Theology of the Reformers - Lesson 5
Diversity in the Reformation in Saxony
Diversity in the Reformation in Saxony
TH230-05: Diversity in the Reformation in Saxony
I. Introduction to the Reformation in Saxony
A. Historical Context
B. Major Reformers
II. Key Theological Differences
A. Justification by Faith
B. The Lord's Supper
III. Impact of the Reformation in Saxony
A. Social and Political Consequences
B. Influence on Other Regions
IV. Legacy of the Reformation in Saxony
A. Modern Theology and Practice
B. Ecumenical Dialogue
- Through this lesson, you gain insights into church history as a theological discipline, the Reformation, key figures, theological contributions, and the lasting impact of the Reformation on theology and the church.
- Through this lesson, you grasp Augustine's pivotal role in shaping Reformation theology, influencing key figures like Luther and Calvin, and leaving a lasting impact on the church.
- Through this lesson, you gain insights into Scholasticism, Humanism, and Mysticism, understanding their roles in shaping the Reformation and the influences of key figures within each movement.
- In this lesson, you explore Martin Luther's life and theological contributions, uncovering key events leading to the Reformation and examining the lasting impact of his work on Christianity.
- Through this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the diversity in the Reformation in Saxony, its theological differences, and its impact on society and modern theology.
- In this lesson, you gain insight into Huldrych Zwingli's life, theology, and contributions, exploring his views on the Lord's Supper, role in the Swiss Reformation and Anabaptist movement, and key writings, while also understanding his lasting impact on the Reformation.
- By studying this lesson, you gain insights into John Calvin's central role in the Swiss Reformation, his theological contributions, and the lasting impact of his ideas on church organization, education, and social reforms.
- Through this lesson, you gain insight into John Calvin's theology, its key components, and its lasting influence on the Reformed tradition and society.
- By studying this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of John Calvin's theology in Book One of The Institutes, focusing on the knowledge of God, Christ, providence, and predestination, and its impact on Protestant theology.
- In this lesson, you explore the key themes and insights from Book One of Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion," gaining a deeper understanding of God's sovereignty, human humility, and the centrality of Scripture in Reformation thought.
- Gain insights into Book Two of Calvin's "The Institutes," exploring the knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ, sin's nature, law and gospel, and its lasting impact on Protestant theology.
- By examining Calvin's Farewell Address and other Reformation issues, you gain insight into the key themes and controversies that shaped the theological landscape and learn about the enduring influence of the Reformers.
The leaders of the Protestant reformation built on the thoughts and teachings of scholars who came before them and spent their lives seeking God and explaining his Word.
Dr. Timothy George
Theology of the Reformers
Diversity in the Reformation in Saxony
[00:00:00] I've always looked forward to teaching, and some of you all know that I teach over at Stanford, teach history a couple of courses every semester. But it's never been very daunting work until you have to replace Dr. George for a couple of hours. You know, don't you? Well, what I wanted to do today was try and try and address some things that. That Dr. George isn't going to cover or probably won't cover in his lectures, because the orientation he's taking is is very theological. I mean, we're talking about the theology of the reformers. But I kind of wanted to do today is just take a little bit of time and talk about one aspect of the Reformation, and that's the Reformation in Germany and in particular Saxony, the part of Germany that Luther is from. And to discuss it in light of a particular theme that I have and that theme is diversity. In other words, the Reformation is a diverse movement. It's not just diverse. When you talk about Luther's and Calvin's and Zwingli and Meadows, Simons and Thomas Munchers and so on, it was even diverse from the very beginning, from the very beginning, right there in Luther's hometown, there was diversity. I'd kind of like to just talk about how that happened, you know, how did these ideas emerge? How do we get them? How do they catch on? And then finally, how that how do they interact with with the people and in some cases survive? Now, that's kind of important, I think, because, you know, the Reformation sprang up all over Europe, but not all of those reformations lasted. What made this one last and how did it do that? So I'd kind of like to take a look at that idea of diversity.
[00:01:59] I guess if I was going to try and illustrate what I'm thinking. The way I've always heard this explained is that you got to pretend with my art. This is a well, okay. And we will call that Luther. Luther is one of the well, and we got another well up here and we'll call that Calvin and so on. And out of those wells bubble up these streams of movement like Lutheran, Lutheranism or Calvin ism. I don't know if there's a zwingli ism, but you see all of these streams come kind of coming out here. And then every now and then you'd see somebody that diverges from Luther. And we'd always understand that person as having deviated from the norm, having deviated from the original. For instance, Luther Now, I'll tell you the truth, I don't see that that way. The way I see things, I can't really even draw this on the board. The way I see this is that if you want to understand the Reformation, and I've been studying for about six years now, the way I understand it is it's as though you have a lot of underground aquifers, a lot of underground streams flowing, flowing under the ground, and every now and then they bump into each other. And when they do that, they well up, they break through the surface and you get an outbreak of a new idea, a new movement that gets started. Does that make sense to you all? You see what I'm trying to say instead of understanding all of these other people, aside from Luther, in terms of their deviating from the norm, they all represent traditions that are going on. When Luther pops up on the scene and when they converge, when their ideas, when their beliefs coincide with his, they become part of the movement.
[00:04:11] And you see that happen all over Europe. So what I'm getting at is you've got several Luther's that you have several movements going on, several streams of influence. Dr. George talked about the Weimar Moderne, if you remember that the and secure the old way and the new way of thinking that the antique was the scholasticism, the old way of understanding things. The Weimar Moderne. A you have Ackermann done showed us a kind of a skepticism, especially of Aristotelian methods. So you've got those two things in there. You have mysticism, you have humanism that that the dean talked about in a lot, in a fair amount of detail. You also have other things. You have pre reformation activity in Europe that in other words, you had heretical movements, you had all kinds of religious movements take place in Germany before Luther ever showed up. And that's important because some of his ideas catch on better in some places than they do in others. You see, my point is that Luther wasn't dropped out of the sky. Luther came from Germany and he came from a place that was conditioned for that message. So it's important to understand that. Another factor that we don't really talk a lot about in here that I kind of want to briefly address today is eschatology, because Luther's eschatology. And how did that play into the rise of this reformation movement? It's kind of an interesting story, I think, and I believe it's one of the really important factors in explaining how this guy Luther really took off like a rocket. Why was it so popular? It also explains something else. Why, for those of you all that have been reading the Luther book, let me ask you general questions. Nice guy.
[00:06:13] Well, come on. No, no, he's not a nice guy. I believe he was God's man. I do with all my heart. But he was not a nice guy. He was sometimes a man, a very violent emotions. He used a lot of potty potty language for my kids. Anyway, but. But, you know, that's. That's the Luther. That. That's the truth. I mean, that's really him. Brilliant theologian, earthy kind of guy. Sharp temper, even sharper tongue than his temper. How come? Well, I'd like to propose that one of the reasons for that is understanding not only the fact that he's a German, but even understanding things like his eschatology. Help explain some of that. And I think we'll get into that in just a moment. There are several triggers to the Reformation that we needed to understand, and we've talked about some of those in some some detail. One of those is nationalism. It's really important to understand that the place that Luther taught at was almost the frontier province. It was about as far away from downtown as you can get. Right downtown is wrong. Wittenberg is hundreds and hundreds of miles away in a remote location that was of almost no interest at all to the papacy and not much more interest to the Holy Roman Emperor. Now, that's an important factor, because that means that whatever goes on up there can be done in relative peace and quiet without a lot of interference. And that was very important for Luther's movement, catching on and being allowed to survive. It was out of the way. It was far away from everybody else. So the idea of German nationalism and this and this remoteness help contribute to the reform, the decline of the papacy. We talked about some in the Babylonian captivity from 13.
[00:08:23] You guys know all about this work together on Babylonian captivity. BABYLON Okay, I'll give you a one sentence. Four 1309 to 1377 In 1309, the pope and the king of France got in a fight over who should appoint bishops and who's got the right to collect taxes in the territory of France. The pope did what popes had done for a number of centuries, at least since Gregory the seventh in the 11th century. And he he excommunicated Philip, the fourth fellow at the fair of France. But times have changed. So Philip turned around and he kidnaped them, kidnaped the pope. You've got to love the Middle Ages. Once you start reading this kind of stuff. It's really rough. Kidnaps the pope and takes him to Avignon, France, Where where? Wonder of wonders. The next seven popes are all French. I wonder how that happened. The Babylonian captivity of the church, reminiscent of the Babylonian Babylonian captivity of the Jews. All right. Same thing. That's the reason they picked the name. Well, about halfway through that period of time, the Italians in Rome get tired of having a French pope. So they elect one of their own. You end up with two popes for a while. That's the beginning of the Great schism, the split of the church in the West between one pope who lived in France and another pope is their own. Well, at the beginning of the 15th century, they get together in order to resolve the problem. So they have a church council. And guess what they did? They elected a third pope. But the problem was the other two. Guys wouldn't sit down. So now they're stuck with three popes. They finally work it out in the Council of Constance in 1417 and come back to having only one pope.
[00:10:22] They threaten the other two and they resign. No. Three. All three. They elect a new guy. My point is that it humiliated the church and humiliated the church and people out in the frontiers, like the Germans, who already couldn't stand the Italians to start with. We're already thinking there's no reason to pay attention to these people. Right. The rulers up in North Germany don't care about it. They want their independence. Now, the fly in the ointment is that the Pope decides to rebuild his power and his prestige. The way he's going to do that is he's going to beautify Rome in the way he does. That is by collecting all of the money. And that gets us into the indulgence issue that we we talked about. But what I wanted you to see is the position of Germany in all of this. Right. Being away from the mainstream, already, being conditioned by all kinds of ideas, some of them theological concepts, like Dr. George had already talked about, and I mentioned very briefly and and others new things that are going on. The result of that. The result of that is that you get a very diverse reformation almost from the beginning. You'll find if you do any of this research and primary work, at least almost from the very beginning, what you'll find is that people deviate from Luther, almost from the word go. They do. They love and respect him. He is widely considered to be a prophet. And I'll get into that in just a moment. But they have their own ideas. So diversity is is almost inbred into the Reformation from its initiation right from the beginning. And maybe that helps explain something else. And that's why Protestantism is so diverse and why it always seems to fragment into more and more groups.
[00:12:25] Well, my point is that it was like that from the very first day, even in Luther's time. And we'll get we'll talk about how that happened in just a moment. My take on Luther and I'll just mention this and then move on is that Luther is a semi aware revolutionary. He knows that he's doing some things that are new and challenging and risky. And at the same time, he's also a transitional theologian because he expresses beliefs that were already there in part. He does some new things with them, but he picks up a lot of old pieces and then makes something different out of them. That makes sense to you. Okay. Now, let's take a look. First, let's let's take a look at Germany and take a look at the political milieu. Who said that? Oh, well, where's Dr. Welton? I need him. Because his milieu, the political milieu in Germany, in North Germany, you have in this really short north Germany, you have a lot of insecurity, political insecurity. Let me see if it's on this map. Maybe too hard to see that. You know you can't. And I'm too short. You see all those cities up there in the white spot in Germany, up in here. If you could see it, there are more national borders than there are cities listed up there. Germany, you know, Germany didn't become one country until 1870. It's incredibly diverse. There's almost political chaos going on out there. I think the the sense that I get from North German rulers in particular is that they are really ruling over a frontier kind of wild West provinces, kind of out on the fringe and on their own. They deeply resent being trifled with or meddled with. There are only two powers strong enough to meddle with these German princes.
[00:14:40] One is the papacy and the other one is the imperial diet, which is the the government of the Holy Roman Emperor. Those two are the only two that that are conceivably capable of bothering them. And in both cases, the only reason they would bother them is to raise taxes is for money. So there's a built in animosity on the part of the Germans, along with this real sense of independence, both of which are very important because Luther slips right into that period of time. You know, when he is able to survive because he is sheltered and protected by German princes that really hate the pope's guts, mostly because they you know, they really don't want the interference from from Rome. And they also resent the holy Roman emperor who is who is knit very tightly to the to the pope. Luther comes who comes into Germany at a point where he's able to exploit that. I don't think he does that on purpose. I just think it happened that way because that's the way God brought it about. But the consequence of it is that he is allowed to begin the reform movement, and then he is sheltered in 1521 when he is excommunicated and he is allowed to keep that movement alive and all of the time that people are hunting for him. The printing presses are running constantly. And the effect of that is that all that reform material is getting pumped into Germany by the tens of thousands. There's so much written material. It's a revolution that took place, you know. And when Gutenberg is in his or his office, pope off that press machine came into being in the late part of the 1400 that revolutionized the world. The Reformation is partly the result of that.
[00:16:45] Of Luther. Luther coming in the right place at the right time where he could have this political sheltering and where his his followers could saturate the public with written material. 100 years before that, it would never have happened because the only control of media was the church at the time. But by the early part of the 16th century, Luther has a great advantage. Those presses are working and they're run by Germans. Then if I have any questions while we're going along here, I'm really not a you know, when I teach a kind of an interactive and ask questions and do all of that. I thought I was covering some new stuff, so I decided I'd lecture a little more, but I'd be happy to answer questions or plow into things if you've got any. Yeah, you are. Yes. Yes. There was not nearly as much as there was after, you know, and you can see old woodcuts of Luther with the well, you know, take somebody with the guts to do this and then and then things take off, but. Yeah, you did. Yeah, you did. There was a lot of political satire out there. And even people like Rasmus, who were really too polite. They're writing. They're writing there. There's just not a lot of respect, I think, personally, for the papacy at this time. And you see it reflected in the popular literature a lot. I'm glad you asked that, because one thing that you find in reformation, though, is that the popular I mean, the population at large, you know, the common people, there is such a thing did not slavishly copy these reformers either. You'll see them reinterpreting it in the popular literature for themselves all of the time. Okay. So political milieu, what we have is a place of shelter for Luther's ideas, basically some place where his ideas can breathe and begin to grow.
[00:18:55] Okay, the religious milieu. Let's take a look at some of the religious background. You've already talked a lot about that. So I have no intention of going back there and boring you with all of the same details that Dr. George fascinated you with. One thing I'd like to mention about Germany is that Germany was an excellent shelter for questionable practices. Germany was an excellent shelter for questionable religious practices. In other words, there were lots of religious beliefs and practices in the Middle Ages that were considered to be maybe questionable. A little uncomfortable. Not not enough to classify them as heresies which would necessitate an inquisition. Not that much. But enough to make people very uncomfortable. Now, in places like Italy, you wouldn't see that happen very often because they were under so much closer control of the church. But way out in Germany, a lot of those ideas could survive longer. Now, that's really important for Luther because it takes the church a couple of years to get their act together in going after Luther. You know what we think of what you and I think of as Roman Catholic Church has changed a great deal. We think of it now in terms of rigid beliefs, canon laws and all that sort of thing. But in the Middle Ages before the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had very little definition. There were all kinds of strange things going on within the church. And I'll talk about a couple of those in a moment that were tolerated because there wasn't this strict understanding of what's in and what's out. They didn't have it. So you were allowed to to express some of those things as long as you didn't, as long as you didn't challenge the pope directly.
[00:20:56] That was kind of important. As long as you didn't question the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the church, you could get away with an awful lot. And the further away from Rome you were, the easier it was to do. Luther is able to exploit that. You have religious and theological diversity. The way I explain that is that it is a conformity that is lightly observed. There is conformity, but it's very lightly observed. People. People don't really worry that much about crossing their T's and dotting the I's. The diversity is tolerated. And you saw that in Luther's own province. That that the government there in Saxony tolerated him even when he did things that were uncomfortable to them. They still let him go, you know, for, you know, Duke, George, Duke. Frederick had large collections of relics. Well, Luther basically said those were worthless. Frederick did nothing about it. In fact, when it was brought to his attention, he he more or less basically said, well, you know, he's still doing a good job. Leave him alone. In other words, what I'm trying to tell you is that the phenomenon that you might not have seen somewhere else, he was in the right place at the right time. You have more diversity. You have observant houses promoting Nominalism, the Via Moderne and a resurgent Augustinian ism. So you've got the observant houses. We already talked about that last time. You have mendicant utopianism. I don't think we talked about that. You have mendicant and observance. Remember the observance of the very strict monks that are trying to crank down the the rules, regulations, the standards and take them back to their to where they were originally. They're reacting against some corruption inside of the monastic houses. The mendicant are the preaching orders.
[00:23:30] There are orders of monks that go out and do itinerant preaching, basically. Many of those picked up an eschatological idea called a euphemism, which consisted of a lot of millennial speculation and apocalyptic ism. Now, I'm going to talk in just a bit about about Joachim and what he did just just a write down man to get your Kim ism for now. And we'll get to what he's talking about in just a moment. Yeah. Oh, sure. We set this up. Yeah. Well, okay, let me tell you about this guy. You are Kim of for a. He started off as a Cistercian monk in Calabria, in Italy, which is in southern Italy. And I guess we'd better not go down there too much or we'll never get out of here. Joachim Fiore, though, came up with very innovative and scatological ideas. One of the things that he did, I guess you might as well just tell you now, one of the things that he did was he correlated history in the Bible. So now lots of you all do that now yourself. But when he did it in the 12th century, it had been done before, but it wasn't very common because the majority of the church was Augustinian and it followed Augustinian eschatology. It believed that we were living in the age right now and that there was no way to predict what would happen next. And there was no correlation between current events, recent history and the Book of Revelation or the Book of Daniel or anything else. There was no direct correlation. Okay, When you walk in comes along, he and a couple of other people basically proposed the idea that there is a correlation. And what it does is it fuels this intense interest in trying to match up the scripture with current events Lou.
[00:26:01] We do now, you know, before I went off to the Gulf War, you know, all the newspapers had shifted from the Antichrist being the Soviet Union to being Saddam Hussein and finally saying it was hot at the time. Echoes of echoes if you walk. I'll tell you more about what he said, because he actually adds a few things to that that make him rather important. But maybe that give you a little background on who the guy was. In addition to that, we had the van and take what we talked about, and that was primarily at the larger universities. You had the DeVos devotion. Moderna You guys know what that was? Moderna Devotion, otherwise known as the Brethren of the Common Life. It was a theory that it was a lay movement. It was a movement of lay people primarily in northern Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. And its purpose was to get people to go back to apostolic simplicity. But these were laypeople, so it's not the same as entering a monastery. But but these laypeople would get together and form their own communities to worship. They primarily focused on mysticism. So I remember when Dr. George talked about the mystics like Paola and the theological Germanic and that stuff, and Meister Eckhart, the place where that where those mystical ideas caught on was primarily in the brethren of the common life. That's an important that's an important fact, because the brethren of the common Life started schools for children, for young people all over Germany. Luther went to one. You see what I'm trying to knit together here, there, all these different ideas going on. And Luther bumps into lots of these things. So does everyone else in the country. But they don't all react the same way he did Wolf.
[00:28:09] We'll talk about why German humanism was centered around Erfurt. Remember, where did Luther go to law school effort? Center of humanism. So we have a political milieu in Germany, kind of a frontier area that's open to ideas like Luther's and help shelter him. You have a religious milieu, which is which shows this kind of staggering diversity of ideas. Loads and loads of new ideas. A tremendous religious vitality in Germany. Next factor is a climate of religious anticipation. Luther arrives on the scene. In a climate of religious anticipation. Religious expectation. The medieval church. Some of the medieval church head, I would say, maybe lost a little that sense of the the imminent return of Christ, especially among the scholastics. Christ wasn't coming back any time soon. Everybody knew that. On the other hand, within Germany, there is this tremendous movement of anticipation. People are expecting things to happen. That's what Eugene Peterson says. When you don't know whether bombs or stars are falling from the sky. It's that kind of excitement that that existed where where Luther was. Some of the anticipation came from people like Peter Oriole. And a guy, Nicholas of Lira. Who were Franciscan monks and scholars. They were Bible expositor. In the 14th century. Who basically said that you can locate history within the Book of Revelation. You can do it with with some accuracy. And as soon as you say that, what are people going to do? Well, come on. They're going to look for it, Right? It's natural to do that if that if you believe that. That's a true statement. Rupert Deutsch. You don't need to write these names down. I don't think Rupert at Deutsch and Ottawa freezing were two archbishops in Germany about 300 years before Luther's time that had written long histories, long histories of the church.
[00:31:14] But the tail end of their book projected into the future. In other words, they weren't strictly histories. They went beyond history into prediction. Joachim of Fiora Let me pick him back up and finish him off. What you're talking basically said was that one day Christ would come back in triumph. Okay. I think anybody has any problem with that. Christ would one day return in triumph, but that triumph would follow an intense struggle against the corrupt papacy. Now, I want you to hear what I'm saying about you asking, because if you listen hard, you'll hear the Reformation. Not that you can believe the things of the Reformation, but he talked in a way that that people could identify with later. He said that we'd have an intense struggle against the corrupt papacy that would be fought by monastic forces. It would be fought by monastic forces led by the two witnesses in Revelation Chapter 11, because they going to rise up and battle this corrupt papacy. They would die for it. They would be martyred just as they are in the revelation texts. But after their death, they would be replaced by an angelic pope who would come and reform the earth. And following the triumph of the church and reform of the church, Christ would return. His ideas filtered out into society, the common people to the church at large. And what it basically did was it gave those people, the people out there in the in the communities in North Germany, the sense that something was coming. Something would change. Your walk in was very influential because a lot of his prophet, he didn't call himself a prophet, by the way, but a lot of what of his writings became considered prophecy. And they filtered out into the community and were widely copied.
[00:33:29] They were also altered and they sort of began this would be a good word for it, an avalanche of prophetic literature that came as a consequence of that. When Luther shows up in 15, well, he shows up early in 1517, but when Luther nails the theses on the door. Germany has been flooded with thousands of prophecies. I'll talk a little bit about what what Luther thought about those. But but suffice it to say that people like you can create this air of anticipation. Germany had been the scene of earlier prophets. Now, I'm not asking you to believe that their prophet. I don't particularly believe the prophets either. But. But it's important to know that the people did. People like Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th century, Elizabeth, have shown now in the 12th century, widely prophesied all over Germany. They exhibited what everyone considered to be a prophetic gift. And they conditioned people to expect that. Of great religious leaders. Great religious leaders. You see the same thing in Scotland in the 1560s where where churches come to expect that prophetic gift. They expect it. They correlated to the person of that great religious figure. And that's what they did here. So they were used to seeing people like Hildegard a thing and an Elizabeth have shown now, and there's so many, many more of those that had made earlier prophecies that were accepted by the church. You see a revival of sibling prophecies, which were prophecies that basically came out of the old Byzantine church, and they start to circulate wildly, widely. A number of heretical movements start and end in Germany, particularly particularly around Cologne. Now I'm kind of bombarding you with a lot of a lot of this junk, but what I'm trying to get you to see is that the Germany that Luther pops into is not a stable place.
[00:35:58] It's unstable. It is loosely controlled. It's enormously diverse. And it has all kinds of traditions that some of which affect Luther. My real point is that they affect everybody else. In other words, they affect the way other people hear. Luther. Why? Because all those ideas are still out there. Finally. Oh, by the way, the those prophecies are powerful because of the printing press. We mentioned that earlier. They're often correlated to astrology. You know, some of the reformers were astrologers. Melanchthon was one. Luther used to make fun of him all the time. He used to rib him for for his fascination with what do you call those thing horoscopes and all that stuff. So I think it's a little bit of work. Well, it's kind of a it's sort of a funny thing. You see a lot of that happened in the 1415 hundreds. Right. Just prior to the scientific revolution and during the Renaissance. And what a lot of people like Mélenchon thought was not not only can God be seen in the stars, which they believed with all their heart, in other words, that God had had created tableaus, images, visions, stories and truths that could be seen in the stars. But they also thought that this was scientific. The meticulous examination of these things was scientific. It was. It was worthy. It was not diabolique ism or witchcraft or any of that other stuff. I think there are three enrollments going through into that. And yes, from the uneducated. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah. Yeah, that's a good observation. Hey, last group of people that I want to talk about before I get to Luther himself are the revolutionaries. It's always a dangerous thing to talk about these people. Revolutionaries are.
[00:38:19] Millennials or millenarian people that are looking for this this sudden return of of Christ. They're apocalyptic in their nature, but they add something to what a lot of those other people that thought Christ was coming back in a day and that before that happens, that the church is going to have this tremendous turmoil. And most of those people were passive about it. And the reason they were passive was they didn't think they could do anything about it. They'd have no effect on what God had already planned to do. These revolutionaries are not like them. The revolutionaries believe that what they could do is overthrow the current world order. And hasten. The return of Christ by establishing a millennial kingdom for him. You have a revolution. You overthrow the old order. In some cases you kill the old order and everybody that represents it. You establish the millennial kingdom and then Christ returns and triumph. All those people are out there. Hmm. Yeah, that's right. The Montana agreement. Yeah. See, all of those people are working when Luther shows up. They're all out there. Well, let me. Let me just tell you what I think about Luther for a couple of moments. I want to take a break. The words you want to do here. I call Luther the apocalyptic Luther. You don't have to. But that that's the way I referred to him. And I'll I'll tell you why in just a moment. I'd describe him as an apocalyptic loser. There are so many losers. You know, every every book you pick up, every biography that you read has a different Luther. They all have something that that that they think exemplifies him more than anything else. For me, it's it's his apocalyptic nature. And I'll talk about that.
[00:40:36] I may not be seeing everything, but I kind of wanted to give you a feeling for a little better feel for what Luther was like. And I think apocalyptic helps explain that. Let me read you a quote. Here's Luther. The last day is at hand. My calendar has run out. I know nothing in my scriptures. All the firmament and the course of the heavens are slowing down in approaching the end. Remember, they he believe, first of all, the Earth was at the center. He was not a Copernican and that everything in the world was rotating around him. But it's all slowing down now. It's all slowing down and approaching the end for a year. The Elbe that the river has remained at the same level. And this too, is important. Luther was looking for the signs. Now, he didn't think you could predict them. I'll get into that too. He did not think that, but he had this incredible sense of anticipation. But this was the time just prior to the end. And I believe that he modeled his ministry on what he on his on this sense of of apocalyptic wisdom and maybe maybe a prophetic ideal. He believed that that he was living in a period of time that would show that would shortly result in a short period of terror and torment just prior to the return of Christ. He thought that we were on the brink of the precipice. We were ready to fall off. It wouldn't take very long and it would last very long, but it would be horrific while we were in the middle of it. He saw absolutely no triumph for the established church in all of this. The church would not would not be heroes. The church would not save the day.
[00:42:39] He never believed that. He saw that the Church of God ultimately has three enemies that God was using to chastise his people. One was Rome, the Church of Rome. The second was the Ottoman Empire. The Turks. And the third didn't start out this way, but ended up this way was the Jews or the Jews. Initially, he tried to proselytize them and convert them, but when they refused, he began to see them as as part of this prophetic picture leading up to the end, their rejection of Christ, what he thought we needed to do, you and I, as members of the church, was to gird up for battle. We should be militant. We need never have a passive faith. We should always be active, always fighting evil, always standing up for God and following his lead. The sense of anticipation of Christ's return. Luther believed, should lead, therefore, to us having widespread repentance and faith. They Now, this should fit in for you, I hope, with Theology of the Cross that Dr. George talked about justification by faith. All I've tried to do is explain why Luther had such an edge to it. He was not a dispassionate theologian writing these things in books. He was a passionate reformer who believed that he was living on the edge of that last time. And that Christians had to stand up and confront evil. I believe that's one of the reasons why Luther was so intolerant of other ideas. He did have a problem. I think his problem was he couldn't conceive of anybody believing something else. And B, Right. I mean, maybe he could, but I couldn't see it in his writing. He always thought he was right. And he saw himself in this deadly battle between God and the devil.
[00:45:08] And it was all coming to an end soon. This was not polite theological discourse. This is a reason why he thought Erasmus that he initially respect him, but then he has nothing but disdain for him. When I first started corresponding, his discussions with him started out polite. And then, you know, we we we move it into systematic theology and discuss it that way. But you can't do that with Luther. You can't do that with Calvin, either. Both of these guys are pastors. They're both pastors. And they're pastoring rough bunches. Used Luther. Luther, I think, was a standard Augustinian, which, if I had to put him in a category, would have been much more of an animal than anything else. Yeah. Do you know Mary? No. No. Well, that depends on who you ask. You know, the guy that I was learning some of this stuff from the University of Arizona, Heiko Oberman, would say, Oh, yes, definitely. So maybe I'm talking out of my hat, but I kind of don't think that. I think when you read the balance of his writing, I think it's more a sense of love and gratitude than anything else that motivates Luther. In fact, I know that's true because Luther starts out with this fear and hatred of God almost. And he moves to freedom and he moves from that to freedom. The one one image of Luther you may miss because he gets so angry sometimes is joy. Luther is a very joyous guy. He's really happy guy. I think most of the time, other than his health, I think he just plows along and does stuff. I wish I could. Anybody else have a question? Does that address your question of development and development? Oh, I think it's coming steeped in that Augustinian background.
[00:47:19] I think it's very much it very much conforms to his to his education as an Augustinian. They're very, very common. Yeah. That aspect of his ministry, I didn't find to be all that innovative, the, you know, the scatological approach, not particularly, but it's important and it puts the edge. Luther's got an edge. One one thing about Luther's that I hadn't talked to you yet about was. Has to do with what What my own doctoral dissertation is going is doing now. And I'm not going to bore you with all that stuff. But what I've been doing is looking at the Reformation diversity from the standpoint of how different reformers viewed what a prophet was. So what I'd like to do now is talk about Luther in terms of what he saw his ministry as. My overall comment is that Luther modeled his ministry on his prophetic ideal. Luther thought there were two kinds of prophet, and I need to tell you that Luther never, never, never claimed to be a prophet. He never said that. Unfortunately, he's a whole lot more ambiguous than that, too. But but you'll see that in moment. The first kind of prophet was a teacher and proclaim or preparing people for the coming Messiah or a teacher and proclaiming. Another way of saying that would be a teacher and. And explainer. That's the kind of profit you see more in the seasons. Chapter four, verse 11 and Romans Chapter 12, verses six through eight, which ties prophecy to the exposition, the understanding exposition of Scripture. That's one kind of prophet, according to Luther. The second kind is in admonish or who restrains evil and encourages people to godliness. The first one is a teacher and a proclaim her a teacher and proclaim of preparing people from the Messiah.
[00:49:45] This is more of a teaching position. The second one is an admonish or who restrains evil and encourages good. The voice crying in the wilderness. While Luther never called himself the prophet and even denied it, at least on one occasion. Luther also identified himself with that second role very closely. Less of a teacher than a pro climber. He referred to himself as Ezekiel on a number of occasions, I might say many occasions. And even though he denied being a prophet directly, he constantly identified himself with Old Testament prophets. And in fact, he saw his world parallel very closely to Israel. You know. He was very cautious on spiritual gifts. You only see him talk about that very sporadically. Never at length. He believed that predictive prophecy was rare, not nonexistent. It was not what we would call a secessionist. It was rare. But prophecy is the explanation of Scripture was not. In other words, he didn't see God gifting a lot of people to do predictive prophecy. But he did see God gifting people in the accurate exposition of Scripture a lot, and that was really his focus. Last point on Luther himself. Luther was a New Testament Christian. The New Testament Christian. He was an apocalyptic preacher, but he's also the New Testament Christian. And this is a point maybe you hadn't heard before, but it's kind of interesting. I think that Luther gave five sermons in the New Testament for every sermon he preached in the Old Testament. Now, I'm not endorsing his, you know, the ratios or anything, but I wanted you to know that that he gave five New Testament sermons for every Old Testament sermon that he gave. And that's rather interesting when you contrast him with some of the other preachers.
[00:52:18] Thomas Munter, for example. I know that that's in Dr. George, his book. And and I think it's probably in the Luther text also, Thomas. Was rather typical of preachers that were popping up in the 1520s in Germany. His ratios were months. Or as we look at every sermon that we have in print in months, he wrote, 53% of those are in the New Testament. 46% are in the Old Testament and 1% was in the Apocrypha. Yes, that makes for a good stuff, huh? Well, okay, Mike, to comment, first comment is you can't read back into the past words that only mean something now. So you can't use the word Christian reconstructionist very effectively. So you've got to be careful with that. The other one is you'll see some parallel. You hear well, you'll see more. And if we can get through this, you'll see more of them. That's a that's actually a good question. That's the kind of I think that's the kind of comparing it's good to do. Okay, here's the board. Here's my point with the New Testament. Old Testament. Luther subordinated his apocalyptic impulse to his crystal centric framework, that crystal centric framework that Dr. George meticulously built for us in here. I believe, had more prominence in his work than the apocalyptic element. The apocalyptic system is always in the background. Always in the background. But but Luther was always the New Testament preacher. Always, always pushing for for the gospel. So you see both. But I still think that Christo centricity was more important. For instance, Luther said, I don't pay attention to either drains or signs. I have the word, and I let that suffice. That's Luther. Does he think bonds and stars may be falling from the sky soon? Yeah, but does that what does that mean, locked into this kind of speculative Christianity? No.
[00:54:52] But he's very firmly grounded in his crystal centric view. Okay. He basically said that predictive prophecy was unnecessary because it really only pointed to Christ and Christ had already come. So what's the point now that Luther's pitch? Miracles occasionally happen, but what people really need is the Bible posited in the blind. Can God do these things? Yes. Does he? Yes. Does he do them a lot? And not most of the time. And are they that important and not as important as the word and not as important as the gospel message? He's a conservative in the sense and that's kind of my summary of this section. He's a conservative in the sense that his Augustinian Christology and eschatology emasculated the idea of a continuing revelation conservative about that. On the other hand, he has a revolutionary influence with his emphasis on free grace, and that was revolutionary at the time, because that's contradicting the whole idea of sin terraces, you know that you've got this divine spark that's within you, the the, the scholastics theology of the these endless discussions over what kind of grace there is, this undying grace and this congruous grace and all of this sort of stuff. And, and you contribute to some of it, you know, God does his part and. Luther says No. Three. That's revolution in my in my mind. That's revolutionary for emphasis. So he's both he's conservative in some aspects and he's revolutionary in other. He is a man of his time, but he's more revolutionary than most of us. In many ways, his apocalyptic schism forged. Hanging in the air is a populist, apocalyptic schism forge the revolutionary ethos around a powerful prophetic paradigm. In other words, he took he took this conservative no, he took this revolutionary message of the gospel of free grace.
[00:57:22] And he tied it through this idea of what prophecy was and what a prophet was. This need to proclaim the truth, and it revolutionized the world. He wrote, Who knows? God may have called me up and raised me up. They ought to be afraid, lest they despise God in me. I also think Luther was a tease. You'll see why in just a second. Do we not read in the Old Testament that God generally raised up only one prophet at a time, even though they had many disciples called children of the prophets, God never allowed more than one man alone to preach and reduce the people. I wonder who he's talking about. I do not claim to be a prophet, but I do say that the more they scorn me and the higher they regard themselves, the more reason they have to fear that I may be a prophet. I told you, he's a tease back and forth. And even if I am not a prophet, as far as I'm concerned, I'm sure that the word of God is with me and not with them. So, Luther. Right. You know, there were many masses in the world in the days of vellum, but God only spoke through bedlam there. Luther, Luther, Luther. We got to love. Okay. Now, what were the reaction? What were the reactions to Luther? Now, this is interesting, too, I think. What was the reaction to Luther? You see, you've got one Luther there and that's Luther, but you've got other Luther's starting to show up. And those are the Luther's other people thought. You have followers and friends of Luther. What did they think of Luther in his message? Well, the first comment I have is that they were not copies of Luther Self-Identity.
[00:59:29] In other words, they did not see Luther the same way Luther saw Luther. They loved Luther and they followed Luther, but they followed in their way. And they thought of him their way. Track literature of Luther often portrayed him as Daniel in the lion's den. Except the Lions aren't laying down. He's usually clubbing them. Oh, that's also Luther. You have the in combustible. Luther. The Luther in the fiery furnace. Unable to be burned up, no matter what is brought to bear against him. And they have pictures of Luther in the fiery furnace walking around unharmed. A 1523 track has Luther as an angel and the prophet of God. You know, these tracks are literature, but they're also artwork. You've got woodcuts and that sort of stuff, portraying him as an angel and a prophet of God. 1524 Broadsheet of Luther shows him as Moses leading the faithful out of Egypt. That was a real popular image of him in the 1520. All told, between 1552 and 1559, a decade after his death, there were five large collections of Luther's prophecies that were published. In fact, people began to call him not just a reformer, but a prophet, and they started to collect his prophecies. I've got one. I've got a copy of one at my house. It's got 150 prophecies attributed to Martin Luther that was published in 1559. Right now, the reason I mention all that is it's not particularly trivial. I hope what I'm trying to say is that that Luther Luther in his lifetime was a complex man, a brilliant man and an ambiguous man in some ways. And his followers and his friends picked up on that and they created a Luther out of that. That was never quite the same thing that Luther said.
[01:01:43] Always a little different. Remember what I said? The reform are these little streams flowing underneath the surface and they occasionally collide into each other and bring up. Everybody's got their own ideas. Nobody is a slavish follower of Martin Luther. He wouldn't have had it any way. He didn't want them to. And we never did get that. So when you talk about a Luther in reform, it's my opinion, my view that that it is not the story of one man and then all of the deviance from it. It's this flowing together of separate minds and heart. And when they got together, they sprang up. And you get a movement about his enemies, Protestant enemies. We're going to skip the Catholics. You all know about that. And that in your text and so on. Protestant enemies. He had he had quite a few. He caused a lot of that himself, I think, with his own big mouth. You all know about colloquy of Marburg. 1529. You know, the church gets together to hammer out this agreement so that we can all march in the same direction at the same time. 15 simple points to agree on. They agree on the. 414. They blew the last point, the 15th point, and it divided the church permanently. Luther King's Protestant enemies often started as friends. His enemies often started out as friends of his. And the reason for that is that they were attracted to one another because of relatively narrow interests that they shared. For instance, that guy Thomas Munster, I put up on the board, Thomas Munster gets his first church because Luther recommends him for the position in DiCicco in 1524. He and Luther exchanged correspondence. They liked each other. Both of them had widely read in the Mystics, and they had and they agreed early on around 15, 16, 15, 17.
[01:04:01] They seem to agree on lots of things. The problem was they were agreeing on a very narrow field of things, and that primarily had to do with mysticism. What I'm getting at is that by 15, 21 or so, one year after this guy shows up at his new pastorate, he's causing trouble and he's already beginning to butt heads with Luther over doctrine because they had gotten together for narrow reasons and other factors began to loom, began to loom large, larger than the right. In other words, their differences began to grow larger than their similarities. Does that make sense? Well, you see, that happened over and over and over with Luther. Lots of people are attracted over narrow interests and then breakup. You could see those splits coming before they happened. You could see them coming. For example, Munster is educated in the villa and secure. He goes to the university system. He goes, Delighted. Luther, on the other hand, is primarily educated in the Villa Moderne. They have a completely different philosophy that they're working from. Luther has an Augustinian eschatology, which is part of it, which is part of the baggage that he bears for being an Augustinian monk. Moon Sir, on the other hand, this is deeply influenced by Joachim of Fiore. So they have two different focuses. He carries a book around with him that has prophecies of Joachim, of the aura, which which was actually a forgery. But he thought they were prophecies of Joachim, also a collection of Hildegard of Bingen prophecies, and Elizabeth of Chanel's prophecies. And Luther would have had nothing to do with that stuff that had gone too far. Luther wouldn't do that. And you begin to see the different focus for each man emerging as the correspondence continues.
[01:06:13] You start seeing the divisions start to form and begin to break them apart. Monsour and his group of followers in Civic L, which is also in Saxony and not far from Wittenberg. His followers were called His Vic, Our Prophets. There were five of them. They in Münster together are advocates of revolutionary change, but also violent change. Luther parted company with them over that issue. So they got together over something fairly narrow. And then you see them start to split apart again and they begin to write against each other and complain about one another. And I had lots of quotes, but I can't even read them in here. I mean, I know we're all adults and stuff like that, but you really don't want to hear some of it. Pretty. Pretty much. Thomas Mercer is the only guy I know that was actually more rude than Martin Luther of the reformers is the only one I know that can actually outdo him when it came to some of these nasty comments. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Now you can get away with this kind of stuff and Puritans and all that, but not not these reformers who rough their moons or claim to be a prophet in the high medieval fashion. He believed he was a prophet. He called himself a prophet. He had a prophetic gift. He didn't tease them like Luther did. I mean, he came right out and said it. He focused on the idea of continuing revelation. And the more we focus on that, the more nervous Luther got, because Luther saw him beginning to deviate from Scripture, which he did. But he was very influential in Saxony between 15, 20 and 1525 when when he was tortured and finally burned, that burned at the stake.
[01:08:27] Most of his followers were peasants. Not all of them, but most of them. Farriers, weavers and miners were members of his parish church. And the. He got kicked out by the city officials. Moved five more times before he was put to death. But every time he went to pastures, that peasant class of people. And he would raise up support. He began to use words like Antichrist with Luther, not with the Pope. One thing about my monetary that I like to mention is and here's another revolutionary aspect of Luther that comes out when Luther is different because he focuses on this free grace and that is revolutionary and it's fine. Mercer really represents the way things used to be. Very well. Let me let me illustrate this for you. He believed that you would gain the gift of the Holy Spirit only after self mortification, only after you mortified your body, after you had tried to put it to death and punish yourself, would with God, anoint you with power from the Holy Spirit? He wrote, If anyone is to be filled with the good things of God which never pass away, then he must submit the long discipline and then be made empty by his suffering and cross. It is the fear of God which makes way for the Holy Spirit. Thomas Sir, you see, the difference is this representing that old medieval mysticism, Luther's is representing something fresh, something new and different. Or maybe something very old, just as old as Scripture. Now, that's the difference between the two. Their relationships soured as all of their differences were published and were published and put in print. Instead of things just being kept on a personal level of writing letters, people would get a hold of their correspondence, usually because the guys would give it to them and then they'd publish it and it would get all over everything.
[01:10:50] Moon Sir, incited the burning of a marian chapel, the chapel to the Virgin Mary in on Monday, Thursday 1524. And that caused Luther to erupt. He'd had it by this time. And he openly condemns both Moon Ser and all of his followers. Luther remarked, in fact, about this, saying that the devil had raised a new prophet intent on pursuing aims through force. And he was talking about Moon, Shaw and all of his followers. Well, I've got a long story about all that. But the bottom line is that Moon, sir, and his followers, the that Luther called a farmer, I you know, the fanatics were all killed between 15, 24 and 1525 when when these peasants all rose up and rebelled against their masters in, in Germany, in Switzerland, really throughout the Holy Roman Empire. You see this rebellion and it's put down brutally. And that's the last we see of Monsour. He recant, but only because he's tortured and then he's put to death. But what I kind of wanted to show you, and I guess I'm going to have to leave the rest of this behind because we're out of time. Is that with Luther? You have an extraordinary complex human being that rises out of a complex setting with lots of different factors. And he's speaking to people that also rise out of complexity so that his ideas from time to time catch on with people in a very powerful way. And some of those stay with him. Some of them stay with him and some of them don't. Some of them go their own way. So you see deviation almost from the very beginning. And what you also see in Luther is this kind of truth that these two factors balancing each other like bookends.
[01:13:00] I think this gospel revolutionary and this apocalyptic preacher working hand in hand. And that was the question.