What about Martin Luther? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I hope everyone had a good Easter. We’re going to continue what we were doing and that’s looking into this horrid KJV-only publication. (That could be a redundancy.) As always, the source material can be found here.
In the previous chapter, we learned that Erasmus’ Greek New Testament found its way into Bibles of several languages. One of those was the translation, into German, by Martin Luther.
We pick up the history of the Bible in Whittenberg, Germany:
“A major blow to the authority of Rome came in 1517, when a young Catholic priest by the name of Martin Luther nailed his historic 95 theses on the church door in Whittenberg. The nail drove deep into the hearts of truly born-again Christians who had for centuries been laboring under the tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church …” [S1P86].
I’m not sure Luther himself would go with this. Luther never wanted to start a new movement and I’m sure he would see there were true Christians in the Roman Catholic Church. He did say that about John Tetzel after all. This is just more of the fundamentalist kind of thinking. I find it hard to think that for however many years one sees this period as going on that there were no true Christians.
History tells us that “… Martin Luther brought in the Protestant Reformation by insisting on the difference between faith and works” [S8P56]. From this … the fires of reformation were kindled” [S1P86]
“Within 35 years after Luther had nailed his theses upon the door of the Cathedral of Whittenberg, and launched his attacks upon the errors and corrupt practices of Rome, the Protestant Reformation was thoroughly established. The great contributing factor to this spiritual upheaval was the translation by Luther of the Greek New Testament of Erasmus into German” [S1P232].
“The most vital and immovable weapon in Luther’s arsenal came in the form of the New Testament of 1522. This put the pure words … back into the hands of ‘Bible starved’ Christians. The reformation ran wild across the continent, fueled by this faithful translation. Rome at this point was totally helpless to stop it” [S1P86-87].
This came later and the Reformation was already well underway. Luther translated the Bible so the common person could read it in their language. It’s not that Luther necessarily saw the text of the Bible used at the time as corrupt.
“The medieval Papacy awakened from its superstitious lethargy to see that in one-third of a century, the Reformation had carried away two-thirds of Europe. Germany, England, the Scandinavian countries, Holland, and Switzerland had become Protestant. France, Poland, Bavaria, Austria, and Belgium were swinging that way” [S1P232].
And so: “… Constantinople fell in 1453, … Europe awoke as from the dead … Columbus discovered America. Erasmus printed the Greek New Testament. Luther assailed the corruptions of the … church. Revival of learning and the Reformation followed swiftly” [S2P217].
If I would disagree with any part of this, it would be the revival of learning. Learning never stopped in the so-called Dark Ages. It’s not a shock that Johnson is not aware of this.
We will continue next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)