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Monday, March 30, 2015

Martyrs 23b: San Roman– such boldness, too stormy?; "You're a Lutheran!"

      This continues from Part 23a (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. — Part 23b presents "our Francisco" responding to the blaspheming monks, but then being reproached by another well known Spanish reformer for his "too stormy zeal"... hmmm, what is up? 
Some highlighting added; hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
XXIII. (b)
Then they turned to him with the words: "You're a Lutheran." *)  But Francisco, outraged by their shameful treachery, replied somewhat heatedly, "You are evil tasty boys! [Leckersbuben]  I'm not a Lutheran, but I freely confess publicly the eternal wisdom of God, yes! the right and pure doctrine of the Son of God, whom you vehemently persecute.  The same Son of God have I recognized who died for the sins of the whole human race, and for the sake of this righteousness was raised again from the dead, and presents and offers His such unspeakable blessings and graces in the Gospel to all people that those who seize it with true faith and believe should be saved.  This doctrine that I now confess with joy, you know not it.  Your heresy, your deceitfulness and invented teachings, together with your false worship I heartily hate."
In this disputation many Spaniards were present, but were on the side of the monks.  When they heard that our Francisco confessed the Word of God with such boldness, they said that he was beside himself.  This made the monks even more impertinent that they stormed him even more violently: "If you now despise our orders, which the Church holds as a state of perfection, and nevertheless wish to be called a Christian, what will your faith then be?"  He replied, "I have simply told you, I am a Christian and I know nothing else to boast with you, nothing to teach differently, than only Christ, and Him crucified. [1 Cor. 2:2]  Therefore I yet say: I do not believe anything else and also will nevermore believe otherwise, as has the true Church of Christ, whether she was scattered in all places in the world, believed from the beginning of creation, taught, attested and confessed.  This doctrine of the crucified Lord Christ ye wicked men by
- - - - - - - - - - - -
*) Herewith would they make the accusation against him that he was a heretic and belonged to a new, false church founded by a mere man.  Francisco now defended against this accusation of the monks in the following.

[page 177] your deception and lies turned upside down and distressingly changed, and from this into a godless one, indeed! established and devised a harmful life for the human race.  That is why I yet say: I believe in God the Father, who created all things.  I believe in Jesus Christ, God's eternal Son who redeemed the whole human race by his bloodshed, released us from the eternal servitude and power of the devil, sin and death, and opened access to the heavenly eternal life, and has blessed us with Christian freedom.  I also believe in the Holy Ghost, who enlightens and sanctifies the believers through his divine, though hidden, power.  I believe that I am, for the sake of the Son of God, by grace, freely forgiven of all my sins without my merit and will be adopted.  For the sake of this mediator alone without all my good works, yes! without any papal indulgences, I hope to inherit eternal life."
Then the monks asked him: "Do you think, too, that the Pope in Rome is a vicar (governor) of Christ, and the head of the Church on earth, in whose power are the treasures of the Church, who has also the power to bind and loose sins at his good pleasure, and make new articles of faith and the same dismiss again?"  Francisco replied: “I believe these things as nothing.  I furthermore hold that the Pope is the true Antichrist, come from the Devil, who is an enemy of Christ, who robs God of His due honor, who rages in the world from incitement and desire of the devil, and disgraces and blasphemes the eternal God, and by his false doctrine and cunning, just as a ravening wolf, scatters and banishes the poor lambs of Christ, indeed tears and murders them."   Now the monks accused him of blaspheming God.  When the disputing continued on from the sacraments, the Mass, purgatory and indulgences, Francisco became a bit too heated.  But what young man, as Francisco, who only just came to the knowledge of which the most underhanded ones betray and is attacked with abominable blasphemous words, should not rush into his holy wrath with a word, especially since even old people in such a case are still lacking?
At last the monks threatened him that he must be burnt.  Joyfully replied San Roman: "I am not dismayed to suffer death for the sake of the confession of my Saviour, who [page 178] did also not refuse to shed his blood for me; indeed! I consider it the highest honor, if I must die and suffer for the sake of this cause, namely the confession His Gospel, who previously suffered for me and shed His blood, even to confirm His grace.  Beloved, what right do you have to be against me?  You can indeed no more burn of me than the wretched sinful flesh.  But I know that one should rather fear him who has the power to throw body and soul into the abyss of hell to the place of eternal torment [Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:5], and not you, where you with your god the Devil, whose tool you are, go about shedding much blood using all your forces and assets, and yet can torment nothing more than the wretched body.  I think it is a special grace of God, if I were terminated and killed by your tyranny, so that I do not become sullied by your false doctrine and blasphemy, but would be taken up pure and intact in my conscience in the heavenly fatherland to God and in the company of the holy angels."
This speech angered the monks very much; they could not bear it any longer, but thundered out with cruel and terrible words against him.  Then they kindled a fire and threw, in his presence, all the books that he had brought.  When Francisco saw now burn the New Testament and other useful, Christian books, there he went against the monks with some violent words.  But The Spaniards declared him to be insane and threw him in a tower situated six miles from Antwerp where they held him captive in a very sinister underground pit for eight months.  There many distinguished men visited him and admonished him that he may desist from his opinion and behave in speaking a little more modestly.  But he said: "I have no unjust opinion or doctrine, neither now nor before, will not knowingly or intentionally teach nor accept something wrong.  But if I have spoken a little too heated, which I must confess to some extent, that it is much more due to the monks’ great clamoring, as me.  For what people, ever so patient, gentle and even humble, should not be moved to anger and impatience through their wicked life and tyranny?”  Finally, when the Spaniards thought that he had [page 179] now come to his senses, and because he promised that he would behave in the future a little more mildly, he was released from prison in the year 1541.
After his release San Roman remained about 20 days in Antwerp, then traveled to Leuven and visited his friend Francisco Enzinas.  He was heartily glad for his arrival, also praised some of his finer actions, but reproved him for his too stormy zeal.  As to the doctrine, he said he would not advise him to somehow please the people, to talk or act so that the glory of God would be somehow injured.  However, in order to properly judge the true doctrine, it involves a healthy, clear and thorough knowledge of the divine will and the Holy Scriptures.  And when he had now for some time studied diligently, and obtained instruction by learned people and attained considerable knowledge of divine enlightenment, then he is nevertheless not to place himself therefore on the public street and cry out like a senseless man without all reason that people should follow such teachings.  But he himself was not firmly established enough in God's Word, so it would be a great boldness, which no one could praise that he so intruded into the office of preaching without a regular calling.  Therefore he should henceforth stay in his office and calling, and because God had ordained him to the merchant class, what he really lived for a time and cheated nobody, then may he be useful in this position also to many and serve God, but commending the preaching Office to those which have been ordained to God.  For God has a strenuous attention for his Church; if He thought he was proficient in the church office, He would have no doubt called him in his time.  Then it is time to persist in such danger and to publicly teach the truth, and this is truly the best way to proceed according to God's order, and not after human discretion in such a heavy office."
= = = = = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 23c  = = = = = = = = = = = =

This segment ends with Francisco Enzinas' counsel to San Roman to not be too hasty in his proclamation of the Gospel, especially because he was not regularly called into the office of preaching or the Office of the Ministry.  This is certainly a "hot topic" today and I am listening carefully to not only this counsel of Enzinas, but also how this will be treated by the author Hermann Fick of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  For did the Saviour restrict the following imperative to only preachers?
Matt. 10:33 – Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
I don't think so.  Here one must properly distinguish, or as Franz Pieper told his students Distinguendum Est.  There is a place for the teaching of the Office of the Ministry, but it certainly is not to be used as an excuse for any Christian that they should not confess their Saviour before men because they are not a called Minister.  I think that is where "our Fick" will lead us as we follow his account of "our Francisco"... in Part 23c.

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