…I cannot arrive at any conviction other than the one that says sodomy is a sin…
…But his disapproval and the disapproval of many other men and women I respect cannot change the conviction I have when I try to work through this matter. My conscience is captive to what I understand the Word of God to teach…
…And so, this is where I stand. God help me.
This is an attempt at channeling the moral authority of Martin Luther. Not only does this position Luther as the favorite anti-Catholic hero, but this is roundly taken out of context.
Luther was open to change (at least on paper), with the entire speech not a brick wall, but a challenge to show him where he is wrong.
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.
Luther is offering a defense, not a refusal to discuss. John confuses his version of conscience with what Luther is meaning. John’s stance becomes mired and mixed with Luther’s, although Luther doesn’t refuse to change, but simply asks where he was in error. Luther, at least here, shows some humility and foresight that he may be in error. John, my good friend, does not.
I admire those who can take strong stands, but if you do not know why and cannot defend your stance, much less refuse to be open to change, then your stance becomes nothing more than fundamentalism personified. Rather than say “this is where I stand. God help me” what should be said is “this is what I think and God help you if you try to change my mind.”
It is time for United Methodists to have a conversation about these issues, but the discussion must be populated more with open minds than false bravado based on out-of-context quotes and a refusal to change.
Here, John, is where I stand. God help me to be open to knowing if I am wrong. Now, let us reason together so that neither one of us are cast into the ditch.
- Martin Luther’s ‘Open Letter to Unsettled Christianity’ (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Martin Luther on temptation (externalword.wordpress.com)
- Martin Luther (1483-1546) on theology and music (deovivendiperchristum.wordpress.com)