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Friday, January 30, 2015

Martyrs 14: Johann Herrgett-bookseller, a Lutheran

[2018-03-25: fixed broken link(s)]
      This continues from Part 13 (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. — Part 14 presents the essay on Johann Herrgett (or Herrgott), a bookseller. This martyrer was mentioned in Walther's essay on Voes and Esch, but a more detailed account is given below.
      There are some reports on German websites (here and here) that purport to associate Herrgett's martyrdom with some ties to Müntzer and the Anabaptist movement.  Even Philip Schaff seems to follow this notion (search "John Herrgott").  I suspect these are strained attempts and speculative, and probably at best would reflect a confusion on Herrgett's part.  And so I will take C.G. Hofmann's report, the source that Fick used for his book, as authoritative – that Herrgett was indeed martyred as a Lutheran.  Both Fick and C.F.W. Walther judged this to be the case – these two did not accept all the so-called "Church History" emanating from Germany.  —
      Luther distinguishes false "martyrs" from the true ones in his day:
The factious spirits, Anabaptists, etc,  are therefore the most obstinate in that they believe themselves to be vain martyrs, where they are not permitted to have their raging and raving. (StL ed., vol. 10, para. # 76, col. 899, ; not in Am. Ed.)
Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
"And if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all."
(Phil. 2:17)
As Doctor Luther publicly disputed with Dr. Eck at Leipzig in 1519 on several important doctrines of the Christian faith and also once preached, he converted so many from the papal darkness to the blessed light of the Gospel.  This lover of truth dared, in 1524, on the Saturday after Easter, to file a petition with the city council: "that the Council may in one of the churches of the city call Mr. Andreas, who preaches in the convent of St. George in front of St. Peter's gate, and summon him as preacher. The citizenry would give him the salary.  Mr. Andreas was a man who preached God's Word pure and clear, giving rise to no turmoil and always urged obedient toward the authorities."  This petition was signed by 104 citizens by name.  The Council sent the petition to Duke George; but this popish tyrant struck off everything completely and let the citizens know that they had enough preachers, and it was not up to them to elect preachers to their liking.
So the hope of Leipzig was destroyed for the free exercise of religion.  For God had decided in Leipzig first that the evangelical Lutheran doctrine would be sealed with the blood of the holy martyrs before they triumphed publicly over the papacy.  The above-mentioned incident was the one that opened the Duke’s eyes.  He saw that in Leipzig were more followers of the evangelical teachings of Luther than previously believed, and that all his prohibitions notwithstanding the pure religion had been rooted in the hearts of the citizens of Leipzig.  Therefore he attacked it as a faithful servant of the Roman Antichrist with all violence, to exterminate this doctrine from Leipzig.  The first one on which he had enforced a bloody judgment was Johann Herrgett, a Leipzig bookseller. On pain of severe punishment the Duke had forbidden [page 115] Luther's writings and to buy or sell his translation of the New Testament.  But the dear Herrgett obeyed God rather than men.  He had brought all sorts of Lutheran books to Leipzig and sold them secretly.  This secrecy was betrayed.  The Council of Leipzig quickly insured themselves,  putting  him into prison and interrogating him.  And after he was sufficiently convicted, he was transferred to the command of Duke Georg in Leipzig where at the public market before the town hall he was brought from life to death by the sword.  The Lutheran books they found from him were publicly burned in the market.  Certainly Herrgett could easily have saved his life by denial, but as a faithful witness of the Lord Jesus, he was delighted to be offered upon the sacrifice and service of our faith, and thereby to praise the Lord.
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"The Lutheran books they found from him were publicly burned in the market.." 
– Herrgett died as a Lutheran. —  In the next Part 15 is the account of Nicolaus of Antwerp.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Martyrs 13: Lambert Thorn: "your fire my fire"- Luther; Which ending?

      This continues from Part 12 (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. –  Part 13 presents the essay on Lambert [Lampertus] Thorn, who in contrast to Voes and Esch, asked for 4 days to reflect on his situation.  Dear God! how Lambert is more in my comfort zone ... for how many thousands of times have I put off confessing my Saviour before men?  We see by this account a surprising scenario... and a mystery...

What was the fate of Lambert Thorn? Tappert said: "He died in prison five years later, in 1528, without recanting." — Dr. Albert Collver says: "The fate of one of them, Lambert Thorn, is not quite clear.  He remained in prison and was not executed until 1528."  (These may be just doing the common thing of following the editors of the German Weimar Ausgabe (WA).)  —  The St. Louis editor, Stoeckhardt, (footnote) said: "He suffered his martyrdom later than the other two (Voes & Esch)."  — Seckendorf reports that some said Lambert was murdered in prison (see Fick's "Annotations").  —  There is a discussion by both J.G. Walch (here) and De Wette (here) on this matter in the Forewords to their books of Luther's writings.

But ... now read Hermann Fick's account below for a different ending to the story than several of the above.
Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference. Minor edits of spelling, etc.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
Lambert Thorn. [2019-03-22 fix link]
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
(The Lord Jesus, Rev. 2:10.)
To the place of Jakob Praepositus [Jakob Probst], where one would be frightened with persecution for the sake of the Lutheran doctrine and its office, came Lambert Thorn, a learned man, as prior of the Augustinian monastery at Antwerp. But because he also confessed the Lutheran doctrine publicly, he was thrown in a tough prison by the papists together with Heinrich Voes and Johann Esch at Vilvoorde and stripped of his priestly ordination in Brussels.  Yet he was not executed with them since he took time to reflect, and so was led back to prison.  Luther issued the following letter of consolation to him [Jan. 19, 1524 – English translation by Margaret Currie -->> here <<--, pgs 118-119; Tappert Letters snippet here; StL ed., vol. 10, col. 1924 , Letter # 702; De Wette, vol. 2, p. 462-463]:
"Grace and peace in the Lord!  Christ, who is with you my dear brother Lambert, bears witness within me that you have need of my comfort neither by word, nor by writing.  For He suffers and is glorified; He is captive and reigns; He suffers violence and nevertheless triumphs in and with you, having made you just and holy, through the knowledge of Himself, which is hidden from the world, but which He has so richly bestowed upon you. [page 112]
"Thereby you are not only strengthened inwardly by His Spirit in your affliction, but also by the true, salutary example of the two brothers, Heinrich [Voes] and Johannes [Esch] at Brussels in the year 1523 due to constant confession of divine truth.
"Thus both you and they are to me greatly comforting, indeed a sweet savor to the whole of Christendom, and are to the Gospel of Christ a wonderful adornment and jewel.  How would it be for me that I should weigh you down with my cold, feeble consolation?  And who knows why the Lord did not permit you to perish with those two.  Perhaps He spared you that He might do some mighty work through you.
"Therefore I am sincerely refreshed, and rejoice with you, with thanks to the faithful Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given me not only to confess his Word, and graciously granted to taste the first-fruits of his Spirit; but also has left for me to experience and see in the three of you such a rich, glorious prosperity of His grace.
"I might deem this a misfortune, by which one says: I was the first to bring this doctrine to the light of day, for the confessing of which these two were burned, and you are now imprisoned.  But in that I consider myself not worthy for the latter, that I such persecution and tribulation as you three (and God be praised! that others have not suffered and endured) will nevermore be found worthy to suffer persecution and disgrace for the sake of Christ’s name and Word.
"Nevertheless, I shall comfort myself thus — that your bonds are my bonds, your prison my prison, and your fire my fire.  In addition, I shall preach and confess indeed publicly before the ungodly evil world, princes and angels just the Word: for whom those two were burned, and you are imprisoned and bound: wherefore I also suffer along with you and rejoice.
"But the Lord Jesus, who has begun the good work in you, will perform it until the day of His wonderful and joyous appearing, Phil. 1:6.  Pray for me, as I do for you, and remember you do not suffer alone, but He who says, Psalms 91:14, “I will be with him in trouble; he shall call upon me, and 1 will answer him: I will set him on high, because he hath known [page 113] my name, I will protect him.”  Indeed, we all, together with the Lord, are with you, therefore you are not abandoned.  But await the Lord, be strong and courageous, and await the Lord, Ps. 27:14, who said: In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, John 16:33.
"Do not dispute with Satan, but turn your eyes to the Lord.  Be firmly rooted upon the pure faith, and never doubt that we shall be justified and saved through the precious blood of Christ, the spotless Lamb of God. So little are our works and human commandments able to take away sin and make us just: so also neither condemn nor make guilty for some sin.
"Here in our Elector’s land is good peace, God be praised. The Duke of Bavaria and Bishop of Trier cause many to be slain, and banish some.  Other bishops and princes are indeed not bloodhounds; nevertheless they torment their people with threatenings, and do them great harm.  So Christ is now again become the reproach of men, and despised of the people, Psalm 22:7, which also you were made a member of by the holy calling of our Father in heaven,  and may He also perfect this call in you to the honor of His Word and name, Amen.
"All our people greet you, especially Jakob Probst and the brothers of Antwerp, and commend themselves to your prayers. At Wittenberg, Tuesday after St. Anthony’s, 1524."
But this letter did not any more reach into the hands of the dear martyr.  Because he remained through God's grace steady in the evangelical Lutheran doctrine, so the Papists immediately rushed him to the fire.   Four days after the execution of his brothers Voes and Esch, on July 4, 1523 he was burned in Brussels.  Before, indeed on the pyre, he held still another long sermon and triumphed thus joyfully over Satan and the Roman Antichrist.
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13. Lambert Thorn. Sources: Seckendorf, historia lutheranismi, volume. 1, p. 280.  Die heiligen Märtyrer der evangelischen Kirche by Volkert and Brock, p. 11. Luthers Werke, Walch edition (W1), Vol. 10, p. 2214. Seckendorf calls him Johannes Lambert. Some say, as he reports, that Lambert was murdered in prison.
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Fick states that Thorn was burned 4 days after Voes and Esch, even adding that he gave a long sermon on the pyre.  Fick acknowledged the other reports of Thorn's fate, but chose this ending.  Who is the one to believe?  Did Thorn die 5 years later in prison?  Was he murdered in prison?  What about Luther's letter of January 19, 1524?  Could the papists have concealed his death for about 6 months so that Luther did not know that Lambert was already dead before he even wrote his letter to him? ... One thing is clear... that Lambert Thorn died later than the first two martyrs.  But Pastor Fick is so forceful in his presentation (Volkert and Brock's account, p. 17, concur with him), that I will believe him about the actual manner and time of Lambert's death, call me naive if you want.  Some might fault me for going against Theodore Tappert, to which I would answer: "So what?"  I will take Hermann Fick's judgment over Theodore Tappert on this.

I believe I am following the better Church Historian in Hermann Fick, because he not only knows the languages, not only had access to the German sources, but more importantly could better judge past Church Historians in this matter, whether they had a tendency to err in certain matters.  Dr. Colliver may take a path less firm in describing the ending for Lambert Thorn, but I will take Fick's account – Lambert Thorn was executed on July 4, 1523 by the papists, not murdered in prison or held in prison another 5 years.

Thorn did not need Luther's letter of consolation, the letter (perhaps) did not arrive before Thorn's execution.  But do you suppose Thorn read Luther's letter as he was in Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22)?  Thorn's requested time of reflection took him back to the promises of God's Word:
Ps. 50:15 – Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
And so he did... he called upon the Lord Jesus "in his day of trouble".  And so He was... the Lord Jesus was glorified in Thorn's confession and martyrdom.
In the next Part 14...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Martyrs 12: Voes & Esch — by C.F.W. Walther: there is a worse enemy today; how poorly we would do

Heinrich Voes & Johannes Esch.
(from Rabus)

      This continues from Part 11a (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Part 12 presents the essay on Heinrich Voes and Johannes Esch.  —  I have already presented hyperlinks to this portion in the first blog post, Part 1a.  But I have discovered some things since that time... that this essay was not written by Hermann Fick, but it was C.F.W. Walther who wrote on these martyrs, first in Der Lutheraner and now republished and expanded as a chapter in volume 1 of Fick's book.  And as I reread this essay, it became apparent that this is a special essay, for it explains true Church History, especially surrounding the time of the Reformation. –  The Project Wittenberg website originally published a translation of this chapter, but strangely the link to the essay is no longer valid.  Fortunately I saved a copy before its demise and am republishing it... because it does not deserve to be forgotten!  But why did the venerable Project Wittenberg allow the lapse of this web article to happen?

C.F.W. Walther
author of this essay
How did I discover Walther's authorship?  From a short sentence at the end of the essay:
"From Der Lutheraner by Professor Walther, and further explained from the same sources."
So between Walther's first publication of the story of Voes and Esch in the first year of Der Lutheraner's publication (1844, Vol. 1, No. 7, pgs 26-27), and the publication of Hermann Fick's book about 10 years later, Walther expanded his original writing.  As I pondered this situation, I am even more convinced that "Professor" Walther was likely a major source of encouragement for Fick to produce his book... maybe even helping him select which martyrs to include.  —  And it is C.F.W. Walther's touch that is so precious, for he clearly delineates why we remember these martyrs... because of their faith... because they believed God, at His Word.  It is precious because of statements like this, from The American Luther who emigrated from his old fatherland of Germany:
In this our new fatherland the Christian needs not expect to die a violent death because of his faith; there is no need for this sort of preparation. However, there is an enemy fighting Christ, worse than the one who seeks to destroy the body; it is laziness, tepidity, the seeking after riches and good times, equalization of the world, vanity, weakness and frailty.
And it was likely Walther who chose the epitaph quote to head the essay.  Concerning the flames as they lept up around them, the confessors expressed the Savior's blessing:
"They seem like roses to me."
Indeed, the dear Walther tells us of our worse enemy today.  And that enemy is raging today in the church body (LC-MS) that wants to call itself the descendent of Walther and yet allows its teacher to call the Bible a "plastic text", no matter what the circumstances of its presentation.  But Walther nails me especially when he speaks of today's Christian: "...causing them to hide their hearts' belief and thus shamefully deny Christ!"  Dear God!... have mercy on us!  —  So to encourage our hearts, I say with Walther:
"May the following encourage the spirit of witness in the hearts of our readers."
Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference which must be opened in a new window.
Minor edits of spelling, etc.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(by BackToLuther)

I want to reproduce the ending notice from this translation to give proper credit:
This text was translated by Erikas Bullmann Flores for
Project Wittenberg and is in the public domain. You may
freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any
comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther
Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.
Surface Mail: 6600 N. Clinton St., Ft. Wayne, IN 46825 USA
Phone: (219) 452-2148 Fax: (219) 452-2126
Swedish Translation
I was quite encouraged to find that this essay has been translated into the Swedish language (from English!) and has been published by a "confessional Lutheran church" in Uppsala, Sweden.  The website is here, the translator was Goran Sjöqvist.  —  Even the Wikipedia article on these martyrs refers to the English translation from Project Wittenberg.
==>> To Project Wittenberg:
If a Swedish church finds your English translation worthy to re-translate into the Swedish language, don't you think that it is worth restoring the English version to your website?  –  And I wonder, Project Wittenberg, was it Prof. Harold Buls who encouraged you to produce your website?  (Oh, by the way, is it still called "Walther Library"... or not?)
In the next Part 13: the story of Lambert Thorn who was also mentioned in the above essay, but oh! his faith had trials that I can relate to, as he "asked for four days during which to reconsider before God whether he could recant."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Martyrs 11a: Clarenbach, Flysteden: short history, refutation

      This continues from Part 10 (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Part 11 is to cover the next chapter on Adolph Clarenbach and Peter Flysteden (or Fliesteden), but because the work would be so time consuming to translate Fick's nearly 50 pages covering these martyrs, I am thinking to either serialize or skip over them for the time being.
Adolph Clarenbach, Peter Flysteden
      But as I researched Clarenbach, it seems there is a glaring discrepancy between Fick's account and what the LC-MS' Christian Cyclopedia reports of him:
Clarenbach, Adolf
(ca. 1500–29). Reformed martyr with Anabaptist tendencies. ... Arrested at Cologne April 3, 1528; in prison with P. Fliesteden* and burned with him September 28, 1529. Some scholars regard him as Waldensian, others as Lutheran.
So Erwin Lueker of the LC-MS (Editor for the so-called Christian Cyclopedia or one of his associates) chose to listen to some "scholars" and called Clarenbach "Reformed" with "Anabaptist tendencies".  Then in the final sentence, he admitted the possibility that with some "scholars", Clarenbach may have been "Lutheran".   But Hermann Fick had already done better research on Clarenbach over 100 years earlier and found Clarenbach to be Lutheran.  See the text of Fick's account in the section below and judge for yourself.

Even the current Wikipedia article says this of Clarenbach (as of Jan. 20, 2015):
In 1525 he was driven from Osnabrück, Büderich and Elberfeld, also because of his open adherence to the teachings of Martin Luther.
So we see once again that the "Church History" of today's LC-MS is often suspect, whether from Robert Kolb or Erwin Lueker... or whoever.  But not so from Pastor C.J. Hermann Fick of the old (German) Missouri Synod (from the "German Lutheranism of the American frontier"), who was a much better Church Historian than either Kolb or Lueker.  And the report of Clarenbach in Wikipedia is more Lutheran than the LC-MS Christian Cyclopedia!  —  And for true Christian scholars, I am adding a translation of Fick's sources under the Annotations section, with hyperlinks to most of Fick's sources.
Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
"Clarenbach to Flysteden: "Brother, be strong in the Lord and trust him! Then today is the day we want to live with Christ, our brother, in eternity."
"Flysteden to Clarenbach: "I want to die as a Christian, as we have promised also Christ, our brother, for His name's sake."
(The two martyrs shortly before their death.)
[Excerpt from 48 page history – section on Clarenbach’s testimony concerning the Lord’s Supper, etc. from pages 71-72]

T. [Tongern]: What have you read (of Luther's books)? –  A .[Adolph]: On the Ten Commandments, and On the Nunc dimittis and Of the Sacrament of Holy Communion Against the Fanatics. –  T .: Is that against Oecolampadius and Zwingli? –  A .: Yes, along with several [page 72] others. – T .: Well, On Christian Liberty, have you not read? –  A .: Yes, that I have also read. –  T .: Have you also found therein some heresy? –  A .: No, that it seems to me is to be judged by God's Word whether there is heresy. –  T .: Have you purchased books produced according to the teachings of Luther? –  A .: I have for example written letters according to the teaching of the Gospel of Christ, and I hold only this doctrine for good, and where Luther holds and teaches the same, I agree with him, not for his own sake but for the sake of the doctrine. –  T. Do you then also know someone that has Luther’s books? –  A. Yes, probably thousands, I just do not know the numbers.
On the question of the Holy Supper, Clarenbach confessed the Word of God, completely concurring with the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: “I believe that there is the true body and true blood of Christ, according to the saying of Christ's words: This is my body."
. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
11. Adolph Clarenbach and Peter Flysteden. Sources: 1, Rabus, Thl. 2. pg. 184. 2, Crocius, page. 184 [see page 185].  3, The Holy Martyrs of the ev. Church by pastors Volkert and Brock,  pg. 80 [79]. 4, Fortgesetzte Sammlung von Alten und Neuen Theologischen Sachen from year 1725, pg. 845 [see here?].
With what conscientiousness and loyalty the report of these martyrs is proclaimed in the preface of Rabus wherein he says among other things: "But do not suppose that these Acta [reports of public proceedings] are invented, as they have been witnessed by the tower master, magistrate [Gwelrichter] and others that one would well know to be associated with these proceedings.  It cannot even be denied that these latter ones who described these proceedings were personally always there where they happened.  In addition they are attested by the Latin Actis of Greven which are not in opposition, even with the same Actis of the notary [Pedell], as would be done today."
1) Joannes Sleidanus in his work: Commentariorum de statu religionis et reipublicae, Carolo Quinto Caesare pg. 175. —  2) Fortgesetzte Sammlung von Alten und Neuen Theologischen Sachen 2c. from 1728, p 915. There it says: "And there came also Clarenbach from the writings of the blessed Luther to the knowledge of the truth."
That Clarenbach had preached in Holstein in Dithmarsen,  Seckendorf testified in his historia lutheranismi, lib. 3. par. 75 [pg 243, col. 1, starting at 9 lines from bottom], in which he says: "The people of Dithmarsen have, although Heinrich von Zuetphen was killed, nevertheless had the doctrine of the Gospel preached to them through the efforts of the minister of Meldorf, Nicolaus Boye [or Boie, Boje], by Adolph Clarenbach of Cologne, among others, who subsequently had also suffered death in 1529 with Peter Flysteden in his native country for the sake of his religion."   By contrast, Joh. Arnold Kanne said concerning Clarenbach's martyrdom (with Ph. Camerarius fate in Italy) under the title: Two contributions to the history of darkness in the Reformation, pg. 99, that Clarenbach did not come to actually accept the call to Meldorf.  However he states no authority for his opinion.
Löscher in his detailed historia motuum Th 3, page 75, says of our Clarenbach: “So greatly Wesel had prosecuted, so had initially Adolph Clarenbach taught, and therefore martyred in Cologne in the year 1529, which Luther recognizes before his co-religionists and has praised."
As can be seen from the interrogations, Clarenbach was made Master [given Master’s degree] in Cologne. –  While Clarenbach’s martyr history became later commonly unknown as a special publication, so it was well known and generally widespread at the time of the Reformation.  The historian of Westphalia Hamelmann who lived from 1525-89, says in his works, opera genealogico-historica, in the 5th book, page 221: Clarenbach, the holy martyr, whose history is everywhere.
In what esteem the blessed Clarenbach stood in the Evangelical Lutheran Church is also evident from the fact that according to the Unschuldige Nachrichten 1728 pg. 913, the Holstein General Superintendent Dr. Mühlius held public lectures at the University of Kiel on the articles of faith of Clarenbach to commemorate again the Holstein Reformation in the year 1527.
[Balance to come at a later time...]
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It seems I have picked the better Lutheran scholar in Hermann Fick to teach me about the truly Lutheran martyrs.  So I must largely bypass modern scholars to get the true Lutheran history.

I may at a later day begin to serialize the full 50 page history.  For now, I plan to move on to the shorter histories.  In the next Part 12: Voes & Esch, by a special guest author...