—Luther, Erasmus, Freedom, Doctrine, and the Wonder of It All.

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Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) are referred to as humanists, because they studied the "humanities" and were well educated thinkers; nothing like the humanists of today—who are secular (that is, "antichrist") humanists; who have made humanism itself into a religion that worships man.  The Dutchman Erasmus was a scholar of the highest type, but his faith appears to have been cold academia of the Scriptures, not the fiery faith of the German Luther, whose scholarship and mind made for a formidable opponent.  However, Erasmus was more mild natured and insecure and he, unbiblically, preferred the "cover of the church" even if that church was corrupt and even if the doctrine was wrong.  Peace at all costs seems to have been his motto, which also meant a comfortable lifestyle, popularity, in addition to the absence of strife and without life itself being threatened.  Luther was neither meek or mild (in terms of defense of the faith, but he was a gentle man, tender to God and sensitive to not sinning against God through overcompensating in the other direction) and he was not of the same mind, but that Scripture is Supreme: for it alone is the revealed Mind and Will of God, and anything that departs from it is error—and if that error is embraced knowingly, above the Word of God, then it is antichrist. Luther's motto, in contradistinction, would have been more like Divine Truth and obedience to God at any cost. 

Luther and Erasmus were originally cordial, but as the rift deepened and the gap widened, their cordiality was strained.  Erasmus not only took personal insult at Luther's dissection of his works and personal jabs, but Erasmus was between a rock and a hard place, in that the Papacy wanted to use him as a tool to counter Luther's arguments.  Erasmus' heart was not in it, for it appears it was primarily cold toward doctrine, while a true scholar, Erasmus seemed to be more one who liked to lounge on the deck of a cruise ship and be waited on in refinement, while discussing matters of academia with other scholars.  Thus, his written answers to Luther, in the form of treastises of his own, were more cold academia, heated at times with personal vendetta and a little motivation to protect himself from the papal purge of dissenters; to please Rome, more as a mercenary, than a soul-devoted crusader.

Regardless, in a very humorous and picturesque way, Ronald H. Bainton, in his classic biography of Luther, "Here I Stand" (1950) 441pp., Hb., 20.00 + P&H explains the difference:

"Nature cannot reveal God.  Nature indeed is very wonderful, and every particle of creation reveals the handiwork of God, if one has the eyes to see.  But that is precisely the difficulty.  If one already believes in the beneficence of God, then one is overcome with amazement and joy at the trembling of the dawn when night is not yet day and day is not night but light imperceptibly dispels darkness.  How amazing are the clouds sustained without pillars and the firmament of heaven upheld without columns!  How fair are the birds of heaven and the lilies of the field!  "If thou couldst understand a single grain of wheat, thou wouldst die for wonder."  God is in all this.  He in every creature, inwardly and outwardly, through and through, over and under, behind and before, so that nothing can be more inward and hidden in any creature of God.  "In him we live and move and have our being."  Without him is naught.  God fills all the world , but by the world he is not contained.  "Whither shall I fly from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou are there."  But who sees all this?  Only faith and spirit.  The trouble with Erasmus is that he is not stupefied with wonder at the child in the womb.  He does not contemplate marriage with reverent amazement, nor praise and thank God for the marvel of a flower or the bursting of a peach stone by the swelling of the seed.  He beholds these wonders like a cow staring at a new door.  The deficiency of faith is made evident by lack of wonder, for nature is a revelation only to those to whom God has already been revealed." (pp.214,215)

 

Every Christian should read this biography, and at least once a year as a family / church also watch the dramatized:

Martin Luther: Martin Luther’s Protest Changed the Course of History, 15.00 + P&H, 105 minute DVD, dramatic B&W 1952 classic, Awesome; if you have never seen it, get it; I try to make it a point to watch every year; originally released in theaters worldwide/nominated for 2 Academy Awards; magnificent depiction of Luther & forces at work in surrounding 16th century society resulted in historic reforming efforts; traces Luther’s life from guilt-burdened monk to eventual break w/ Rome; despite its age, it is unsurpassed. Special 50th Anniversary colorized Edition includes: full length film; story of making of the film; Biography of many features not available before, a documentary history with Robert E. A. Lee, retired head of Lutheran Film Associates; trip to historic Luther sites including breathtaking color views of Wittenberg, Eisenach, Worms, Wartburg, Augsburg. Photos, background info, credits for producer, director, writer leading actors.

Every Christian should read my,

Does God Repent...? Can God Change His Mind...? [And an Utter Demolishment of the Humanistic Myth of Man’s “Free Will” and Arminianism], 484pp., 22.50 + P&H. Dovetails nicely with God and Evil and The Sovereignty of God.... Lively, profound, revealing, thought provoking, convincing thought, logic, Scripture. Exposes the subversion of true Christian faith in counter reformation re-introducing false theology of Origen and Pelagius and corruption of modern church by Jesuits and crypto-jews and terribly deceived humanists such as Scheiermacher, Kierkegaard, Spinoza, Barth, Schweitzer, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and many more, including undermining of Puritan church by Solomon Stoddard, and much more; also Dissects the false theology from one chapter of two different books; one by Dr. Normal Geisler and one by Brother Andrew.

and my historical and theological introduction in

History of Puritans & Pilgrim Fathers (1888) which incorporates: The Puritans in England (1849) W.H. Stowell, & The Pilgrim Fathers (1849) D. Wilson, 508pp.; with added 230pp. by R.A.B. (500 hours of research /writing) of historical and theological introduction to the Reformers, Puritans, Pilgrims, Nonconformists, Covenanters, the Westminster Assembly, the history of the Anglican Church and Presbyterian Church in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the Anglican Church and monarchs of Britain in their persecution of those Protestants who disagreed with the Anglican Church’s Catholic ritual, and an insightful look at the Great Awakening and revivals in England, Ireland, Scotland (and its Isle of Lewis) Wales, and New England; with over 800 short biographies and over 250 illustrations added; total c.740pp.; 7x8.5, 35.00 + P&H.

And each Christian should read at least the brief,

Twelve Reformation Heroes (1960) Neilson, 96pp., pb., 12.50 + P&H.

if not larger works like

The Story of the Light That Never Went Out: A History of English Protestantism For Young Readers (1903) W.S.M. and Augusta Cook; 586pp., 8.5x11, hundreds of illustrations, excellent; pb., 45.00 + P&H. One person who ordered this book, who is an older gentleman who has long been an avid reader, said this was one of the best and most important 5 books he has ever read. Another person saw an original at the library of Bob Jones University and was impressed with the book and ordered a copy from me, and could not believe the quality, being far better than the original; he took his new copy to BJU and showed it to them, and they ordered a copy so they could "retire" to the archives the original. [Contents: How The Light Came; How the Darkness Came; Parting of the Ways; The Venerable Bede, and Other Famous Men; England’s Greatest King; William the Conqueror and the Norman Period; Gathering Shadows; Midnight; England’s Bulwark, Or The Foundation of Liberty Laid; Monks and Friars With Shaven Crowns; How Lamp Was Kept Buring; Thomas Bradwardine, Man Who Trimmed the Lamp; Robert Longland, Man Who Dreamed A Dream; John Wycliffe; The Lollards; Chariots of Fire; The Fifteenth Century; Preparation For Reformation; How English Reformation Began; Two Great Discoveries & What Came of Them; Much-Married Monarch; William Tyndale; Martyr’s Prayer Answered; English Josiah; Dark Days; “Latimer’s Light Shall Never Go Out”; England’s Greatest Archbishop; “Of Whome World Was Not Worthy”; Daughters of The King; Lambs In Flock Of Slaughter; Why Martyrs Suffered; Martyr’s Memorials; John Foxe; What Might Have Been; Brighter Days; Jesuits; “Bonnie Queen Bess”; Invincible Armada; Martyrs or Murderers—Which?; Gunpowder, Treason & Plot; Old Time Ritualist; King & Parliament; “Old Noll”; Puritan England; “Merry Monarch”; Tinker Of Bedford; Stuart Schemer; Bishops Of Right Sort; Glorious Revolution; Protestantism Ascends The Throne; Light In Eighteenth Century; Victorian Era—World’s Greatest Empire; “Thy Kingdom Come.”]

—which will all help understand the Big Picture.

as well as books like:

Faith & Freedom: Christian Roots of American Liberty, Hart, 384pp. excellent; one best books on Christian roots of U.S.; out of print, good used pb.,/Hb. copies; inquire.

I Was A Slave In Russia (1958) & I Found God In Soviet Russia (1959) 192pp. [intro. by Billy Graham], 192pp., John Noble; 2 incredible books, on Christian faith through persecution. When “allies” (USSR) took over after bombing of Dresden, German-born U.S. citizen & his family were arrested, their business stolen by USSR, and they were imprisoned for nearly 15 years under torture. Incredible. A must. new printing, 2-in-1, pb., 24.00 + P&H.

Tortured For His Faith, Popov (Roumanian pastor suffered 18 years imprisonment/torture behind iron curtain) 146pp., pb., 8.00 + P&H.

The Persecutor (1973) Sergei Kourdakov; Russian Secret Police Officer; job to beat/torture Christians; converted to Christ, Out of print, good used pb/Hb copies available. A must. [Inquire]

The Secret Holocaust, Mullins, 34pp., 4 00 + P&H. (66 MILLION European Christians exterminated by Bolshevism)

The Human Cost of Soviet Communism, Prepared at Request of Sen. T. Dodd for Subcom. to Investigate Administration of Internal Security Act and other Internal Security Laws of Committee on Judiciary U.S. Senate, 1971, 40pp., 5 00 + P&H. (180 million European Christians exterminated by Bolshevism).

[All titles mentioned herein are in stock.  Inquire.]

Without understanding what freedom (ecclesiastic and political) cost—and what "life" can be like without it, and what TRUE suffering actually is—there is NO WAY that anyone can appreciate it and uncompromisingly fight to preserve it. How true it is that One does not truly appreciate what he has until he loses it (or almost loses it).  Blessed it the man whom God brings to this point of appreciation, like on the edge of Niagara, but with miraculous deliverance so that it is not lost.  Those who would not be changed by such a "second chance" and who would not glorify God and be possessed with a new zest and awe and vigilence for life and truth deserve to go over the edge to never rise from the depths again.

Despite his Unitarianism (apparently John Adams did not instruct his family well enough in the true faith), John Quincey Adams was intelligent and did make valid observations and poignant declarations, such as

"Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom.  I hope you will make good use of it.”

However, Samuel Adams was much more blunt:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

 

The Apostle James, under Divine inspiration, penned,

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.... Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 1:22; 4:17)

Luther (who is my cousin from at least one family line, if not at least 2 more) did not have good things to say about the Book of James—because Luther did not understand it!  Luther, of course, had a knee-jerk reaction to anything that smacked of works-orient salvation.  But it was Luther who misunderstood.  He even offered his Doktor's cap to anyone who could explain a sound resolution and reconcile Paul and James.  Luther did not deny that it belonged in the canon, but he spoke derisively about it.  Well, cousin Luther, I'd like your cap if I may have it.  Hopefully you have read over my shoulder as I wrote at least a dozen or two books explaining this resolution, including a commentary on James 2, and a commentary on the book of Romans and on the Book of Hebrews, and numerous other books and commentaries that show the simple, Biblical, logical reconciliation. 

However, to his credit, later in life (whether he realized or not that his conclusion vindicated the Book of James), Luther himself realized the resolution of the issue (if not the book).  In Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (1950) Roland H. Bainton records,

"in his preface to the [Luther translation of the] New Testament of 1522 James was stigmatized [by Luther] as 'an epistle of straw'. .... Faith... is a living restless thing.  It cannot be inoperative.  We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith." (p.341) [Brackets mine.  R.A.B.]

I would word it more clearly and more fully:

Faith is an active energy of Divine Grace.  It cannot be passive.  Like God's Word, it is sent forth for a Purpose and it will not return unto God void, but perform that which He sent it forth to do.  Faith is sent (not to generate "good feelings", but) to produce good works... not the "good works" of the world, or the Boy Scouts, or the Apostate Modern Church—but the good works commanded by God: The keeping of His Law, obedience, doing that which is pleasing in His Sight.  Paul wrote,

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) 

What did God "before ordain" that we should walk in? — 

"2... I am the LORD your God. 3After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.  4Ye shall do My Judgments, and keep Mine Ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.  5Ye shall therefore keep My Statutes, and My Judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD." (Leviticus 18)

"3If ye walk in My Statutes, and keep My Commandments, and do them; [...I will bless you] .... 21And if ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins." (Leviticus 26) [also vv.23, 27.]

"Ye shall walk in all the Ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess." (Deuteronomy 5:33)

"For if ye shall diligently keep all these Commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His Ways, and to cleave unto Him; [...I will bless you]" (Deuteronomy 11:22)

"Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His Commandments, and obey His Voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him." (Deuteronomy 13:4)

"...ought ye not to walk in the Fear of our God...?" (Nehemiah 5:9)

"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee [the conviction of the Holy Spirit], saying, 'This is the Way, walk ye in it, when ye [are tempted to sin and] turn to the right hand, and when ye [are tempted to sin and] turn to the left. " (Isaiah 30:21) 

"Thus saith the LORD, 'Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the Old Paths, where is the Good Way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.'  But they said, 'We will not walk therein'." (Jeremiah 6:16)

[There are other passages, but these should be sufficient for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.]

And the words of Christ in the matter—

"17Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5)

The Law was not abolished.  Not even the sacrificial system was abolished.  The sacrificial system was fulfilled, replaced by Christ's Eternal Sacrifice of Himself—which the sacrificial system itself pointed to, being the "Schoolmaster" to bring us to Christ.  But the Law was not abolished.  Not one iota (jot).  It is God's Moral Code (every word of it) and Morality does not change.  God does not change.  He is Perfect and Immutable.  He declared, "Be holy as I am Holy".  His Standard of Holiness does not change for Himself (He is Immutable) and therefore, neither can it change for us or we cannot be holy as He is.  What was abolished was the Curse of the Law (not the Law itself), the death sentence against us ("The soul that sinneth shall die").  It was abolished because Christ paid the sentence Himself for His elect.  What was put to death was the sin nature—but only as long as we "walk in the Spirit", for only then will we "not fulfill the lusts of the flesh".  What are the lusts of the flesh? —doing whatever God forbade and not doing whatever He commanded.  When we do not walk in the Spirit, in essence, we become "grave robbers" and dig up the old man that was crucified with Christ, dead, and buried—pull him up and put on him with his grave clothes.  Sin is delusion.  The carnal mind is irrational; self destructive.  God declared,

"19I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you Life and Death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose Life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His Voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy Life, and the length of thy days" (Deuteronomy 30)

That seems like a "no-brainer".  Doesn't it?  (—so does the very detailed list of blessings for obedience or cursings for disobedience in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28).  But the carnal mind thinks like this:

"Well, I don't know, that's a hard choice to make.  Life sounds pretty wonderful, but Death sounds really great too!  Oh! how am I ever to choose?  They both sound so fabulous!"

We are not saved by works, but if there are no works (that is, the works God commanded to a thousand generations [note: since Adam to now has been only about 187 generations; we have a little ways to God—and even then the Law shall not pass]... if there are no works, then there is no faith... only pseudo-spiritual delusion—counterfeit faith that produces counterfeit (imposter) fruit (wax fruit, sterile fruit).  True faith does not originate in us, but is a gift of God to the elect whereby they believe unto salvation and whereby they live in holiness according to all that God commanded. 

God commanded about 613 laws that fit in the palm of your hand and can be read in a sitting, that are easy to understand, many of which are common sense, which were given for our good—corrupt, treasonsous politicians in the U.S. since the New Deal (1935) have passed over 300,000 Federal Laws alone, which fill over 35 large hardback volumes with six or seven point print [actually this small print is 8-point print as this web-page program does not allow anything smaller] which occupy over 17 feet of shelf space, which [unconstitutional] laws were mostly passed to enslave, oppress, and rob us and enrich the politicians and constitute a virtual legal mine field that you need to hire a lawyer to understand and which even the experts don't understand and cannot agree upon.

—and the polluted minds of "Christians" whine that God's Law is too much and too difficult to understand.  They deserve Judgment even as Israel of old who refused to walk in His Ways.

Paul said the Commandment is Holy and Just and Good.

David said the Law of the Lord is perfect.

[Who do you think understands the Word of God better? Christ Jesus, David, and Paul, or the educated fools with "degrees" who consider themselves "Bible experts" who contradict what Christ, David, and Paul said?  Who do you think understands the U.S. Constitution and what is "Constitutional" and "Unconstitutional" better? —George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Maidson or antichrist communist subversive treasonous politicians (like Barak Obama, "Constitutional Scholar"—HA!) 225 years after the fact calling what the Founders believed and established to be "Unconstitutional"...?]

Do we make the Law of God void?  Paul answered his own question with— "God forbid!  We establish the Law!"

The Law was never intended for salvation any more than an anvil was meant to help propel you up over the bar in a pole vault competition!  The Law was and is God's "House Rules" for His children to follow.  The only thing that provided temporary atonement in lieu of salvation: a temporary stay of execution until Christ was executed for us—freeing us not from obeying the Law, but from the execution that we deserve!  After Christ forgave one of sin, He did not say, "Go and live however you please", but "go and sin no more!"  The epistles of John were the last books of the Bible to written (even after Revelation).  John says, "sin is transgression of the Law".  If the Law was abolished then it is impossible to sin, so there is nothing that anyone needs to repent, be forgiven for, or be saved from!  Paul wrote: "but sin is not imputed when there is no law" (Romans 5:13).  Where there is no law, no sin is imputed—and therefore there is no penalty!  The Antinomian position is an anti-intellectual, unbiblical position and Satan inspired it to keep God's people in sin, because when they are in unconfessed, unrepentant sin God will not hear their prayers!  Why do you think Christendom is about to fall...?  [Hint: It is not because God is so happy with us!]  If a father tells his son, "No playing in the mud", when the child disobeys the father disciplines him, cleans him up, puts new clothes on him—and when the child repents and asks for forgiveness, the father can then demonstrate his love once more to his beloved son.  But understand clearly, simply because the child has been forgiven does not mean that the law against playing in the mud changed one bit!

Good works / obedience / walking in God's Commandments / bearing the fruit that He ordained that we bear does not save—it is a by-product of salvation, the natural result of the actual indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Where no fruit is evident the Holy Spirit is not Resident—not the world's fruit, but God's Fruit; the world's counterfeit, Antichrist fruit is the opposite of God's.  If the world is pleased with your Theology / Doctrine / Standard of Morality, guess what...? —you are following a false christ, worshipping a false god, and are part of the Apostate Church.  John also wrote, "He who says I know Him [God] and keepeth not His Commandments is a liar and the Truth is not in him" (I John 2:4).  Tell me, can someone be converted / regenerated / saved / truly be a Christian if he does not know God...? if the Truth [Christ said, "I am the Way, the Truth..." and called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth] is not in him...?  This is why on Judgment Day there shall be the mother-of-all rude awakenings, for Christ declared that MANY on that day [who will have thought that they were "Good Christians"] who think that they did "many wonderful things in His Name [but they were the world's and the Apostate Church's "wonderful things"] will hear Christ declare, "Depart from Me ye that work iniquity [anomia "no law", more correctly means, "lawlessness"] I never knew you!"  That seems about right.  They did not know God and followed a false christ, so Christ does not know them either.  Christ said that His sheep know His Voice and follow [obey] Him and that the voice of a stranger they will not follow.  Christ said He did not abolish the Law and not one single jot or tittle (not the smallest letter, not the slightest flourishing hook at the top of a letter in the mechanical words in the written record of the Law) would pass.  Christians believe "Jesus abolished the Law".  Why? —according to Scripture, because they are not His sheep, because they are following the voice of a stranger.

An individual does not "become" his father's child by obedience.  An individual is his father's child as a result of his father's procreative will.  A child establishes himself as an honorable son who will inherit of the father, through his obedience to what the father commanded.  A tree does not become an apple tree by bearing apples; a tree bears apples because that is what its Creator ordained for it to bear.

Good works do not save, they are an evidence of salvation.  An animal does not become a sheep by going, "ba-a-a-a-a!"; a sheep bleats because that is the nature and activity that God ordained for the sheep to have.

[For more detail, see my Ten Commandments for Youth, 440pp., 6.25 x 9.25, pb., 25.00 + P&H.]

"1My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

2For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

3Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

4So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths.

7Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

8It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones." (Proverbs 3)