Thursday, November 12, 2009

Luther: “I honor the Roman Church”


Many of the threads here at Articuli Fidei challenge some of the internet activity that enters into the dark realm of what I have termed, “anti-Catholic mischief.” I define “anti-Catholic mischief” as flawed polemical contributions produced by individuals who believe/maintain that the Catholic Church is not a Christian church (I will never apply the term to one who acknowledges the CC as a Christian Church, no matter how much that individual may disagree with Catholic dogma).

What I find quite interesting is the fact that one of the most vehement critics of the Catholic Church, after years (20+) of polemical attacks, could state the following:

I honor the Roman Church. She is pious, has God’s Word and Baptism, and is holy. (Martin Luther, from his sermon on Matt. 21:42, D. Martin Luther’s Werke, Vol. 47.425* – also known as the Weimar edition; English trans. from What Luther Says, p. 126.)

Luther’s comments brought back to my mind some thoughts penned by one of the most esteemed Reformed theologians American has produced:

Romanism retains the supernatural element of Christianity throughout. Indeed it is a matter of devout thankfulness to God that underneath the numerous grievous and destructive errors of the Romish Church, the great truths of the Gospel are preserved. The Trinity, the true divinity of Christ, the true doctrine concerning his person as God and man in two distinct natures and one person forever; salvation through his blood, regeneration and sanctification through the almighty power of the Spirit, the resurrection of the body, and eternal life, are doctrines on which the people of God in that communion live, and which have produced such saintly men as St. Bernard, Fénélon, and doubtless thousands of others who are of the number of God’s elect. Every true worshipper of Christ must in his heart recognize as a Christian brother, wherever he may be found, any one who loves, worships, and trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh and the only Saviour of men. (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. III, 1981 Eerdmans reprint, pp. 135, 136 - bold emphasis mine.)

Thanks be to God that a good number of Evangelicals over the course of the last few decades have been able to jettison an anti-Catholic mindset, and enter into constructive dialogue with their Catholic brothers.


Grace and peace,

David

*A PDF version of D. Martin Luther’s Werke, Vol. 47, can be accessed online HERE.

8 comments:

Chris said...

I, too, honor the Roman Church.

I think I've seen that quote before, but I'd forgotten about it. Good to be reminded.

David Waltz said...

Hi Chris,

You said:

>>I, too, honor the Roman Church.<<

I was pretty sure that you did/do; I appreciate the affirmation...

If you get a chance, check this thread out: Michael Horton Blurbing for a Roman Catholic?.

That 'poor', 'evil', Dr. Horton...

Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

David,

I find it interesting that after a generation of separation from Rome, in his maturity, Luther's stinging venom directed at the Catholic Church was exchanged for a more generous point of view. How long have our "bloggy" foes been flinging their darts?

I don't know how Luther could at the same time say what he did about Rome, and remain separated. It nevertheless softens my view of Luther, and gives me more hope that in His mercy, God gave him even more light than this before the time of his death.

If the great Luther was saying this after 20 years as a non-Catholic, imagine what great steps toward Rome we may expect of TurretinFan, James White, or others as they grow weary of seeing in their own lifetimes the slow, but continuous steps toawrd Heaven of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as visibly seen in Her manifestation as the Church Militant. The Bride of Christ must be hard to hate!

Rory

Chris said...

That's great, David! It is promising indeed that Protestant theologians can endorse the work of a Catholic Pope! (Benedict isn't my favorite Pope, I'll admit. But there is much about him that is worthy of honor and endorsement.)

On a different note, your blog is suddenly very... salmon. :-P

Interlocutor said...

Hodge wrote a more detailed article on Rome's status that can be read here (he also touches on Turretin's view).

David Waltz said...

Hi Chris,

You said:

>>That's great, David! It is promising indeed that Protestant theologians can endorse the work of a Catholic Pope! (Benedict isn't my favorite Pope, I'll admit. But there is much about him that is worthy of honor and endorsement.)>>

Me: A brilliant mind for sure!

>>On a different note, your blog is suddenly very... salmon. :-P>>

LOL…an experiment for a couple of days…back to white again (GRIN).


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello Interlocutor,

Thank you so much for the link; what an articulate and well-reasoned essay! I now have a link to it on my sidebar.


Grace and peace,

David

nilesh mahapatra said...

I, too, honor the Roman Church.

The resurrection of the body, and eternal life, are doctrines on which the people of God in that communion live, and which have produced such saintly men as St. Bernard, Fénélon, and doubtless thousands of others who are of the number of God’s elect. Every true worshipper of Christ must in his heart recognize as a Christian brother.
so.......thank'sQuran