Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dispelling yet another pseudo-Luther quote

Two Reformed internet bloggers have been guardians of sorts over the propagation of pseudo-Luther quotes (usually, but not always, in connection with their use by popular Catholic apologists). We should all certainly applaud their corrections. (The most recent example is found at the Beggars All and Thoughts of Francis Turretin blogs.) I would like to add to their contributions…

While doing some research today for an upcoming thread on certain Protestant apologists misuse of the early Church Fathers in relation to the doctrine of justification, I discovered that the often used and time honored phrase of so many anti-Catholic apologists (Gerstner, Sproul, White, et al.), “justification by faith alone is ‘the article upon which the church stands or falls (articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae)’”, attributed to Martin Luther, was actually coined in the early 18th century (1718) by one Valentin E. Löscher. [Source: Eric W. Gritsch, “The Origins of the Lutheran Teaching on Justification,” in Justification by Faith: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII (ed. H. George Anderson et al.; Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1985)
n. 3, 351.]

Gritsch points out that Löscher’s phrase was probably derived from Luther’s Smalcald Articles (Part II, Article I), and upon examination, I must concur.

And thus ends my inaugural post into pseudo-Luther quotes here at AF.

Grace and peace,


ADDENDUM: TurrentinFan composed a new POST this morning, adding some interesting commentary (historical and linguistic) to this particular thread. TF suggests that et should read vel. I have a very busy day away from my computer, so I cannot do any in depth research to verify this until tomorrow. My original quote was from Sproul’s Faith Alone (p. 18), which, of course, reads et. I just now checked Richard A. Muller’s Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms (p. 46), and it reads et also. (BTW, Muller attributes the full phrase to Luther.) More later, the Lord willing.

1 comment:

Jeff said...


Didn't want to interrupt your dialogue on Beggars All or your own current blog posts, so I am posting this question here.

You posted the following here:



Hey Rhology,

You posted:

>>I'm curious - are you saying that salvation is thus by grace alone thru faith alone?>>

Me: I affirm what is stated so clearly in the ANNEX of the “Official Common Statement
by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church”, from which we read:

>>Justification takes place "by grace alone" (JD 15 and 16), by faith alone, the person is justified "apart from works" (Rom 3:28, cf. JD 25). "Grace creates faith not only when faith begins in a person but as long as faith lasts" (Thomas Aquinas, S. Th II/II 4, 4 ad 3). The working of God's grace does not exclude human action: God effects everything, the willing and the achievement, therefore, we are called to strive (cf. Phil 2:12 ff.). "As soon as the Holy Spirit has initiated his work of regeneration and renewal in us through the Word and the holy sacraments, it is certain that we can and must cooperate by the power of the Holy Spirit..." (The Formula of Concord, FC SD II, 64f; BSLK 897, 37ff).>>

As for the teachings of ‘popular’ apologists, I quite honestly don’t pay much attention to them, and neither should you (IMHO).

Grace and peace,



First a simple statement:

The reformers posited X concerning justification.

The RCC posited -X concerning justification.

This is clear concerning pronouncements made by each side as to the other's understanding of justification.

1. So are you affirming that the RCC has now completely adopted the view of justification by faith alone that the reformers espoused?

2. I have not found any documentation put forth by the RCC that states they (the RCC) were in error for anathematizing the reformers on this doctrine. Has the RCC admitted to such?

My point is that if the reformers stated X and the RCC affirmed -X, then we can never have true unity unless the RCC now affirms X. If the protestants shift to anything less than X, we have lost the biblical gospel.

Any light you can shed on 1 and 2 above would be appreciated.