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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Luther – Regensburg – Justification (Part 4 of 5)

This continues from Part 3 in the series (Table of Contents – Part 1) started on Pastor Hermann Fick's Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther book and the Article of Justification at the Diet of Regensburg.  As Fick relates, this is an extremely important series of events in the life of Luther and the Lutheran Church.  It has application for today!
And so I present the balance (from Part 2) of Luther's letter to the embassy of princes sent from Regensburg to attempt to get Luther to make agreement:

Dr. Martin Luther's Answer 
to the Princes John and George von Anhalt 
on Previous Advertisement.
June 12, 1541 (St. L. v. 17, pgs 678-682)
Translated by BackToLuther w/ Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, PROMT
(continued from Part 2)

   4.  Thus I have for myself in the article of Justification the defect that the teaching of Free Will [liberum arbitrium] is injected into it, and the saying is introduced to St. Paul in Galatians 5:6 : Faith by love is effective [Fides by dilectionem efficax est] which is yet so that nothing rhymes. Since St. Paul speaks not: Faith in love justifies [Fides by charitatem justificat] but they (as I must provide) think that because their opinion is wrong, that thus he speaks: Faith is active through love, or is effective [Fides per charitatem operatur, vel efficaxest].
   5.  Thirdly: Because now my most gracious and merciful lords of Brandenburg through E.F.G. [?] desire from me that I would give counsel yet with such a measure taken with the Ten Articles to ensure that the diet would not come off without fruit: such would I do willingly from the heart when the matters were formed so that I could give my recommendation.  But I have also not seen all of the Ten Articles like the theologians of the other side should have provided the lower placed ones.  But as they posed those of ours, these have I seen, these I'm pleased with, and are the truth.
   6.  So where his Imperial Majesty cannot bring that side to a right serious settlement, that is working in vain with them; [col. 681] for so that we accept from both sides alike the first Four Articles so provided, so we remain in the Ten Articles unsettled.  So are under the Ten Articles such which strive publicly and clearly against the First Commandment, that one therein can neither dispute nor suffer anything else.
   7.  I can also not allow that some cause is present which would like to excuse the toleration against God, meanwhile no weakness of the authorities exists yet of that half that attends to the office of the Church and Ministry but on the other side exists pure deliberate tyranny.  They would also never be strong and want to remain in perpetual tolerance and defend those articles as right.  However, we want those articles condemned (as I afterwards said E.F.G.), while they know their mistake and still deem right to defend for the sake of their mistake.  These also would abuse such tolerance so that they want to keep their people (if it likely well reported the right doctrine and announced pieces realize for an error with right basis in Scripture, and would strongly) in such Articles constantly held caught and connected.
   8.  Even though we act with their weak who have not heard God's Word and have the Sacrament in only one form; for example, those which regard from weakness that they would have to tell in confession all their sin, for a while could probably carry patience until they would become also strong.  And those who would not be able to become strong, the first Four Articles would be then also preached to them surely and clearly on the other side, and particularly the article on Justification.
   9.  However where his Imperial Majesty would announce and provide that the first Four Articles are preached absolutely purely and clearly, and should be held as Christianthat would take the poison from the Ten Articles, and teachers and listeners would soon by the everyday practice in such doctrine, and from day to day become stronger, and thereby the Ten Articles must fall from themselves as has also happened with us.  Then in such a case one should not throw away the weak, as [page 682] impure children, as St. Paul says in Romans 14:1 : Support the weak in faith. [Infirmum in fide suscipite.]  Since children can be quite impure, but the bath must be pure and remain so, and not become dirty by ten leprous articles;  just as Christ suffers the apostles in many places, the condemnable made whitewashed, where they were not fixed on him and would allow daily to have to clean and teach them.
   10.  But when the four articles should not purely go out and be taught, also no such preachers are placed wherein the other side carried these four articles in their sermon: so with them the tolerance would become a perpetual hardness, as I have touched upon before, and also their people who were still weak will never be strong.  Then, as St. Paul says (Romans 10:14-15): How shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach, except they be sent etc. [Quomodo audient sine praedicante, quomodo vero praedicabunt, nisi mittantur etc.] Therefore also no Christian settlement can be made between us.
   11.  But if the four articles were admitted to be preached purely, so could his Imperial Majesty in the pronouncement on the Ten Articles make perhaps a comfortable appendix, namely:
Although Your majesty was not able to bring settlement, at the same time it would be hoped that the first Four Articles would be preached purely and approved by the other side, that the settlement of the Ten Articles  from the clear account of the Four Articles, and the same application through the preaching would also soon settle themselves.
But where the Four Articles are not admitted to be preached purely on the other side, so it would be made public that they do not want to have an upright settlement: That can have no place of tolerance.
   12.  That I humbly want to have indicated by my gracious lords [E.F.G.?] on their attachment in writing. This is my concern.
   13.  But after the discussion also shall have begun that what is settled by the Six, to all sides should be brought, thus I do not know how to separate myself from the ranks of this side thereby, also do not want to have myself separated.  For my gracious lords [E.F.G.?] I am quite willing and ready. Dated June 12, 1541.
------   End of letter  ---------------------------------------

How is this subject matter important for today? ... as President Matthew Harrison likes to say "here and now"?  I will cover this in my next Part 5.

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