounce or reaffirm them at the Diet of Worms on 17 April 1521. When he appeared before the assembly, Johann von Eck, by then assistant to the Archbishop of Trier, acted as spokesman for Emperor Charles the Fifth. He presented Luther with a table filled with copies of his writings. Eck asked Luther if he still believed what these works taught. He requested time to think about his answer. Granted an extension, Luther prayed, consulted with friends and mediators and presented himself before the Diet the next day.

Meeting of the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire at Worms, Germany, in 1521, where Martin Luther defended his Protestant principles and was excommunicated

When the counselor put the same question to Luther the next day, the reformer apologized for the harsh tone of many of his writings, but said that he could not reject the majority of them or the teachings in them. Luther respectfully but boldly stated, „Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.„On May 25, the Emperor issued his Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw.

Luther in Exile at the Wartburg Castle

The room in Wartburg where     Luther translated the New Testament into German. An original first edition of the translation is kept under the case on the desk.

Luther had powerful friends among the princes of Germany, one of whom was his own prince, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony. The prince arranged for Luther to be seized on his way from the Diet by a company of masked horsemen, who carried him to the castle of the Wartburg, where he was kept about a year. He grew a wide flaring beard; took on the garb of a knight and assumed the pseudonym Jörg. During this period of forced sojourn in the world, Luther was still hard at work upon his celebrated translation of the Bible, though he couldn’t rely on the isolation of a monastery. During his translation, Luther would make forays into the nearby towns and markets to listen to people speak, so that he could put his translation of the Bible into the language of the people.

Although his stay at the Wartburg kept Luther hidden from public view, Luther often received letters from his friends and allies, asking for his views and advice. For example, Luther’s closest friend, Philipp Melanchthon, wrote to him and asked how to answer the charge that the reformers neglected pilgrimages, fasts and other traditional forms of piety. Luther’s replied: „If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.” [Letter 99.13, To Philipp Melanchthon, 1 August 1521.]

Martin Luther’s German Bible

1529 Luther New Testament: The Oldest Printed German N.T. Scripture

Martin Luther was the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the commonly-spoken dialect of the German people. He used the recent 1516 critical Greek edition of Erasmus, a text which was later called textus receptus. The Luther German New Testament translation was first published in September of 1522. The translation of the Old Testament followed, yielding an entire German language Bible in 1534.

Luther is also know to have befriended William Tyndale, and given him safe haven and assistance in using the same 1516 Erasmus Greek-Latin Parallel New Testament that had been the source text for his German New Testament of 1522, as the trustworthy source text for Tyndale’s English New Testament of 1525-26.

Luther’s Writings

The number of books attributed to Martin Luther is quite impressive. However, some Luther scholars contend that many of the works were at least drafted by some of his good friends like Philipp Melanchthon. Luther’s books explain the settings of the epistles and show the conformity of the books of

1523 Luther Pentateuch:  The Oldest Printed      German Scripture

the Bible to each other. Of special note would be his writings about the Epistle to the Galatians in which he compares himself to the Apostle Paul in his defense of the Gospel. Luther also wrote about church administration and wrote much about the Christian home.

Luther’s work contains a number of statements that modern readers would consider rather crude. For example, Luther was know to advise people that they should literally “Tell the Devil he may kiss my ass.” It should be remembered that Luther received many communications from throughout Europe from people who could write anonymously, that is, without the specter of mass media making their communications known. No public figure today could write in the manner of the correspondences Luther received or in the way Luther responded to them. Luther was certainly a theologian of the middle-ages. He was an earthy man who enjoyed his beer, and was bold and often totally without tact in the blunt truth he vehemently preached. While this offended many, it endeared him all the more to others.

He was open with his frustrations and emotions, as well. Once, when asked if he truly loved God, Luther replied “Love God? Sometimes I hate Him!” Luther was also frustrated by the works-emphasis of the book of James, calling it “the Epistle of Straw, and questioning its canonicity. Also irritated with the complex symbolism of the Book of Revelation, he once said that it too, was not canon, and that it should be thrown into the river! He later retracted these statements, of course. Luther was a man who was easily misquoted or taken out of context. While a brilliant theologian, and a bold reformer, he would not have made a good politician. But then, he never aspired to any career in politics.

Luther’s 1534 Bible.

Martin Luther and Judaism

Luther initially preached tolerance towards the Jewish people, convinced that the reason they had never converted to Christianity was that they were discriminated against, or had never heard the Gospel of Christ. However, after his overtures to Jews failed to convince Jewish people to adopt Christianity, he began preaching that the Jews were set in evil, anti-Christian ways, and needed to be expelled from German politics. In his On the Jews and Their Lies, he repeatedly quotes the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:34, where Jesus called them „a brood of vipers and children of the devil”

Katharina von Bora, Luther’s wife (1523), by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526

Luther was zealous toward the Gospel, and he wanted to protect the people of his homeland from the Jews who he believed would be harmful influences since they did not recognize Jesus as their Saviour. In Luther’s time, parents had a right and a duty to direct their children’s marriage choices in respect to matters of faith. Likewise, Luther felt a duty to direct his German people to cling to the Jesus the Jews did not accept. It should be noted that church law was superior to civil law in Luther’s day and that law said the penalty of blasphemy was death. When Luther called for the deaths of certain Jews, he was merely asking that the laws that were applied to all other Germans also be applied to the Jews. The Jews were exempt from the church laws that Christians were bound by, most notably the law against charging interest.

Martin Luther’s Death

Martin Luther escaped martyrdom, and died of natural causes. His last written words were, „Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles… We are beggars: this is true.

photos and story (via) Wikipedia and GreatSite

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Christians and Halloween via David Mathis Desiring God

You can read entire article here at DesiringGod.org
What if a crisp October wind blew through “the way we’ve always done things” at Halloween? What if the Spirit stirred in us a new perspective on October 31? What if dads led their households in a fresh approach to Halloween as Christians on mission?
What if spreading a passion for God’s supremacy in all things included Halloween—that amalgamation of wickedness now the second-largest commercial holiday in the West?
Loving Others and Extending Grace
What if we didn’t think of ourselves as “in the world, but not of it,” but rather, as Jesus says in John 17, “not of the world, but sent into it”?
And what if that led us to move beyond our squabbles about whether or not we’re free to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve, and the main issue became whether our enjoyment of Jesus and his victory over Satan and the powers of darkness might incline us to think less about our private enjoyments and more about how we might love others? What if we took Halloween captive—along with “every thought” (2 Corinthians 10:5)—as an opportunity for gospel advance and bringing true joy to the unbelieving?
And what if those of us taking this fresh approach to Halloween recognized that Christians hold a variety of views about Halloween, and we gave grace to those who see the day differently than we do?
Without Naiveté or Retreat
What if we didn’t merely go with the societal flow and unwittingly float with the cultural tide into and out of yet another Halloween? What if we didn’t observe the day with the same naïveté as our unbelieving neighbors and coworkers?
And what if we didn’t overreact to such nonchalance by simply withdrawing? What if Halloween wasn’t a night when Christians retreated in disapproval, but an occasion for storming the gates of hell?
The Gospel Trick
What if we ran Halloween through the grid of the gospel and pondered whether there might be a third path beyond naïveté and retreat? What if we took the perspective that all of life, Halloween included, is an opportunity for gospel advance? What if we saw Halloween not as a retreat but as a kind of gospel trick—an occasion to extend Christ’s cause on precisely the night when Satan may feel his strongest?
What if we took to the offensive on Halloween? Isn’t this how our God loves to show himself mighty? Just when the devil has a good head of steam, God, like a skilled ninja, uses the adversary’s body weight against him. It’s Satan’s own inertia that drives the stake into his heart. Just like the cross. It’s a kind of divine “trick”: Precisely when the demonic community thinks for sure they have Jesus cornered, he delivers the deathblow. Wasn’t it a Halloween-like gathering of darkness and demonic festival at Golgotha, the place of the Skull, when the God-man “disarmed the powers and authorities [and] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them” at the cross (Colossians 2:15)?

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

Image via Wikipedia

Marching on Hell
What if we were reminded that Jesus, our invincible hero, will soon crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20)? What if we really believed deep down that our Jesus has promised with absolute certainty, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). What if we realized that the gates-of-hell thing isn’t a picture of a defensive church straining to hold back the progressing Satanic legions, but rather an offensive church, on the move, advancing against the cowering, cornered kingdom of darkness? What if the church is the side building the siegeworks? What if the church is marching forward, and Jesus is leading his church on an aggressive campaign against the stationary and soon-to-collapse gates of hell? What if we didn’t let Halloween convince us for a minute that it’s otherwise?
What if Ephesians 6:12 reminded us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic power over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”? What if we remembered that it’s not our increasingly post-Christian society’s Halloween revelers who are our enemies, but that our real adversary is the one who has blinded them, and that we spite Satan as we rescue unbelievers with the word of the cross?
Resisting the Devil
What posture would Jesus have us take when we are told that our “adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)? Naïveté? Retreat? Rather: “Resist him, firm in your faith” (verse 9). What if we had the gospel gall to trust Jesus for this promise: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)? And what if resistance meant not only holding our ground, but taking his?
What if we hallowed Jesus at Halloween by pursuing gospel advance and going lovingly on the attack? What if, like Martin Luther, we didn’t cower in fear, but saw October 31 as a chance to serve notice to the threshold of evil? What if we didn’t turn out our lights as if hiding, but went pumpkin-smashing on the very doorstep of the King of Darkness himself?
Orienting on Others
What if we saw October 31 not merely as an occasion for asking self-oriented questions about our participation (whether we should or shouldn’t dress the kids up or carve pumpkins), but for pursuing others-oriented acts of love? What if we capitalized on the opportunity to take a step forward in an ongoing process of witnessing to our neighbors, co-workers, and extended families about who Jesus is and what he accomplished at Calvary for the wicked like us?
What if we resolved not to join the darkness by keeping our porch lights off? What if we didn’t deadbolt our doors, but handed out the best treats in the neighborhood as a faint echo of the kind of grace our Father extends to us sinners?
Giving the Good Candy
What if thinking evangelistically about Halloween didn’t mean just dropping tracts into children’s bags, but the good candy—and seeing the evening as an opportunity to cultivate relationships with the unbelieving as part of an ongoing process in which we plainly identify with Jesus, get to know them well, and personally speak the good news of our Savior into their lives?
And what if we made sure to keep reminding ourselves that our supreme treasure isn’t our subjective zeal for the mission, but our Jesus and his objective accomplishment for us?
The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
– Jesus in Matthew 9:37–38

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