—Martin Luther & Christendom

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The below is from pp.398-401, the last section of the last chatper of Roland H. Bainton’s, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (1950) [441pp., Hb., 20.00 + P&H, in stock], which I just finished reading today.  It is an excellent book and the author did an admirable job.  If I were a speed reader I would read it again.  But alas, I am not, so on to new horizons.

The Measure of the Man

“When one comes to take the measure of the man, there are three areas which naturally suggest themselves.  The first is his own Germany.  He called himself the German prophet, saying that against the papist asses he must assume so presumptuous a title, and he addressed himself to his beloved Germans.  The claim is frequent that no man did so much to fashion the character of the German people.  Their indifference to politics and their passion for music were already present in him.  Their language was so far fashioned by his hand that the extent of their indebtedness is difficult to recognize.  If a German is asked whether a passage of Luther’s Bible is not remarkable, he may answer that this is precisely the way in which any German would speak.  But the reason is simply that every German has been reared on Luther’s version.  The influence of the man on his people was deepest in the home.  In fact the home was the only sphere of life which the Reformation profoundly affected.  Economics went the way of capitalism and politics the way of absolutism.  But the home took on that quality of affectionate and godly patriarchalism which Luther had set as the pattern in his own household.  The most profound impact of Luther on his people was in their religion.  His sermons were read to the congregations, his liturgy was sung, his catechism was rehearsed by the father with the household, his Bible cheered the fainthearted and consoled the dying.  If no Englishman occupies a similar place in the religious life of his people, it is because no Englishman had anything like Luther’s range.  The Bible translation in England was the work of Tyndale, the prayer book of Cranmer, the catechism [and Commentary, the “Standards”] of the Westminster divines.  The sermonic style stemmed from Latimer; the hymnbook came from Watts.  And not all of these lived in one century.  Luther did the work of more than five men.  And for sheer richness and exuberance of vocabulary and mastery of style he is to be compared only with Shakespeare.  The Germans naturally claim such a German for themselves.  Yet when one begins to look over the centuries for those whom one would most naturally compare with this man, not a single one of his stature proves to be a German.  In fact a German historian has said that in the course of three hundred years only one German ever really understood Luther, and that one was Johann Sebastian Bach.  If one would discover parallels to Luther as the wrestler with the Lord, then one must turn to Paul the Jew [sic, Judean], Augustine the Latin,*1 Pascal the Frenchman,*2 Kierkegaard the Dane,*2 Unamuno the Spaniard,*3 Dostoevski the Russian,*4 Bunyan the Englishman, and Edwards the American.

[*1 Augustine was a Roman, not a Latin.  Modernly perverters of truth call him a Berber, African-Latin.  Numibia was a ROMAN province in Central Africa, surrounding Carthage.  His mother was a citizen of Carthage.  The multi-cultural perverters, in their dishonesty to find something, anything to which they can claim ownership to establish something they have ever done in the history of the world, claim his mother was a Berber simply because the origin of her name, Monica, is unknown.  It could be just as much Punic, or Greek, or Latin.  The Greeks founded city states throughout the entire Mediterranean coastline and islands.  To assume his mother was a Berber is obnoxious and anti-intellectual.  They do the same with Hannibal.  Despite sculptures of him far closer to the time in which he lived than modern charlatans can fabricate while smoking pot.  Depicted below is the earliest-known portrait of St. Augustine (from the 6th century, just a 100 years or so after the time he lived) and a bust is of Hannibal.