Sunday, September 24, 2017

Today Janet and I went to Mass Here in Jerusalem a day before our group arrives. Always moving to share the Liturgy with the local Christians in the in the Middle East.

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A friend named Philip wrote and asked me this question:
Christ is Risen. And we with him. I was talking to Evangelical friends who directed me to some historical websites about the Marburg meeting of the Protestant Reformers. You have just finished your Dr. Luther tour of Germany. It seems that the Protestants did agree on most issues, original sin, justification by faith, the sacraments. The only thing that Luther and Zwingli disagreed on was the Eucharist at the Marburg meeting 1529.
I responded:
Yes, they agreed on 15 out of 16, but on the 16th they could come to no agreement. Number 16 was a biggie, it was the Eucharist. After their disagreements and wrangling some of the Reformers left saying, “You are of a different spirit” and “You are no longer my brother!”
Marburg is an example of the chaos brought about by private interpretation of Scripture with no authority or Church to adjudicate and direct. Chaos, acrimony, schism and more schisms.
The Marburg participants had opinions about the Eucharist–everywhere from not quite Catholic to the bread and wine being completely symbolic. It demonstrated that the “Reformers” had no mechanism of authority or unity and that one issue spiraled into so many other differences and disagreements that it was not long that Luther was approving 100,000 peasants killed because they practiced his principle of “private interpretation” and disagreed with him. Calvin went off in his own direction and soon Reformed and Lutheran churches were competing. Calvin had Servetus burned at the stake in Geneva because he disagreed with him.
Marburg with the symbol of the disunity that would roar through the sects. Whereas the words, “This is My Body” had one meaning for 1500 years, shortly after the Marburg Colloquy there was a book published entitled, “Two Hundred Definitions of ‘This is My Body.’” Very soon Luther rejected 5 of the sacraments and gave the institution of marriage into the hands of the State thus taking it away from the authority of the Church. He rejected ordination, confession, marriage and last rites.
Protestants may try to put a happy face on it, but it was the first apple to fall from the tree and soon it was a rain of apples. Today’s 4,000+ sects, denominations, factions and cults show the disaster of the “Reformation” — which was really a deformation.
Here are a few quotes to confirm my points”
[N]ew sects always rise up against me, . . . we are attacked by so many sects which constantly disagree with one another – sometimes they even originate within our own ranks – . . . (Letters III, ed. and tr. Gottfried G. Krodel; to James Propst, 15 Sep. 1538; in LW, v. 50)
 Dave Armstrong, The Catholic Luther, n.d.
Luther wrote: [K]now that our friendly conference at Marburg is now at an end, and that we are in perfect union in all points except that our opponents insist that there is simply bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, and that Christ is only in it in a spiritual sense. Today the landgrave did his best to make us united, hoping that even though we disagreed yet we should hold each other as brothers and members of Christ. He worked hard for it, but we would not call them brothers or members of Christ, although we wish them well and desire to remain at peace. (To Catharine Luther, 4 Oct. 1529; in LL2)
 Dave Armstrong, The Catholic Luther, n.d.
From the Protestant Magazine Christian History, So the German and Swiss reformations continued their separate ways. Luther asserted, “One side in this controversy belongs to the Devil and is God’s enemy”—and he did not mean his party. To Luther, his opponents, like Erasmus, allowed human reason to intrude on the plain words of Scripture. They required Christians to bring something of their own to salvation. Each brought to mind exactly the struggles he found in the monastery. Therefore, Luther could see no reason to be more charitable with “the false brethren” than he was with enemies from Rome.
Zwingli, in particular, resented Luther’s condescending tone. He felt the Wittenberg reformer had treated him “like an ass.” On the other side, thirteen years after Marburg, Luther was still complaining about Ulrich Zwingli’s “Swiss dialect” and his pompous insistence on speaking Greek at every opportunity. Luther declared, “I’ve bitten into many a nut, believing it to be good, only to find it wormy. Zwingli and Erasmus are nothing but wormy nuts that taste like crap in one’s mouth!”
The bad blood between the two reformers set a pattern for Protestant non-cooperation that has lasted to today.
 Robert D. Linder, “Allies or Enemies,” Christian History Magazine-Issue 39: Martin Luther: The Later Years (Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today, 1993).

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