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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Martyrs 22c: Diaz- A monster!... a Lutheran; Chapter 2

Juan Diaz
[2019-10-24: fixed broken links to Google Books] 
      This continues from Part 22b (TOC in Part 1a, Diaz TOC in Part 22a) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  —  Part 22c continues with the second of seven chapters on Juan Diaz, a Spanish Lutheran.  A Spaniard... a Lutheran?  I can still hardly believe this story...  but what takes the breath away is that Diaz was not a "token" Lutheran, but he was a Lutheran spokesman during the time of the Reformation!... a Spaniard!
      There is an article on Diaz in the German Wikipedia here.  It is typical in its attempts to strip him of his Lutheranism by associating Diaz with the "humanists".  But Luther was not a "humanist" in the sense that others like Erasmus were, he was a Lutheran... and so was Diaz.

Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
Juan Diaz.

How Malvenda tried to entice the dear Juan Diaz again to the papacy.
Some time later in 1546, Charles V called a Diet at Regensburg.  At this he organized [page 148] a colloquy between evangelical Lutherans and papal theologians, ostensibly to restore the disturbed religious unity, but actually only to gain time for his armaments against those behind the Augsburg Confession. The imperial city of Strasbourg sent to this colloquy, among others, their preacher Bucer, and he requested that his companion be our Diaz, whom he had grown to love equally for his learning, as well as his grace of manners and untiring zeal.
In Regensburg, Diaz met a compatriot whom he had already met in Paris, Peter Malvenda, a treacherous, conceited, arrogant man, who burned with hatred against the Evangelicals or Protestants, as the Lutherans were called at that time.  Although the same by no means sought harmony and peace, nevertheless he intended, together with some others on the Papal side, to carry on the conversation with the evangelical divines.  As soon as our Diaz came into his view, he was horrified, as if he had seen a great monster.  He crossed and blessed himself with the highest amazement, and finally said to him: "I thought I saw a ghost and I'm very scared to find you here in Germany, and moreover, among the Protestants, who are rejoicing over the defection of one Spaniard more than if they had converted ten thousand Germans or a large number of other nations."
Whereupon Malvenda asked him why he came to Germany, how long he had been there and whether he approved of Bucer's teaching.  Diaz replied politely and humbly that he was in Germany for about six months.  He had come there to get to know the improved religion.  For it must be the main concern of Christians to attain the true knowledge of God and his Holy and gracious will from his Word and to keep it.  One may not however judge the truth by the corrupt opinions of the human brain, but by the infallible guide of the divine Word.  That's why he had preferred in such an important matter to check everything with his own eyes, rather than believe the evil slanders of bad people.  As then a wise man well stands, and the Apostle Paul commands: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. [1 Thess. 5:21]  In such examination, he had convinced himself that the doctrine of the Evangelicals was in no way contrary to the doctrine of the orthodox ancient teachers and [page 149] Church Fathers.  With a good conscience he could therefore not revile nor discard these doctrines corresponding with the prophets and apostles, which he had sought for so long and sees now restored.  Then Malvenda answered by twisting his face into a kind of superstitious amazement: "Surely, six months in Germany come for a pious man not as mere months, but as whole years, indeed as like so many centuries before, so disgusting it is to live in Germany for those who love the unity with the Roman Church and honor its reputation.  At least I can honestly confess for myself that I age in Germany in six days as elsewhere in six full years, since these people now for twenty years hear no other doctrine and read no other books than that of their own teachers."
More noteworthy, however, is a long conversation held between Malvenda and Diaz, which instead was found later and which Senarcle wrote down from the mouth of Diaz.
Malvenda began: "I warned you the other day, Diaz, that you forsake this society in which you are now, and return again in obedience to the Roman Pontiff and the religion of our ancestors, according to your former manner.  I've decided to do the same again now.  But if you will not follow my faithful admonition, I foresee now already in spirit the dreadful dangers of body and soul which approach you.  Because you can be sure of this and I think you know it too well already, that all those who with knowledge and consent have fellowship with the Lutherans will be excommunicated by the Roman Pope. And they will be hit by a terrible excommunication so that no one other than the Roman Pope himself, the vicar of Christ, can free them of it.  However, this ban, which, as identified, is based on divine right, is not to be despised.  For the same emerged from Christ and the Apostle’s foundation, from there transferred to the Vicar of Christ and the successor of the Apostles, by which the supreme power judges to bind and loose, as one must believe, and now used according to divine order for punishment of the wicked.  But as you know, it is commanded by the God’s clearest word that one may neither eat nor speak with one excommunicated by the church, but that [page 150] one should hold him condemned as a cut-off member from the body of Christ and as a pernicious plague of the human race.  Further, when the concern for your life or the salvation of your soul should not quench you of your reprehensible resolution, yet would truly love for your country and the old religion of your ancestors, that we must fairly prefer to our life and happiness, hold you from your perishable opinion.  For what will the rest of the nations say, when they see of you alone would despise and deny the religion of your fatherland, its stability in the observation of all arrangements, whose loyalty and incorruptibility is admired by the remaining peoples, wherefore all who desire the preservation of the ancient religion of our ancestors, fix their eyes on our Spain, as a fortress of religion, or at least to focus their attention on a magnificent example of strength and courage.  Finally, it is insanity and a great madness that you believe you alone have in the doctrine of religion gained more light than so many thousands of people were able to see so many centuries. And even if it were true, so one did not have to proceed so riotously and not immediately, for the sake of the opinion of a few people, violate the well-ordered constitution of his country, nor yet disturb the peace of the state.  Therefore I beg you again that you care for your salvation, that you fear God's judgment, that you hearken unto the cry of your country, which does not complain just about you adding wrong to it, but cries with a loud voice and requests the recantation of that pernicious opinion.  But I urge you not only in this matter gently and amicably, but I promise you also, that you should not lack my help and service if you want to follow in this my advice which I hold useful and salutary for you.  Therefore, do not wait if you want to listen to me, until the Emperor comes to Regensburg, which perhaps could not happen without injury to you, but rather take yourself to him, prostrate yourself at the feet of his confessor at his court, a pious and wise man, and beg forgiveness for your crimes committed and for mercy." [page 151]
= = = = = = = = = = = =   Cont'd in Part 22d  = = = = = = = = = = = =

      The horror on Malvenda's face!... he thought he was seeing A MONSTER!... a Ghost!... but what Malvenda saw was a true Spanish Lutheran.  No Hollywood-Halloween movie could portray more terror than Malvenda had when he saw his old Spanish acquaintance at Regensburg... for the Lutherans.  The surprise I had when I first discovered this portion on Spanish martyrs pales in comparison with the shock of the Spaniard Malvenda!  As far as I have seen, no other commonly available history of Juan Diaz describes this detail like our dear author, Pastor Hermann Fick.
      A striking portion describes Diaz as one of the speakers for the Protestants, i.e. the Lutherans, after Luther's death during the Diet of Regensburg in 1546.  Ask yourself then – was Diaz a Lutheran... when he (so to speak) in part took the place of Martin Luther as the mouth of the Lutherans?  —  The German Wikipedia article on the Diet of Regensburg, 1546, does not mention Juan Diaz's name on the side of the evangelical Lutherans, but Hermann Fick does.  And we gain perhaps the deepest understanding of what happened theologically at this time of the Reformation by this history by Pastor Hermann Fick.  I wonder (without having studied this in detail) that Juan Diaz spoke more eloquently for the Lutherans than even Martin Bucer did, who later wavered on some points with the Reformed.  —  In the next Part 22d is Chapter 3...

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