Should Protestants disown Luther in an Ecumenical Dialogue?

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...
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There is something to be said about an ecumenical dialogue, but would it be ecumenical if one side had to disown their originators?

In the end, the most controversial words of the interview, which, for the German media, were these:
It is time that those on the Protestant side of the argument completely dissociate themselves from Luther’s view that the pope is the Antichrist. Because that was not intended for the Pope as an individual Christian. The Catholic Church was to be considered thus in her self-image. This can not be dismissed as a time-related controversy. We need to move on from the shadows of our denominational perspective on the Church’s history.
The words of the bishop have been heavily criticized – including by Catholics (of course) who view them as somewhat quaint. No Protestant says that today! Sorry, we know that Protestantism is not in the best shape in the nation of Luther and Melanchton, but it does not matter: plenty of Protestants around the world (go ask the dozens of millions of new Evangelicals in Latin America) do hold Luther’s view of the Holy Roman and Apostolic See faithfully.

via RORATE CÆLI: They could start by disowning Luther.

I’m not sure if I detect sarcasm or not, but many Protestants still consider Rome the Great Whore of Babylon and the Pope, at the very least, an antichrist. But for Lutherans today, I suspect, it was a time controversy and well suited to the book of Revelation. I am not saying it was accurately applied by any means.

Anyway, just a conversation starter.

Of course, I don’t ‘own’ Luther so, you know, I have no problem ‘disowning him’ at times. Usually I do so by speaking about his drinking habits.

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24 Replies to “Should Protestants disown Luther in an Ecumenical Dialogue?”

  1. Hello,

    the Christian Church has a most forceful weapon: To shut somebody up (German: “jemandem das Maul stopfen”). Currently I read the Acts (part of the Holy Scripture) and just today I have read about Apollonian, who was a very skilled defender of Christianity against fanatical Jews (by the way I love the people of Isreal and every real Christian will love God’s chosen people; nevertheless even Jesus Christ had some struggle with scribes, high priests, Pharisees, etc., because they rejected the Christian doctrine; this people I mean). In the same area (Asia Minor), where Apollonian teached, St. Paul teached too. St. Paul had not solely some struggle with the Jews, but also with some stubborn pagans. Once upon a time Demetrius staged a revolt against the Christian doctrine, which was about to destroy the Diana-cult. The Diana-cult meant a lot of profit for Demetrius and others. The chancellor of Ephesos had to intervene, and calmed the multitude by saying among other things that Christians had not defamed Diana. Probably it was true, what he has sad. Also when St. Paul once came to Athen he spoke to the people very prudent and didn’t blame them for there idolatry, but mentioned that they had a memorial for the God, who has made heaven and earth and continued to preach the gospel.

    A Protestant Christian may think in his heart that the pope is the Antichrist, but when he discusses with Catholics, he should be carefully not to use this label of the pope as expression of any hatred agains Catholics. It is more adviceable to remain objective and to judge the issue objectively. Nobody on earth (yes!) is able to reject an objective judgement about any matter. I have investigated the CCC (German: KKK, Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche, English: Catechism of the Catholic Church) and tried to be as objective as possible. By the way the CCC was approved by John Paul II and worked out by Benedict XVI. The CCC is an official document of the Roman Catholic Church. The result of my investigation: Every Catholic is required to believe in the pope, in order to get saved. Boom! The RCC has not overcome her big problem of the Middle Ages. The problem is still relevant. Of course the pope has refurbished his image by the mass media, but actually he is as dangerous as in former ages. My personal “nickname” for him is soulkiller. He is more dangerous than OBL, because OBL caused just the death of the body, but the pope causes the eternal death of the whole human being (complete destruction).

    To sum it up: Let us always be aware, what the pope actually is, but let us love the single Catholics.
    Every Catholic can become a Protestant any moment. I personally made this nice experience.

    The sole Redeemer for everybody, who believes: Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.

    Kind regards,

    P. S.: Forget ecumene, it is impossible!

    1. So many things wrong with you statement, but I am not sure you want an actual dialogue. Instead, I suspect that you cannot handle objective statements, nor the truth, but desire only to remain in your ignorance.

        1. For instance, your comment on ‘remember who the Pope really is.’ The Pope is Catholic, not the antichrist….and Rome is not a cult.


          1. Don’t mind too much about the word Antichrist. It is solely important for every human being to have the saving faith. According to the Holy Scripture solely Jesus Christ saves and nobody else. When the pope claims that people should believe in him (the pope), he commits a heavy crime: he gives the people a wrong object of faith.

            I tell you in the name of the triune God: You have to believe in Jesus Christ, to get saved. The pope cannot save you!

            Be commended to the triune God,

          2. I don’t get your first sentence.

            Even I know that Roman Catholic Doctrine is about believing ‘in the Pope.’ That’s archaic and silly.

    2. Reiner,

      Please provide your source for this quote, before I answer you (as a Protestant):

      “By the way the CCC was approved by John Paul II and worked out by Benedict XVI. The CCC is an official document of the Roman Catholic Church. The result of my investigation: Every Catholic is required to believe in the pope, in order to get saved. Boom!”

        1. You realize that by simply writing something down, it doesn’t mean that you have proved anything, right? Further, your prove texting of the Catechism is bloody awful and is nearly as bad an Luther’s.

  2. I’m a convert to Lutheranism and now in seminary, and there is much that I admire about Martin Luther; but he was also the Christopher Hitchens of theologians, blasting just about everyone who annoyed him with verbal napalm.

    1. Hello,

      it is a very great honour for Dr. Martin Luther that he managed to blast other theologians with verbal napalm, because even his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did it. As long as we blast us verbally, there is only some small danger that we blast us with real napalm. In German language we have a saying: “Barking dogs don’t bite”.

      Wish you well,

      1. No, actually it wasn’t an honor. Luther was a wonderful drunk, but in the end, he let his ego get in the way. There is a difference between telling the truth and blasting people with insults, slander and cruelty which often times are not true. Christ didn’t do that.

        1. You err. Read the Bible and see that Jesus Christ sometimes insulted people. Of course Jesus didn’t insult ordinary, harmless people. Jesus Christ insulted scribes, Pharisees, etc., who rejected the true doctrine he preached. They did the sin, which cannot be forgiven: The called the Holy Spirit devil.

          Don’t resist the Holy Spirit!


        2. Luther also approved of pre-marital sex, held a subjective view of Romans, and passed down hostile anti-semitic rhetoric.

          I can name names and quotes.

          1. Dear Rod,

            please be aware that Dr. Martin Luther was a scholar of the top class. Saying, he held a subjective view of the Romans, you insult him, because objectivity was his passion and he judged everything on the basis of the Bible.

            What was his subject? Simply the Holy Scripture. I suppose only a few people ever had a knowledge of the HS like Luther had. Besides he was a devote Christian.

            He was not an opponent of the people of Israel, but an opponent of fanatical Jews. At Jesus time you would have called them scribes, Pharisees, etc.. Luther loved God’s chosen people Isreal and I love them too.

            The issue of the pre-marital sex, I guess, was a special case. I have not yet got an exact knowledge about the story. I suppose you mean the story of a relationship between the protestant prince of Hesse and a woman. The case needs some additional investigation.

            Kind regards,

  3. Joel,
    I need to point out that the quote is taken out of context, but what context we cannot know because you don’t cite the source, or even identify the speaker. But this one quote taken on it’s own does not ask us to completely disown Luther, only one particular view that he held about the Pope being the antichrist. My personal view is that Luther is very important to us, but he was not 100% correct about everything. I have noe trouble disagreeing with Luther on this specific matter. My reading of the scriptures, where “antichrist” is specifically mentioned, leads me to believe that the antichrist is not a person, but anti-biblical belief system or world view. John said the antichrist was already present in his lifetime. The RCC is in error where the pope is concerned but to make it personal or to be inflammatory by calling the pope the antichrist is niether helpfull or necessary.

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