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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:01 pm    Post subject: የፕሮቴስታንት ሃይማኖት መስራች ማርቲን ሉተር ማን ነው ? Reply with quote

በዚህ አምድ ስር ማርቲን ሉተር የተባለው የፕሮቴስታንትት ሃይማኖት መስራችን ማንነትና ስራዎቹንም እንመለከታለን :: ዓላማችን የማይጠቅም ንትርክ ውስጥ ለመግባት ሳይሆን እውነቱን ለማወቅ በመሆኑ ተሳታፊዎች በረጋና በሰከነ መንፈስ ምንጮቻሁን እየጠቀሳችሁ እንደምትወያዩ ተስፋ እናደርጋለን ::

What They Never Told Us About Martin Luther

By Norma E. Cunningham

As students in a Lutheran elementary school in St. Louis, Missouri, my fellow classmates and I were subjected to a thorough parochial brainwashing. We had an unassailable belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, the Triune God, and eternal life in Heaven for us Lutherans (the decision about the rest of humankind would be left up to the Deity).
We were imbued with an admiration, yes, even a reverence for the great reformer, Martin Luther. We yearly celebrated the anniversary of the posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. On the 400th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (1530) a pageant was held in the St. Louis Arena. According to my pre-teen recollections, it was a magnificent spectacle, in which many Lutherans took part.

On the day of the pageant the weather was dismal, cloudy, and rainy; but when as a finale to the production, the entire huge cast and audience sang "A Mighty Fortress is our God," and simultaneously the sun suddenly shone through the Arena's windows, we deemed this a revelation of Heaven's stamp of approval on the pageant, Luther, and Lutherans.

With my teen years there came gradual gnawing doubts about Lutheran dogma and disillusionment with the many hypocrisies of the clergy, the obdurate teaching staff, and various vapid lay leaders. For example, when I won a full scholarship to Washington University, my pastor was concerned only about the effect that a college education would have on my faith. He uttered not a word of congratulations on my success!

After four years at the university and an additional year of graduate study for a master's degree toward a teaching career, I devoted much time to intensive Bible study and the application of reason to matters of religion. I was fast becoming an agnostic. Not much later the study of philosophy and the sciences put "finis" even to my agnosticism and brought about a metamorphosis to atheism.

At some point in my "conversion" Martin Luther came to mind, perhaps occasioned by a careless comment by a history professor that "Martin Luther probably committed fornication with nuns and whores." I could not recall a single negative about the man. We, of course, had been told, not only about his contribution to the reformation of the church, but also to education, language, culture, and history.

What kind of person was Martin Luther? What was he really like? His character, personality, family life, interaction with others? After some research in biographies and Luther's own writings I was surprised, even shocked, at my lack of knowledge about the man. Had there been deliberate suppression of embarrassing facts from the laity of the Lutheran church?

One of the few stories (apocryphal?) we were told was Luther's flinging an inkwell at the devil, the stain of which can still be seen on a wall of Wartburg Castle. We now know that Luther was obsessed with Satan, to whose assaults he attributed pain, discomfort, storms, lightning bolts, and even the spoilage of beer! He was apprehensive to the extent that he tried to chase the devil away with, to use one of his favorite vulgarisms, "a fart."

Luther's language was often coarse, explosive, inflammatory, vehement, intemperate, and even morally subversive, such as the famous "Pecca fortiter" (Sin bravely). He called the Pope's supporters "papal asses" and said the common people lived like senseless swine. When he had overindulged at social gatherings, he often used four-letter words referring to bodily functions. His rhetoric was intemperate when he suggested suffocating a teenaged boy with such a gargantuan appetite that all he did was eat and defecate.

Women to him were brood mares, who were created with large hips just to stay at home and sit on them. His opinions, frankly stated, were frequently shockingly outrageous, even for his time. For instance, he suggested that witches be burned and that objectors not believing in infant baptism should be put to death!

I discovered that he had had a thought that I myself had contemplated many times. He wondered whether Heaven might be boring with nothing to do--no work, no eating, no drinking, nothing that we feel makes life interesting.

The professor's comment about about Luther's sexual peccadilloes notwithstanding, there seems to be no hard evidence of any moral lapses. However, he did attack celibacy, saying that not every clergyman can refrain from sexual intercourse. He believed that if one is not "gifted with chastity," he must find gratification. Of himself he said that "to be a man" was more necessary than eating, drinking, or sleeping. One of his favorite quotes was "Who loves not wine, woman, and song remains a fool his whole life long."

No doubt Luther was human with common ailments like insomnia, constipation, and fits of depression. He frequently overate, drank to excess (he was even proud of his capacity), and slept too much. He was obstinate, excitable, and spiritually uneasy, with dark introspective recesses in his personality. He was not a fastidious person and admitted that until he married, he did not make his bed for a year!

Probably the most shocking information about Luther was his anti-Semitism. He recommended that Jews be deported to Palestine, be deprived of their books, including the Bible, and their synagogues be burned. He called Jews liars and usurers and hated them for rejecting Jesus Christ. Apparently, Luther exerted a profound influence on German history, as the Nazis later added little to his portrait of Judaism.

I suppose one must strike a balance between the Luther I knew in my youth--the reformer, the translator of the Bible into German, the educator, the author--and Luther the man, the eccentric, the superstitious, the vulgar, even the loathsome, but I still harbor a seething resentment at the church and religion in general for impressing its bias on naive, ingenuous, and credulous youth.

As children we were like the persons referred to by William Drummond: "He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not, is a slave." Thank Ingersoll I was liberated!

Norma, a Foundation member since 1981, is on the Board of Directors and the Executive Council.

http://www.ffrf.org/fttoday/1998/jan_feb98/cunningham.html
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ዲጎኔ

ዋና አለቃ


Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 4208
Location: united states

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:33 am    Post subject: /ማርቲን ሉተር የተባረከው የቤተክርስቲያን መታደስ በኩር አስተማሪደራሲ አስታራቂና የፍቅርሰው Reply with quote

/ማርቲን ሉተር 1483 በጀርመን ሀገር ከአንድ በመካከለኛ ኑሮ ከሚኖር ገበሬ ቤተሰብ የተወለደ እጅግ ልዩ የእውቀት ተሰጥኦ የነበረው በመካከለኛው ክፍለዘመን መጨረሻ ላይ ከትክክለኛው መንገድ የወጣውን የቤተክርስቲያን ሀሰተኛ ትምህርት እንዲቃና ያደረገ ከመጽሀፍቅዱስ ቀጥሎ በአለም ላይ በመጽሀፉ ብዛት በመሪነት ደረጃ ያለ ሊቅ ነው ::

/ ማርቲን ሉተርን ከሉተራን አብያተክርስቲያናት ውጭ ሁሉም አብያተክርስቲያናት ለስነመለኮት ትምህርት ቤቶቻቸው ለማጣቀሻ Reference የሚጠቀሙበት ግንባር ቀደም የስነ -መለኮት ጸሀፊ ሲሆን ከዚህ ቀጥሎ ያሉት የኢንተርኔት ነድረኮች ከእንግሊዝ አንግሊካን አብያተክርስቲያናት እስከ ባቲካን ካቶሊካዊት ቤተክርስቲያን ድረስ ተደናቂነትና ተቀባይነት ያለው የእግዚአብሄር አገልጋይ ነው

1.http://www.britanica.com
2.http:greatsite.com
3.http://www.wsu.edu.8080

or any web site with the name Martin Luther the reformer the educator
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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:00 am    Post subject: የሉተር እውነትኛ ማንነት ... Reply with quote

ከዚህ በታች
http://www.tanbooks.com/doct/facts_luther.htm ላይ የሰፈረውን የሉተር እውነትኛ ማንንት እናቀርባለን ::

Facts about Luther

Luther as a Religious Reformer
from Chapter 9


The cesspool seems to have been the garden that furnished his choicest flowers of rhetoric. To be plainer still, "It is a fact," Fr. Johnston says, "that Luther's usual talk took its imagery most often from the privy. In this connection, perhaps, it is significant that Luther admitted that it was precisely in the privy of the monastery that he received from God the revelation of his famous doctrine about justification by faith alone. 'By the grace of God, while thinking on one occasion in this tower over those words, "The just man lives by faith alone," the Holy Ghost revealed the Scriptures to me in this tower.' Protestant biographers have naively attempted to show that this place was not the monastery toilet; but there is no reasonable doubt."

"This is significant," the same learned writer continues, "for, as above noted, it is simply amazing how habitually Luther made use of the imagery suggested by such a place. When he wishes to vomit his wrath against the Pope or the Cardinals, his favorite word is that word which indicates the contents of a privy. I forbear from repeating it. This particular word (the common popular English word for evacuations) is constantly on his lips. Repeatedly he says that if the Pope should send him a command to appear before him: "I should ... upon his summons." The reader can find plenty of other instances of the use of this word in [Hartmann] Grisar Vol. III, 226, 232, 235, 298. Concommitant with the use of this filthy word is the use of another signifying that portion of the human body which functions the same. Those expressions I cannot repeat here. See for yourself Grisar, e.g. 111, 229, where he tells the devil to "kiss -------".

"The vomits of the human stomach are also a frequent word wherewith to express his rage against his enemies. For instance, he says that the Pope 'vomits' the Cardinals. Again the 'monks' are the 'lice placed by the devil on God Almighty's fur coat.' 'No sooner do I pass a motion but they smell it at Rome.' Then note this specimen of stable boy's wit apropos of the 'Pope-ass' mentioned before. 'When I (the Pope-ass) bray, hee-haw, hee-haw, or relieve myself in the way of nature, they must take it all as articles of faith, i.e. Catholics.' That other filthy word common to people who suit their language to privies was also constantly on his lips, employed in endless variations."

"The most amazing aspect of this vulgarity is that Luther brings the very name of God into conjunction with just such coarse expressions. Thus in trying to explain how far God is or is not the author of evil, he says: 'Semei wished to curse, and God immediately directed his curse against David. God says, "Curse him not and no one else." Just as if a man wishes to relieve himself I cannot prevent him, but should he wish to do so on the table here, then I should object and tell him to betake himself to the corner.'"

The reader may consult Grisar's monumental work on Luther if he is anxious to learn more about the filthy, scandalous, and indecent utterances of this vile man. To all who have hitherto known little of his actual obscenity and vulgarity of speech, the study suggested will be not only surprising, but illuminating. After such an inquiry, no honest man with any pretention to decency would be found in the ranks of those who trample on the truth and insist in spite of such glaring faults that this man was an "instrument of God" for the reformation of society.

It is appalling that men should take this filthy talker, whose hopelessly dirty language indicated the morally diseased state of his mind, as a guide to expound Eternal Law, and that they should hang upon his words, hold him up for imitation and entrust to him their salvation. It is pitiable but true that men have eyes and see not, they have ears and hear not, they have hearts and feel not. Oh! that the eyes and the ears and the hearts of our separated brethren, if their faculties are not blunted, would come to recognize the unspeakable character of the heresiarch's utterances, his obscene remarks, his vulgar jokes, his habitual nasty references to sexual matters, and discover in time that this open, brazen and shameless violator of all conventional decency could not in any sense have been raised up by the All-Holy to lead men to the Kingdom of Heaven.

However outrageous to Christian feeling and abhorrent to Christian principle was his habitual filthy talk, it is far surpassed in vileness and obscenity when he treats of womanhood, a fertile theme for his dirty tongue and pen. On this subject he was quite at his ease and allowed himself singular license. In the Colloquia no fewer than a hundred pages are devoted to the fair sex. In this work he surpasses himself in vulgarity and shows his brutality in indecent references to women. No one could quote him in this respect without the blood rushing to his head. His warmest biographers are ashamed of his vulgar and unmanly references to women. The filthy expressions he recorded in his books were so habitual with him that he even used them in his own home before his companion and the children. "Certainly," Fr. Johnston says, "no Protestant woman can read them without - I will not say utter shame and womanly horror - but without indignation that any man, above all a spiritual leader and cleric at that, could speak of her sex with such ordinary common familiarity and courseness and vulgarity and downright obscenity; that could joke at her sex in its most sacred and venerable moral and physical aspects, taking a stable boy's unclean delight at rude witticisms over poor woman's physical differentiation from man; that could make her very body the inspiration of jokes - all evincing a cynical and vulgar contempt for woman as such; that could even have the vulgarity to lift the covers of the nuptial bed and disclose its sacred secrets to the gaze of others. Had any Catholic writer dared to utter a fraction of what Luther thus wrote and said, he would be an eternal and shameful reproach to the Church he so unworthily represented."

To give any idea, even the faintest, of this man's filthy and loathsome language would be impossible unless one is willing to descend into the gutter and wade in obscenity. The original sources are extant, and anyone who wishes to consult them may do so if he is prepared for the shock of his life. Then he will discover that even the Bullingers and Zwinglis of his own time were weak indeed in their description of Luther's language when they upbraided him for its "doggishness, dirtiness and lasciviousness." It is so downright disgusting and hopelessly obscene that no one can excuse or condone it. As his friend, the Protestant Kostlin, puts it, "his was a vehement, vulcanlike nature." Just so: but these vehement, vulcanlike natures are the very ones the Vice Purity Committees find in plenty in certain quarters of our modern cities.

Fr. Johnston says: "From a standpoint of morality, Luther's teachings and practical advice and example in conversation were infinitely below the moral standard hitherto held by the very Church he reviled and constantly below even the standard now generally accepted by the Protestants themselves. His claims, therefore, to 'reforming' the Church are pathetically weak. Instead of teaching a purer morality, he taught a lower. There is nothing in his teaching, by either pen or word of mouth, that is calculated to increase the love of purity, or of even conjugal fidelity, which in the Catholic Church has developed the fairest blossoms of maidenly chastity and conjugal love. A man or woman who is sexually weak will look to him in vain for advice wherewith to increase his or her strength in resisting the great passion -- rather they will find in his word the opposite. This is no time to mince words. Therefore, I say deliberately that from his own words Martin Luther must be held responsible for bringing into the world the lowest standard of morality ever advocated by a leader amongst Christians - so low that I defy a Protestant to read him, though I would advice no Protestant woman to do so if she be not ready to read with moral safety. Both will feel considerably befouled by the reading."

But Luther's partisans persist in forcing him upon public attention; and they have only themselves to blame if, under the limelight of actual quotations, his true words and doctrines and character are exposed to thinking minds, who by the thousands will come to see him in all his ugliness and deformity, and be forced to admit on grounds of modern historical research that he could not have been directly or indirectly called by God to reform His Church.

In our heart of hearts, we pity the man, regret his abuse of divine grace and deplore his lifelong antagonism to divine and human law; but when those who are ignorant of the facts resurrect and force this man on public notice in the role of a "reformer," "a liberator of humanity," "a model of domestic life" and "an instrument of God for the uplift of society," the interests of truth demand that such misrepresentation ought not to go unchallenged, and that the real portrait of the man as he actually was, ought to be given to the people.

The most scientific Lutheran historians now no longer make an attempt to deny his many and flagrant personal shortcomings. It is only those who are ignorant of the facts - that he proclaimed to the world that chastity is impossible and a delusion, that licentiousness is permissible, and that the gratification of the flesh is the aim of man - or those who, knowing them, deliberately close their eyes to his sinful teaching and abominable immoralities, who persist in believing that this moral leper and father of divorce and polygamy was a man of God chosen to "reform" the Church of Christ. Such men are not in a frame of mind to accept the verdict of Luther's contemporaries, nor are they willing to accept the results of the best historical research supplied by Lutheran authorities, which overwhelmingly testify to their hero's immorality of speech and teaching. In their ignoble course they are unfortunately not so intent on spreading the truth as they are in strengthening the Lutheran people in their errors.

Luther himself, be it remembered, felt keenly the vulnerability of his character, as is evident from the following significant words: "This is what you must say: whether Luther is a saint or a scamp does not matter to me; his doctrine is not his, but Christ's. Leave the man out of the question, but acknowledge the doctrine." No. We cannot do this. We cannot leave you out of the matter and accept your doctrine till you give proof that you are a "saint" and not a "scamp". Your Kostlins and other partisans may obey your orders, and hold that your "vehement and vulcanlike nature," as they describe you, was not incompatible with your role of a religious reformer. We cannot separate you from your utterances and actions. Your character must be taken into the count, and as you posed in the role of a reformer, we expect, in all decency, to find you a "saint" and not a "scamp." Which of these designations fits you the better? If you had been a man raised up by God to preach His doctrine and had led a life such as to prevent the finger of scorn from being raised against you, why did you complain so bitterly about the lamentable results of the teaching you wished acknowledged? As the life of a man is, so is his teaching and its results. Listen to your own confession. "God knows," you said,

"how painful it is for us to acknowledge that before the advent of the gospel everything was peaceful and quietude. Now all things are in ferment, the whole world agitated and thrown upside down. When the worldling hears it, he is scandalized at the disobedience of subjects against the government, rebellion, war, pestilence, the destruction of kingdoms and countries, untold unhappiness as the result of the doctrine of the gospel." (Walch 7, 2556).

Just so. You preached a gospel of your own manufacture and ignored that of Christ. What could you expect from your pride and rebellion but the spread of indifference to religion and an increase of immorality? Had you been loyal to the Church of your fathers and had you been actuated by her saving principles of reform, the results of your life work would not have been revolution, rebellion and war, but rather contentment, peace and true happiness such as ever follows in the wake of the saints of God.

Three hundred years go by. It is a long time. What Luther said of his work in his day, others, who were loyal to him and acquainted with the lamentable facts, confirmed and amplified. Hear this wail of distress from no less a man than the Lutheran theologian who, in the early part of the last century, compiled the Reformer's works in five large volumes. De Wette says:

"The dissolution of the Protestant church is inevitable; her framework is so thoroughly rotten that no further patching will avail. The whole structure of evangelical religion is shattered, and few look with sympathy on its tottering fall. Within the compass of a square mile you hear four, five, six different gospels. The people, believe me, mark it will; they speak most contemptuously of their teachers, whom they regard either as blockheads or knaves, in teaching these opposite doctrines...growing immorality, a consequence of contempt for religion, concurs also as a cause to its deeper downfall. ...Oh Protestantism! has it, then, at last come to this with thee, that thy disciples protest against all religion? Facts, which are before the eyes of the whole world, declare aloud that this signification of thy name is no idle play upon words."


Taken from Facts about Luther by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc.
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ዲጎኔ

ዋና አለቃ


Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 4208
Location: united states

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:54 am    Post subject: ከመምህሩ ደቀመዝሙሩ አይበልጥም ወይም በነሱ ቃል ከፓፓው ፋዘር አይበልጥም Reply with quote

አወይ ጉድ የሚጠቀሱት ማጣቀሻዎች ሁሉ እንኩዋን ለማጣቀሻነት ለቅድመ ንባብ የማይበቁ ሀተታ መናፍስት አይነቶች ናቸው ::

በመጀመሪያ ደረጃ እያንዳንዷ ቤተክርስቲያን የእራሷ የአሰራር ሂደትና ስርአት ሲኖራት እያንዳንዱም የቤተክርስቲያን አባልና አገልጋይ በዛ ስርአት እንዲገዛና እንዲያስተምር የግድ ነው :አሰራር ልዩ ልዩ መንፈስ ግን አንድ ነውና (1ቆሮንቶስ 12:6)

አሁን እዚህ የተጠቀሰው በኤሎኖይ አሜሪካ የሚገኘው የግራ አክራሪ የካቶሊክ ድብልቅ ሀይማኖታዊ መጣጥፍ መደብር እንደ ስነ -መለኮት ዋቢ ማጣቀሻ Reference መቅረቡ ለተለመደው የቅዱሳን መስደቢያነት ካልሆነ በቀር የካቶሊካዊት ቤተክርስቲያንን የነዋየ ቅድሳት አሰራርና ስርጭት ያልተከተለ በስነመለኮትም ተቀባይነት የሌላቸውን የላቲኖ አሜሪካን ባህላዊ አምልኮ አደባልቆ የሚያቀርብ ተራ መደብር ነው (ምናልባት ቅዱስ ራጉኤልና አንዋር መስጊድ አጠገብ የሚሸጡ መጽሀፍት ሁሉ ዋቢ መጽሀፍት ይሁኑ ካልተባለ )

ወደዋናው ነጥብ ስንገባ ግን በጽሁፉ የቀረቡትና ማርቲን ሉተርን በጳጳሳት ላይ ቀረሽ ያሉት ጽሁፉ ታይቶ ቅርሻት ወይም theses መሆኑ የሚወሰነው በመጽሀፍት መደብሩ ሳይሆን በቲኦሎጊ ኮሚሺን ሲሆን የካቶሊክና የሉተራዊያን አብያተክርስቲያናት የጋራ የቲኦሎጊ ኮሚሽኖችማ ስለደህንነት የጋራ መግለጫ አውጥተው በመደበኛነት ስብሰባቸውን ስለቀጠሉ ይህንን የመንደር የቸርቻሪ ስሞታና አሉባልታ እዚያው ኤሌኖይ ሚስሲፒ ወንዝ ብትጥለው ብዙ ከማፈር ትድናለህ ቅቅቅቅቅቅቅ
ወደው አይስቁ አሉ አባ ገሪማ ቅቅቅቅቅቅ

ዲጎኔ ሞረቴው ነኝ ከአሉባልታው ችርቻሮ ማዶ
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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:15 am    Post subject: Martin Luther - Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor Reply with quote

ማርቲን ሉተር ማን ነው ?
መግቢያ
http://www.tentmaker.org/books/MartinLuther-HitlersSpiritualAncestor.html#character

M A R T I N L U T H E R


AUTHOR'S PREFACE

SMALL as the present volume is, I feel the reader needs some kind of explanation. I am neither a scholar nor a politician, neither a theologian nor a professional author. I am an ordinary schoolmaster, a teacher of French and German. This fact explains the shortcomings of which I myself am only too fully aware.

I consider it my duty as a teacher not merely to cram my pupils with the rules of the subjunctive and similar stuff, but also to tell them something about the history, mentality, ideals, and ideas of the countries whose languages I am supposed to teach. This, however, is easier said than done. Three major obstacles are permanently in the way of those teachers who agree with me in my aims.

First of all, we have to prepare our pupils for examinations. There is hardly sufficient time to cover the whole syllabus, much less to discuss any outside matter. For many years I have fought a lonely and thoroughly unsuccessful battle against the examination authoritiesespecially the Oxford and Cambridge Boardin endeavouring to persuade them to introduce into their syllabus some modern matter. Those boys who take their Higher School Certificatethe highest school examination in the countrywill almost immediately after they have passed it enter one of the Servicesto give their lives, if needs be, in a fight against a mortal and traditional enemy. Until then they are merely allowed to read some admittedly beautiful literature by Goethe, Schiller, and other classics; but of current affairs of modern Germany, of the roots of National Socialism, they are not allowed to hear.

As great, perhaps, is the second difficulty. Even if we succeed in spite of the examination syllabus in referring to some topic which is related to the present-day world, how can we avoid being biased? I firmly believe, and am honest enough to admit, that to ma an objective interpretation of history seems impossible. All of us have our own views. And as soon as we proceed to give anything more than dull dates, facts, and names we run the risk of being accused of biasing the you and immature mind.

The third and last obstacle is our very limited knowledge. Somehow the layman imagines that a schoolmaster's life is an easy one. That it certainly is not. I can truthfully say that during term time I myself, like all my colleagues am fully occupied with school duties from 8 a.m. until often long after midnight. The mythical long holidays are hardly existent in summertime: camps, farming, looking for next term's books, and many similar activities bring the holidays to an end before most of the necessary things are done. The schoolmaster of to-day has no time for reading, studying, research. And yet, if we want to teach current affairs, i.e., permanently new matter, we cannot afford to grow stale.

But difficulties exist in order to be overcome. This is how I attempted to meet those mentioned above. When I was at Rugby, I took one lesson a week with my senior boys in order to discuss with them non-syllabus' modern German and French. I made it perfectly clear to them that I was giving them my own views, without any exaggerated claim to authority. I drew their attention to books and authors known to me who contradicted my interpretation. I told the, over and over again, that I was trying to stimulate them, to get them to think, but that I was not their intellectual master who could not be contradicted, but rather a somewhat partial chairman of a debating society. I stressed my own limited knowledge. Thus we discussed the development of modern France, Rousseau and the modern State, Germany between two wars, and similar subjects.

More than once during these talks I referred to Luther and what always occurred to me as his destructive influence. I pointed out that even in such an admirable book as Rohan Butler's The Roots of National Socialism the spiritual origins of Nazism and Luther's influence had not been given the necessary importance. Then I was asked if I would be prepared to elaborate to themabout a dozen of the very senior boys, that ismy own views on Luther and Lutheranism. I agreedwith the proviso that they would be my own views and nothing else. Admittedly, I had read more on Luther and about Luther than on most other subjects. But I wanted to make it quite clear that I would not speak to them with the voice of a great authority, but would merely give them my own interpretation. I told them, moreover, that I should try to prove how dangerous it is to accept legends; and that the picture I had of Luther and his influence was thoroughly contradictory of the customary Luther of the legend.

This was some time ago, just before the summer holidays. I spent the greater part of the summer vacation going through my notes on Luther and typing out a manuscript on which I was going to base my talks. But things happened differently. I was suddenly called upon to do some work for the War Office, and naturally left Rugby from one day to another. While serving with the Royal Fusiliers I contracted an illness, and after months in hospital I was invalided outpoorer in health but richer in experience. In my very fragile state of health there was nothing else to be done than to return to cap and gown.

I had four extremely happy and interesting years at Rugby, but all the same I was anxious to get to know life and work at another public school. When I came out of the army I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the staff of StoweEngland's most modern great public school. The opportunity of being able to compare one of the oldest schoolsRugbywith one of the most modern appealed to me greatly, and with the approval of both the Chairman of the Governing Body of Rugby School (Dr. William Temple) and its Headmaster (Mr. P H. B. Lyon) I moved to Stowe.

There I looked again at my Luther manuscript. I felt somewhat reluctant to talk to boys on so controversial a matter. I might be accused of having come under Roman Catholic influence and trying to convert my pupils. I thus sent the notes I had prepared to three of my most valued fatherly friends, none of whom can be accused of having much sympathy with Jesuitism and Roman Catholicism, while all three strongly disagree in their interpretation of Germany: Lord Vansittart, Dean Inge, and Professor Oscar Levy, the English editor of Nietzsche. All three were unanimous in their advice, i.e., that I ought to publish my notes.

After much thought I decided to do as they advised, and to let the notes stand as they are. If they were going to be published, they had to be published soon. And since apart from my very full teaching time-table, I am engaged in some reconstruction and re-education work, it was clear that for a long time to come I should not have found the time to re-write my thesis, to elaborate it, to make out of it a deep scholarly work of several volumes. I even decided to let my English stand as it is. I hope the reader will forgive me.

It was, however, only with very great reluctance that I was persuaded to omit my references and footnotes. My publisher and advisers were anxious that the book should be published in such a form and at a price that the greatest possible circulation could be guaranteed. This would have been impossible, especially under wartime conditions, if I had left the hundreds of references in the text. I have given in brackets merely the references of some of the more important quotations. But any reader who is anxious to check up any of the many extracts given in my book has merely to write to me direct and I will without delay supply him with chapter and verse. I can, however, guarantee that before going to press I have carefully checked all quotations. This, incidentally, would never have been possible without the admirable help and valuable assistance which I have received from the librarians and staff of the library of the British Museum and of the Bodleian library in Oxford.

As for all the other scholars, friends, politicians, and colleagues who for well over ten years have helped me in my attempt to get to know and to understand Luther, it is impossible to mention them by name. I fully realise that in the present short outline I cannot possibly to justice to their scholarship and patience. But all I am trying to do in the following pages is to elaborate in some detail a line of thought which, in my humble opinion, cannot be overlooked once we start on the difficult problem of understanding and re-educating our enemy. I am fully aware of the fact that the publication has all the unavoidable drawbacks of wartime writing, but if I succeed in suggesting to a few of my generous readers, especially those of the younger generation, that the whole problem of Germany is deeper, more profound, more spiritual, than some of our popular philosophers and journalists seem to think, I shall have fully achieved my purpose.

P.F.W.


Stowe School,

Buckingham.
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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ምዕራፍ አንድ የመነሻ ሐሳቦች

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTORY THOUGHTS


SOME years ago I published under the title German With Tears a survey of German education, past and present. Strangely enough, a chance remark occurring in the booka remark which had very little to do with its main themeproduced more comment, more correspondence, more approval, and more violent attacks than any other statement. I wrote: I personally believe that the real roots of National Socialism go down to the reformer Martin Luther, who seems to me more of a political demagogue than a religious reformer, and whose teachings and sayings are the foundations on which later Germans built.

I shall try to prove that this was not a flippant thought but my utmost conviction. I know that it will sound shocking to some. I know that many people will disagree with my views. I shall not try to give a full and scholarly analysis of German Protestantism, of Luther and Lutheranism. I shall merely give my own reading of Luther; I shall show only that side of Luther and his influence which is usually ignored in England and which is entirely the reverse of the traditional view.

My remark, the one I have quoted, is really nothing new or revolutionary. There is a multitude of books which express the same thought, but they all do what I have done hitherto, i.e., they do not explain and prove their theory.

The Nazis themselves claim Luther as their spiritual father. It was Luther, we must understand, who began to Germanise Christianity; National Socialism must complete the process. This from Alfred Rosenberg is one of their typical sayings. But then, we must be careful in our acceptance of Nazi sayings.

However, long before Hitler there were German Protestant scholars of great standing who analysed aright the part Luther played in the history of Germany. Lutheranism played an important part in the political and military development of German Prussia, wrote Prof. Ernst Troeltsch of Heidelberg, early in the present century. German nationalism plus the Prussian State have made our Reich, and both have their origins in Luther, said Karl Sell, another pre-Hitler professor.

Since Hitler there have been very many authors who have connected Luther and National Socialism. Edgar Mowrer wrote as early as 1933: Protestantism means in Germany Lutheranism. All the pet doctrines of Prussianism are found in the writings of the founder, Martin Luther. And it is only a short time since a book was published by a great French scholar, Professor E. Vermeil, in which it is stated that Hitler has taken up Luther's ideas.

There seems therefore, very little that is original in my own saying. All the same, I shall attempt to show how I came to this monstrous-seeming conclusion.

When I was an undergraduate in my first term, my tutor returned an essay of mine on Political Philosophy with the sentence written under it: All monistic theories are false. I did not quite know what he meant. The essayI have forgotten the exact subjecthad to do with unemployment, and in my youthful, very left, very pink, views I had throughout the essay blamed capitalism for the present state of the world, especially for unemployment. My tutor was a wise man, a very detached thinker, from whom I learnt few facts but something of the art of clear thinking. I had tea with him a few days later, and he explained to me in detail what he meant by All monistic theories are false. His saying has since then become my guiding maxim.

He meant that it is not possible to explain a very complex and intricate political or sociological situation by one cause alone. There are always a great many factors, some of greater, some of smaller, importance, which cause a particular phenomenon to come into being. Only if we study them all can we come to a true and valuable analysis.

For my part, I have slowly and gradually come to the conclusion that spiritual values and conflicts play the most important part in all problems which govern our lives as individuals and as citizens. Religious forces, and religious forces alone, have had sufficient influence to ensure practical realisation for political ideas, says Professor Figgis. Max Weber, a famous German scholar, expresses exactly the same idea when he says: The modern man is in general, even with the best will, unable to give religious ideas the significance for culture and national character which they deserve.

This fundamental personal belief of mine has to be accepted as a necessary premise. I know that it is debatable. But I have to keep to the main point and do not want to lose myself in side-issues which have no direct bearing on the subject. I fully realise that it is fashionable nowadays to give especially to Economics a place that is higher and superior to that accorded to religious and spiritual ideas. This, I think is partly due to political propaganda, and partly to an inability to appreciate Nicolas Berdyaev's valuable truth that Economics is a creation of the human spirit, its quality is determined by the spirit, its basis spiritual.

Once I had given the spiritual and religious ideas the place which I have just indicated, it was pretty obvious that sooner or later I had to meet the philosophy and personality of Martin Luther. I was brought up partly in Germany, partly in France. Ever since my early childhood I felt instinctively that there was a different atmosphere between France and Germany which I was unable to describe. Later I learnt, and understood, that his was the difference between what is commonly known as Kultur and civilisation. It would be easy to describe me as a francophile, but such generalisations are a little too simple. Suffice it to say I loved the spirit of France, the traditional freedom, the beautyin a word, the civilisation. And I began to see, as did almost everybody in France, that the danger to this civilisation did not come from Hitler but from the German kultur, from a belief and a religion which are typical of Germany, and of which Hitler is merely the latest and most complete example. I began to read and study the history of this kultur, and more than ever did I begin to see that it has its roots in Martin Luther.

I read Luther's writings: by no means all of them, even not the greatest part. Luther's writings are something unbelievable. Over sixty enormous volumes have so far appeared in the latest edition, which is by no means complete as yet. He wrote partly in German, partly in Latin; and to read his works is anything but an easy task. I think it would take a lifetime of concentrated work on the part of an outstanding scholar to read everything that Luther has written. His letters alone number well over three thousand. But at least I can say that I struggled through quite a number of his most important worksand read them with an ever-growing surprise, since the Luther I met there seemed to be a person completely and utterly different from the Luther I had been taught in school.

I began to read biographies and commentaries on Luther. This is perhaps an even more difficult task than the reading of Luther's own works, inasmuch as for over four centuries scholars, politicians, biographers, religious leaders, and students have found something to say about the reformer. A whole big catalogue in the Library of the British Museum is filled with nothing but the titles of writings on Luther. Thus it was not easy to choose. But one fact emerged. The Luther of the legend has not existed any longer in the world of scholarship since the beginning of this century.

I myself went to a Lutheran school in Berlin. We had Lutheran teachers, and 99 per cent of the boys were Lutheran. We celebrated every year Luther Day. Throughout my school life in Germany Luther was shown to us as a great man fighting for freedom, tolerance, independencethe man who exclaimed, Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, May God help me, Amen! Luther, the honest, cheerful, decent German who fought a corrupted, immoral Rome. Luther, who proclaimed the advent of the modern world; Luther, honoured by Protestants everywherethe hero of Germany and the Protestant world.

This view was maintained by all scholars, as I said, until the end of last century. Every Protestant saw in Martin Luther almost a demigod, and any views to the contrary were put forward by Catholics who were guided more by emotion and dislike than by any substantial facts.

But towards the end of the last century things changed. The first man who not only saw Luther in a new light but who also told a deaf world the dangers coming from GermanyFriedrich Nietzschewas the son of a Lutheran pastor. In his own days Nietzsche was not read even in his own country. Nowadays he is quoted all over the worldbut I doubt very much whether he is read. He is accused of having said and taught things which never occurred to him. I cannot enter into Nietzsche's teachings here, but I must utter a warning against quoting, or misquoting, one of the most profound thinkers humanity has ever known without having read him, without having tried to understand his ideas.

Nietzsche's remarks on Luther merely indicated the direction from which the wind was blowing. His voice remained unheard. It was not until 1904 that the Luther-revolution started.

A few years previously an important document had been discovered which shed some light on an unknown period in Luther's life, and in 1904 Henri Suso Denifle published the first volume of his Luther and Lutheranism. Denifle, sub-archivist of the Holy See, was a very well-known scholar. Through his work at the Vatican he had access to documents and writings such as few other scholars possessed, and he had devoted his whole life to the study of the writings and influence of Martin Luther. As a result, he published his thunderbolt. Within a month the book was out of print. It was perhaps the greatest attack ever delivered on any reformer. Denifle gave full and ample quotations for everything he said. A terrifying, dirty, dishonest Luther appeared, a Luther much blacker and more hideous by far than all his former opponents taken together had depicted him. And the worst of it was that Denifle had quoted hardly anything but Luther's own words.

The reaction must have been enormous. Here is how one of Luther's biographers describes it: Lutheran Germany shook with wrath. . . . The reviews, the newspapers, all the periodicals of a country rich in printed matter, spoke of only one subject. And in public assemblies, governments were interpellated on the subject of a frightful and positively blasphemous book (L. Febure: LutherA Destiny).

The sensation abroad was equally great. The book was translated, contradicted. Literally hundreds of books and pamphlets appeared. But the really important point is that the whole place of Luther and Lutheranism in the history of mankind underwent a change.

As a reply to Denifle, a Professor Boehmera great apologist of Lutherpublished a work which he called Luther in the light of Modern Research, which brought out the fundamental changes that had taken place within a few years in Lutheran research. The most valuable book of this period, one still unsurpassed today, was by a Protestant theologian, Ernst Troeltsch, Professor at Heidelberg. The amazing thing was that Troeltsch in his great work, The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches, expressedto quote Professor L. Feburecorroborated certain of Denifle's views.

Thus for the last four decades the Luther-legend has not existed any longer. Serious research has taken place, and Luther and his teachings are seen in a completely different light by scholars, historians, Germanists, theologians all over the world, than they were at the beginning of the century.

Except in England. Yes, it is true. The researches and advances made in Luther studies, the German Reformation, and history during the last four decades have been utterly and completely ignored in Britain. It is not surprising that such a quite and anything but excitable philosopher as Jacques Maritain could, in a recent article on Luther, refer to Anglo-modern stupidity.

The reasons for this neglect are manifold. First of all England is traditionally insular. In as many respects as the Channel has proved Britain's greatest asset, in as many respectsespecially in the intellectual sphereit has proved a drawback. What Maritain calls the atmosphere historique on the Continent, very often does not reach England (which incidentally is not always a drawback).

Secondly, no nation indulges so much as England in wishful thinking. No nation finds it so utterly impossible to get rid of prejudices. Even ten years of war within three decades, ten years of German aggression, brutality, atrocities under different leaders, different generals, by different people has not made the English abandon their legend of the lovely Germany, the home of Beethoven and Goethe. The Luther-legend had found a firmer holding in England than in any other country; and since the Reformer has been glorified by people such as Matthew Arnold and Carlyle, it seems that nothing will ever destroy the accepted belief.

Thirdly, this incapability of changing views and facing unpleasant but necessary facts is due to an education which still considers games as more important than thought.

Lastly and above all, this retarded attitude of mind is due to an intellectual desert island within the island. I am referring to the Universities. No one will doubt that English scientists and technicians, doctors and scholars of ancient subjects are second to none. But some modern subjects, those in which no technical ability counts and permanent progress of thought is necessary, are in a pitiful state in England.

Let us take merely my own subject: German, and the way it is taught at the place with the highest reputation for learning and scholarshipOxford. The way German is taught in Oxford, and consequently all over the country, is laid down by the Professor of German at Oxford. From 1907 until 1937 Professor Fiedler held the Chair; he was succeeded by Professor Boyd. Under them the syllabus underwent no noticeable change; two World Wars left Oxford completely unaffected in this respect. That this is so may be seen from the publications which came from the pen of those two scholars during the last few years, when more than ever it was necessary that students of German should know something about National Socialism and its ancestors. Professor Boyd has published since he took over the professorship an edition of Goethe's Iphigenia in Tauris, and a collection in chronological order of Goethe's poems. Professor Fiedler has published a new edition of Goethe's Faust, Part II, and a collection of selected passages from German authors. The Oxford of 1945 is still, so far as the teaching of German is concerned, the Oxford of 1832. Hitler's Germany might as well not exist, since only the Germany of Goethe is taught.

It is significant that in his first sermon after his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Dr. Temple appealed to the teachers of German not merely to teach the classics, but to have regard to some degree for grim and unpleasant realities.

To return to Luther. None of the books which gave a completely new interpretation of Luther was published in England for a long time. Twenty-six years after its publication, Boehmer's apology for Luther and his reply to Denifle was published. Professor Troeltsch's book had to wait until 1931 to find an English publisher. Bishop Gore wrote then in the introduction: It stands beyond question without a rival as an exposition of Christian life and thought and their relations to contemporary social facts. If that is so, one may well ask why it took some decades for it to be translated into English.

What I am going to state is, then, nothing new and original on the Continent, although to English ears it may sound blasphemous and heretic. I have indicated my limitations. Perhaps I may as well mention that, in spite of my shortcomings, I think I have some qualifications for speaking on Luther. It has been rightly observed that Luther was so typical a German, one may even say so exclusively German, that a complete understanding can be expected only from a German. For once my nationality seems to be an advantage.

There are so many conceptions which have undergone a complete and radical change since the works of Troeltsch, Weber, and Denifle appeared, that it would fill many volumes if I attempted to describe them all. However, I have at least to indicate briefly two important and fundamental new views.

For almost four centuries people spoke and thought of The Reformation as if it was a unity. Protestants in all countries believed that they adhered to the same principles, that they had some fundamental doctrine in common. This idea has been abandoned since the works of Weber and Troeltsch. Protestantism is a misnomer, a thing which does not exist. Troeltsch began to analyse the meaning of Protestantism and denied that such a conception was possible. Denifle makes it perfectly clear that he speaks of Lutheranism, which has little to do with Protestantism. The first condition for a true understanding of Lutheranism is to understand its great difference from all other forms of Protestantism, he writes; and Troeltsch points out again the great political difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism. Lutheranism has found its strongest form of expression in the politics and world-outlook of the Prussian and German conservatives, through whom to-day Lutheranism still helps to determine the destinies of the German people. The restoration of Prussian-German Lutheranism was one of the most important events in social history. . . . Lutheranism hallowed the realistic sense of power and the ethical virtues of obedience, reverence, and respect for authority which are indispensable for Prussian militarism. In spite of the fact that originally Calvinism was very closely connected with Lutheranism, it has gradually become the very opposite of Lutheranism. Calvinism, on the other hand, in more recent times under the influence of Pietism and Methodism, to which it is closely akin, has upon the whole maintained its unphilosophical theology, or at least after the disturbances of the enlightenment it rediscovered it. In its close connection with English and American racial peculiarities and institutions, however, it has merged with and to some extent produced that political and social way of life which may be described as `Americanism'.

These are, in a few quotations, Troeltsch's conclusions. He proved that from the social and political point of view, German Lutheranism and Swiss, French, Anglo-American Calvinism are not merely not connected, but directly opposed. I cannot at present explain in detail how he arrived at his conclusion. I can merely mention it, refer to his work (and perhaps to Tawney's and Christopher Dawson's writings on the subject), and state that I fully accept his views. Thus if during the following pages I should refer to Protestants, it is important to bear in mind that I am referring to German Protestants, i.e., Lutherans. However briefly I have touched on this point, I had to do it in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding. Since Troeltsch wrote, these views have been widely accepted and elaborated. Calvinism, the theologian Rauschenbusch has written, had a far wider sphere of influence and a deeper effect on the life of the nations than Lutheranism because it continued to fuse religious faith and the demand for political liberty and social justice. Canon Barry was even more outspoken ten years later: Lutheranism is a very terrible anti-Christian system, peculiar to Germany, not to be confounded with Anglicanism or Calvinism, but sui generis, which in Luther became incarnate, in Prussia forged its sword, and in the distracted anaemic Eruope of the 20th century seemed to have discovered its prey. Luther was not the champion of liberty and freedom, either Catholic or Protestant. He was the voice of Germanism, which dreams that as religion, culture, government, and race it should be master of mankind. This Germanism must be conquered, or the end of genuine freedom is at the door.

Another ten years later, these views were fully accepted in America. It is well known that the leaders in the Reform or Protestant movement differed radically amongst themselves regarding theological matters. It is of importance to note that they also differed regarding political matters, and that these differences finally led to the rise of separate and opposed political philosophies. I could give many more quotations to prove that nowadays people make a great difference between Calvinism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism. While the two former have given rise to liberal thought and democracy in the course of history, the last-named is the foundation of Prussian militarism and the Herrenvolk.

It is perhaps interesting to note that a French scholar, Professor J. Paquier, has even gone so far as not merely to prove the existence of the same difference between French and German Protestants, but goes on to state that We have no right to confuse German Lutheranism with Lutheranism as found in Alsace. The whole conception of Protestantism has undergone a change which I have thought it necessary to mention, in order to provide a better understanding.

The other preliminary point which I can state only in the same summary way before I enter upon my subject proper, is the new place the whole of the Reformation movement has found, as the result of modern historical research, within the framework of history, and especially the connection between the Renaissance and the Reformation. This is indeed a stimulating subject, but all I can do herein order that Luther the man, and his works, can be properly understoodis to try and describe very briefly what is the traditional view of these two movements, and how they are seen in the light of most recent research. I shall again merely state the conclusions, and must leave to a future and more elaborate study the tracing of the stimulating and enlightening way by which modern scholars have found the way to a true interpretation of the Renaissance and the Reformation and the relationship of the one and the other.

I think it is safe to say that it was the traditional viewand still is in many quartersthat the Renaissance was merely a revival of classical art and literature, pagan and spiritually hollow, while the Reformation went further and gave new and healthier life to religion and all other spiritual forces. It is customary, says the Cambridge Modern History, to distinguish the Renaissance as the revival of letters from the Reformation as the revival of religion. But the Renaissance was something much more. The Renaissance stood for a complete Weltanschauung and culture, and not only a collection of remarkable fine creations, remarks Berdyaev so rightly.

This complete Weltanschauung found during the Renaissance its way even into Germany, which was so far behind in its civilisation compared to the Latin countries. The Renaissance is marked in the history of Germany by a notable enlargement of culture, learning, and education, Professor H.A.L. Fisher tells us in his History of Europe.

It is difficult to describe the greatness of the Renaissance, the completeness of the movement and the period, in a few sentences. If I had the space I would quote whole chapters from the works of Jacob Burckhardt, to whom the world owes so much for a true understanding of the Renaissance.

However, I found that the description given in the Encyclopaedia Britannica sums up the whole movement in a fairly clear way. It states that it was not merely a revival of learning, but that the rediscovery of the classic past restored the confidence in their own faculties to men striving after spiritual freedom; revealed the continuity of history and the identity of human nature in spite of divers creeds and different customs; held up for emulation master-works of literature, philosophy, and art; provoked inquiries, encouraged criticism, shattered the narrow mental barriers imposed by medieval orthodoxy. It indicates the endeavour of man to reconstitute himself as a free being . . . and the peculiar assistance he derived in this effort from Greek and Roman literature, the literae humaniores, letters leaning to the side of man rather than of divinity. This article appeared first in the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and was written by J. A. Symonds. But now something very interesting happened. It was reproduced in the most recent, the fourteenth editionbut with a postscript by Professor P. Smith, a famous American scholar. Here is what Professor Smith adds: Like most historians of the 19th century, Symonds regarded them both (the Renaissance and the Reformation) as libera movements . . Just as he was writing, however, Friedrich Nietzsche . . . proclaimed that `the Reformation was a reaction of backward minds against the Italian Renaissance'; and this view gained ground until it was adopted by Catholic historians like Lord Acton, Protestant historians like Ernst Troeltsch, and generally by the majority of scholars.

Throughout Nietzsche's writings we find references to these two movements, and their relationship. The Renaissance is the last great period of history. We have in the Reformation a disorderly and plebeian contradiction of the renaissance of Italy. The Germans have cheated Europe of the last great event of culture which Europe might have collectedthe Renaissance. Luther's reformation was in its complete flatness the reaction of the simple mind against something cosmopolitan. . . . The debasing of European spirit, especially in the north, has made a marked advance with Luther's reformation. That Luther's reformation succeeded in the north is a proof how retarded the north of Europe is compared to the south.

But perhaps the most remarkable of Nietzsche's sayings on the subject we find in his Human, All Too Human. The Renaissance, he writes, had positive forces which have, as yet, never become so mighty again in our modern culture. It was the golden age of the best thousand years, in spite of all its blemishes and vices. On the other hand, the German reformation stands out as an energetic protest of antiquated spirits. . . With their northern strength and stiff-neckedness they threw mankind back again. . . . The great task of the Renaissance could not be brought to a termination; this was prevented by the protest of a contemporary backward spirit. It was the chance of an extraordinary constellation of politics that Luther was preserved, and that his protest gained strength, for the Emperor protected him in order to employ him as a weapon against the Pope, and in the same way he was secretly favoured by the Pope in order to use the Protestant princes as a counterweight against the Emperor. Without this curious counter-play of intentions, Luther would have been burnt like Hussand the morning sun of enlightenment would probably have risen somewhat earlier, and with a splendour more beauteous than we can no imagine.

It ought to be remembered that Nietzsche was the son of a Lutheran pastor, that he had a Lutheran upbringing himself, and that he knew Luther's teaching, Luther's influence, from within. There was some justification when Nietzsche could state in one of his very last writings: People are no longer afraid of the ideal of the Renaissance.

Scholars began to see and discover that the Renaissance and the humanists were not pagan. A great deal of nonsense is talked about the `pagan' Renaissance. People began to understand in what a great time Luther had been born, and what a unique chance he had, and how he utterly and completely not merely ignored this chance, but fought it with such disastrous consequences. The Reformation, that is to say the German Reformation, was no longer seen as a liberal and progressive movement, but as a fatal reactionary period against the greatness of the Renaissance. It is an elementary error, but one which is still shared by many people who have read history superficially, that the Reformation established religious liberty and the right of private judgment, says Prof. J. B. Bury in his History of Freedom of Thought. Or, as Prof. Oscar Levy, the English editor of Nietzsche's works, wrote in 1940, Luther's reformation was a malediction upon art, poetry, beauty, knowledge, as well as upon greatness of heart, mind, will, and deed. The Reformation, writes Dyer in his History of Europe, was a reaction of the Teutonic mind against the Roman.

The results were as to be expected. The direct influence of the Reformation was at first unfavourable to scientific progress, for nothing could be more at variance with any scientific theory of development of the universe than the ideas of the Protestant leaders (A. D. White: History of the Warfare of Science and Theology within Christendom). Germany especially was doomed. She had shown so much promise and so much hope at the beginning of the Renaissance, hopes which the advent of Luther and the German Reformation had annihilated once and forever. Typical and true are the words with which the Cambridge Modern History concludes its chapter on the German Reformation. With the decay of civic life went also the ruin of municipal arts and civilisation. . . . Intellectually, morally and politically, Germany was a desert, and it was called religious peace."

I thought it necessary in order to provide better understanding of what I shall have to say in my subsequent chapters, to point to these two changes which have taken place in the historical interpretation of the Reformation. First of all, the great and fundamental difference between the Lutheran movement and the various other lines of reformation; and secondly, the relation which the Reformation has to its historical predecessor, the Renaissance. I hope that even if I could not indicate the actual line of research taken by the various scholars in arriving at their conclusions, I have at least made it reasonably clear what those conclusions were, and how far they are different from what we might perhaps call the antiquated or traditional views.

Since I have to limit myself, however, I shall deal merely with two aspects of the German Reformation. First I shall discuss, at some length what seems to me the real and true personality of Martin Luther. I shall do this for two reasons. First of all, the German Reformation is unthinkable without the personality and character of Luther himself. The original point of reference in an effort to understand German Protestantism is the person and the writings of Martin Luther. Luther is the German Reformation, the German Reformation Luther. The evangelical Reformation of the sixteenth century is unthinkable without Luther. It owed its origin directly to him and it bears the stamp of his personality. No German has ever influenced so powerfully as Luther the religious life, and through it, the whole history of his people; none has ever reflected so faithfully, in his whole personal character and conduct, the peculiar features of that life and history. Lutheranism is not a system worked out by Luther; it is the overflow of Luther's individuality. . . . It is that which explains the `reformer's' immense influence. These are typical comments.

I could give many more quotations of the same kind from Lutherans and Catholics alike which would justify me in devoting some time to the personal character of the Reformer. For I am as much convinced as all other biographers that an understanding of Lutheranism, and its effect, is completely impossible without a full understanding of Luther's personality.

The second reason why I shall discuss Luther the man at some length is because I hope to be able to destroy the Luther-legend to some extent. Nothing, to my mind, is so harmful to a true understanding of historical facts as the existence of some old legends which have no reasonable explanation. One of Luther's biographers wrote about the hopelessness to fight the Luther-legend. I am not quite so much of a pessimist. I think it is my duty as a teacher to try and acquaint my pupils with the facts, or at least the facts as I see them, and to produce in them a state of mind in which they may investigate for themselves, see and read on their ownbefore they accept traditional legends, irrespective of whether there is a shadow of truth about them or not.

After I shall have dealt with the character and personality of Luther, I shall try and explain some of the Reformer's social and political doctrines. I do not propose to enter into any discussion of Luther's doctrine, of his explanations of and views about the Scriptures. The doctrine is what is least interesting in the history of Luther and Lutheranism, says Funck-Brentano in his famous biography of Luther.

It is not always fully realised that Luther had not merely a great influence on political and social life (apart from the purely religious aspect), but that he was a political and social figure in his own times. Luther was more of a politician than a theologian, says Houston Stewart Chamberlain, one of his greatest admirers. He was above all a political hero. It was Luther's first thought to look in the Scripture for a political reformation. Religious and social questions mingle together in the Reformation; it was in fact quite as much a social and political revolution as a religious movement. Thus it was no accident that Luther was called on to take a leading part in the controversies. Thus it happened that Lutheranism was political, and it is certainly with justification that a Protestant church historian calls Luther one of the greatest politicians of Germany (H. Hermelink in Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte, vol. 29, 1908, p. 478).

After I have shown the personality and character of Martin Luther, his political and social teachings, I shall attempt to trace the influence exercised by the Reformer and his theories on the political life of Germany, and thus of Europe. It will then be the reader's task to decide whether I have proved my case when I stated that, in my opinion, the line from Luther to Hitler runs straight; and that one of the main causes, if not the main cause, which turned Germany into a country of barbarians, which produced a Germany attempting repeatedly to destroy all the values of western civilisation, was Martin Luther and his German Reformation.
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ዲጎኔ

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:56 am    Post subject: አሳ ጎርጎአሪ ዘንዶ አወጣ የሰው ስህተት ፈላጊ እራሱን አስወጊ Reply with quote

አወይ ግብረ ሀዋርያ ስምንተኛው ምእአርፍ ወይስ ?

አሁንስ ብለህ ብለህ በቤተክርስቲያን ታሪክ እጅግ ክህደት የፈጸሙትን ማርክሲዝምና የናዝዝምን ቀማሪዎች እነ ኒትሽ ፍሬደሪክን / ማርቲን ሉተርን ለመስደብ ብለህ ተወዳጀህና አረፍከው ?
Intelectual ego -self esteem ,Reasoning ,Post-modernism ,Darwin,Karl Marx,Nietzsche ,Freud,Kant የመሳሰሉትን 18ኛው ክፍለዘመን የተነሱት ከእግዚአብሄር ፍጹም ይስተሟላ ጸጋ በላይ የሰው ልጅ እምቅ አስተሳሰብ ወሳኝነት አለው በሚል ፍልስፍና ብዙዎቹን ያሳቱትን ፈላስፎች ግሳንግስ መናፍቃዊ መጣጥፍ አሁንም ለማርቲን ሉተር መስደቢያ ማቅረብህ እጅግ አሳዛኝ ፍጡር መሆንህን ተረዳሁልህ ::እስኪ በቅርብህ ካሉ የቅድስት ስላሴ መንፈሳዊ ኮሌጅ ወይም ስዋሰወ ጳውሎስ መንፈሳዊ ትምህርት ቤት ከተመረቁ ጋር እነዚህ የጠቀስኩልህን 18 ክፍለ ዘመን የቤተክርስቲያን የአለም ሰላም ቀበኞች ማንነት ጠይቀህና አንብበህ እንደገና ጽሁፍህን የቀዳህበትን ምንጭ መርምር ::
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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:12 am    Post subject: የሉተር ባህርያት Reply with quote

ካለፈው የቀጠለ

CHAPTER II: LUTHER THE MAN


LUTHER'S CHARACTER


I HOPE that I have already made it clear that I do not intend to give anything like a biography of Luther. The biographer ought to record all the known facts of a man's life, important the unimportant, pleasant and unpleasantand then it should be the task of the reader to form his own judgment on the character of the man who has been described to him. True, especially in the case of Luther, this has often not been observed; and so-called biographers have been at pains to portray a reformer who was almost a saint, ignoring all his weaker and weakest points. There are, however, some quite excellent biographies of Luther, and to those who are concerned with getting a complete and unbiased picture, I would wholeheartedly recommend Funck-Brentano's work, Martin Luther, from which incidentally I shall quote quite often.

The task of the commentator is quite different from that of the biographer. The commentator does not even attempt, or pretend, to give a full picture. He takes some particular points and analyses and discusses them in detail in order to prove, or disprovewhatever the case may bea particular theory. This is what I am trying to do. And since it is my object to trace Luther's influence on German political and social development, I shall discuss merely the factors which seem to me to be relevant.

I know of hardly any other man in history on whom it would be more difficult to talk than on Luther, for I fully realise that every statement of mine may be contradicted. First of all, this is because people find it very difficult to look at Luther in an unbiased way. Some glorify everything he has done, others vilify everything.

Take for examplequite apart from our subjectLuther's influence on the German language. Heinrich von Treitschke, the famous German historian, stated: Luther invented the New High German in one day, at one stroke, he created it. But the historian Janssen (who wrote sixteen volumes on German history in the Middle Ages) states quite definitely that Luther created no new German language, that Luther had no influence whatsoever on the development of German.

Now both these historians are scholars. But Treitschke is an ultra-national Lutheran, who sees in Luther a kind of god. Whatever Luther thinks and says is a miracle. Like God Himself he created a new language with one stroke. Janssen, on the other hand, is a Roman Catholic who sees no good whatsoever in Luther, and even the thought that the man who split the Catholic Church might have had some beneficial influence on his native tongue is abhorrent to him.

The truth lies probably, in this case, somewhere in the middle; but it will be seen how careful we have to be in accepting statements about Luther, however comment may be and will be contradicted.

Luther, admittedly, helped his commentators tremendously by his own writings. For these were a mass of contradictions. He was quite likely to affirm and to deny the same fact or phenomenon within a very short while; and thus he made it possible for authorities to quote whatever side they preferred. But it is just this wealth of contradictions which gives us the first clue to Luther's character. For, like his doctrines and his writings, Luther's life was a mass of contradictions arising from the neurotic temperament (Funck-Brentano).

From early youth, Luther was a very neurotic character. He had an extremely strict upbringing and tells us himself that My mother flogged me until I bled on account of a single nut. At school and university it was not much better. He was whipped by his teachers as often as fifteen times a day, all for ridiculous offences. The undue severity of which he was the victim as a little boy left its mark on his character; he always remained somewhat timid, wild and mistrustful. His friends already remarked then that young Luther suffered from an uneasiness of spirit and psychical abnormality. He began very early in life to suffer from melancholia, and there can be no doubt that his whole nervous system was strained.

It is interesting to remember how he decided at this period to enter the Church. On July 2, 1505, as the young man was returning from a visit to his parents at Magdeburg, a violent storm overtook him not far from Erfurt. As he was travelling alone near Stotterheim, a bold of lightning struck in his immediate vicinity and laid him prostrate on the ground. `Help me, help me! If thou helpest me, St. Anne, I will become a monk!' So it was that he entered the monastery.

Nothing could have been worse for that frightened, nervous, emotional, unstable young man than the rather hard and monotonous life of a monk. Thus it is not surprising that his monastic life was full of strange incidents. One day when Luther was present at High Mass in the monks' choir, he had a fit during the Gospel, which, as it happened, told the story of the man possessed. He fell to the ground and in his paroxysms behaved like one mad, shouting `I am not possessed, I am not possessed'. We often hear in his later life that hysterical weeping and sobbing overwhelmed him. While he was still in the monastery, the other monks often thought that he was possessed by the devil.

Complete mental instability remained the keyword to his life. He tried to overcome his depressions by overwork or too much prayer, always overdoing things, with the result that his mental state deteriorated. There are many passages in his own writings which give us a good insight into Luther's psychological processes. Here is where he is overworking himself. I need two secretaries. I do practically nothing all day long but write letters. . . . I am Preacher of the Convent and the Refectory; and vicar in the district, and therefore elevenfold Prior; I am responsible for the fish-ponds at Leitzkau; I am agent at Torgau in the suit for Herzberg parish church; I give lectures on St. Paul, I am collecting notes on the Psalter. I rarely have time to recite my Office and say Mass. Physically I am fairly well, but I suffer in spirit, he would confess. For more than the whole of last week I was tossed about in death and hell, so that I still tremble all over my body and am exhausted. Billows and tempests of despair and blasphemy assailed me and I had lost Christ almost entirely (Luther's Letters, Enders Edition, vol. 1, pp. 66, 67, and vol. 6, page 71).

At other times he does nothing at all. I am here in idleness, he writes in 1521, alas neglecting prayer and not sighing once for the Church of God. I burn with all the desires of my unconquered flesh. It is the ardour of the spirit that I ought to feel. But it is the flesh, desire, laziness, idleness and sleepiness that possess me (ibid. vol. 3, page 189).

So it goes on and on; and the more we read Luther, the more we find how justified are those biographers of his who say: It seems difficult to dismiss here the hypothesis of neuropathic disorder (Maritain). Others describe his sufferings as delirious hallucinations (Funck-Grentano), religious fanaticism (Professor B. Schoen), or describe him simply as mentally deranged (ibid).

Even his greatest admirers and apologists have to admit that he suffered from religious melancholia, mania for persecution, or a mania for greatness(Professors A. Hausrath, J. Husslein, A. Harnack).

The older he grew, the worse he got. He suffers from temptations and especially from devil-mania. Everything he disliked, everybody who disagreed with him, was inspired by the Devil. He was subject to numerous strange hallucinations and vibrations which he attributed invariably to the direct action of Satan. Satan become, in consequence, the dominating conception of his life. It is one of the chief characteristics of Luther that in his intellectual life, in his social intercourse, in speech, in writing, and in preaching he always brought in the Devilattributed far more influence and importance to him that is warranted by Scripture, and by his writings gained for him in Germany a popularity which he had never before enjoyed. . . .All the slumbering germs of superstition both among the rude masses and the higher circles were by this means awakened and set in motion.

Luther's sayings on the subject are too numerous to be quoted. But it certainly is true that he forced back upon Germany a belief in miracles, superstitions, mysticism, a fanatical belief in evil powers which under the influence of the Renaissance were rapidly losing ground.

Here it must be mentioned that there is something which makes it difficult to quote his sayings, not merely on the Devil, but on many other subjects. This is his language. Satan sleeps with me much more than my wife does, is a relatively harmless remark. Other quotations can be given only with dashes indicating unprintable indecencies.

Luther's language was indeed something quite abominable and indescribable. He is obsessed with filth and obscenity, writes Maritain. To call it revolutionary journalism is an understatement. He would be furiously angry, and when he was angry he fairly vomited filth. He wrote things one cannot quote in decent English, is much nearer to the mark. This again, was only the natural outcome of his neurotic character. There was nothing godlike or holy about him, there was little patience or human understanding; he loved to scream, shout and blaspheme in the manner of the most vulgar German politician, such as our generation has seen more than enough. With pride he himself exclaimed; Rage acts as a stimulant to my whole being. It sharpens my wits, puts a stop to the assaults of the Devil and drives out care. Never do I write or speak better than when I am in a rage. If I wish to compose, write, pray and preach well, I have to be in a rage (Table Talk, 1210).

It is particularly interesting to note what he understood by praying well. If I can no longer pray, I can at least curse. I will no longer say `Hallowed by Thy Name', but Curse and blast and damn the name of Papist'. I will no longer say Thy Kingdom come', but will repeat Curse and damn the Papacy and send it to perdition'. Yes, that is how I pray, and I do so every day of my life and from the bottom of my heart (E25, 108).

It may be argued that the language of the Middle Ages knew different standards from that of our own time. But, in this respect Luther went far beyond the custom among educated men of his time, shocking his friends and leaving his opponents speechless with rage and amazement at his audacity.

It may be urged that a man who said and wrote so many lovely things, might well be entitled to overstep the limit occasionally in the other direction. But Luther's writings were rarely beautiful, and most of them display an undignified vulgarity, spiced with sexual allusions. I fully agree with one of his commentators (H. Hallam) who says of his language that Its intemperance, its coarseness, its negligence, its inelegance, its scurrility, its wild paradoxes menaced the foundations of religious morality and were not compensated by much strength and acuteness and still less by any impressive eloquence (Introduction to the Literature of Europe).

This mythical, mentally unbalanced, diseased character was the hero of the Reformation. His intemperance, his persecution mania, his varying moods, were the origin of his permanent contradictions. There was nothing reasonable in him. Indeed, he admitted himself that he hated reason, and that he was guided merely by his passions, by his violent temper. More than once he condemned in his violent language, reason and a reasonable approach to matters. Reason is the Devil's greatest whore; by nature and an manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil's appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom. . . . Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism. . . . She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets (E16, 142-148). There are many more sayings in the same sense, though not always so dirtily phrased. Usury, drunkenness, adulterythese crimes are self-evident and the world knows that they are sinful; but that bride of the Devil, `Reason', stalks abroad, the fair courtesan, and wishes to be considered wise, and thinks that whatever she says comes from the Holy Ghost. She is the most dangerous harlot the Devil has. Reason is contrary to faith, he writes elsewhere. Reason is the whore of the Devil. It can only blaspheme and dishonour everything God has said or done (E29, 241) So it goes on and on.

It is here, in Luther's teachings, in his personality, in his hatred of reason, that we find the seeds of the German belief in a romantic world, of the distrust of anything logical and reasonable. Luther's violent language and temper, his inability to speak and think like a rational being, made him distrust and dislike reason; and his nationwho accepted this new Christianity only too willinglybelieved in it and welcomed it as a modern religion.

It is interesting to compare how two great scholars, utterly different in outlook and views, interpret this anti-rational hysteria of Martin LutherNietzsche, the free thinker, and Jacquest Maritain, who so nobly attempts to make an unchristian world more Christian.

Nietzsche quotes Luther's If we could conceive by reason that God who shows so much wrath and malignity could be merciful and just, what use should we have in faith?" and the philosopher continues: "from the earliest times, nothing has ever made a deeper impression upon the German soul, nothing has ever tempted it more, than that deduction, the most dangerous of all, which for every true Latin is a sin against the intellect: credo quia absurdum est."

Maritain for his part gives quotations in which Luther expresses his dislike of reason; and the Catholic philosopher continues: I have quoted these passages because it is instructive to discern in the beginning, in its authentic tone and quality, the false anti-intellectualist mysticism which was to poison so many minds in more subtle and less candid guises in the nineteenth century. . . . Luther delivered man from the intelligence, from that wearisome and besetting compulsion to think always and think logically.

How few people do realise the deep and permanent connection between religion and politics, faith and world-affairs! So many English people indulge in wishful thinking. They argue according to their own logic. They assume that the Germans adopt the same logic. They try to show a light to the Germans which the Germans do not only not want, but which they despise. Their Christ, their God, their MessiahMartin Luthertaught them to hate reason and intelligence, and they followed willingly and ever since.

Some people might be surprised, or indeed shocked, if I called Luther Germany's Christ”— but that is just what he tried to be himself, an attempt which was only too successful.

It was not long before Luther's pseudo-mysticism translated itself into deeds. He persuades himself that he is guided in all his actions and resolutions by a sort of Divine inspiration. He first began to explain, in a new fashion, God's Word. But it soon became apparent that by `God's Word' Luther of course always meant his own interpretation of Scripture, his own doctrine, which he prided himself has been revealed to him by God.

When I am angry, I am not expressing my own wrath, but the wrath of God. Luther knew that he was superior to any man or saint. St. Augustine or St. Ambrosius cannot be compared with me. They shall respect our teaching which is the word of God, spoken by the Holy Ghost, through our lips. Not for a thousand years has God bestowed such great gifts on any bishop as He as on me (E61, 422). God has appointed me for the whole German land, and I boldly vouch and declare that when you obey me you are without a doubt obeying not me but Christ (W15, 27). Whoever obeys me not, despises not me but Christ. I believe that we are the last trump that sounds before Christ is coming. What I teach and write remains true even though the whole world should fall to pieces over it. (W18, 401). Whoever rejects my doctrine cannot be saved. Nobody should rise up against me.

No mortal ever spoke of himself as Luther did. His persecution mania turned with advancing years into a mania of self-glorification, of grandeur. He really and truly believed that he was God's representative upon earth. He did not refrain from saying and teaching, I am Christ; and he exclaimed, almost in the same breath, I am the prophet of the Germans, for such is the haughty title I must henceforth assume.

Thus I cannot thing that I said too much when I called Luther the German Christ”— for such is what he wanted to be, what he believed himself to be, and what, unfortunately, his fellow-countrymen accepted him to be.

Luther's God and Luther's Christ had to be blamedand this is a natural

consequence of the Reformer's character, views and maniasfor every wrong Luther himself committed. If God is concerned for the interests of His son He will watch over me; my cause is the cause of Jesus Christ. If God careth not for the glory of Christ, He will endanger His own and will have to bear the shame.

Thus, quite naturally, Luther does not always see eye to eye with God or Christ. I have greater confidence in my wife and my pupils than I have in Christ, he said on one occasion quite shamelessly (Table Talk, 2397b). When I beheld Christ I seemed to see the Devil. I had a great aversion for Christ. Often I was horrified at the name of Christ, and when I regarded Him on the Cross, it was as if I had been struck by lightning; and when I heard His name mentioned, I would rather have heard the name of the Devil (see Janssen **, 72; also Maritain, Three Reformers, p. 169). I did not believe in Christ, wrote Luther in 1537. The example of Jesus Christ Himself very often meant nothing to Luther (see E29, 196).

God, on the other hand, seemed to him a master armed with a stick. God did mischievously blind me; God often acts like a madman; God paralyses the old and blinds the young and thus remains master; I look upon God no better than a scoundrel; God is stupid (Table Talk, No. 963, W1, 4Cool

Strange sayings from the mouth of the reformer! But stranger still are his references to God and Christ when it comes to Luther's own shortcomings. We shall see later his own attitude to sex and morality. But he excused his own adulteryto quote merely one more exampleby the teachings of Christ. Christ, says Luther, committed adultery first of all with the woman at the well about whom Saint John tells us. Was not everybody about Him saying: `Whatever has he been doing with her? Secondly, with Mary Magdalene, and thirdly with the woman taken in adultery whom He dismissed so lightly. Thus even Christ, who was so righteous, must have been guilty of fornication before He died (Table Talk, 1472) (W2, 107).

I have quoted chiefly Luther's own words, and have shown his character as I believe it was. To my mind this is the infinite tragedy of Luther and Germany, that he himself believed in his manias, in his mission from God, in his replacing Christand that his countrymen believed it, too. Who will ever decide whether a country produces her outstanding men, or whether these outstanding men have a revolutionary influence on their country? In Luther's case probably both are true. Nowhere else but in Germany, which was not yet as civilised as the Latin countries, could a man like Luther have been born and bred. And nowhere else could a man like Lutherhysterical, irrational, irreligioushave been followed by the whole nation for centuries. A nation which found it easy to accept a character like Luther as Christ, could not find it difficult to accept a man like Hitler as Messiah.
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Acts 8:26-39

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Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:42 pm    Post subject: LUTHER IN ACTION Reply with quote

ካለፈው የቀጠለ

LUTHER IN ACTION



I have tried to give a glimpseand in the space at my disposal I cannot do moreof the unbalanced mind of the reformer. It now remains to see according to what principles Luther conducted his own life.

True Christians have pointed out more than once that Christianity in its best and only possible sense is not a dogma, not something detached from life, but a moral code which we ought to apply to all our actions and thoughts. Only if we lead a truly Christian life, only if we try to commit no sins and translate His principles into action, imitate His exampleonly then can we achieve the aim of real Christianity.

It is here that I have found Luther's teaching so very surprising. According to Luther, what we do and how we act does not matter in the least. All that matters is our belief. He came to this staggering, and in my view thoroughly unchristian, doctrine by the addition of one single wordthe word alone”— in His German translation of the Bible. In Rom. Iii, 28, Luther makes the Apostle say: Thus we hold that a man is justified by faith alone without the works of the law. (This, incidentally, is one of his many falsifications of the Bible).

It does not matter what people do; it only matters what they believe. God does not need our actions. All He wants is that we pray to Him and thank Him. Even the example of Christ Himself means nothing to him. It does not matter how Christ behavedwhat He taught is all that matters (E29, 196), is Luther's subtle distinction.

Since Luther had this curious idea that our actions have no connections whatsoever with our thoughts, and that as long as we think in a Christian way, we need not behave accordingly, it is not surprising that he did not hesitate to authorise the commitment of sins. What does it matter whether we commit a fresh sin? he asks sarcastically. Faith cancels all sin is his simple counsel. No other sin exists in the world save unbelief, is his doctrine. Indeed, his old enemy, Satan, is once more coming to light in order to give an excuse to sinners. Sometimes it is necessary to commit some sin out of hatred and contempt for the Devil. What matters if we commit a sin? (E16, 254).

But then again, he sometimes consoles himself with the thought that it was God who ordained sins. You must say my sins are not mine; they are not in me at all; they are the sins of another' they are Christ's and are none of my business (W25, 330). What a consolation for pious souls to put Him on like this and wrap Him in my sins, your sins, the sins of the whole universe, and consider Him thus bearing all our sins. Christianity is nothing but a continual exercise in feeling that you have no sin although you sin, but that your sins are thrown on Christ. From the moment when you acknowledge that Christ bears your sins, He becomes the sinner in your stead.

A strange doctrine! Indeed, he frequently demands that one ought to commit a sin. Be a sinner, and sin boldly, but believe more boldly still. Not only men, but the Saints and Apostles must be sinners. The Saints must be good, downright sinners. The Apostles themselves were sinners, yea, regular scoundrelsI believe that the prophets also frequently sinned grievously (E62, 165).

This, then, is Luther's somewhat curious interpretation of Christianityan interpretation which he translated into full practice in his own life, as I shall attempt to show.

Christianity, to my mind, is a totality, a total state of mind, a total way of living. It is not open to us to accept just what pleases us, and to reject what we dislike. There are only two possibilities: either we accept (or at least we try to accept)) the complete code of Christian ethics, or we quite frankly admit that we are no Christians. Anything between the two is utter and shameful hypocrisy. I have no hesitation in saying, as a schoolmaster, that I infinitely prefer a good pagan to a bad Christian.

It is for this reason that I am fully convinced that our permanent pretences to live in a Christian world lack the necessary foundation of honesty. Christianity demands so much; and most people are merely prepared to pay lip-service to some of its demands, blindly ignoring the rest.

A certain attitude to sex, an attitude to temperance, an attitude to truth, are fundamental pillars (often ignored) on which Christianity rests. To ignore them is to act willfully in an unchristian way. Even if we may make allowances for ordinary human beings who commit some sins of that kind, hoping that they will improve, the case is certainly different with a man who has the reputation of being a reformer of Christianity, a man who is reputed to have saved the Christian Church from the evils and anti-Christian ways into which both the pagan Renaissance and the misguided Roman Church had led it.

It is therefore necessary not merely to look at Luther's more theoretical sayings on sin, but to see how the Reformer lived himself, for it is his example which the Germans were taught to followand followed. I shall thus try to show, in turn, Luther's attitude towards temperance, sex, and truththree subjects on which true Christian ethics can know no compromise, and without which no Christianity, in any sense, seems possible to me.

One of the outstanding reasons why Luther has been able to obtain such an unparalleled popularity in Germany is that the average German feels completely at ease with Luther, much more than with any other great figure of history or the Bible. The explanation is simple: Luther encourages them in their vices. True, at times he lectures and gives them moral pep talks, but his own life was so typically German, without any restraint, that it is more than convenient and agreeable to the average German to look up to the Reformer as a shining example with whose habits he is only too willing to comply.

Nobody will deny that lack of temperancein the widest sense of the wordis a German characteristic. Here I shall merely refer to intemperance in drink.

I doubt whether drink has really a beneficial effect in any country, but I do not think that such wines as the Latin peoples consume regularly but in moderation (I am generalizing now) have had any ill effect. In Germany, however, drink has never been considered as a stimulant and something enjoyable, but rather as a means of getting into a state of drunkenness. The Germans betrayas in so many other spheresa complete lack of self-control when it comes to drink. I can compare my own student days in England, France, Spain, and Switzerland, with those spent in Germany. We students drank everywhereand I must confess that in all the countries mentioned I have seen intoxicated students. But the regularity and utter senselessness with which the German students drink is something which cannot be explained to anybody who has not witnessed it.

Their students'-unions (Corps and Burschenschaften) have as their main aim the getting hopelessly drunk every night. It is a habit amongst German students to consume up to twenty pints per night. It has been rightly observed that drunkenness is a typical German characteristic.

It would be interesting to investigate the influence which drink has had on German history. Already in 843, in the Treaty of Verdun, Louis the German insisted on keeping the towns of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz on account of their richness in wine. Montaigne tells us that only heavy drinkers could be appointed ambassadors to German courts, since otherwise they could achieve nothing. A very popular song in Germany is Kopisch's Blucher on the Rhine. Its scene is laid in the year 1813. Should we advance? is the question of the day. The opinions are divided. Then old Blucher looks at a map. He sees the champagne country. He does not hesitate any longer. It is better to drink the wine where it grows, he says, and decides to cross the Rhine. As a well-known French scholarPaquiercomments on this bit of poetry: It is the only instance in world's history of drink being considered a `war aim'. During the last war and the present the alcoholic excesses of the German soldiers have been proverbial.

Nobody knew better of this German vice than Luther himself. In strong language he protested against it. Our poor German land is chastised and plagued with this devil of drink and altogether drowned in this vice, so that life and limb, possessions and honour, are shamefully lost while people lead the life of swine, so that, had we to depict Germany, we had to show it under the image of a sow. . . . Unless God strikes at this vice by a national calamity everything will go down to the abyss, all sodden through and through with drink.

Stern words for a reformer of morality. But then, as Luther admitted himself, I know that I don't practise what I teach (Enders, 2, 312). The Germans preferred to imitate Luther's practical example and to ignore his teachings. And Luther himself drank a good deal. Far be it from me to make out that Luther was a habitual drunkard, such as some of his opponents tried to make out; I shall merely try to prove that Luther himself drank, occasionally in excess, and showed no moderation whatsoever, set no example which the Germans could possibly follow.

More than once Luther says that he drinks in excess. I am here, he writes from the Warburg, idle and drunk (Enders III, 154). At other times he states, I am not drunk (Enders III, 317; E30, 363). In 1532 he writes: We eat and drink to kill ourselves, we eat and drink up to our last farthing. In 1540 he states: God must count drunkenness as a minor sin, a small daily sin. We can really not stop it. At another time he feels more guilty. According to the saying, we have to comply with the habit. The days are bad, people are worse, our acts more than bad. Up to now drunkenness has prevented me from writing, or reading anything readable; living with men, I had to live as they do. It is abundantly clear that Luther liked drinkingand often not within reason. I have brought on headache by drinking old wine in the Coburg, and this our Wittenberg beer has not yet cured. I work little, and I am forced to be idle against my will because my head must have a rest. If I have a can of beer, I want the beer-barrel as well. I am but a man prone to let himself be swept off his feet by society, drunkenness, the movements of the flesh (W9, 215, 13). And again, What is needed to live in continence is not in me.

Once more it is out of hatred of the Devil that Luther takes to drink. When he has a thundering headache, he wonders whether this is due to over-drinking or to the Devil. We behave like scandalous disgusting brutes, thinking all day and night of nothing but how we can fill ourselves with drink and get rid of all our reason and wisdom. Why, do you think, do I drink too much wine . . .? It is when the Devil prepares to torment me and mock me and that I wish to take the lead.

His bad state of health in his later years, he ascribed himself to drink. For almost a month past I have been plagued not only with noises but with actual thundering of my head, due, perhaps to the wine, perhaps to the malice of Satan. I am troubled with a sore throat such as I never had before; possibly the strong wine has increased the inflammation, or perhaps it is a buffet of Satan. The opinion of his contemporaries on the subject is unmistakable. They all agree that Luther was addicted to over-drinking (Th. Brieger: Aleander and Luther, pp. 170, 307).

One may say that it is a small point whether Luther drank or not. Admittedlyand not one worth while to discuss in too much detail or to write whole books about. But it seems clear to me that Luther was anything but temperate, that by his example he made things worse in Germany than they were before as far as drunkenness is concerned. What I have tried to illustrate by this episode most of all is that Luther was a very ordinary German, acting contrary to his words, lacking temperancecertainly not himself leading the life a true Christian should attempt to lead, and having no right to claim to be a reformer of morals, much less of Christianity.

After this relatively harmless excursion into the Reformer's alcoholic excesses, we come to his views and behaviour in the matter of sex and married lifea subject infinitely more important to Christian ethics than the problem of drink.
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Acts 8:26-39

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Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:01 pm    Post subject: ሉተርና ጋብቻ Reply with quote

ካለፈው የቀጠለ

LUTHER AND MARRIAGE


As a general rule Luther is considered as the man who rescued western civilisation from the immorality which during the sixteenth century prevailed in the Roman Catholic Church. He is painted as the man who not only gave a shining example by his delightful family life of the rightful place of the family in Christian society, but (much more) as the man who put married life in its proper place, and by his teachings made it possible for the emancipation of woman to become an accomplished fact.

It is quite true that Luther said some very lovely and laudable things about women and married life. He himself was quite convinced that he was not merely a reformer of the Church but also of morals and ethics. Not one of the Fathers, he wrote with his usual lack of modesty, wrote anything notable or particularly good concerning the married state. He himself believedas so many still do todaythat he was the first to have restored married life to its rightful state as He had at first instituted and ordained it. Before my day nothing was known, not even what parents or children were, or what wife and maid.

But if we look in detail at Luther's writings and his own life, we find once more a most contradictory picture; and on the whole we are forced to say that just the very opposite of what Luther was supposed to say, think and do on the subject is much more prevalent than what I should like to call the legendary interpretation.

Perhaps the simplest explanation is that Luther himself lacked any self-control, and suffered from neurotic sex-troubles. When he was calm and normal, he wrote the very things we know and love. But at other times, we can merely shudder.

I am but a man prone to let himself be swept off his feet by society, drunkenness, the torments of the flesh(W9, 215, 13), I have quoted already. There are many similar passages. Instead of glowing in spirit, I glow in the flesh. I burn with all the desires of my unconquered flesh(Enders 3, 189). I rarely pray. . . . My unruly flesh doth burn me with devouring flame. In short, I who should be a prey to the spirit alone am eating my heart out through the flesh, through lust, laziness, idleness, and somnolence.

Of course, our old friend the Devil was to blame for it. I know it well how it is when the Devil comes and invites the flesh. It is a horrible struggle; I have known it well and you must know it too; oh, I know it well when the Devil excites and inflames the flesh (W9, 215, 46). What a painful confession when he exclaims, Pray for me for I am falling into the abyss of sin (Enders, 3, 193).

But, as we have seen before, he has always a very easy way out. It just does not matter whether we commit a sin or not. You owe nothing to God except faith and confession. In all other things He lets you do whatever you like. You may do as you please, without any danger of conscience whatsoever. Thus a remedy for his burning flesh is easily found. The sting of flesh may easily be helped so long as girls and women are to be found. The body asks for a woman and must have it; to marry is a remedy for fornication (see Grisar, Luther, vol. iv, p. 145).

I am reluctant, more than reluctant, to quote some of his sayings; and yet I have to do it if I want to be complete. For the degradation of womanhood and the taking away of all the sacred character of marriage is one of the main reasons why Germany with Luther began its unchristian way down the hi.. Since wedlock and marriage are a worldly business, we clergy and ministers of the Church have nothing to order or decree about it, but must leave each town and country to follow its own usage and custom. In other words, Luther is not interested in it. Marriage is to him just like any other manual labour, something to be ruled by local traditions, without any kind of Christian standard. Marriage, he says, is an external bodily thing, like any other manipulation. Know that marriage is an outward material thing like any other secular business. The body has nothing to do with God. In this respect one can never sin against God, but only against one's neighbour(W12, 131).

But here we come to one of his most contradictory attitudes. For what is usually called the matrimonial duty, or the matrimonial act, he considerscontrary to the Scripture and Christian ethicsas a great and everlasting sin. The true Christian attitude is best formulated by St. Augustine, who said: The matrimonial act in order to produce children or to comply with matrimonial duties contains neither guilt nor sin. This is only logical. For marriage, according to Christian teaching, has been instituted by God in order to propagate humanity, and the commandment of creating children has been given by Goda commandment which cannot be obeyed without a matrimonial act. From this it is quite clear that to obey the will of God can never be a sin in the Christian sense.

Luther is quite opposed to this. In spite of all the good I say of married life, I will not grant so much to nature as to admit that there is no sin in it . . no conjugal due is ever rendered without sin. The matrimonial duty is never performed without sin. The matrimonial act is, according to Luther, a sin differing in nothing from adultery and fornication (W8, 654).

An unbelievable attitude! And since it is sinful, what then is its point? No love or the creation of a family, but merely the physical necessity of satisfying one's sexual cravings. Marriage ought to be contracted by a boy not later than the age of twenty, and a girl when she is from fifteen to eighteen years of age. Then they are still healthy and sound and they can leave it to God to see that their children are provided for. A young fellow should be simply given a wife, otherwise he has no peace. It is true that he who does not marry must lead an immoral life, for how could it be otherwise? Though womenfolk are ashamed to confess it, yet it is proved by Scripture and experience that there is not one among many thousands to whom God gives the grace of chastity.

Nothing sacred about marriage Luther knows of. But what he has to say about women is still worse. The word and work of God is quite clear, viz. That women were made either to be wives or prostitutes (W12, 94).

I know of no more loathsome saying. Throughout Luther's writings I have found the same spirit. God does not take from man and woman their special fashioning, sexual organs, seed and its fruit; a Christian body must generate, multiply, and behave like those of birds and all animals; he was created by God for that, thus where God performs no miracle, man must unite with woman and woman with man.

What happens to the woman is of no consequence to Luther. Even though they grow weary and wear themselves out with child-bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die, that is what they are there for(E20, 84).

But the Reformer surpasses himself when he says: If you do not want, someone else does. If the wife does not want, take your servant (E20, 72).

From this is only a step to Luther's permitting his followers to satisfy their desires outside marriage, when they were not married, in order to give relief to natural feelings which they could not resist. He says quite plainly: It is not forbidden that a man should have more than one wife (E33, 327.).

These teachings Luther did not fail to translate into practice in his own life. In accordance with his teachings against monasteries and convents, he and his disciples began systematically to undermine the mentality of the nuns. We have authentic proof that those who pretended to free the nuns from the bondage of the Catholic Church were inspired by anything but humanitarian or Christian motives. After a rape of nuns which took place on the night of Holy Saturday, 1523, Luther calls the citizen Koppe, who organised the exploit, a `holy and blessed robber'.

Luther himself has several of these escaped nuns living with him. But he does not intend to marry. In November, 1524, he writes: Not as though I do not feel my flesh and my sex, for I am neither of wood nor of stone, but I have no inclination to marry. One of these nuns, Catherine von Bora, tried to marry one of Luther's friends. But it is clear that his own relations to her were anything but blameless. In April, 1525, he refers to himself as a famous lover who has three wives but no intention whatsoever to marry.

Less than two months later, without any warning, he most suddenly decided to marry Catherine von Bora. Why, can only be left to the imagination. The Lord plunged me suddenly while I still clung to quite other views into matrimony, he confesses. God willed that I should take pity on her, is another of his explanations. He is even frank enough to say that he had no love nor passion for her. Lastly, his usual excuse for his strangest actions is not lacking. I married in order to spite the Devil.

It is quite obvious that there was a good deal of scandal about Luther's relations with Catherine before they married. Your example is permanently quoted by those who visit brothers, is one of the typical comments. Even his best friend, Melanchthon, has to admit with a sigh that Luther was more than a reckless man.

Some time later Luther explains: I have shut the mouth of those who slandered me and Catherine von Bora. Though, at other times, the Devil is once more the main explanation of this unholy marriage. I too am married, and to a nun. I could have refrained had I not special reasons to decide me. But I did it to defy the Devil and his host, the objectors, the princes and bishops, since they were all foolish enough to forbid the clergy to marry. And I would with willing heart create an even greater scandal, if I knew of anything else better calculated to please God and to put them in a rage.

I give few comments. I let the Reformer speak for himself. I shall not give any details of the way he behaved after he was married. But surely Luther's attitude in his writings and his personal behaviour towards women and marriage are rarely found even in the most depraved men, never in any human being who pretended to lead anything like a Christian lifenot to speak of a reformer.

The results of this teaching in Luther's own times were obvious. As Heinrich Heine said, German history at that time was, thanks to Luther's example, almost entirely composed of sensual disturbances. Looking at the devastated state of Germany, one of Luther's contemporaries spoke the truth when he shouted at the Reformer: This is due to your carnal teaching and stinking example. To enumerate or give a clear picture of the abhorrent state of affairs of the morals in Germany, would take pages and volumes. The important factor is that "Luther not merely robbed marriage of its sacramental character, but also declared it to be a purely outward carnal union, which has nothing whatsoever to do with religion and church (Janssen: History of the German People, vol.16, page 137).

This view has prevailed in Germany ever since. As I have already said, to my mind Christianity has to be taken in its entirety. By denying and negativing one of the most important aspects of Christian ethics, Luther paved the way for a new religion, which to the everlasting confusion of the development of mankind still called itself Christianity, but not only had it nothing to do with Christianity but it was indeed contrary to its teaching and practice in respect of one of its most fundamental principles. This is why I am investigating these points, which may appear petty, unimportant, and slanderous. I cannot repeat it often enough. Christianity, if ever it should work, cannot be applied in convenient bits and piecessuch as going to Church and Holy Communion. It is a total code of life and morals, thought, and action. Nothing is important or less important. Either we lead, or try to lead a thoroughly Christian lifeor we quite frankly admit that we are not interested in Christianity. Luther's views on sin, temperance, sex, are not small and minor points; with his attitude to these, he cannot claim to be a Christian, much less a Christian reformer. However contradictory, however lovely some of the things he wrote and thought, said and sunghe cannot get away from the quotations (which are by no means isolated) I have given. He abandoned Christianity, and gave something new. A new religion, which was taken up by his fellow-countrymen. But before we come to a definite conclusion on the question whether Luther, in his own life and actions, could claim to be a Christian, let us end our investigation of Luther's character by trying to see which attitude the Reformer took towards one of the most fundamental commands of Christian ethics, that to be truthful and honest.
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ግሸንማርያም

ኮትኳች


Joined: 15 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:00 pm    Post subject: የፕሮቴስታንት መስራች ማርቲን ሉተር ነው !!! Reply with quote

በስመ አብ በስመ ወልድ በስመ ወመንፈስቅዱስ አሀዱ አምላክ አሜን :: ውድ የተከበርክ ወንድሜ አክት ለጠናክ እንድምን አለክ ? እውንትን በዚህ ዌብሳት ላይ በማውጣትህ አንተን የፈጠረ እግዚአብሔር ይመስገን ::

ይህንን አርእስት እንክዋን የሚገርምክ እኔ ላወጣው እየተዘጋጀውሁኝ ነበር :: እግዚአብሔር ግን ስለፈቀደልክ አውጥተከዋል :: የጻፍካቸን በሙሉ አንብቤያለሁኝ :: እጅግ በጣም ጥሩ ነው :: የሚገርምክ ግን የፕሮቴስታንት እምነት ተከታዮች የእምነታቸውን መስራች ማርቲን ሉተርን አያውቁትም :: ታዲያ እምነቱን የመሰረተውን ሰው በስም እንክዋን ካላወቁ ሌሎች ነገሮችን እንዴት ሊያውቁ ይችላል ?

ስለዚህ ጥሩ እያደረክ ነው ወንድሜ አክት እኔም ስለ ማርቲን ሉተር ማንነት በደንብ ስለማውቅ በከፈትከው አምድ ላይ እራሱ ማርቲን ሉተር የተናገረውን ይዤ እቀርባለሁኝ ::

በረታ :: አክባሪህ ግሸንማርያም /ሐይለሚካኤል ::


የፈጣሪያችን ኢየሱስ ሰላሙ የእናቱ የቅድስት ወላዲተ አምላክ አማላጅነት የቅዱሳን አማላጅነት እና ጸሎት የቅዱሳን መላእክት አማላጅነትና ተራዳይነት ከሁላችን ጋር ይሁን አሜን ለዘለአለም
አሜን ::
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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 2:08 am    Post subject: ሉተርና እውነት Reply with quote

ካለፈው የቀጠለ

LUTHER AND THE TRUTH

One of the most fundamental, if not the most fundamental, principle of Christian ethics is to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Absolute and complete truthfulness is demanded. Without it there can be no Christianity.

The familiar picture which we have of Luther shows us the Reformer as the upholder of truth and truthfulness. Luther the truthful, he has been called more than once. And many of his sayings on the subject are indeed lovely and beautiful. To my mind, he said once, there is no more shameful vice on earth than lying.

But once more a close study of his teaching and behaviour will show us that he contradicts himself, to what an extent the very opposite is true. And to my mind, this opposite attitude of Luther's towards truth was not merely the usual one, but one which appealed most to the Germans.

Already in his early years when he was at war with the Catholic Church he frankly admitted that it was not necessary to stick to the truth. I consider everything allowable against the deception and the depravity of the Papal antichrist, was his excuse. Vows have only to be kept as long as it is psychologically possible. If it is no longer possible, one is allowed to break them." Moreover, in order to prove his interpretation of the Scripture, he is quite prepared to falsify it. His worst offence is that he does not resist the temptation arbitrarily and intentionally to falsify a large number of passages in support of his new doctrine, says the historian Janssen. And he continues to speak of Luther's intentional perversion of the apostolic language. It would take us too far to prove in detail that in many Bible passages he purposely inserted or omitted words, in order to suit his purpose. Besides, it has already been done in great detail by famous scholars, whose research seems to me beyond doubt, so that it would merely be the repetition of other people's work (see, e.g., Janssen, op. Cit. Vol. 14, pages 418ff).

It may be said that one cannot expect Luther to act correctly and truthfully in such a deadly fight as that in which he was involved with the Catholic Church. Very well then, let us look in detail merely at one example of his teaching and his acting which has nothing whatever to do with his quarrel with Rome. I am referring to the marriage of the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, surnamed the Magnanimous. He was a great supporter and important patron of Luther.

Philip was married and had a number of sons and daughters. He was anything but faithful to his wife, and in the year 1539when he was 35 years of agehe wanted to marry a lady called Margaret von der Saal. He asked Luther's advice, and tried to obtain his permit for a bigamous marriage. He wrote to the Reformer, telling him that he (Philip) was unable to refrain from fornication unchastity and adultery; his own wife, he said, he had never loved, she was rude to him, ugly, and stank. I am forced to commit fornication or worse with women, he complained; and his own sister Elisabeth had already advised him to take a concubine in place of so many prostitutes. However, he did not want yet another concubine, but desired Luther's authorisation to take a second wife.

The Reformer was in a dilemma, for Philip wanted his permission in writing. But Dr. Martin easily found a way out. He said that there was nothing whatever against a bigamous marriage, since in this case it would help the Landgrave to get over his physical and psychological troubles. The only condition Luther imposed in his written document w s that the marriage ought to remain an absolute secret, for otherwise he himself and the Landgrave might get into trouble. This famous document was signed by Luther in December, 1539, and armed with the Reformer's written authority, the Landgrave married bigamously and officially in March of the following year. In gratitude for the helpful testimonial, Philip sent Luther a large barrel of wine.

But too many people were in the secret, and all the parties to it got scared. According to the Carolina”— which was a code of lawcapital punishment was still prescribed for bigamists, and neither Philip nor his adviser knew at first what to do.

A contemporary chronicler reported that Philip is much upset, and Dr. Martin full of thought. At first it seemed that Brother Martin did not know how to extricate himself. But then he had an idea. He would point out that the advice he gave was given under confession (here he most conveniently returned to Catholic doctrine), and therefore ought to remain absolutely secret. Moreover, he argued in truly German fashion that this secret permission never implied a public permission. A secret affirmative cannot become a public affirmativea secret `yes' remains a public `no', and vice versa (de Wette, 6, 263), is his very odd argument. All that had passed between him and Philip on the subject of the bigamy was sacred under the rule of the confessional. He became for the occasion a Roman Catholic monk again, remarks the Lutheran scholar Lipsky.

So far for his position. His advice to the Landgrave was something quite different. If hard-pressed the Landgrave should deny the whole affair and declare to the Emperor that he had merely taken a concubine. Keep the prostitute but deny it, counselled the reformer of morals.

And here we come to Luther's typical attitude. I am quoting the relative passages literally, as is my usual method:

What harm could it do if aman told a good lusty lie in a worthy cause and for the sake of the Christian Churches? (Lenz: Briefwechsel, vol. 1, page 373).

To lie in a case of necessity or for convenience or in excusesuch lying would not be against God; He was ready to take such lies on Himself (ibid, page 375).

This was too much even for the not too moral Philip. I will not lie, he wrote back to Luther, for lying has an evil sound and no apostle or Christian has ever taught it, nay, Christ has forbidden it and said we should keep to yea and nay. I refuse to declare that the lady is a whore. I should surely have had no need of your advice to take a whore, neither does it do you credit. Luther replied with his typical dignity: When it comes to writing, I shall be quite competent to wriggle out of it and to leave your Grace in the lurch.

This is all in the case which concerns us. It is dreadful. By degrees Luther reduces the lie of convenience or necessity to a virtue, writs Professor Grisar.

Luther's attitude in Philip's case is by no means unique. There are many, too many cases in his own life and his own writings where he advises a lie. Lying is a virtue if it is indulged in for the purpose of preventing the fury of the Devil, or made to serve the honour, the life, and the welfare of one's fellow-men. The lie of service is wrongly termed a lie . . . it may be called Christian and brotherly charity, is one of many similar sayings by the Reformer. The world will be deceived, he used to exclaim, and he acted accordingly. I have, reluctantly, come to the conclusion that Luther's biographer was utterly right when he said: The general conclusion must be that Luther was a man to whom the idea of truth for truth's sake meant nothing at all. Luther's theory of truth always reminds one of what Cicero said about Homer, Humana ad deos transtulit; divina mallem ad nos. (He gave human shortcomings to the gods; why did he not rather give divine qualities to human beings?)

Those who do not fully understand the history of German thought have often wondered what a strange coincidence it is that in Frederick, miscalled the Great, Bismarck (the Ems Dispatch!), William II, Hitler, and many others there has always been that love of lying, that double-dealing, that lack of truth and honesty. They have rarely thought that it might be part of a German religion, preached by the lying monk of Wittenberg for the first time over four centuries ago, supplanting Christian ethics, and putting German religious ideas in its place. We consider everything allowable against the deception and depravity of the Papal antichrist. I have quoted earlier. Replace the phrase Papal antichrist with whomever Germany happens to consider at a given moment her mortal enemyand there is left nothing mysterious about German ethics. It all becomes clear, clear if we do not look at the isolated facts but at the underlying spiritual forces which are found first of all in Martin Luther.

I may have shocked people's feelings a little in the picture I have given so far about the Reformer. It is a picture which in no way coincides with the one painted in legends and by wishful thinking.

The strange thing is that if one looks at actually painted pictures and reproductions of his face, one will find a still greater surprise.

Neither Holbein nor Durer ever painted Lutherwhich is odd since they were his contemporaries. On the other hand, we have many pictures of Luther by Lucas Cranach, who was an ardent admirer of Dr. Martin. These pictures, showing a gentle, smiling, benevolent, slender, and scholarly saint are familiar to most of us. Hundreds of thousands of reproductions exist all over the world. On German stamps and buildings we see the portrait. But the drawback is that Cranach suppressed what he considered to be defects in his sitter.

Let us take a glance at Luther's death-mask, a representation that cannot be faked, obtained by a method of portraiture which has left us many a lovely picture of great men. In Luther's case we get a shock. Funck-Brentano speaks with much restraint of Luther's aggressive vulgarity. And Maritain, who certainly is not given to polemical language, says he looks surprisingly bestial. Anger, calumny, hatred and lying, love of beer and wine, obsession with filth and obscenityit all pours out in a flood.

If we can judge people by their appearancea dangerous processLuther was anything but a saint. I would not draw attention to this fact, if his physical as well as his moral portrait had not been so greatly falsified for four centuries.
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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 2:22 am    Post subject: የሉተር ፖለቲካዊ ዶክትሪን ሉተርና መንግስት Reply with quote

ክፍል አንድ

CHAPTER III: LUTHER'S POLITICAL DOCTRINES


MARTIN LUTHER AND THE STATE


WE have seen how contradictory was Luther's character, how differently he often acted from what he taught. But nowhere is contradiction stronger, or at least does it appear more marked than in Luther's political teachings. The reason for this seems to me obvious. For all we usually look at is the young Luther, the Luther who fought so bravely the Church of Rome, the Luther who acted (even if the words are merely a legend) according to the principle, Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me, Amen.

The later Luther is so often ignored. The change which took place once he had achieved his aim, once he was a national hero, a dictator of morals, politics, and religion, is rarely taken into account. And yet it is the later Luther who had (anyhow in my interpretation) so much greater an influence on Germany than the young rebellious monk.

In no sphere is this so clear as in Luther's attitude towards the State, as in his commands governing relations between the ruling class and the working classes. The line of demarcation is clearly the year 1525. And before we attempt a more theoretical interpretation of Luther's political teachings, let us look for a short while at the historical facts.

We are always inclined to interpret present-day history as something new. We are always tempted to see the sufferings of our own times as something unheard of, as something more modern and more important than any other period in history. To me it seems that the problems are, at least to a certain degree, always the same. One of these great problems which we are facing at the moment is the relationship between the capitalists or upper class, and the working classes, or proletariat. But this struggle, this conflict of interests is nothing very new. Indeed, as long as there has been human history, there has been class-struggle. The only difference is that the various classes appear at different periods under different names. Thus, in the Germany of Luther, the upper classes were the princes, the working classes were the peasants. This ought to be remembered, for I shall refer quite often to the princes and the peasants”— a traditional but not quite correct terminology.

The suppression which the princes imposed upon the peasants early in the sixteenth century is something almost unbelievable. Taxes, rents, rates, work, and so forth were unbearable. The working classes were treated in a loathsome way and there was much, very much justifiable grumbling and discontent. But these poor oppressed creatures, whose life was less than worth living, could not see a way out of their tragedy; they lacked leadership, they lacked ideas; nobody seemed to be able or willing to help them, nobody seemed to possess the necessary courage and conviction to oppose the cruel treatment which they received from the princes.

Then there came Martin Luther. He acted like a great and courageous man. He showed no signs of fright. He said what he thought. He brought the true idea of Christianity back to the oppressed masses. His preachings of Christian Freedom were eagerly read and learnt by those thousands of peasants who had merely been waiting for a man of Luther's greatness, honesty, fearlessness, true Christianity.

Luther encouraged these exploited creatures as much as he could. Among Christians, he told them, no authority can or ought to exist, but everyone should be subject to all. Moreover, Luther was fearless enough to tell the oppressing princes what he thought of them, what would happen to them. God Almighty, he wrote, has struck our princes with madness so that they imagine they may treat and command their subjects just as they please; and the subjects too are crazy enough to think that it is their duty to obey all that is commanded them. God has delivered the princes up to a perverted mind, and means to make an end to them. . . . All the princes could do was to rob and oppress the people, heaving tax upon tax, and rate upon rate." He warned the princes that they would soon be destroyed. The princes" he continued, are the greatest fools and the worst scoundrels on earth. The people cannot, will not any longer, endure your tyranny and your presumption.

It is thus not surprising that the peasants in Germany looked to Luther, to Christian teaching, to the Bible, as their one and only hope. All the peasants of Germany were soon united in the immense hope to reconstruct society on Christian ideas. Revolt was in the air; it was unavoidable. And Luther was not merely the born leader of this great movement of liberation, but he had purposely put the common hatred of the princes into words and had threatened action. The revolution which was about to break out in 1525 is known in history as the Peasants' War, and on its eve Luther was the avowed champion of the most oppressed class in Germany. Luther was the creator and leader of the whole movement”— no historian has ever doubted this fact.
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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:09 am    Post subject: ማርቲን ሉተርና መንግስት ክፍል ሁለት Reply with quote

ክፍል ሁለት
ካለፈው የቀጠለ
MARTIN LUTHER AND THE STATE

The term Peasants' War is, as I have indicated already, somewhat misleading. It is difficult to generalise a movement so widespread as this. We might call it a social revolution based on the `divine justice' as revealed in the Bible, says Professor MacKinnon, Luther's most recent, most complete biographer and apologist. And he continues: The phrase `rising of the peasants' is strictly speaking insufficient as a designation of the insurrection of 1525, in view of the wider discontent which coalesced with the movement.

The discontented peasants published their grievances in a memorandum consisting of twelve articles. It is a very calm and moderate document. They state their claims and express their discontent. Michelet, the great French historian, calls it a model of courageous moderation. Professor MacKinnon says: The moderate persuasive tone of these articles is surprising. The peasants will not use force except in the last resort and against glaring abuses, which were really indefensible from the Christian standpoint. . . . Brotherly love and the Gospel are to decide in all contentious matters. The Christian liberty which proclaimed was applied directly to temporal questions.

What now was Luther's attitude in these crucial hours? The peasants looked at him as their leader. They felt confident that he, the great lover of Christian freedom and brotherhood, could be relied upon. But Luther's reply to the twelve articles was somewhat ambiguous. He gave to this reply the title Exhortation to Peace regarding the Twelve Articles. Brother Martin here showed the greatest circumspection. His reply to the overlords as well as to the peasants, in its fundamentals at all events is neither fish nor fowl. The peasants were certainly wrong, but the overlords were not right (Funck-Brentano).

Luther calls the peasants dear brothers and the princes dear masters. And while he urges the peasants not to revolt, explaining that never did rebellion end in good (Friend Martin was forgetting his own rebellion), he continues to state the injustice of the princes. Since it is certain that you govern tyrannically and savagely, fleecing and oppressing the common people, there is no comfort or hope for you but to perish as those like you have perished.

Obviously, the peasants took these hints much more seriously than Luther's demand to them to suffer in a Christian manner, and to be ready to endure persecution and even oppression willingly. In any case, matters had gone too far, and Luther's exhortation meant nothing either to princes or peasants. He states the case for the peasants and then runs away from it, as MacKinnon expresses it. But the revolution was in full swing. The more extreme elements were no longer prepared to submit quietly to the princes. It is at this very moment that Luther decides to support the princes. When it came to civil war, Luther did not prove to be a Cato. He went over to the victorious side after he had tried as long as possible to please both parties.

Peasants, Luther declared, are no better than straw. They will not hear the Word and they are without sense; therefore they must be compelled to hear the crack of the whip and the whizz of bullets, and it is only what they deserve. We must pray for them that they may become obedient; but if they do not, pity is of no avail here; we must let the cannon-balls whistle among them, or they will only make things a thousand times worse."

A strange way to talk about his most faithful followers! But once Luther had made up his mind which side he was going to back, which side it was more profitable to back, his violence knew no limits. On May 6 of this fatal year Luther published his pamphlet, Against the Peasant Bands of Robbers and Murderers, which Funck-Brentano has described as a horrible document which it is impossible to read, not only without disapproval but without disgust. The Reformer, who always had the Gospel on his lips, now talked of nothing but killing, torturing, burning and murdering the very people whom his work had driven to rebel. Let us listen to the Reformer, the so-called champion of Christian freedom.
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Acts 8:26-39

ኮትኳች


Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 5:00 am    Post subject: ማርቲን ሉተርና መንግስት ክፍል ሶስት Reply with quote

ክፍል ሶስት
ካለፈው የቀጠለ
MARTIN LUTHER AND THE STATE

To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Let there be no half measures! Crush them! Cut their throats! Transfix them! Leave no stone unturned! To kill a peasant is to destroy a mad dog!. . . Our princes must in the circumstances regard themselves as the officers of the divine wrath which bids them chastise such scoundrels. A prince who failed to do so would be sinning against God very badly. He would be failing in his mission. A prince who in such circumstances avoided bloodshed would become responsible for the murders and all the further crimes which these low swine might commit. It is no longer a question of tolerance, patience, pity. It is the hour of wrath and for the sword; the hour for mercy is past.

Luther is full of similar advice. It is a trifle for God to massacre a lot of peasants, when He drowned the whole world with a flood and wiped out Sodom with fire. He is an almighty and frightful God. If there are innocent men amongst the peasants, God will certainly prepare and keep them, as He did with Lot and Jeremiah." " will not forbid such rulers as are able, to chastise and slay the peasants without previously them offering terms, even though the Gospel does not permit it." Once more, the Devil is brought into it. "he peasants serve the Devil. . . . I believe that there are no devils left in hell, but all of them have entered into peasants." And Luther surpasses himself when he exclaims: "hat strange times are these when a prince can enter heaven by the shedding of blood more certainly than others by means of prayer!" And he ends with the peroration: "Come, dearly-beloved lords and nobles, strike them, transfix them, and cut their throats with might and main. Should you find death in so doing, you could not wish for one more divine, for you would fall in obedience to God and in defending your like against the hordes of Satan." I know of no example in history (with the exception of Hitler'' famous, or rather infamous, June 30, 1934) where a man turned in such an inhuman, brutal, low way against his own followersmerely in order to establish his own position, without any reason. Treason of any kind is, in my opinion, honourable compared to Luther's change of colours.

The effect of Luther's pamphlet was terrible. It was exactly what the princes had hoped for. It was due to Luther's pamphlet against the peasants, so said the Strasburg preacher Capito, that the country had passed from the turmoil of insurrection to the horrors of retaliation and revenge. The princes translated the Reformer's inhuman orders into practice with a terrifying speed.

Even Luther's own followers got frightened. They reproached him, they tried to explain that the irrational, quick-tempered Luther had acted on the spur of the moment, that he did not mean what he said. In cold blood Luther replied: An insurgent is not worthy of being answered with reason, for he cannot understand it; such mouths must be stopped with fisticuffs till their noses bleed. The peasants would not hear, would not listen to reason, therefore it was necessary to startle their ears with bullets, and send their heads flying in the air. . . . If they say I am very hard and merciless, mercy be damned. Let whoever can stab, strangle, and kill them like made dogs (E24, 294). The intention of the Devil was to lay Germany waste, because he was unable in any other way to prevent the spread of the Evangel.

He would have no criticismLuther, who is reported to be the great champion of tolerance. Those who thus blame my little book (against the peasants) must be warned to hold their tongues and to take care what they say; for most certainly they are insurgents at heart, therefore the authorities must keep an eye on such people and let them see that they are in earnest. Indeed, Luther attributed his pamphlet against the peasants to Divine inspiration.

No, Luther would not retract a single word of his pamphlet or apologise for it as the offspring of momentary passion. Instead, he began to elaborate his new political theory, a theory which was so readily accepted in Germany. Scripture speaking figuratively, wrote Luther in 1526, calls rulers drovers, taskmasters, and scourgers. Like the drivers of donkeys, who have to belabour the donkeys incessantly with rods and whips, or they will not obey, so must the ruler do with the people; they must drive, beat, throttle, hang, burn, behead and torture, so as to make themselves feared and to keep the people in check" (E15, 276).

The princes obeyed. A brutal revenge took place. Typical is the assertion of one of the princes: I hope we are now going to play with heads as the boys play with marbles.
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