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Wednesday, September 20, 2017
What's New

2/8/2010 Lessons from History: Pope Leo’s Bull Arrives In Wittenberg: As the bull disseminated Luther penned The Babylonish Captivity of the Church. “I denied that the Papacy was of Divine origin, but I granted that it was of human right. Now ... I know that the Papacy is none other than the kingdom of Babylon ... I therefore beseech all my friends and all the booksellers to burn the books that I have written on this subject, and to substitute this; one proposition in their place: The Papacy is a general chase led by the Roman bishop to catch and destroy souls.”
2/2/2010 Lessons from History: Pope Leo’s Bull Condemns Luther: When Dr. Eck left the scene of the Leipzig disputation he at once set off for Rome. And with what aim? He had crossed the Alps to solicit the Pope’s help against the man whom he boasted having vanquished. Cardinal Cajetan had preceded him. Both sought revenge. But The Roman Curia was apathetic. How could the insignificant monk of Wittenberg shake the Pontiff’s throne?
1/7/2010 Lessons from History: Protestantism vs. The Holy Roman Empire, The Monk And The Monarch: AMONG the actors that now begin to crowd the stage there are two who tower conspicuously above the others, and fix the gaze of all eyes. The one wears a frock of serge, the other is clad in an imperial mantle. The Reformation is utterly dwarfed in the presence of a colossal Empire. Luther’s friends were falling away, or growing timid. “If God do not help us, we shall all perish,” exclaimed Melancthon. Even Luther himself was made at times to know depression.
1/4/2010 Lessons from History: The Leipzig Disputation: We re-enter Pleisenberg hall in central Leipzig. Eck’s stentorian voice and animated gestures as he repudiates reformed doctrine at the one end of the hall contrasts with the fight for salvation by grace — grace to the entire exclusion of human merit at the other. The controversy came to rage around this one point — Has the human will the power to choose and to do what is spiritually good? This, they said, was the whole controversy between Romanism and Protestantism.
12/25/2009 Lessons from History: Events Leading To Leipzig: At this time Maximilian, Emperor of Germany, seemed even more intent on crushing Luther than was the Pope. Maximilian’s letters chided the Pope for inaction. Elector Frederick, Luther’s earthly defender, stood aloof and Luther’s exclusion from Wittenberg loomed. So Rome then employed softness. Charles Miltitz the pope’s chamberlain, a German by birth, and less haughty than Cajetan, arrived in 1518 with pleasantries, papal briefs and a golden rose for Frederick. Envoy and monk met each other in the house of Spalatin at Altenberg. Miltitz flattered Luther saying his following exceeded those of the Pope. Promising he would not carry the Reformer away he nevertheless pointed to his soldiers. Luther was not taken in.
12/24/2009 Lessons from History: Luther’s Return To Wittenberg: Two days had passed since the legate had bidden Luther “be gone, and see his face no more, unless he changed his mind”. After leaving the cardinal’s presence, Luther wrote him a letter in which, although he retracted nothing, he expressed great respect and submission. The cardinal returned no answer to this.
12/18/2009 Lessons from History: Luther’s Appearance Before Cardinal Cajetan: Early on the day after Luther’s arrival in Augsberg an Italian courtier, Urban of Serra Longa, a creature of the cardinal’s, arrived uninvited at Luther’s lodging . His overtures and advice was in a word “Submit”. “If I am convinced out of the Sacred Scriptures that I have erred, I shall be but too glad to retract,” replied Luther. Urban retorted, “The Pope can by a single nod change or suppress articles of faith,” and hinted Luther’s career and indeed his person would be well safeguarded by retraction.
12/17/2009 Lessons from History: Luther’s Journey To Augsburg: The Diet of the Empire was at that moment (1518) sitting at Augsburg. Further, the Emperor Maximilian was more alive to the danger that impended over the Papal See than Pope Leo X. Nearer the cradle of the movement, the Emperor was much exercised by the spread of Lutheran doctrines in his own dominions. He wrote to the Pope who, cocooned in decadent luxury, was oblivious to the gathering storm.
12/15/2009 Lessons from History: Three Attacks on Luther: from Prierio to Eck: The universal Church, said Prierio, is a congregation of all believers for worship. In other words the universal church is the Roman Church. It is represented by the College of Cardinals and hence by the supreme Pontiff, who is the head of the Church - but in a different sense from Christ.
12/9/2009 Lessons from History: Luther Attacked By Tetzel And Prierio: THE day on which the monk of Wittenberg posted up his “Theses,” occupies a distinguished place among the great days of history. It marks a new and grander starting-point in religion and liberty. The propositions of Luther preached to all Christendom that God does not sell pardon, but bestows it as a free gift on the ground of the death of his Son.
12/1/2009 Lessons from History: The Elector’s Dream: In this paper attached to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg Luther had struck at more than the abuses of indulgences. Underneath was a principle subversive of the whole Papal system. In the midst of some remaining darkness – for he still reverences the Pope, believes in purgatory, and speaks of the merits of the saints – Luther preaches the Gospel of a free salvation.
8/12/2009 Lessons from History: The 31st October 1517: The Elector Frederick had lately built the castle-church of Wittenberg, and had spared neither labour nor money in collecting relics to enrich and beautify it. These relics, in their settings of gold and precious stones, the priests were accustomed to show to the people on the festival of All Saints, the 1st of November; and crowds came to Wittenberg to nourish their piety by the sight of the precious objects, and earn the indulgence offered to all who should visit the church on that day.
7/28/2009 Lessons from History: Rome comes too close to Luther: THE great red cross, the stentorian voice of Tetzel, and the frequent chink of money in his iron chest, had compelled the nations of Germany to think about the issue of Indulgences. Rome had now come too near to the teutonic nations. So far but a few murmurs might be heard. No powerful voice had yet spoken. So Tetzel continued travelling from town to town, eating of the best at the hostelries, and paying his bills in drafts on Paradise; pressing carriers and others into his service for the transport of his merchandise, and recompensing them for the labour of themselves and their mules by letters of indulgence, approached within four miles of Luther.
7/24/2009 Lessons from History: Tetzel Preaches Indulgences: LUTHER’S stay in Rome did not extend over two weeks, but in that short time he had learned lessons not to be forgotten all his life long. The grace he had looked to find at Rome he had indeed found there, but in the Word of God, not in the throne of the Pope. The latter was a fountain that had ceased to send forth the Water of Life; so, turning from this empty cistern, he went back to Wittemberg and the study of the Scriptures.
6/29/2009 Lessons from History: Luther In Rome: AFTER many a weary league, Luther’s feet stand at last within the gates of Rome. What now are his feelings? Is it a Paradise or a Pandemonium in which he is arrived? The enchantment continued for some little while. Luther tried hard to realise the dreams which had lightened his toilsome journey. Here, thought Luther, the martyrs had died; on the floor of this stupendous ruin, the Coliseum, had they contended with the lions; on this spot, where now stands the sumptuous temple of St. Peter, and where the Vicar of Christ has erected his throne, were they used “as torches to illumine the darkness of the night”. Over this city, too, Paul’s feet had walked, and to this city had that letter been sent, and here had it first been opened and read, in which occur the words that had been the means of imparting to him a new life – “The just shall live by faith.”
6/23/2009 Lessons from History: Luther’s Journey To Rome: As often happens, a very trivial matter led to what resulted in the highest consequences both to Luther himself and to Christendom. A quarrel broke out between seven monasteries of the Augustines and their Vicar-General. It was agreed to submit the matter to the Pope, and the sagacity and eloquence of Luther recommended him as the fittest person to undertake the task. This was in the year 1510, or, according to others, 1512. We now behold the young monk setting out for the metropolis of Christendom.
6/7/2009 Lessons from History: Luther as Priest, Professor, and Preacher: LUTHER had been two years in the monastery, when on Sunday, 2nd May, 1507, he was ordained to the priesthood. The act was performed by Jerome, Bishop of Brandenburg. John Luther, his father, was present, attended by twenty horsemen, Martin’s old comrades, and bringing to his son a present of twenty guilders. The earliest letter extant of Luther is one of invitation to John Braun, Vicar of Eisenach. It gives a fine picture of the feelings with which Luther entered upon his new office.
5/14/2009 Lessons from History: Luther the monk becomes Luther the reformer; the light dawns on Luther’s soul: AS in the darkest night a star will at times look forth, all the lovelier that it shines out amidst the clouds of tempest, so there appeared at intervals, during the long and dark night of Christendom, a few men of eminent piety in the Church of Rome. Taught of the Spirit, they trusted not in the Church, but in Christ alone, for salvation; and amid the darkness that surrounded them they saw the light, and followed it.

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