Planks towards freedom, a commentary on Martin Luther's teachings, part of correspondence with Wm. F. Buckley Jr.
Copyright © 1996-2006 Mel West. All rights reserved


Planks Towards Freedom

by Mel West


(continuing the conversation, On the Breakage of the Holy Catholic Church )

page 1

June 16, 1994

Dear Mr. Buckley,

We all get torn between the Spirit of this world and the Spirit of Heaven. Even Jesus had difficulty with this, being tempted by the devil as it were, but finalized his answer by saying that you cannot serve Mammon and God at the same time. Nevertheless, He threw his disciples a curve when he said to give to Caesar what is his and to God what is His. So the teachings following him split from time to time, beginning with St. Peter, who urged one to obey his governors (which is what Jesus did). Concerning your comment of June 13, that St. Paul evidently acceded to their [the apostles'] decision, that the Jews should still be bound by the Law even after baptism , We need to see an Epistle of his which confesses that his dogma against the Law and the Jews was wrong. We don't find such a report, and it is clear that before King Agrippa Paul lied, denying that he had ever said or done anything against the Law or the Jews [Acts 26.21,22]. At that moment, when he was brought to trial over his castigations, he was not repentant over anything evolved through his vision . Just as you are locked into Paul's dogma, so too was he, and it contained both good and evil. The evil in Paul we revealed in Luther, as it slithered on to Hitler.

When you said, Technically you can't call his having said the opposite a sin, because a dogma has to be defined before you can sin
, quite frankly, I must tell you that you caused thick-skinned Siegfried to weep. For this strikes at the very core of our conversation: of identifying what is good as opposed to evil. In our works we defined Paul's dogma, that part which is good and that which is evil. This definition is based upon what St. James and St. Peter saw (together with the other Jews' complaints). Paul's antiSemitism was defined then as evil and it is defined now as evil. Nothing has changed except the corpses which have piled up because Paul and his disciples are still in a state of denial.

One dogma breeds another. But as St. Anthony said, we must learn to measure the end of them by their beginnings, to learn to discern in the beginning whether they are good or evil . Since St. Peter's day, with respect to our complaint, there has been sin. But some are slow to get the idea of this, and until the air becomes so noxious they start to heave they continue in their state of abnegation. It's as with the huge rotting sea lion carcass which has been on our beach since last Tuesday. Everyone is avoiding responsibility for burying it. But when the usual northwesterly wind changes to a southeasterly then there will be action and people living nearby will soon be heaving on their balconies.

page 2

But some people are disciples of the hundred headed Typhöeus, Zarathustra for one, [Thus spoke Zarathustra, On the Blissful Islands], whom we saw sailing the Styx with Cerberus in his bow, praising the darkness and the dead, to wit:

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Night Song . Light am I: ah, that I were night! But this is my solitude, that I am girded round with light.
Ah, that I were dark and obscure! How I would suck at the breasts of light!
..But I live in my own light, I drink back into myself the flames that break from me.
..I have often dreamed that stealing must be more blessed than receiving.
..I should like to rob those to whom I give--thus do
I hunger after wickedness.
ibid., Of the Famous Philosophers, ..You are no eagles: so neither do you know the spirit's joy in terror. And he who is not a bird shall not make his home above abysses.
ibid., Of the Tarantulas..There are those who preach my doctrine of life: yet are at the same time preachers of equality, and tarantulas.
..For justice speaks thus to me: Men are not equal. And they should not become so, either! For what were my love of the Superman if I spoke otherwise?
They should press on to the future across a thousand bridges and gangways, and there should be more and more war and inequality among them: thus my great love makes me speak! They should become devisers of emblems and phantoms in their enmity, and with their emblems and phantoms they should fight together the supreme fight!

Enough! I say. We've seen this character before:

Acts 26.18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Zarathustra, his simple dogma, was evil, and we can recognize its sign when he declares that he lives by his own light (which is what Satan declared), and it is Satan who swore to kill man, and his self-justifying dogmas eventually do just that.

page 3

We get taken in too easily, I suppose. On the surface Paul's dogma looked allright, carrying all kinds of righteous precepts to serve the purblind, so they would not see the evil. The same is true with respect to Luther's doctrines: shinning with goodness but still hiding the evils of antiSemitism. In this day, taken in by the Reagan-Bush dogmas and deceits, Americans find themselves torn between the same old two extremes, of being lights unto themselves and Chosen People, and the opposite, being charitable and merciful and a light for the poor and afflicted. Now Zarathustra disguised poor Siegfried the thick skinned, as a new Superman, because of Luther's call for sovereignty (over man) by the German Empire (Plank # 273, Appendix A); and we can see him still at work calling for disciples in the darkness. Because of the darkness today there is no more opportune time for Zarathustra to work.
It is clear in the Old Testament that the plan of God included the idea that all men would bow down to Him and serve His Kingdom. Since He represents the charitable and the merciful, it is easy to see that His Doctrine has no resemblance to that of Zarathustra's, for example, or Paul's dogma of antiSemitism. The natural conflict between His doctrine and the one man serves will be resolved. And then there will be Peace on earth. When His final Judgment comes, that is.
We can help your side of the board more, and since we are attempting to establish that Paul's dogma of antiSemitism was in his time and still is a sin-as much as Zarathustra's dogma was and still is a sin-we felt it appropriate to review the extent of it, and found Martin Luther's teachings a fine forum upon which to hold our council. We summoned Luther into our Great Council with the Pope, because he complained that there was no Great Council in his day. Since the same conditions remain true in this day as in Luther's, and Luther did a fair job of outlining the overall problem-why there was no council--it seemed fair that he should be brought to our hearing. So we squeezed him onto 276 planks in Appendix A herein, on which a good dialectic is traceable, that a definition of original sin may be better discerned.

page 4

We use the word, planks , because Luther [referring to a comment made by Jerome] compared the Kingdom of God to that of a ship with planks, one plank built upon another. Luther complained that the Christian ship is sinking and everyone is grabbing onto whatever plank seems to suit them best. This, of course, is not how the Kingdom of God works, for it is not intended as a sinking ship but, rather, as shown in our many writings, it is a true Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. As outlined in Hidden Pavilions et. al, our Council, proceeding out of the Tabernacle, with its Shechinah, or Cloud of God, progresses to the conclusion that the Temple--God's House of Prayer for All People---should be restored to Zion once the Tabernacle is built and carried through the Golden Gate of Jerusalem. Until this is done, as discussed in Philistia Triumph thou because of me , there will be no peace in Jerusalem and that Promised Kingdom. Our council I have earlier described as a Great Troop behind me, and growing, being also, as it were, inside me and swelling-with reference to the Virgin of Justice mentioned in Part II of On the Breakage of the Holy Catholic Church and further explained in Works and Days among the Hyperboreans . I explained that my book-which is in many parts-- is my flesh; thus, one can visualize how my troop can be in me and, with reference to my introductory remarks in Part I of Hidden Pavilions , how I am in them. We are all one, as it were. With this in mind we have communed with you, with your bishop, in our troop; and this--mirroring a great multitude--is a Great Council [also known as TZVAOT in Hebrew; ed. note]. We would enjoy having the rest of the Christian mob participate, but we have serious doubts we can find anyone (as we have searched under every rock) who has the intelligence to stand with you. I hope you will agree that breaking Luther's dogma down into planks will enable better judgment and, in all fairness, pretty well represent any absentees. Luther's call for a Council we have taken to heart; and we hope you will play your heartfelt best in it as well so as to better pursue your appeal to define certain dogma and establish who sinned by getting God's Will wrong.

As with all councils--spiritual or worldly--judgment must be made, and we are relying upon you as our upright, or straight-man, as it were, with your bishop's participation. Our inquest is the epiphany of Truth, to the extent of which I lamented the paucity of Wise men for a forum. This was couched in terms of the forum of ten recognized by the rabbis, because of Sodom and Gomorrha, but we felt fortunate to find a righteous man. We pray you will continue to bear with us, so to resolve Paul's hanging issues, outlined by Luther, which have been driving, and continue so, generations to the brink of madness and its sulphurous pit.

page 5

Keys of the Kingdom

As you review the planks of Luther, you will discover items in bold print which we briefly reviewed on page A37 and are items still waiting to be resolved, or, as it were, the opening of the Gate of Righteousness. When this opening occurs is important from the standpoint of economics, as mentioned in the beginning of Hidden Pavilions , as well as our work, Works and Days among the Hyperboreans : the more justice is delayed the more expensive the remedy. We speak of the cost of building a New Heavens and a New Earth. With reference to Revelation 11.18 alone, there are serious reservations as to whether we now have the wherewithal to achieve the goal. For it is apparent that in destroying this world the Zarathustras among us would destroy another. God help Heaven, I say, should anyone from this generation--waiting at their stations of rapture (too many Zarathustras being among them)-- sneak in there! Well, then, we possess the keys to the Kingdom, which we shall explain and show, using some terms of Luther's; and it is our intention to lock them down here anyway until they repent.

Who owns the keys

Luther's point of departure with the papacy had to do with this point: as to who had the Keys to the Kingdom. Whoever has been visited by the Holy Ghost, he argued, and through Baptism and believing, carries the keys. This comes from the anointing of the apostles, the laying on of their hands on others, that they also would be given the Keys to the Kingdom (and thus pass them on through ministry of the Gospel, forming One Body of Christ).

Since Luther's time, some Christian churches argued that the Holy Ghost alone is all that gives the anointing, that baptism (immersion) is not essential to becoming a Minister of Christ [sic. to receive the Keys to the Kingdom]. Other churches, following Luther's emphasis of the baptismal rite, maintained that by Baptism the Keys of the Kingdom are passed on.

We have shown how God is Truth and Truth comes through knowledge and understanding [sic. the Wisdom of God]. So we are urged to pray for God's Wisdom, as after the manner of King Solomon. Thus, prayer for God's guidance opens closed doors--usually from ignorance-- as it were.

page 6

The Holy Spirit holds the Keys

Jesus said that he had not come to baptize with water, following after the manner of John the Baptist and the Mikvah tradition, but with the Holy Spirit. It is noteworthy to mention that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and it is from this point of departure that we are told that the Holy Ghost came upon Jesus, which we have discussed at length already. Significantly, John the Baptist was the only son (as far as we know) of the high priest, Zechariah, a Levite; so John's baptismal anointing of Jesus initiates the Christian tradition, how the knowledge of God was put upon Jesus and as Keys of the Kingdom passed on to His disciples. There are other aspects of this we have already discussed [Jesus was conceived directly of the Holy Spirit; also St. Peter's affirmation of the Transfiguration in lieu of Jesus's Baptismal anointing). But let's stay by Wisdom's Well [re: Num. 21.16-18] for now.

We can compare two verses, how Knowledge equals the Kingdom, from Jesus's point of view:

Luke 11.52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
Matthew 23.13 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Gift of God

The Kingdom is like a gift of God; in fact, the Messiah, who carries the knowledge of the Kingdom [sic. its keys], is like a king travelling through his kingdom giving out gifts, as explained in Matthew 25.14. The giving of the gifts of the kingdom depends upon wise men to receive them [re: Validation of Truth ]. The principal gift of the Kingdom of God in earth as it is in Heaven is well explained in scripture: a Kingdom of Peace and, for the remnant who are saved in the judgment, first of Israel and finally in the judgment of the Gentile, eternal life. We explained how the door to this Kingdom is through Jesus because of the Scripture of the Sign of the Virgin , Isaiah 7.14-24, which discussed the opening of the judgment of Israel [its dispersion], which we closed in Philistia Triumph thou because of me , noting how the Children of Israel have been restored to their Promised Land, as contracted with them. Thus, a wise man would conclude that the Sign of the Virgin is passed and cannot come again (because only One Diaspora of Israel to all the nations was contracted). All discussions on the Bible should therefore now begin here.

page 7


The point of view of the Kingdom is as a Heritage contracted by Abraham which was passed down through Isaac to Jacob-and finally on to the Gentile, where, as we have seen in Philistia Triumph thou because of me all men are seen to come to worship God out of his Holy Place in Jerusalem. This comes with the resurrection of David who is quickened by the knowledge [Word] of God, following the precepts of Psalms 119.50, 139.16, 126.6, et al. and the idea that the House of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them [Zech. 12.8] So you watch for David. As shown previously, this is called The first Resurrection [Revelation 20.6].

We showed that the Glory of God is the epiphany of His Wisdom: how the Shechinah, or Cloud of Glory , comes with the Tabernacle and was promised to be restored in Jerusalem with the Tabernacle, when the Children of Israel are redeemed to the Holy Land under David their King, who until then is Hidden in the Hand of God [Isaiah 49.2] and in the Secret of His Tabernacle [Psalm 27.4].

Thus, the Glory of God is to hide a word:

Bahir 50 What is a word? That of which it is written (Psalm 119.160), The beginning of your word is truth.
It is also written (Proverbs 25.2), The glory of kings is to probe a word.
What is this word? That of which it is written (Proverbs 25.11) A word spoken in its proper place (Aphen-av), Do not read, its proper place (Aphen -av) but its wheel, (Ophen'av).

The Bahir compares Truth to a small opening, called a Patach. What is this like?

Bahir, 37 A king had a throne. Sometimes he carried it on his arm, and sometimes he carried it on his head [re: the Tefillin worn on the arm and forehead; ed. note].
They asked why, and he replied: Because it is beautiful and it is a pity to sit on it.
They asked: Where did he place it on his head?
He replied: in the open Mem ( ). It is thus written (Psalm 85.12), Truth sprouts up from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.

page 8

Another explanation:

Bahir, 72 ..A king had a beautiful pearl, and it was the treasure of his kingdom. When he is happy, he embraces it, kisses it, places it on his head, and loves it.
Habakkuk said: even though Kings are with you, the beloved pearl is in Your world. Therefore, bring to life your works in the midst of years.
What is the meaning of years? It is written (Genesis 1.3), And God said, Let there be light. Light is nothing other than day, as it is written (Genesis 1.16), The great light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night.
Years are made from days.
It is thus written, Bring to life your works in the midst of years--in the midst of that pearl that gives rise to years.

The open mem and the pearl crown the king's head with:

Bahir 75..Why does the Torah say, righteousness, righteousness twice?
.. it is written (Isaiah 59.17), He put on righteousness like a coat of mail, and a helmet of salvation on his head.
His head is nothing other than Truth. It is thus written, (Psalm 119.160), The head of your word is truth.

The open mem and the pearl [re: the Parable of the pearl hidden in the deep, or the farmer who sold everything for the pearl of great price] are signs of God's Holy, everlasting Waters:

Bahir, 85 What is a Mem?
Do not read Mem, but Mayim (water). Just like water is wet, so is the belly always wet.
Why does the open Mem include both male and female, while the closed Mem is male?
This teaches us that the Mem is primarily male. The opening was then added to it for the sake of the female.
Just like the male cannot give birth, so the closed Mem cannot give birth. And just like the female has an opening with which to give birth, so can the open Mem give birth. The Mem is therefore open and closed.

page 9

The Messiah, the Branch, is also a Tree [re: Jeremiah 11.19; Zechariah 4.14 et. al]. The Church is a Tree and we desire to prune the Pauline Tree in order to let in some light. In the Bahir we learn:

Bahir 119 What is this tree that you mentioned?
He said, It represents the Powers of the Blessed Holy One, one above the other.
Just like a tree brings forth fruit through water, so the Blessed Holy One increases the Power of the Tree through water.
What is the water of the Blessed Holy One?
It is Wisdom. It is the souls of the righteous. They fly from the fountain to the great pipe, ascend and attach themselves to the Tree.
Through what do they fly?
Through Israel..

All of this applies to our discussion because we have been arguing that a tree is known by its fruits, faith without works is death, etc.

Filled with glory

As noted in On the Breakage of the Holy Catholic Church , the Kingdom is that event when the Glory of God visits Jerusalem and the whole earth is filled with His knowledge [Num. 14.21]. The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19.2). In the Bahir this is explained:

Bahir 130 What is the meaning of, the whole earth is filled with His glory?
This is the earth that was created on the first day. It is on high, filled with God's glory and paralleling the Land of Israel.

And what is this glory? It is Wisdom, as it is written (Proverbs 3.35), The wise shall inherit glory.

To this end we pleaded, that ye shall know, etc. with the name, Aravot [West], seeking a wise man; and this follows:

Bahir 153 What is the seventh? It is the heaven called Aravot .
And why is it called heaven (Shamayim)? Because it is round like a head.
We learn that it is in the center, with water at its right and fire at its left. It supports water (sa Mayim) from fire and water, and brings peace between them.

page 10

Gathered in Judgment

Through fire and water you are gathered. We saw how Israel was judged through dispersion and the Spirit of Burning ; and this judgment was reserved against the Gentile for the Latter Days too, together with plagues, when the nations' judgment comes, mentioned in Malachi 4, et. al. The thesis here is that the Gentile will learn from Israel's experience; so when He raises Himself up the nations are scattered [Isaiah 33.3-17 etc.]. Thus, the purifying agent in the scriptures is fire and water.

Luther was wrong in his general assessment of Baptism. Abraham, for instance, was not baptized before he received the Holy Spirit; neither was St. Ambrose baptized before he was elected bishop; neither was Moses etc. There are many people among the patriarchs and prophets who had the Holy Spirit upon them without baptism.


Baptism, like circumcision, signifies you have committed your soul to God. The key here is in separating yourself unto God (Those who are with God step forward, said Moses). Connected with this is the tradition of the Nazarites [Num. 6] (which Jesus was not) who, come in from their separation in the desert, smelled like they spent their time in a pit. They may have been suitable to God's nose, but to be among people there was heard the cry: cleanse yourself! The cleansing part is for the sake of the community. Thus we have St. Peter saying, for God's sake:

I Peter 3.21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1.23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

Following this we can explore the judgment of God, how certain violations of His agreement are sin and so noxious He would expel those of low conscience from the community of man.

page 11

Essential to the judgment is the gathering of Israel first back to the Holy Land and then the gathering of the nations. This is further explained:

Bahir 156 What is the meaning of the verse (Isaiah 43.5), And from the west I will gather you?
This means that I will gather you from the attribute that always points to the west.
Why is west called MaAReV? Because it is there that all seed is mixed together (MitAReV).
What is this like? A king's son had a beautiful bride and he hid her in his chamber. He took riches from his father's house and constantly brought it to her. She, in turn, took everything, constantly put it away, and mixed it all together. Ultimately he seeks to see what he had gathered and accumulated.
It is therefore written, And from the west I will gather you.
And what is his father's house?
It is that regarding which it is written, From the east I will bring your seed. This teaches us that it is brought from the east and sowed in the west. He then gathers what he has sowed.

The harvest is an allegory of the foundation of the Kingdom, peace, and victory over death. The Bahir explains this victory:

Bahir 170 What is the meaning of Victory of Victories?
There is a single Victory (Netzach ). Which is it? It is the one that inclines toward the west.
..the end of the Divine Presence is also called Victory.
..What is this Divine Presence? We have said that it is the light that was derived from the first Light, which is Wisdom. It also surrounds all things, as it is written (Isaiah 6.3), The whole earth is filled with His Glory.
Bahir 186..First comes Wisdom, and then comes Understanding. And in Understanding is counsel, strength, knowledge and the fear of God.
But you told us that counsel is deeds of kindness, and that Understanding is the Attribute of Justice.
One is above the other.

page 12

Knowledge is Truth

Knowledge is therefore that with which one recognizes the Truth.

Married to Truth

We complained that the earth perishes for the lack of knowledge [sic. Because there was no man]. Nevertheless, in the Torah there is the promise contracted between Abraham and God for our sake which would, with the Kingdom, be viewed as a marriage of God to all men [sic. Isaiah 62.4; re: Philistia Triumph Thou. .]. Thus, Jesus spoke of his Second Coming as a Marriage and told you parables of the brides who waited with candles for their groom (but some of them missed the boat). This is how the bride is born:

Bahir 196..What is this Torah you are discussing?
It is the Bride who is adorned and crowned, and who is included in the commandments. It is the Treasury of the Torah. It is the betrothed of the Blessed Holy One, as it is written (Deuteronomy 33.4), Moses commanded us the Torah, the heritage (Morasha ) of the congregation of Jacob. Do not read heritage (Morasha ) but betrothed  (Me'urasa ).

From this we can see, as explained in our other works, that the communion between YHVH and the Children of Israel at the base of Mt. Sinai involved a contract, or covenant, where Israel for all time to come was betrothed to God. In that contract were Blessings and Curses, applying both to Israel and the Nations. By separating Israel unto God [as Nazarites] they would be scattered to all the nations and through this judgment and its Messiah bring the knowledge of God to the world. Once the gospel of the Kingdom had been preached to all the nations, God would gather Israel back to Him, to Jerusalem, and with them the nations for judgment. The concept of separation unto God is Holiness.

page 13

Picking out the Bride

From Judgment is the concept of separating the goats from the sheep. Being fair to goats, we admit that the principal message of the sheep and goats discussed by Jesus referred to those [Dionysian ] disciples who reveled in goat skins in a drunken, sexual free for all. Those who frowned on this conduct later applied to such licentiousness the admonition, Goat! You are without shame!

God's Marriage, being formed from fire and water, relates to heaven:

Bahir 59.. God kneaded fire and water, and combined them together. From this He made the beginning of His Word. It is thus written (Psalm 119.60), The beginning of your word is truth.
It is therefore called Shamayim-Sham Mayim (there is water )-Esh Mayim (fire water).

Through the interplay of the Hebrew words concerning, mem, heaven, west, pearls, and fire and water, from the beginning there was no doubt in the Hebrew mind that one purifies oneself before God through water. Thus, we have the Nazarite redeemed to the community in a long awaited bath, the continuing practice of the Mikvah and its shoot, Baptism . Baptism--with reference to the anticipation that John the Baptist was Elijah of Malachi 4-- cleansed you from the fire of God's Wrath. To become Baptized, however, you must separate yourself unto God (repent!).

Browsing through Luther's planks you will find that he hung his entire salvation on Baptism, but had problems reconciling the fact that too many new Christians, baptized by the Holy Spirit of God, fall back into sin. Thus, he noted the other more important aspect of the Baptismal rite: whosoever is baptized and believes, etc.

page 14

And believes what?

Luther argued, and quite rightly at that, what one must believe is the Gospel of Christ. Here he took some exception to Paul's faith, though he adopted most of Paul's gospel. For Luther concluded that it is not the Water which is the Baptism, but the Holy Spirit in whom one is bathed; and this comes from hearing the Word of God, etc. This is demonstrated in the first Gentile reactions to the Gospel taught by the apostles in Jerusalem. They were struck by the Holy Spirit and believed the gospel of the Kingdom before they were baptized. Luther argued, quite rightly, that whoever is struck by the Holy Spirit is given the anointing to minister the Gospel of Christ-meaning that popes, priests, deacons, and laymen are equal under the Holy Spirit's (Christ's) Charter Ministry.

Calling into Remembrance

The other major point Luther made is that of the Lord's Supper, the Holy Communion, citing Jesus's commandment, do this in remembrance of me.

This returns us to the oracle of Mt. Sinai. The Lord's Supper was on the eve of the Thanksgiving Supper of Passover. During that feast the Jews are required by the Torah to call into remembrance what God had done for Israel, how he had redeemed them out of Egypt through Moses, who was to the Children of Israel, as God.

Jesus conducted the traditional Thanksgiving Supper and substituted his own flesh and blood for that of the sacrificial Passover lamb. In the mass, whosoever believeth in Him should know and remember that he gave his life for the redemption of all men (as Luther also explains).
How are you redeemed? Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Lord of their Salvation is redeemed, for if you defend him He will defend you before the Father, etc. This leads to:

John 7.16..My doctrine is not mine but his that sent me.
7.17 If any man will do his Will, he shall know of the doctrine..

page 15


Luke 6.46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
6.47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them
, I will shew you to whom he is like [a man who built his house upon a rock; ed. note]..

Luther--as you will note--quoted scores of passages from Christ to demonstrate that the Old Testament is not old and passed away or obsolete. For the Old Testament is the Will of God, an inheritance in which all men bathed by the Holy Spirit can participate. Baptism becomes a symbol of that immersion in the Holy Spirit. But the key, from Luther's planks, is knowledge of the full Testament of God.

The Holy Contract

We might have used the traditional word covenant here but need to emphasize that the Will of God included several things:

  • ·God's invitation to join with Him.
  • ·A contract which includes terms both parties to the contract must honor:

1) God will continue the Blessing given to Abraham (unconditionally) which presumed full agreement by Israel with his Terms and Conditions, to remain separated to God and serving no other. God would be their King. If they violate the contract certain curses apply, but the final (Kingdom) promise is retained!
2) The Children of Israel answered and pledged themselves and all of their children to these terms.

  • Promise that God would bless them with His Holy One, or Holy Spirit, to provide for them and lead them away from temptations.

1) This included the Promise of the Messiah(s), His mission and His times and terms [re: Hidden Pavilions ].

  • Unconditional Promise that in Abraham and his seed all men would be blessed [through the foundation of His Kingdom on earth]. A New Covenant would be made with both Israel and the Gentile with the Kingdom. The New Covenant is conveyed through the Messiah, Light of the Gentile.

page 16


Seeing (correctly) that the Bible is a Book of Inheritance [also called the Book of Life; ed. note], Luther focused only on the idea that a testament is a will of inheritance of a dying man to his survivors. The Old Testament was, in fact, such a testament, vested in a Messiah which would be killed, though innocent, who would be resurrected and to Himself inherit the desolate heritage: inheriting to Himself both the Children of Israel and the heathen or nations of the earth. From this standpoint all of the terms of Christ's Testament, since He is both executor and Heir of the Kingdom, must be obeyed. The terms, once again, apply in part to Israel (who must obey the Law) and the Gentile (who will be engaged in a New Covenant) when Israel is redeemed.

The words Jesus used, this is my new Testament , must be kept in the perspective of the Will of God; it did not cancel anything in that Will. We also know that the word, testament , means testimony, as we showed earlier, when the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Testimony of God, was brought across the Jordan by Joshua.

To appreciate this framework we have to go back to the original discussion between Abraham and God: God called, no one answered--except Abraham. God separated Abraham through a joint agreement unto himself, with the purpose that through Abraham all men will come to know God.

Testimony that God exists! Here we arrive at the real nature of the Bible: for it is a Testimony which testifies that through its Word all men will come to know God. The Testimony contains the Proof that God exists. In that Testimony which will prove that God exists is the Testimony prophesying of the Messiah(s) and, by inclusion, Christ's testimony.

Every prophet, of course, added details on the Testimony. No one deleted testimony, based upon the criteria that once the word is gone out of my mouth, like an arrow shot from a bow, it cannot be called back . The prophets are the mouth of God.

When we examine Jesus's New Testament , we find nothing really new in it, except Himself, the Testimony of the Messiah. As part of God's Book of Inheritance , Christ's must be taken as a testament of inheritance. Again, since he spoke of His Will in terms of the Father's Will, and Himself as the Groom and man as the Bride, all of the prior associations of a marriage contract applied, and all this works together as a Testimony that God exists. Here again Luther was wrong, saying that there is no reference whatsoever in the Old Testament to Marriage, allegorically or directly mandated or disallowed. As seen in the Bahir and illustrated in our works, the entire relationship between God and man is a marriage contract, to which we added the notion that if one cannot be faithful to one's own spouse, how can one be relied upon to be faithful to God?

page 17

The Papacy

Luther establishes, using Paul, that through Baptism one receives the Holy Spirit and through the promise of the Mass [eternal life] one receives the keys to the Kingdom (as whosoever believes in Christ being the criteria, not the work); that we all can receive the Holy Spirit and are each in our own way ministers of God as long as we teach the Gospel of Christ (recognizing that His Gospel did not abrogate the Old Testament). With these assumptions, then, Luther concludes that there is no need for a Church hierarchy of priests, deacons, and popes. However, since we need people to minister (to proselytize and catch back the strays), he concludes that priests are necessary to administer with the Word to the needs of the Spiritual Kingdom, as opposed to the Princes' mission to administer the sword to the needs of the world. Since there could be disputes over important aspects of doctrine, Luther concludes that it would be okay for the Pope to function in this capacity only, as a judge of doctrine, which somewhat undermines the large courses of venom he served on the Catholic church in general. This is one of several areas of contradiction in his work. However, his pogroms against the papacy are relevant as a general observation of the church today; but I would suggest adding a few more exclamation marks after most of his caustic appeals for reform.

Lost, searching for the Keys. Luther got lost in the area where St. Peter was given the Keys to the Kingdom. As we showed here and in so many other places, the Keys are Knowledge which will open the locked doors of the prison houses, for instance, or lock others into prison (see Luther's idea of the word, prison, at plank # 3).

St. Peter's keys came because he was renamed--which we already discussed--to be that rock upon which Christ would found his Church, patterned after the idea that God founded his Kingdom upon the rock of Zion. The Second Coming could not deny this. This name, together with the Keys to the Kingdom, were given to Peter because of his knowledge. He alone knew that Jesus is the Messiah of God [Luke 9.20; Matthew 16.16]. Here, we have an example how, in the mind of Jesus, the Holy Spirit (the source of Knowledge) operated, for He told St. Peter:

Matthew 16.17..blessed art thou, Simon bar Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

page 18

Then Jesus charged his disciples that they should tell no man that he was "that thing", Jesus the Christ [Luke 9.21; Matthew 16.20].

Everyone except St. Peter was confused as to whether Jesus was a prophet raised up, Elijah, or even John the Baptist raised again (difficult to imagine, as we have to ask where the Spirit of Jesus went when John the Baptist snatched his body).

A Great Surprise

It's not that Jesus hadn't been dropping clues all over the place, that He is the Messiah, calling himself the Son of Man or Son of David, or claiming scripture [Isaiah 61 etc.] as being fulfilled in him. St. Peter plainly saw something all of the blind men around Jesus refused to see. St. Peter knew that glory, of which we now speak:

I Peter 5.1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
5.2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
5.3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock..

St. Peter knew Jesus as a prelude to something glorious yet to be revealed. He knew that this had to do with God's Heritage, meaning, Peace on earth through a Kingdom of God [Truth] on earth. He carried authority, now vested in the Chair of St. Peter in Rome, and shared authority willingly and graciously. St. James, as a matter of fact, was the Judge of the church, as evidenced in Acts: in his sentencing of what should be done with the Gentiles first and then Paul's Purification.

Your bishop has been in default, and still is in check. We need you to judge certain matters pertinent to the salvation of a multitude of lives. A suitable forum for this judgment, the planks introduced by Luther, should allow us to arrive at a judgment whether certain of his dogma were good and others evil, and, thus, we judge Paul's planks by the same criteria.

page 19

God forbid, were it discovered in the world to come, that in this world I were the only one to have judged these dogmas.

The pickings through Luther's planks are a rich field over--all; but I know you should find fine corrections to the dogma.

This is an good time to judge, as we see the Vatican finally recognizing Israel-but I wonder why it took them so long...

We hope that you believe as we that the days of hiding truth should be over, and I remain, open as always,

Sincerely yours,


Appendix A
Luther's Planks of Freedom

Amazing but troublesome

1) We have maintained that a word of divine promise is associated with every sacrament, and anyone who receives the sacrament must also believe in that word of promise, for it is impossible that the sign should in itself be the sacrament. But nowhere in Scripture do we read that anyone would receive the grace of God by getting married; nor does the rite of matrimony contain any hint that that ceremony is of divine institution. Nowhere do we read that it was instituted by God in order to symbolize something..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 20

2) According to Paul, sacrament, or mystery, is the very wisdom of the Spirit, and this is hidden in the mystery, as he says in I Corinthians 2.7: This wisdom is Christ, and, for the reason just given, he is unknown to the rulers of this world, and therefore they crucified Him. To them, He is still foolishness, a scandal, a stumbling-block, and a sign to be controverted. Stewards of the mysteries is the name given by Paul to those preachers who preach Christ and proclaim Him as the power and the wisdom of God, and this in such a way that unless you believe, you will not understand [I Cor. 4.1]. Thus a sacrament is a "mysterion", a secret thing described by words, but seized by faith in the heart. That is what is said in the passage under discussion: "The twain shall be one flesh, this is a great sacrament "(Greek--"mysterion "). The Romanists think this was said of matrimony, whereas Paul himself is using these words about Christ and the church..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church ", 1520]
3)..Christ lays such stress on His teaching that He is unwilling to have the least word of it set aside, and [Matt. 5.25] condemns to hell those who do not love their enemies. [Luther, "Secular Authority ", I, 1523] (an interesting shift from "prison"-see Matt. 5.25; ed. note)
4) ..they who believe and love the most are the perfect ones..For love and faith produce no sects or outward differences. [Luther, "Secular Authority ", I, 1523]
5) We conclude that Christ and the church are a "mystery" or something at once hidden and of great importance, a thing which can, and should, be spoken of metaphorically, and of which matrimony is a sort of material allegory; but matrimony ought not to be called a sacrament on this account. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church ", 1520]
6) Let us listen to Paul, that we may learn of "Jesus Christ and Him crucified "[I Cor. 2.2]. He "is the way, the truth, and the life " [John 14.6]. He is the ladder by which we may come to the Father, as He himself said: "No one cometh unto the Father, but by me." [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church ", 1520]
7) "Even as Christ cherisheth the church, because we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one flesh. This mystery is great, but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church " [Eph. 5.29].."the sacrament is not in the marriage but in Christ and the Church." [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church ", 1520]

page 21

8) ..what men have prohibited God permits, and His laws take precedence when at variance with human regulations. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church ", 1520]
9) [concerning Matthew 7.18] A good tree does not need any teaching or law to bear good fruit, its nature causes it to bear according to its kind without any law and teaching. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.2, 1523]
10) For what were the use of them [laws; ed. note], since Christians have in their hearts the Holy Spirit, who instructs them and causes them to wrong no one, to love every one, willingly and cheerfully to suffer injustice and even death from every one. [Luther, "Secular Authority ", I.3, 1523]
11) ..St. Paul and St. Peter [Romans 12.4, I Corinthians 12.12; I Peter 2.9] say that we are all one body, and belong to Jesus Christ who is the head, and we are all members of one another. Christ has not two bodies, nor two kinds of body, one secular and the other religious. He has one head and one body.
..Would it not be unnatural, or indeed unchristian, for one organ not to help another and not ward off what is destroying it? Rather, the more precious an organ is, the more ought the other to help. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class ", I, 1520] (see John 10.16; ed. note)
12) If a priest is killed, a country is placed under interdict; why not also if a farmer is killed? Whence comes such a great difference between two men equally Christian? Simply from human law and fabrications.
It cannot have been a man of goodwill who devised such distinctions and made some sins exempt and immune. For it is our duty to strive as much as we can against the Evil One and his works and to drive him away, for so Christ and His apostles bade us. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", I, 1520]
13) ..Christ bade us one and all to serve the meanest and humblest. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", I, 1520]
14) The church has no authority except to promote the greater good. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", III, 1520]
15) ..let us firmly maintain that no Christian authority is valid when exercised contrary to Christ. St. Paul says [II Cor. 13.8], "We can do nothing against Christ, but only for Christ". [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", III, 1520]

page 22

16) No viceregent can have a rulership greater than his lord. Nor is the pope viceregent on behalf of the Risen Christ, but of the Crucified Christ, for Paul says [I Cor. 2.2], "For I determined not to know anything among you save Christ and him crucified ". [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class --Subjects to be discussed by the Councils ", 1520]
17) Lest the pope complain of loss of authority, it should be decreed that if primates and archbishops are not equal to dealing with a problem, or if a dispute should arise between them, the issue must be referred to the pope, if and when it is of sufficient importance. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class,--Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 3, 1520]
18) ..first take heed and fill the world with real Christians before ruling it in a Christian and evangelical manner. This you will never accomplish; for the world and the masses are and always will be unchristian, although they are all baptized and are nominally Christian. Christians, however, are few and far between..Therefore it is out of the question that there should be a common Christian government over the whole world, nay even over one land or company of people, since the wicked always outnumber the good. Hence a man who would venture to govern an entire country or the world with the Gospel would be like a shepherd who should place in one fold wolves, lions, eagles, and sheep together and let them freely mingle with one another and say, Help yourselves and be good and peaceful among yourselves..[Luther, "Secular Authority", I.4, 1523]
19) For this reason [18 above; ed. note] these two kingdoms must be sharply distinguished, and both be permitted to remain; the one to produce piety, the other to bring about external peace and prevent evil deeds; neither is sufficient in the world without the other. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.4, 1523]
20)..the natural world cannot receive or comprehend spiritual things. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.4, 1523]
21) ..Christ did not wield the sword nor give it a place in His kingdom; for He is a King over Christians and rules by His Holy Spirit alone, without law. [Luther, "Secular Authority", 1.4, 1523]
22) ..Christ has set us free from all man-made laws, especially when they operate contrary to God and the soul's good, as St. Paul teaches in Galatians 5.1 and I Corinthians 9.4. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, --Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", #14 , 1520]

page 23

23) Christ himself, whose Vicar he [the pope; ed. note] claims to be, never was desirous of dealing with the temporal régime. When a certain man asked Him to decide a question regarding his brother, He said [Luke 12.14], "Who made me a judge over you" ? But the pope intrudes uninvited, seizes everything as if by divine right, until he himself no longer really knows what Christ was, though pretending to be His Vicar. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class,--Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 10, 1520] (see entire refrain of Luke; ed. note)
24) Christ did not provide tyrants but pastors in His church as St. Peters says in I Peter 5.3. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class,--Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 6, 1520]
25)..but the lickspittles [Romanists; ed. note] have brought matters to such a pass that they have made an idol for us. The result is that now no one fears God so much as he does the pope; no one does God equal reverence.
..he [the pope; ed. note] prefers to be carried by bearers like an idol and with unheard-of magnificence. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class,--Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 11-12, 1520]
26) ..the nearer Rome, the worse the Christians. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class,--Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 12, 1520]
27) Christ himself says, John 6.45, "that all Christians shall be taught by God". [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", II, 1520] (see entire refrain through John 6.66; ed. note)
28) Paul says that the law is given for the sake of the unrighteous, that is, that those who are not Christians may through the law be externally restrained from evil deeds.. [I Tim. 1.9]. Since, however, no one is by nature Christian or pious, but every one sinful and evil, God places the restraints of the law upon them all. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.3, 1523]
29) ..Christians can be ruled by nothing but by God's Word. For Christians must be ruled in faith, not by outward works. Faith, however, can come through no word of man, but only through the Word of God, as Paul says in Romans 10.17, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" .Those who do not believe are not Christians, do not belong to Christ's kingdom, but to the worldly kingdom, and are constrained and ruled by the sword..
..Christians do of themselves, without constraint, every good thing, and find God's Word alone sufficient for them. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]

page 24

30) ..all Christians whatsoever really and truly belong to the religious class, and there is no difference among them except in so far as they do different work. That is St. Paul's meaning, in I Corinthians 12.12, when he says: "We are all one body, yet each member hath his own work for serving others". This applies to us all, because we have one baptism, one gospel, one faith, and are all equally Christian. For baptism, gospel, and faith alone make men religious and create a Christian people. [Luther, "An appeal to the Ruling Class", 1520]
31) Since, however, you do not know whether he [the natural man; ed. note] is a Christian or how long he will remain one, you cannot safely depend on him. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
32) ..since Lucifer indeed was not to be trusted, I would not trust you completely, for we should trust God alone..David had to learn that no man is to be trusted. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
33) If he were a true and pious Christian he would be quite willing that you should entrust him with nothing, and would praise you for keeping so careful a watch on him; for he acts in accordance with God's Will and therefore he is willing, and can bear it, to have his acts brought to the light by you or any one else, as Christ says in John 3.21, "He that doeth well cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, for they are wrought in God". The former, however, would blind your eyes, and act under cover of darkness, as Christ also says in the same place, [John 3.20] "Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, lest his deeds should be punished". [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
34) ..A true Christian lives and labors on earth not for himself but for his neighbors, therefore the whole spirit of his life impels him to do even that which he need not do, but which is profitable and necessary for his neighbor. Because the sword is a very great benefit and necessary to the whole world, to preserve peace, to punish sin and to prevent evil, he submits most willingly to the rule of the sword, pays tax, honors those in authority, serves, help, and does all he can to further the government, that it may be sustained and held in honor and fear. Although he needs none of these things for himself and it is not necessary for him to do them, yet he considers what is for the good and profit of others, as Paul teaches in Ephesians 5.21. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
35) No Christian shall wield or invoke the sword for himself and for his cause; but for another he can and ought to wield and invoke it, so that wickedness may be hindered and godliness defended. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]

page 25

36) If a prince himself is not wiser than his jurists..he will surely rule according to the saying in Proverbs 28.16: "A prince that wanteth understanding will oppress many with injustice". [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
37) Remember the old proverbs, which are the sure fruits of experience: A careful master makes a good horse, and The master's footsteps make a fruitful field-that is, if the master does not look after things himself, but depends upon counselors and servants, things never go right. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
38) ..let him [the unjust prince; ed. note] rave, fool that he is [I Pet. 4.14-16; Acts 5.41]. He will meet his judge. For I tell you, if you do not resist him but give him his way, and let him take your faith or your books, you have really denied God..[Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
39) ..hold by the proverb, "He cannot rule who cannot wink at faults.".Where wrong cannot be punished without greater wrong, there let him waive his rights, however just. He must not regard his own injury, but the wrong which others must suffer as a consequence of the penalty he imposes.
..If he [your opponent; ed. note] is unwilling, then use your best strategy and defend yourself by force against force, as Moses well describes it all in Deuteronomy 20.10. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
40) such a war [when your entire land is in peril; ed. note] it is a Christian act of love confidently to kill, rob, and pillage the enemy, and to do everything that can injure him until one has conquered him according to the methods of war. Only one must beware of sin, not violate wives and virgins, and when victory comes offer mercy and peace to those who surrender and humble themselves. Therefore let the saying hold true: "God helps those who help themselves".
..But when a prince is in the wrong, are his people bound to follow him then too? I answer, No, for it is no one's duty to do wrong: we ought to obey God who desires the right, rather than men. How is it, when the subjects do not know whether the prince is in the right or not? I answer, as long as they cannot know, nor find out by any possible means, they may obey without peril to their souls. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
41) He is a poor Christian indeed who for the sake of a single castle would make an armed camp of the whole land. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
42) always is better to let a knave live than to kill a good man, for the world will still have knaves, and must have them, but of good men there are few. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
43) There must be those who arrest, accuse, slay and destroy the wicked, and protect, acquit, defend and save the good. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]

page 26

44) They [princes; ed. note] are God's jailers and hangmen, and His divine wrath needs them to punish the wicked and preserve outward peace.
...It pleases His divine will that we call His hangmen gracious lords, fall at their feet and be subject to them in all humility, so long as they do not ply their trade too far and desire to become shepherds instead of hangmen [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
45) ..whichever side is defeated [in war; ed. note] whether it be in the right or in the wrong, must accept it as a punishment from God; but whichever side wars and wins, in such ignorance, must regard their battle as though one fell from the roof and killed another, and leave the matter to God. For it is the same to God whether He deprives you of goods and life by a just lord or by an unjust. You are His creature, and He can do with you as He will, if only your conscience is clear. God Himself thus excuses Abimelech in Genesis 20.6, when he took Abraham's wife, not because he had done right, but because he had not known that she was Abraham's wife. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
46) ..pray for wisdom, to rule well, as Solomon [I Kings 3.9] did. [Luther, "Secular Authority", IV, 1523]
47) ..a prince should in his heart empty himself of his power and authority, and interest himself in the need of his subjects, dealing with it as though it were his own need. Thus Christ did unto us; and these are the proper works of Christian love. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
48) ..God's Word will neither turn nor bend to princes, but the princes must bend themselves according to it. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
49) He [God; Num. 22.28] once spoke by an ass; therefore, no man is to be despised, no matter how humble he be. On the other hand, He permitted the highest angel to fall from heaven [Rev. 12.9 et al.]; therefore no man is to be trusted, no matter how wise, holy and great he is, but one must give a hearing to all and wait to see through which one of them God will speak and act. For the greatest harm done at court is when a prince enslaves his mind to the high and mighty and to the flatterers, and does not look into things himself; since, when a prince fails and plays the fool, not only one person is affected, but land and people must bear the result of such foolishness. [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
50) A good and just decision must not and cannot be given out of books, but must come from a free mind..Of this I will give you an example: An incident of this sort is told of Duke Charles of Burgundy. A certain nobleman took an enemy prisoner, whereupon the prisoner's wife came to redeem her husband. The nobleman promised to give her back her husband provided she would lie with him. The woman was virtuous, yet desired to set her husband free; so she goes and asks her husband whether she shall do this thing in order to set him free. The husband desired to be set free and to save his life, and gives his wife permission. After the nobleman had lain with the wife, he had the husband beheaded the next day and gave him to her as a corpse. She laid the whole case before Duke Charles, who summoned the nobleman and commanded him to marry the woman. When the wedding day was over, he had the man beheaded, put the woman in possession of his property, and raised her again to honor. Thus he punished the crime in a princely way.
..Therefore we should keep written laws subject to reason..nor take reason captive to the letter. [Luther, "Secular Authority", IV, 1523]

page 27

51) Heresy is a spiritual matter, which no iron can strike, no fire burn, no water drown. God's Word alone avails here, as Paul says, II Corinthians 110.4], "Our weapons are not carnal, but mighty through God to destroy every counsel and high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ". [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
52) God's Word, however, enlightens the hearts; and so all heresies and errors perish of themselves from the heart.
Such overpowering of heresy the prophet Isaiah proclaimed in his eleventh chapter [Isa.11.4] when he said, "He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and slay the wicked with the breath of His lips". You see, if the wicked is to be smitten and converted, it is accomplished by the mouth. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
53) long as the devil is not repelled and driven from the heart, it matters as little to him that I destroy his vessels with fire or sword..Job bore abundant witness to this, when in his forty-first chapter [Job 41.27] he said that the devil esteemeth iron as straw and fears no power on earth. We learn it also from experience, for although all the Jews and heretics were burned, yet no one has been or will be convinced and converted thereby. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
54) O Christ, my Lord! Look down; let Thy final day come and destroy this nest of devils at Rome. There sits the man of whom St. Paul said [II Thess. 2.3], The Man of Sin and the Son of Perdition shall exalt himself over thee, and sit in thy church setting himself up as God. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, --Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", #23 , 1520]
55) Where there is such affluence of the Spirit it [to use the sword for myself; ed. note] may be done, for so we read of Samson in Judges 15.11, that he said, "I have done unto them as they did unto me"; yet, on the contrary, Proverbs 24.29 says, "Say not, I will do unto him as he has done unto me"; and Proverbs 20.22, "Say not thou, I will recompense evil". [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]
56) ..we see what is the true meaning of Christ's words in Matthew 5.39, "Resist not evil", etc. It is this, that a Christian should be disposed that he will suffer every evil and injustice, not avenge himself nor bring suit in court, and in nothing make use of secular power and law for himself. For others, however, he may and should seek vengeance, justice, protection and help, and do what he can toward this. Likewise the State should..protect him without complaint..When the State does not do this, he ought to permit himself to be robbed and despoiled, and not resist the evil, as Christ's words say. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]

page 28

57) It would indeed be good and profitable if all princes were real and good Christians, for the sword and the government, as a special service of God, belong of right to Christians, more than to all other men on earth. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]
58) The bishops are to leave the Word of God alone and not rule souls by it, but command the worldly princes to rule them with the sword. The worldly princes, in their turn, are to permit usury, theft, adultery, murder, and other evil works, and themselves do them; and then allow the bishops to punish with the ban. Thus they turn things topsy-turvy, and rule souls with iron and the body with bans, so that worldly princes rule in a spiritual, and spiritual princes in a worldly way. What else does the devil have to do on earth than thus to play the fool and hold carnival with his folk? These are our Christian princes, who defend the faith and devour the Turk. Fine fellows, to be sure, whom we may well trust to accomplish something by such refined wisdom, namely, break their necks and plunge land and people into suffering and want. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
59) Heretics ought to be persuaded by argument, and not by fire; and this was the way of the early Fathers. If it were wise policy to suppress heretics by burning them, then the executioners would be the most learned teachers on earth. We should have no need to study books any longer, for he who could overthrow his fellow by violence would have the right to burn him at the stake. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, -- Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 24a , 1520]
60) There are few princes that are not reckoned fools or knaves. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
61) Dear princes and lords, be wise and guide yourselves accordingly.. The world is no longer what it was when you hunted and drove the people like so much game. Therefore drop your outrage and force, and remember to deal justly and let God's Word have its course, as it will and must and shall, nor will you prevent it. If there is heresy abroad, let it be overcome, as is proper, with God's Word. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
62) Christ himself describes the nature of temporal princes in Luke 22.25, when he says, "The worldly princes exercise lordship, and they that are chief exercise authority". [Luther, "Secular Authority", III, 1523]
63) Christ fulfilled His own office and vocation [the ministry of the Gospel of the Kingdom; ed. note] but thereby did not reject any other. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]
64) ..Christ's words do not mean that He abolishes Moses' law, or prohibits secular power, but He excepts His own...But that Christ's words apply only to His own is evident, since He afterward says they should love their enemies and be perfect like their heavenly Father [Matt. 5.44-48]. He, however, who loves his enemies lets the law alone..[Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]
65) can recognize the Antichrist who attacks everything Christ said or taught. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 29

66) We must divide all the children of Adam into two classes: the first belong to the kingdom of God, the second to the kingdom of the world. Those belonging to the kingdom of God are all true believers in Christ and are subject to Christ. For Christ is the King and Lord in the kingdom of God, as the second Psalm [2.6] and all the Scriptures say...Therefore he says before Pilate [John 18.36], "My kingdom is not of the world, but whoever is of the truth hears My voice"; and continually in the gospel He refers to the Kingdom of God and says [Matt.. 3.2], "Amend your ways, the Kingdom of God is at hand". Likewise [Matt. 6.33], "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness". He also calls the Gospel, a "Gospel of the kingdom", for the reason that it teaches, governs, and contains God's kingdom. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.3, 1523]
67)..What God has so plainly declared to the world is in some parts of scripture stated in plain words, while in other parts it still lies hidden under obscure words. But when something stands in broad daylight, and a mass of evidence for it is in broad daylight also, it does not matter whether there is any evidence for it in the dark...I know that to many people a great deal remains obscure; but that is due, not to any lack of clarity in Scripture, but to their own blindness and dullness, in that they make no effort to see truth which, in itself, could not be plainer. As Paul said of the Jews in II Cor. 3.15: "The veil remains on their heart; and again, If our gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost, whose heart the god of this world hath blinded " [II Cor. 4.3-4]. They are like men who cover their eyes, or go from daylight into darkness, and hide there, and then blame the sun, or the darkness of the day, for their inability to see. So let wretched men abjure that blasphemous perversity which would blame the darkness of their own hearts on to the plain Scriptures of God! [Luther, "Bondage of the Will ", 1525, to Erasmus]
68) Should any one advance the argument, that the Old Testament is abolished and avails no more, and that therefore such examples cannot be set before Christians, I answer, That is not correct. For St. Paul says in I Corinthians 10.3, "They did all eat the same spiritual meat as we, and did drink the same spiritual drink from the rock , which is Christ"; that is, they have had the same spirit and faith in Christ as we and were Christians as well as we are..Neither is it true that the Old Testament was abolished in such a way that it need not be kept, or that it would be wrong for any one to keep it in full, as St. Jerome and many more erred in thinking. It is indeed abolished in the sense that we are free to keep it or not to keep it, and it is no longer necessary to keep it on penalty of one's souls, as was formerly the case. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]

page 30

69) ..everyone is under obligation to do what is for his neighbor's good, whether it be Old or New testament, Jewish or heathen, as Paul teaches in I Corinthians 12.13, for love pervades all and transcends all, considers only what is for the profit of others, and does not ask whether it is old or new. [Luther, "Secular Authority", I.6, 1523]
70) ..every man is responsible for his own faith, and he must see to it for himself that he believes rightly..Since, then, belief or unbelief is a matter of every one's conscience.
..Hence arises the well known saying, found also in Augustine, "No one can or ought be constrained to believe". [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
71) When we were baptized, we were set free, subject only to God's Word. Why should any man use human words and make us prisoner? As St. Paul says [I Cor. 6.20], Ye are bought with a price; become not bond-servants of men, namely, of those who rule according to man-made laws. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, --Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 24b , 1520]
72) assured that no one can make a Doctor of Holy Scripture, except the Holy Spirit from heaven; as Christ said in John 6.45, They shall all be taught of God Himself. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom, # 25 , 1520]
73) is always a Christian act to abolish or reduce everything which we see abused, and which provokes God rather than reconciles Him. [Luther, An Appeal to the Ruling Class, --Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", #16, 1520]
74) ..neither is it right to defend evil with what is worse. [Luther, "Secular Authority", II, 1523]
75) Probably one of our greatest needs is to abolish all mendicancy everywhere in Christendom. No one living among Christians ought to go begging. It would be an easy law to make, if only we dared, and were in earnest that every town should support its own poor. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, -- Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", #21 , 1520]
76) The outline of Christianity which you have drawn up contains, among other things, this: We should strive with all our might, resort to the healing balm of penitence, and try by all means to compass the mercy of God, without which man's will and endeavor is ineffective. And this: Nobody should despair of pardon from a God who by nature is kindness itself. These Christless, Spiritless words of yours are chillier than very ice; indeed, they spoil the beauty of your eloquence. Perhaps they are reluctant admissions dragged out of you (poor fellow!) by fear of a tyrannical hierarchy, lest you should seem an utter atheist! Anyway, this is what your words assert: that there is strength within us; there is such a thing as striving with all one's strength; there is mercy in God; there are ways of compassing that mercy; there is a God who is by nature just, and kindness itself; and so on. But if one does not know what this strength is--what men can do, and what is done to them; what is striving is, what is the extent and limit of its effectiveness-then what should he do? What will you tell him to do? [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]

page 31

77) "..If anyone, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has sufficient to finish it " [ Luke 14.28]-well, what is Christ's judgment on that man? [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
78) God commanded men to keep faith, and to guard the truth towards each other..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
79)..the Bible is our vineyard, and there we should all labor and toil. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, -- Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 25 , 1520]
80) Christ confirms it [law of Moses, Ex. 21.14, 21.23; Gen. 9.6, concerning the shedding of blood] when He says to Peter in the garden [Matt. 26.52], "He that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword", which is to be interpreted like Genesis 9.6, "whoso sheddeth man's blood", etc. Doubtless Christ refers in these words to that passage and incorporates and confirms it in them. John the Baptist teaches the same. When the soldiers asked him what they should do, he answered [Luke 3.14], "Do injustice nor violence to no one, and be content with your wages". [Luther, "Secular Authority", 1523]
81) Instead of circumcision we now have baptism, and, similarly, instead of sacrifice, or other signs of repentance, we have the keys. I have already said that the same God gave different promises and different signs at different times, in regard to the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of men; yet all received the same grace. Thus, in II Cor.4 Paul says: "Having the same spirit of faith, we also believe, and therefore also we speak". And in I Cor. 10: "Our fathers did all eat the same spiritual meat and did all drink of the same spiritual drink; for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ". Similarly, Heb. 11: "And these all, being dead, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us..." [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
82) If knowledge of the divine laws accompanies native sagacity, it is obvious that written laws will be superfluous and noxious. Above all else, remember that Christian love has no need of any laws at all.
..Christ has given Christians a freedom which rises above all human laws, especially when the divine law intervenes. Similarly, it says in Mark 2.28,27, "The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath, for man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man". Further, Paul condemned such laws in advance [I Tim. 4.3] when he foretold that there would be those who prohibited marriage..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
83) For it is mean, iniquitous, and servile for a Christian man, with his freedom, to be subjected to any regulations except the heavenly and divine. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 32

84) Ought the people who possess the liberty of Christians to be burdened with more onerous laws than the people in bondage to the Mosaic Law? [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
85) ..the word of God is beyond comparison superior to the church. She is a created thing, and, being such, has no power to institute, to ordain, or to make; but only to be instituted, to be ordained, and to be brought into being. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
86) ..the Romanists adduce their strongest argument, in that, at the Last Supper, Christ said: "This do ye in remembrance of me". "Look", they say at this point: "Christ ordained His disciples as priests"...they assert what they like on the basis of Christ's word no matter what the occasion..Why do they not argue that He ordained as priests those on whom He laid the office of the word and of baptism when He said: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name", etc.? says in I Peter 2.9, "Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, and a priestly kingdom". It follows that all of us who are Christian are also priests. Those whom we call priests are really ministers of the word and chosen by us; they fulfil their entire office in our name. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
87) follows (1) that any one who has been called by the church to preach the Word, but does not preach it, is in no way a priest and (ii) that the sacrament of ordination cannot be other than the rite by which the church chooses its preacher. That is how Malachi 2.7 defines a priest: "The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts".
..Accordingly, Hosea 4.6 says: "Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
88) What makes a priest or a bishop is the ministry of the Word.
..I expect the time will come when the laity will not be allowed even to touch the altar--except with money in their hand.
..the priesthood is simply the ministry of the word; the word, I say; not the law, but the gospel.
..It was on this plan, as we read in Acts 6.1 that deacons were installed..
..I quite fail to see why a man, who has once become a priest, cannot again become a layman, since he only differs from the laity by his ministry. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
89) ..our baptism consecrates us all without exception, and makes us all priests. As St. Peter says, I Pet.2.9, "You are a royal priesthood and a realm of priests", and Revelation [Rev. 5.9], "Thou hast made us priests and kings by Thy blood".
..It follows that, if needs be, anyone may baptize or pronounce absolution, an impossible situation if we were not all priests. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", I, 1520]

page 33

90 He [the pope; ed. note] should be quite free to marry, or not. At his side, he should have several priests or deacons, either married or not, as he prefers, to help him in ministering to the church and the people at large with sermons and the sacraments. This is the custom retained to our own day in the Greek Church. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, --Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", #14, 1520]
91) former days, Christians used to choose their bishops and priests from their own members, and these were afterwards confirmed by other bishops without any of the pomp of present custom. St. Augustine, Ambrose, and Cyprian each became bishops in this way. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", I, 1520]
92) ..if they [the Romanists; ed. note] claim that St. Peter received authority when he was given the keys-well, it is plain enough that the keys were not given to St. Peter only, but to the whole Christian community. Moreover the keys have no reference to doctrine or policy, but only to refusing or being willing to forgive sin..But Christ's word to Peter, "I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not " [Luke 22.32] cannot be stretched to apply to the pope, seeing that the majority of the popes have had no faith, as they themselves are obliged to confess. Therefore, Christ did not pray for Peter only, but for all apostles and Christians. As said in John 17.9,20, "Father, I pray for those whom Thou hast given me, and not only for them, but for all those who believe on me through thy word." [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", II, 1520]
93) was not St. Peter, but all the apostles and elders, who called the Apostolic Council. If that had been the sole right of St. Peter, it would not have been a Christian council, but an heretical conciliabulum. Further, the bishop of Rome neither called nor sanctioned the council of Nicea, the most celebrated of all, but the emperor, Constantine. After him, many other emperors did the same, and these councils were the most Christian of all. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", III, 1520]
94) ..when the holy Scriptures have been used to reprove them [the Romanists/papists; ed. note] they have responded that no one except the pope was competent to expound Scripture...when threatened with a council, they have pretended that no one but the pope could summon a council. In this way they have adroitly nullified these three means of correction and avoided punishment. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", I, 1520]

page 34

95) Since God once spoke through an ass, why should He not come in our day and speak through a man of faith and even contradict the pope? Moreover, St. Paul upbraided St. Peter as a wrongdoer [Gal. 2.11]. Hence, it is the duty of every Christian to accept the implications of the faith, understand and defend it, and denounce everything false. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", II, 1520]
96) ..if the pope acts contrary to Scripture, we ourselves are bound to abide by Scripture. We must punish him and constrain him, according to the passage [Matt. 18.15-17], "if thy brother sin against thee, go and tell it him between thee and him alone; but if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more; and if he hear them not, tell it to the church; and if he hear not the church, let him be unto thee as a Gentile" . [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", III, 1520]
97) ..the pope is responsible for all the sins which have thereby been committed, for all the souls which have consequently been lost, and for all the consciences which have been confused and tortured...I hope that God will be more merciful to multitudes when they die than the pope was to them in their lifetime. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, --Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", #14, 1520]
98) ..He who is a Christian possesses Christ; that he who possesses Christ possesses all things that are Christ's, and is able to do all things. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
99) ..God cannot and will not suffer a goodly enterprise to be begun if we trust in our own strength and wisdom. God will surely abase such pride, as it is said in Psalm 33.16: "No king stands by the multitude of his host, and no lord by the greatness of his strength". [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", 1520]
100) In the entire cannon law there are not two lines which can teach anything to a devout Christian; and, unfortunately, there are so many erroneous and dangerous regulations that nothing better could be done than to make a bonfire of them. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, -- Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", #14 , 1520]
101) ..our efforts may well begin with good prospects, but, when we get deeply involved, the evil spirit will cause such confusion as to make the whole world swim in blood, and then nothing will be accomplished. Therefore, in this matter, let us act wisely and as those who fear God. The greater the power we employ, the greater the disaster we suffer. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", 1520]
102) It is impossible for anything to be greater weight and importance than the glory of Christian fellowship. But they [the Romanists; ed. note] tie us down to places and days and persons till the name of brother loses its value, and we serve, not in freedom, but in bondage..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 35

103) Without doubt, confession of sins is necessary, and in accordance with the divine commandments. In Matthew 3.6, we read that "they were baptized by John in the Jordan confessing their sins"; and I John 1.9, "If we confess ours sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
104) ..Christ teaches that a brother who is doing wrong should be reproved, brought before the church, and accused; and then excommunicated if he will not listen. But he can be said to hear when, heeding the correction, he acknowledges and confesses his sin. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
105) ..I am sure that neither men nor angels can grant dispensation in regard to vows rightly so called..An example of this is that astonishingly ridiculous piece of folly wherein parents vow on behalf of a child, perhaps a baby and still unborn, that it should enter a religious order, or observe perpetual chastity. It is quite certain that this cannot be classed as a vow. Rather it seems to be a kind of mockery of God, since the parents' vows in no way lie within their province to perform. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520] (see "Mary's Infancy Gospel"--she was pledged to the temple)
106) ..whatever the impositions may be they are to be borne in such a way that we preserve liberty of conscience.."For who is it", asks St. Peter [I Pet. 3.13], "that will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good ? All things work together for good for the chosen " [Rom. 8.28]. Yet but few are aware of this glorious aspect of baptism, or know how happy is this practice of Christian freedom; the majority cannot know them on account of papal oppression. I hereby disentangle myself, and redeem my conscience, by laying this charge against the pope and all the Romanists, and say: if they do not abrogate their laws and traditions, restore proper liberty to the churches of Christ, and cause that liberty to be taught, then they are guilty of all the souls which perish in this miserable servitude; and that the papacy is identical with the kingdom of Babylon and the real Antichrist. For who else is "the man of sin " and "the son of perdition " [II Thess. 2.3] than he who, by his doctrines and statutes, increases sin and multiplies the loss of souls in Christendom, while himself enthroned in the church as if he were God? [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
107) When we have recovered the freedom of the gospel, we should judge and rule in accordance with it in every respect. Amen. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
108) ..neither pope, nor bishop, nor any one else, has the right to impose so much as a single syllable of obligation upon a Christian man without his own consent.
..he sins against the liberty of the church in so doing. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 36

109) They [Christians; ed. note] should never be transformed into ways of life to which one is bound forever. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
109)..there is no special age at which any vow becomes valid and binding, unless and until we shall have become spiritually minded; but then, however, we should have no need of vows. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
110) The disciples of the pope help on this impious and sinful despotism when they twist and debase in their own support of Christ's words [Luke 10.16]: "he that heareth you heareth me.". Yet Christ spoke these words to the apostles when they were going forth to preach the gospel and He meant them to refer to the gospel only; but the Romanists leave out the gospel and apply the words only to their own fabrications. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
111) ..we can only know the minor part of our sins; and, further, even our good works are found to be sins according to Psalm 143.2: "Enter not into judgment with thy servants for in thy sight shall no man living be justified". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
112) If, however, the ordinary Christian has no power of dispensation, the pope has no right to it. Whence does he derive authority? From the possession of the keys? But the keys belong to all, and have to do only with the question of sin, Matthew 18.15. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520] (Keys of knowledge = truth; ed. note)
113) Oh would that there were in the church the kind of laying on of hands that obtained in the time of the apostles, whether we preferred to call it confirmation or healing! [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
114) their very nature, sacraments save those who believe the divine promises always attaching to them. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
115) ..on the authority of the apostle James, here are both promise and sign: things by which, as I have hitherto contended, a sacrament is constituted. The apostle says [Jas. 5.14]: "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him".
My reply is: If nonsense is spoken anywhere, this is the very apostle was licensed to institute a sacrament on his own authority, or, to give a divine promise with an accompanying sign. This pertains to Christ alone. That is why Paul says [I Cor. 11.23] that "it was from the Lord that he received the sacrament of the Eucharist " and [I Cor. 1.17] "he had not been sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel". Nowhere in the gospels is there any mention of this sacrament of Extreme Unction. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 37

116)..Nowhere in holy Scripture does the noun, "sacrament", bear the meaning which is customary in the church, but rather the opposite. In every instance, it means, not a sign of something sacred, but the sacred, secret, and recondite thing itself. Thus, in I Corinthians 4.1, Paul says: "Let a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God, that is the sacraments". Where the Vulgate uses s"acramentum", the Greek text reads "mysterion". Thus, in the present case, the Greek says: "The twain shall become one flesh". This is a great mystery. That is how it came about that they understood it as a sacrament of the new dispensation, and this they would have been far from doing if they had read "mysterion", as it is in Greek.
So also in I Timothy 3.16, Paul calls Christ Himself a sacrament, when he says: "he was evidently a great sacrament" (i.e., mysterion), "for He was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up in glory". Why haven't the Romanists made an eighth sacrament out of this? [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
117) A bishop who neither preaches nor practises the cure of souls is nothing at all but an idol, in spite of the name and appearance of a bishop. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
118)..our present inquiry has to do with the nature of the sacraments of divine institution, and we find no reason for enumerating confirmation among them. What is required above all else for constituting a sacrament is that it should be accompanied by a divine promise, and this, of itself, calls for our faith. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
119) Christ also had said [Mark 11.24]: "All things whatsoever ye pray for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them".
..nothing is impossible for faith.
..Christ's pronouncement holds good: "All things are possible to him that believes " [Mark 9.23] and again [Matt. 8.13]: "As thou hast believed, so be it one unto thee". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
120) Concerning the word, we read: "Blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
121) In conformity with their [the Romanists; ed. note] arrogance, they have adapted the words of promise in which Christ said, in Matthew 16.19, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind", etc.; in Mat. 18.18, "Whatsoever ye shall have bound", etc.; and in John 20.23, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them", etc. These words evoke the faith of penitents, and make them fit to receive forgiveness of sins. their incredibly rampant impiety, as if they had received in these words the right of ruling in heaven and earth, and of possessing the power of binding even in heaven. They say nothing about saving faith required of the people, but are garrulous about the absolute powers of the popes. Christ, however, said nothing at all about power, but spoke only of faith.
For Christ established in His Church neither emperors, nor potentates, nor despots, but ministers..when Christ says: "Whosoever believes and is baptized, shall be saved". [Mark 16.16], this is to evoke the faith of those about to be baptized, so that they might have the assurance, based on this promise, that if they were baptized as believers, they would receive salvation...that if he be forgiven as a believer here below, his forgiveness is good in heaven. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 38

122) If baptism is not the right of Peter alone, then it is a wicked imposition to arrogate the power of the keys to the pope alone. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
123) Other Romanists are even more shameless in their deductions from the passage in Matthew 16.19: "Whatsoever ye shall bind", etc. They claim that here the pope is given authority to decree laws, whereas, in that passage, Christ was dealing with those sins which were to be retained, and those to be forgiven; He was not giving authority to take the whole church into captivity and oppress it by any laws. But this dictator of ours takes and falsifies everything with his lies, and forcibly twists and deforms the word of God. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
124) They [the Romanists; ed. note] have divided penance into three parts: contrition, confession, and satisfaction.
..but they do not advert to the faith which effected that contrition and remorse of heart; as it is written of Nineveh in Jonah 3.5, "And the people of Nineveh believed in the Lord and proclaimed a fast". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
125) Just because they [the Romanists/papists; ed. note] are wolves, they pretend to work like shepherds and just because they are Antichrist, they wish to be honored as Christ. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
126) ..they [Romanists] are always making a vague use of terms like good works, evil works, sin, grace, justification, virtue, and almost all the main terms and subjects. For they employ the whole of these arbitrarily, on the basis of writings which are merely human, to the detriment of God's truth and our salvation. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
127) Whatever is done apart from faith in the truth of God is vanity of vanities and vexation of spirit. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
128) ..He is propitiated only by faith in the contrite heart.
..Further, what is the proportion of those imbued with the idea that they are among the saved, and have made atonement for their sins if they have mumbled the words of the prayers enjoined by the priest, although, meanwhile, it never struck them to amend their mode of life? [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
129) In the early church, on the other hand, absolution was posterior, and was only given when satisfaction had been completed. Thus, it arose that, once the works had been completed, the penitents were exercised more fully in the faith and newness of life. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 39

130) forms are not accompanied by any word of promise which calls for faith. They are not signs of justification because they are not sacraments of faith, which alone justifies, but merely sacraments of works...Not the sacrament, but the sacramental faith, is what justifies. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
131) ..there are some who assert and argue that a work done within the gambit of a vow is more valuable than a work outside, and takes precedence over it; and in heaven will be preferred to the others, and receive no one knows what reward. Oh! blind Pharisees who measure righteousness and sanctity by size, or number, or some such standard; although, in God's sight, it is measured solely by faith. In His sight, there is no difference between works except that of the measure of faith which they express. Ungodly men are very facile in the use of language, employing their own inventions to deck out man made views and works, and to draw the unthinking masses on...Today, the Roman pontiff, the fount and source of all superstitions, has used pompously-worded bulls and indulgences to confirm, approve, and embellish these ways of life..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
132) ...they remain unaware of the grace given by faith and by baptism. And because their spirit is unworthy in God's sight, He ordains that they persist in their hypocrisy to the end of time, yet never reaching righteousness. Thus they fulfil what Isaiah said [Is. 2.8], "The land is full of idols". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
133) But God is not mocked, and it is not good policy to run against Him! [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
134) Pretentious lives, lived under vows, are more hostile to faith than anything else can be. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
135)...though God, in fact, works all in all ( I Cor. 12.6 ) [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
136) ..all are measured by Him by faith alone; as it says in Jeremiah 5.3, "O Lord, thine eyes have respect unto faith", and Ecclesiasticus 32.27, i"n all thy works believe with faith in thy heart, for this is to keep the commandments of God". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
137) For over 1,200 years the church remained orthodox. On no occasion, and in no place, do the Fathers mention the word "transubstantiation"--"monstrous "whether as a locution or as an idea-until the specious philosophy of Aristotle took root in the church, and attained a rank growth in the last 300 years. During this time, many other perverse conclusions were arrived at. Examples are: "That the divine Being is not begotten, nor does it beget"; that "the soul is the form to which the human body corresponds as the substance"; and the like. These assertions are made without any reason or ground..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 40

138) ..or to quote this beast's [Aristotle's; ed. note] own words in the "Metaphysics", an affirmative proposition requires the agreement of the extremes. It would then follow that when Christ said, "This is my body", the subject cannot stand for the bread, but for the body of Christ. What is our response when Aristotle, and the doctrines of men, are made the arbiters of these very sublime and divine things? Why not hiss these ingenious inquiries off the stage, and hold to the words of Christ in simple faith, satisfied not to understand what takes place, and content to know that the true body of Christ is there by virtue of the words of institution? We do not need to understand completely the mode of the divine operation.
..does it not seem that Christ used plain words in anticipation of these curious ideas? He did not say of the wine, This substance is my blood, but This is my blood. It was still clearer when he introduced the word cup and said [Matt. 26.26; Luke 22.19], "this is the cup of the new testament in my blood". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
139) Without question, a testament is a promise made by a man in view of his death. In it, he bequeaths his heritage, and appoints heirs. A testament, therefore: (a) anticipates the death of the testator; (b) embodies the promise of the heritage; and (c) appoints the heirs. That is how Paul discusses a testament at length in Romans 4, Galatians 3 and 4, and Hebrews 9. The words of Christ show the same quite plainly. Christ testifies of His own death when He says: "This is my blood which is given. This is my blood which is shed". He names and designates the bequest when He says,"in remission of sins". Similarly, He appoints the heirs when He says, "For you and for many", i.e., those who accept, and believe in, the promise of the testator. Faith here makes men heirs, as we shall see. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
140) ...a promise is void when it is not believed. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
141) Now a promise and a testament only differ in so far as a testament contemplates the death of the promiser. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
142) It is plain that our salvation begins in our faith, and this clings to the word of the God of the promises. And God, apart from and before all that we can do, manifests His mercy which is unearned and unmerited, and proffers His words of promise [Ps. 107.20]: "For He sent His word and healed them "("and delivered them from their destructions"; ed. note). [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 41

143) God plainly distinguishes this testament from the former by calling it the new testament. For the older testament mediated through Moses, was not a promise of remission of sins, or of eternal life, but of temporal things, to wit, the land of Canaan. No one was renewed in spirit by this promise so as to lay hold on a heavenly heritage. For this reason, an unthinking beast had to be slain as a figure of Christ, and the testament was confirmed by its blood.
..Therefore the mass, in essence, is solely and simply the words of Christ just quoted, viz., "..that thou mayest be most assured that this my promise is irrevocable, I will give my body and shed my blood to confirm it by my very death, and make both body and blood a sign and memorial of this promise. As often as thou partakest of them, remember me; praise and laud my love and bounty, and be thankful". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
144) But today how many know that the mass is Christ's promise? ..Even when they do teach these words of Christ, they teach them, not as a promise or a testament, nor in order to rouse faith by their means. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
145) As we have said, God never has dealt, and never does deal, with mankind at any time otherwise than by the word of promise. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
146) By this I mean faith in the very word, the source of all good, as it says in John 7.38, "He that believeth in me , out of his belly shall flow living waters"; and again: [John 4.14] "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, there shall be in him a well of living water springing up into eternal life". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
147) Christ also encourages us in the same way when He says [Luke 12.32]: "Fear not, little flock, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom..." This incomprehensible wealth of God, showered upon us through Christ, causes us to love Him in return..Thus the sacrament is aptly called "a fount of love.." [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
148)..unworthy of it though I am, the more thankfully should I accept this gracious gift of a stranger. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
149) But He does require that we should regard Him as faithful to His promises..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
150)..these two, promise and faith, are necessarily yoked together. No one can believe if there is no promise. If there is no faith, a promise is useless, because faith is its counterpart and completion. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
151) There is, therefore, no other worthy self-preparation and no other proper observance of the mass than by faith, the faith by which we believe in the mass, i.e., in the divine promise. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
152)..the whole virtue of the mass consisted in the words of Christ, when He gave testimony to the remission of the sins of all who believed that His body had been given for them and His blood shed for them. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 42

153) Nevertheless it is true to say that God's way is almost always to add some sign as a mark or reminder of His promise, that thus we might serve Him the more faithfully, or that He might admonish us the more effectually.
..After promising Abraham that his seed should gain the inheritance, He gave circumcision as the seal of justification by faith. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
154) The word of Christ is the testament..This is the true spiritual eating and drinking..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
155) [concerning the papacy]..they teach nothing about faith, but only about its presuppositions; or about operta operata, participations, and the fruits of the mass..they come to the profundities, and talk trumpery stuff about transubstantiation, and other metaphysical nonsense without end. Meantime they have done away with the true knowledge and use of both the testament and the sacrifice, together with the whole of faith. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
156) ..We need, therefore, to have in mind a clear-cut distinction between God's power and ours, and God's work and ours, if we would live a godly life. So you see, this point is a further item in any complete summary of Christianity. Self-knowledge, and the knowledge and glory of God, are bound up with it. Which means, my dear Erasmus, that it is simply intolerable of you to call the knowledge of it irreligious, idle, and vain. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
157) ..The reader's understanding, therefore, must supply what the word itself fails to convey, from this knowledge of the intended signification--the immutable will of God on the one hand, and the impotence of our corrupt will on the other. Some have called it necessity of immutability, but the phrase is both grammatically and theologically defective.
This is a point over which the Sophists have toiled for many years now (and have been defeated at last, and forced to give in). They maintained that all things take place necessarily, but by necessity of consequence (as they put it), and not by necessity of the thing consequent..By necessity of consequence, they mean, roughly speaking, this: if God will something, then it must needs be; but that which thus comes to be is something which of itself need not be; for only God exists necessarily, and everything else can cease to be, if God so wills..Nonetheless, it remains true that each thing does happen necessarily, if God's action is necessary or there is a necessity of consequence, however true it may be that it does not happen necessarily, in the sense that it is not God and has not necessity of its own essential nature...There is no obscurity or ambiguity about it. In Isaiah, it says, "My counsel shall stand, and my will shall be done "[Isa. 46.10]; and any schoolboy knows the meaning of counsel, will, shall be done, shall stand! [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]

page 43

158) ..Not only should we be sure that God wills, and will execute His will, necessarily and immutably; we should glory in the fact, as Paul does in Romans 3.4, "Let God be true, but every man a liar", and again, "Not that the word of God has failed " [Rom. 9.6], and in another place, "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his" [II Tim. 2.19]. In Titus 1.2 he says, "Which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began". And Hebrews 11.6 says "He that cometh, must believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that hope in him". [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
159) ..It is no game and no joke to teach the holy Scriptures and godliness, for it is so very easy to fall here in the way that James described: "he that offends in one point becomes guilty of all " [James 2.10]. For when we show ourselves disposed to trifle even a little and cease to hold the sacred Scriptures in sufficient reverence, we are soon involved in impieties and overwhelmed with blasphemies-as you are here, Erasmus. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
160) is obviously a term applicable only to the Divine Majesty; for only He can do, and does (as the Psalmist sings) "whatever He wills in heaven and earth " [Ps. 135.6]. If free-will is ascribed to men, it is ascribed with no more propriety than divinity if would be..[Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525,to Erasmus]
161) Our words should be correct, pure and sober-in Paul's phrase [Titus 2.8], "sound speech, that cannot be condemned " [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525,to Erasmus]
162) ..but all things are under His powerful hand.
Now God in His own nature and majesty is to be left alone; in this regard, we have nothing to do with Him, nor does He wish us to deal with Him. We have to do with Him as clothed and displayed in His Word, by which He presents Himself to us. That is His glory and beauty which the Psalmist [Ps.21.5] proclaims Him to be clothed. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
163) At present, however, we must keep in view His word and leave alone His inscrutable will, for it is by His Word, and not by His inscrutable will, that we must be guided. [Luther, "Bond age of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
164) ..I shall adhere by God's grace to the text of the gospel which is customarily dealt with in the churches on the morrow.
These words of the Lord Christ [John 14.23], "If a man loves me, he will keep my word", etc., were occasioned by the fact that shortly before this the Lord Christ had expressed himself in almost the same way: "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me " [John 14.21] "..and I will love him and manifest myself to him " [Luther, "Sermon in Castle Pleissenburg", Leipzig, 1539]

page 44

165) ..though you should ask much, you would never find out; as Paul says in Romans 9.20, "Who art thou that repliest against God"? [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
166) ..the ungodly man, like Satan his prince, is wholly turned to self and to his own. He does not seek God, nor care for the things of God: he seeks his own riches, and glory, and works, and wisdom, and power, and sovereignty in everything, and wants to enjoy it in peace. If anyone stands in his way, or wants to detract from any of these things, he is moved with the same perverted desire that leads him to seek them, and is outraged and furious with his opponent...for he is still a creature of God, though a spoiled one. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
167) He who would understand these matters, however, should think thus: God works evil in us (that is, by means of us) not through God's own fault, but by reason of our own defect. We being evil by nature, and God being good..
..Satan's will does not cease to be evil in virtue of this movement of God.
In this way of Shimei, in the second book of Kings [II Sam. 16.10]: "Let him curse, for God hath bidden him to curse David". How could God bid anyone to curse, an act so virulent and evil?..But David keeps in view the fact that God omnipotent speaks and it is done..[Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
168) [concerning the Pharaoh]..So it comes to pass that, being inflated and uplifted by the idea of his own greatness, and growing vaingloriously scornful of lowly Moses and of the unostentatious word of God, he becomes hardened; and then grows more and more irked and annoyed, the more Moses presses and threatens him. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
169) So here you see that these very words confirm that free-will can do nothing but evil, inasmuch as God, who does not make mistakes through ignorance nor speak lies in iniquity, thus surely promises the hardening of Pharaoh; for well He knew that an evil will can only will evil, and that when good is presented as opposing it, it cannot but wax worse. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
170) What God wills is not right because He ought, or was bound, so to will; on the contrary, what takes place must be right, because He so will it. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
171) But now, if "harden " means "bear with Divine long-suffering and not punish at once", what need was there for God to promise so often, at the time when the signs were occurring, that he would harden the heart of Pharaoh?..It would apply indiscriminately to all who sin while Divine long-suffering bears with them. In this sense, we shall say that all men are hardened, for there is none that does not sin, and none would sin did not Divine long-suffering bear with him! [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525,to Erasmus]

page 45

172) He allows such manifold perils to come upon us in order that we may learn to pray and experience his help in our great evils. This is our great consolation. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
173)..It is as if He had said [to Moses] ..But trust nevertheless, for by My operation all his delaying shall only result in My performing more and greater miracles to confirm you in your faith and to display My powers, so that henceforth you may have more faith in Me in all other matters.
Christ acts in the same way when at the last supper He promises His disciples a kingdom. He foretells abundance of difficulties-His own death, and their many tribulations-so that, when it came to pass, they might from then on have much more faith.
Moses [Exodus 3.19-20] plainly shows us that this is the meaning when he says: "But Pharaoh shall not let you go, that many wonders may be wrought in Egypt"; and again: [Exod. 9.16] "For this cause have I rased thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth " [Luther, "Bondage of the will", 1525, to Erasmus]
174) ..had there been in Pharaoh any power to turn, or freedom of will that might have gone either way, God could not with such certainty have foretold his hardening. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
175) Your faith feeds only on the word of the divine promise: [Matt. 4.4; Deut. 8.3]--"for man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
176) All the sacraments were instituted to feed our faith, but ungodly men never deal with faith sufficiently, but declare that no man can be certain of the forgiveness of his sins or of sacramental grace. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
177) ..When faith dies, and the word of faith is dumb, works soon take its place, and the tradition of works. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
178) Faith is not a work, but it teaches us to do good works, and is their soul!
..Who has ever been so lacking in sense as to consider baptism to be a good work? Has any candidate for baptism believed he was doing a good work which he was offering and communicating to God for himself and others? [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
179) .. the mass is a divine promise which can benefit no one, be applied to no one, intercede for no one, be communicated to no one, except only to the believer himself by the sole virtue of his own faith. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 46

180) Nor should I doubt that an irreligious adult could be transformed by any of the sacraments, if he were presented and prayed for by such a church; just as we read in the Gospel that the paralytic was healed by vicarious faith [Matt. 9.2; Mark 2.1]. For these reasons, I would readily admit that the sacraments of the new law are efficacious in giving grace, not only to those who offer no resistance, but even to those who resist most obstinately. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
181) This testament of Christ's is the only antidote for sins past, present, or future...You must believe that what the words of the testament declare is granted to you freely. If you do not believe this, then never nowhere, by no good works, and by no kinds of efforts, can you gain peace of conscience. For faith alone means peace of conscience, and unbelief nought but distress of mind. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
182) The sacraments are not fulfilled by the ritual, but only when they are believed. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
183) Now, if a sacrament were to give me grace just because I receive that sacrament, then surely I should obtain the grace, not by faith, but by my works. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
184) ..I could communicate in the sacrament of the altar for another..But if this can be done, why did not Abraham believe on behalf of all the Jews?..each one stands for himself where the divine promise is concerned. His own faith is required. Each must respond for himself, and bear his own burden, as Mark says in chapter 16.16: "Every one who believes and has been baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
185) ..The second point in regard to baptism is that it is a sign or sacrament: an immersion in water, whence the name. For the Greek word "baptizo " means "immerse", or "plunge", and the word "baptisma "means "immersion". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
186) There are two things which baptism signifies, namely, death and resurrection, the fulfilling and completion of justification. For, when the minister submerges the child in the water, that signifies death; but, when he again lifts it out, that signifies life. That is how Paul explains it in Romans 6.4: "We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death; that, as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
187) .. it [baptism] was so instituted by Christ in the form of total immersion. A sinner requires, not so much to be washed, as to die. This is in order that he should be reborn and made another creature, and that the rite may correspond with the death and resurrection of Christ. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 47

188) ..the essence of the rite [Baptism; ed. note] was that grace permeated your whole life, in both body and soul; and that it will bring you forth, at the last day, clothed in the white robe of immortality. It follows that we never lose the sign of baptism nor its force; indeed we are continually being rebaptized, until we attain to the completion of the sign at the last day. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
189)..baptism justifies nobody, and gives advantage to nobody; rather, faith in the word of the promise to which baptism was conjoined, is what justifies, and so completes, that which the baptism signified. Faith is the submersion of the old self and the emersion of the new self. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
190) Baptism is recorded in the last chapter of Mark [16.15-16]: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.."if a person wants to be saved, let him be baptized; otherwise he is in God's disfavor. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
191) The first point about baptism is the divine promise, which says [Mark 16.16], "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved". This promise is far superior to all the outer show of works, vows, orders and whatever else men have introduced. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
192) ..baptism never does lose its efficacy--not so long as you refuse to despair of reaching salvation. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
193) ..there is no greater duty set before us in the whole of our life than to be baptized, and so to die and live by our faith in Christ. This is the sole thing that should be taught, especially by the chief shepherd. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
194) ..that baptism is the prime sacrament, the foundation of them all, and without it none of the others can be received.
..It is impossible for that promise to play false. Hitherto it has remained unbroken and unchanged, nor can it be changed by any sin. That is Paul's message in II Timothy 2.13: "If we do not believe, He remaineth faithful; He cannot deny himself". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
195) God is faithful in His promises, and I received His sign when I was baptized. "If God is for me who can be against me"? [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
196) Be careful, therefore, in regard to baptism, to ascribe only the external rite to man, but the internal operation to God. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 48

197) know that we are not baptized by human hands, but by the Holy Trinity itself through the agency of the man who performs the rite in Their name. This puts an end to that tiresome dispute about the words employed, and which are called the form of the baptism. The formula of the Greek Church is: May a servant of Christ be baptized; and that of the Latin: I baptize. Others, again, sticking rigidly to their pedantry, condemn the use of the words, I baptize thee in the name of Jesus Christ, although it is certain that the Apostles used that form in baptizing, as we read in the Acts [10.48] of the Apostles. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
198) Today baptism is indeed of the higher advantage to them [children; ed. note]. For if this sacrament were administered only to grown-up people and older folk, I do not believe it could retain its power and beauty in the teeth of the overwhelming greed and superstition which have overthrown all religion among us. There is no doubt that carnal cunning would have devised its preparations and dignities, and then its reservations, restrictions, and what other traps there may be for catching money, until the font would have been sold for as high a price as parchment itself. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
199) Jerome's dangerous saying, whether because it is ill-phrased or wrongly understood, has given occasion to these views [of other ways of getting sins forgiven and entry to heaven ed. note]. He speaks of penitence as the second plank after shipwreck, as if baptism were not a sign of penitence. Hence those who have fallen into sin lose faith in the first plank, or the ship, as though it were lost; and they begin to trust and cling to the second plank, i.e., penitence. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
200) ..when we regain our faith, or repent of our sins, we are only returning to the strength and faith of baptism from which we fell when sin made us deserters. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
201) One who returns to the abiding and enduring promise of God through faith is such a man. On this account, Peter, in II Peter 1.9, rebukes those who sin, because they are forgetful of the time when they were cleansed from their former sins; doubtless reproving them for their ingratitude after accepting baptism, and for their disloyal impiety. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
202) will see how rich a Christian is, i.e., one who has been baptized. Even if he wished, he could not lose his salvation how ever often he sinned, save only if he refused to believe. No sins have it in their power to damn him, but only unbelief. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 49

203) The part of the pontiffs should have been to remove these things [oppressiveness of traditions of the papacy on baptism; ed. note], and to strive with zeal to recall Christians to the integrity proper to baptized persons. These might then understand what manner of people they were, and how Christians ought to live. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
204) ..for not only do they not know what a bishop should be like, but they are not even aware what bishops ought to know or do. They fulfill what Isaiah 56.10 says: "His watchmen are blind; they are all ignorant; they are shepherds without knowledge; all have turned to their own way, each one to his gain". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
205) They [papists] stick to the sign, and to the use of the sign, thus seducing us from faith to works, and from the word to the sign. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
206) Don't look at the water and see that it is wet, but rather that it has with it the Word of God. It is a holy, living, heavenly, blessed water because of the Word and command of God, which is holy. You cannot sufficiently extol it. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
207) is as believers that we pray and do every good work. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
208) ..but we ought also to bear in mind that the prayers are of no avail either for him who offers them, of for those on whose behalf they are offered, unless the testament be first received in faith. It is faith which prays , and its voice alone which is heard, as James [Jas. 1.6] teaches in his first chapter. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
209) If I lived and worked to all eternity, my conscience would never reach comfortable certainty as to how much it must do to satisfy God. Whatever work I had done, there would still be a nagging doubt as to whether it pleased God, or whether He required something more. The experience of all who seek righteousness by works proves that; and I learned it well enough myself over a period of many years, to my own great hurt. But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and the He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. "No one", He says [John 10.28-29], "shall pluck them out of my hand, because my Father which gave them me is greater than all". Thus it is that, if not all, yet some, indeed many, are saved; whereas, by the power of free-will none at all could be saved; but every one of us would perish.
..if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]

page 50

210) is reasonable, indeed inevitable, that His justice also should be incomprehensible; as Paul cries, saying [Romans 11.33], "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out "! They would not, however, be unsearchable if we could at every point grasp the grounds on which they are just. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
211) To think that we cannot for a little while believe that He is just, when He has actually promised us that when He reveals His glory we shall all clearly see that He both was and is just! [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
212) [as concerning human suffering and the prophets, who believed in God's existence, were still more tempted concerning the injustice of God]..all this, which looks so much like injustice in God, and is traduced as such by arguments which no reason or light of nature can resist, is most easily cleared up by the light of the gospel and the knowledge of grace, which teaches us that though the wicked flourish in their bodies, yet they perish in their souls. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
213) So, if we believe that Satan is the prince of this world, ever ensnaring and opposing the kingdom of Christ with all his strength, and that he does not let his prisoners go unless he is driven out by the power of the Divine Spirit, it is again apparent that there can be no free-will.
So, if we believe that original sin has ruined us to such an extent that even in the godly who are led by the Spirit, it causes abundance of trouble by striving against good, it is clear that in man who lacks the Spirit nothing is left that can turn itself to good, but only to evil.
Again, if the Jews, who followed after righteousness with all their powers, fell into unrighteousness instead, while the Gentiles, who followed after unrighteousness, attained to an un-hoped-for righteousness, by God's free gift, it is equally apparent from their very works and experience that man without grace can will nothing but evil.
..if we believe that Christ redeemed men by His blood, we are forced to confess that all of man was lost; otherwise, we make Christ either wholly superfluous, or else the redeemer of the least valuable part of man only; which is blasphemy, and sacrilege. [Luther, "Bondage of the Will", 1525, to Erasmus]
214) But the mass is, as I have said, the gift of the divine promise, offered to all men by the hand of the priest. is meant for nourishing and strengthening the personal faith of the individual.
..But the mass which Christ celebrated was extremely simple, without any display of vestments, genuflections, chants, and other ceremonies. If it was necessary to offer Himself as a sacrifice, then He did not institute it completely. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 51

215) is a self-contradiction to call a mass a sacrifice; for a mass is something we receive, but a sacrifice is something we offer. But one and the same thing cannot be both received and offered at the same time..
..the Christian believers, when they assembled for mass, used to bring food and drink with them. These they called the collections, and they used to distribute them among all who were in need, after the example of the apostles in Acts 4.34. A portion of this food was taken and consecrated as the bread and wine of the sacrament... this was consecrated by word and prayer in accordance with the Hebrew custom, namely, by being lifted up, as we read in the Pentateuch, therefore the terminology and the custom of lifting up or offering remained in use long after an end had come to the custom of bringing and collecting together what was to be sacrificed and lifted up. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
216) [concerning Christ] He was conceived by the Holy Spirit without any sin whatsoever in order that he might become my Lord and redeem me. He did it all in order to become my Lord, for he must be so holy that the devil could have no claim upon him. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
217) He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and so on. I shall not say any more about this article because I do not want to overwhelm you. It is true Christian article, which neither the Jews nor the papists nor the sectarians believe. For he who believes that he will be saved by his own works and not through Christ does not believe that Christ is his Lord. This belongs to the regular preaching. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
218) the Holy Spirit is my sanctifier. For he sanctifies me through the following works: through the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
219) ..for the Holy Spirit uses its ministry in order to sanctify you. Otherwise you would never know and hear Christ [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
220) ..after death sin will have completely passed away and then the Holy Spirit will complete his work and then my sanctification will be complete. Therefore it will also be life and nothing but life. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
221) In the matter of the mass and the sacraments, we are all equals, whether priests or laity. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
222) All of the above enables any one to understand the frequently quoted saying of Gregory's: "The mass said by a wicked priest is not less effective than that said by a good one; nor was one said by Saint Peter any better than one said by Judas the traitor, if they indeed say masses". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 52

223) ..through the sacraments and God's Word, you will be made free from sin and thus be totally free on earth. When you die, remaining in the church, then he will raise you up and sanctify you wholly. The apostles called him the Holy Spirit because he makes everything holy and does everything in Christendom and through the church. On the other hand, an evil spirit does the opposite. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
224) "If a man love me, he will keep my word, and I will be with him along my Father and the Holy Spirit and make our home with him. This home is God's dwelling, as Jerusalem was called the dwelling of God, which he himself chose as his own: "Here is my hearth, my house and dwelling "[Isa. 31.9]; just as today the churches are called God's dwelling on account of the Word and sacraments...If a man loves me and keeps my Word, there shall be my castle, my chamber, my dwelling. [Luther, "Sermon in Castle Pleissenburg", Leipzig, 1539]
225) ..for a single exception, especially in the Scriptures, disproves any universal law [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
226) If we admit that any epistle of Paul's, or a single passage in them, does not pertain to the church universal, all of Paul's authority is nullified..Away with the idea that there is a single syllable in the whole of Paul which the whole church is not obliged to follow and obey. That was not the view of the Fathers, up to the perilous present. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
227) Moreover, Paul could not permit anything contrary to what Christ had instituted. Accordingly, I hold it against you, O Rome, and all your hangers-on, that these words of Christ and Paul speak on behalf of the Greeks and Bohemians. You cannot show by a tittle of evidence that power has been given you to change these things..[Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
228) Let us turn our eyes and devote our minds purely and simply to that alone which Christ Himself instituted. Let us confine ourselves to the very words by which Christ instituted and completed the sacrament, and commended it to us. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
229) ..the mass is part of the gospel, nay the sum and substance of the gospel; for the whole gospel is simply the good news of the forgiveness of sins. And whatever can be said about forgiveness of sins and the mercy of God, in the broadest and richest sense, is comprehended, in brief, in the word of the testament. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 53

230) Hence, just as an ungodly priest may baptize..and partake-as did Judas the traitor at the last supper of the Lord. Nevertheless it remains the same sacrament and testament, which does its own work in the believer, but a strange work in the unbeliever.
..For it is not the mass, but the prayers, which are offered to God..
..but as Gregory likewise said, "when an unworthy person is the intercessor, the heart of the judge is only turned to greater sternness". Those two things, mass and prayer, or sacrament and work, or testament and sacrifice, must not be confused. The first comes from God to us through the intermediation of the priest, and demands faith. The second issues from our faith, ascends to God through the priest, and requires One who hears. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
231) ..God does not listen to sinners, although He knows how to give good gifts even through evil men. But He accepts no wicked man's works. He showed this to Cain, and, as we read in Proverbs 15.8, "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord"; and Romans 14.23, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
232) I mean to labor faithfully as one who must stand before Christ's judgment seat, and in such a way that no one will be able to blame me for his unbelief, or his ignorance of the truth. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
233) But what is the dissension about between the papists and us? The answer is: about the true Christian church. Should one then be obedient to the Christian church? Yes, certainly, all believers owe this obedience; for St. Peter commands in the fourth chapter of his first Epistle: "Whoever speaks should speak " [I Pet. 4.11], as one who utters oracles of God..If anybody wants to preach, let him suppress his own words and let them prevail in worldly and domestic affairs; here in the church he should speak nothing but the Word of the rich Householder; otherwise it is not the true church.This is why it must always be said that it is God who is speaking. [Luther, "Sermon in the Castle of Pleissenburg", Leipzig, 1539]
234) Therefore all Christians should stand strong and steadfast upon the Word alone, as St. Peter says [I Pet. 4.11], "by the strength which God supplies". [Luther, "Sermon in the Castle of Pleissenburg", Leipzig, 1539]
235) ..there is no belief more widely accepted in the church today, or one of greater force, than that the mass is a good work and a sacrifice. And this abuse has brought in its train innumerable other abuses; and these, when faith in the sacrament has completely died away, turn the holy sacrament into mere merchandise, a market, and a business run for profit. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]

page 54

236) ..the Word of God does not need to be forced in any way by either men or angels. Rather, its plainest meanings are to be preserved, and, unless the context manifestly compels one to do otherwise, the words are not to be understood apart from their proper and literal sense, lest occasion be given to our adversaries to evade Scripture as a whole. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
237) ..Outside of this church and these sacraments and ministrations there is no sanctification. The clerics are outside the church, because they want to be saved through their works. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
238) So the Lord Christ and the pope each have their own church, but with this mighty difference..namely, where his Word is purely preached.
Oh, if we could only stake it all on Christ and mock and laugh at the pope, since Christ clearly says here, not he who has my word, but he who keeps it loves me and is also my disciple. [Luther, "Sermon in the Castle of Pleissenburg", Leipzig, 1539]
239) For Jesus said: "My words are spirit and they are life", showing that He was speaking of spiritual eating, by doing which any partaker would live; whereas the Jews understood Him to mean eating His flesh, and so raised the dispute. No sort of eating gives life except eating in faith. This is the true eating, the spiritual. Accordingly, Augustine says: "Why do you make your teeth and stomach ready? Believe and thou hast eaten. In itself sacramental eating does not give life, for many eat unworthily..."
..if Jesus had intended it to be a commandment to eat of the sacraments when He said: "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will not have life", He would have condemned all infants, all the sick, all those kept back by any cause and prevented from partaking of the sacraments, no matter how firm their faith. Hence, Augustine, in the second book of "Contra Julianum", proves from Innocent [Pope, Innocent I] that even infants, who do not yet partake of the sacrament, eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ; i.e., they communicate through the faith of the church. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
240) He said, "This do ye, as oft as ye do it, in remembrance of me". [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
241) ..then the devil will soon set a snare for you in your security and presumption, so that you will no longer trust and give place to the Word of God as much as you did before. That's why Christ says: "My sheep not only hear me, they also obey and follow me"; they increase in faith daily through hearing the Word of God and the right and perfect use of the blessed sacraments. [Luther, "Sermon in the Castle of Pleissenburg", Leipzig, 1539]
242) Under the papacy nobody preached that Christ is my Lord in the sense that I would be saved without my works. There it was an evil and human spirit that was preaching. That spirit preaches Christ, it is true, but along with it, preaches works, that through them a man is saved. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]

page 55

243) Come forward, then, all ye fair-speaking toadies of the pope; make ready, and rid yourselves of impiety, tyranny, treason against the Gospel, and the crime of slandering your brothers. You proclaim them to be heretics if they do not agree with the very fabrications of your own is neither the Bohemians, nor the Greeks, who take their stand on the gospel; rather, you Romanists are heretics and impious schismatics, who presume on your figments alone, and fly contrary to plain passages in divine Scripture. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
244)..I fear none of his decrees at all; for I know that he has no power to make a new article of faith, nor has a general council. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
245) The will of the pope, the emperor, the princes, the devil, and our flesh prevents the will of God from being done. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
246) ..the pope puts trust in the consecrated water. Why, pope? Who gave you the power? The ecclesia, the church? Yes, indeed, where is it written? Nowhere! Therefore the consecrated water is Satan's goblin bath, which cripples, blinds, and consecrates the people without the Word. But in the church one should teach and preach nothing besides or apart from the Word of God. For the pastor who does the baptizing says: "it is not I who baptize you; I am only the instrument of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; this is not my work". [Luther, "Sermon in the Castle of Pleissenburg", Leipzeg, 1539]
247) Christ did not say of the bread: "All of you eat of this"; but he does say of the cup: "All of you drink of this"; and in Mark He does not say: "All of you ate", but "All of you drank from it". Each writer attaches the mark of universality to the cup, but not to the bread. [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
248) How perverse it would be if you were to concede that a candidate received faith in baptism, but you were to refuse him the sign of faith, i.e., water! [Luther, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church", 1520]
249) ..It is true that Christ in Matthew 6.5 rejects useless and heathenish prayers, but elsewhere he commands that we should pray without ceasing. So you must not say that Christ has rejected prayer. He did reject prayers, but only those stupid prayers; on the contrary, he taught the true prayers. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
250) The commandment which applied to St. Peter applies to me also..Your prayer is not one cent less valuable than St. Peter's. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
251) ..pray against all who preach, teach, and believe falsely, against the pope and all sectarians, against the tyrants who persecute the Word of God by violence, and against those who lie, deceive, revile, and curse against us, who so coolly listen to the Word of God. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]

page 56

252) [concerning Master Devil]..He tempts you by causing you to disregard God's Word [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
253)..we sin daily in words, deeds, and thoughts, in what we do and fail to do. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
254) The first petition is that God's name be honored, that his name never be put to shame by us either in teaching or in life. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
255..despair ruins everything and if you go to baptism, prayer, and the sacrament without faith and in despair, you are actually mocking God. What you should quickly say, however, is this: I am certain that my dear God has so commanded and that he has assured me of the forgiveness of sins; therefore I will baptize, absolve, and pray. And immediately you will receive this treasure in your heart. [Luther, "Sermon in the Castle of Pleissenburg", Leipzig, 1539]
256)..that the Word and the honor of God may be kept holy against all fanatics and blasphemers of his name. This is done when his name and his honor is in our teaching and life..His kingdom comes when His Word increases and is powerful among us. In short, when we have God's power, which begins here through the Word and then becomes an actuality when we are buried. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
257) I too may be a part of those in whom the name of God is hallowed, that God's kingdom may come also to me and his will be done in me. Christ is the king of righteousness and life against the devil, sin, death, and all evil conscience. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
258) ..that God's kingdom may come in me, that God's will may be done in me and his name be hallowed in me. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
259) A child is baptized..that it may become a member of Christ, and that it may come into Christ's kingdom and Christ become its Lord. Accordingly, baptism is useful to the end that through it we may be saved. There you have the transcendent excellence of baptism. The first honor is that it is a divine water, and when you see a baptism remember that the heavens are opened. The fruit is that it saves, redeems you from sin, liberates you from the devil, and leads you to Christ. The fanatics insist that one must first become holy. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
260) St. Augustine ["Lectures on the Gospel according to St. John "] says, "The Word come to the element, and it becomes a sacrament". [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
261) My faith does not make the baptism but rather receives the baptism, no matter whether the person being baptized believes or not baptism is not dependent upon my faith but upon God's Word...even though the Jew [were baptized, ed. note] did not believe, the baptism would nevertheless not be false. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
262)..our work and misuse neither make nor unmake God's work. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]

page 57

263)..but we do teach that the water, when it becomes one thing with God's Word is baptism..You hear your Savior say: If you believe and are baptized, then salvation follows, not because of the water, but because you believe the Word. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
264) But the minister binds God's Word to the bread and the word is bound to the bread and likewise to the wine, for it is said, "The word comes to the element and it becomes a sacrament". [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism",1528]
265) If a fornicator comes to the table, he receives the true sacrament, because it does not lose power on account of his impiety and infidelity. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
266) Christ does not found his sacrament upon our use of it. What he says or ordains remains, no matter whether one uses it rightly or wrongly. The sacrament is body and blood, as the words say, whether it is received by one who is worthy or unworthy. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
267) ..God's kingdom comes to us in two ways: first, here, through the Word, and secondly, in that the future, eternal life is given to us. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
268) "Seek first his kingdom" [Matt. 6.33]. Here we pray that his name and kingdom may remain with us. [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
269)..[pray] that all those be restrained who oppose the name and kingdom of God, for Satan assails all its members. Will of God, John 6.38-40 {"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he that given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day... everyone that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life.." ed. note;} [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
270) Therefore, I use the sacrament [of the Lord's Supper; ed. note] for the forgiveness of my affects the forgiveness of sins, as the words say, "which is shed for the remission of sins". [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism", 1528]
271) The need which drives us to the sacrament [[of the Lord's Supper; ed. note] is that sin, devil, and death are always present. The benefit is that we receive forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit. ..First, the sacrament is Christ's body and blood in bread and wine comprehended in the Word. Secondly, the benefit is forgiveness of sins. This includes the need and the benefit. Thirdly, those who believe should come [Luther, "Sermons on the Catechism ",1528]
272) is fitting for us to do all we can to make good use of the present time and of God's gracious gift to us. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", 1520]

page 58

273) Since, therefore, by the providence of God and the efforts of evil men, the empire has been given us [the Germans; ed. note] through no fault of ours, I do not believe that we ought to abandon it; but, rather, to administer it properly in the fear of God, as long as it may please Him. For, as I have said, He does not look to see whence an empire arose; His will is that it should be rightly administered.
..Much more is it His will that the present empire should be ruled by Christian German princes, no matter whether the pope stole it, or got it by robbery, or established it afresh. It was all done by God's will, and it came to pass before we understood it.
..Give us back our freedom, our power, our honor, our bodies and souls; and let us be an empire as an empire ought to be, and let there be an end of his [the pope's/Romanist's; ed. note] word and claims! [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, --Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 27 , 1520]
274) I beg you to make my apologies to those of average understanding, for I make no pretence of attempting to win the favor and goodwill of the super-intelligent. I have often tried hard to do it, but never again will I attempt it, nor worry about it. God help us not to seek our own glory but His alone. Amen.
Wittenberg, The Augustinian Monastery, on the even of John the Baptist's day, A.D. 1520 [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class", Introduction, 1520]
275) I would rather that the world were wroth with me than that God were. [Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class,-- Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 27 , 1520]
276) My great concern and primary fear are that my case may remain uncondemned; that would show me it was not yet pleasing to God. Therefore, let them but come boldly forward..[Luther, "An Appeal to the Ruling Class, -- Twenty-Seven Proposals for Improving the State of Christendom", # 27 , 1520]

page 59

Short Comments (by plank No.)

1, 7, 149, 150, 153, 176, 180, 182,183) See our general comment on the betrothal of Israel and through Israel all men. We hold to the commandment in Isaiah 62.1-4.
2, 84, 87, 122, 157, 158, 202, 240, 241) See our general comment on the Keys of Knowledge.
3) In neither hell nor prison is there any freedom.
6, 45, 95,98, 112, 146, 181) No one cometh to the Father but by me, because the Will of the Father provided the Messiah as the opening to Him. See our general comment on the Keys of Knowledge.
11) Christ's teachings prevail in case of conflict in doctrine.
12) Inequitable treatment of all men applies here, against Jews, the poor, antipapists, etc.
17, 157) It is desirable to have a wise judge like St. Peter and St. James; nevertheless God sends his judges.
19, 23, 28,32, 39, 40, 82) see general comment on the Kingdom.
53) Interesting shift from the word, Leviathan, to devil.
64, 66, 68, 70,) Whoever is of the truth hears my voice; sic. people who hide the truth don't.
71, 72) This in general (baptism by the Holy Spirit of God) is what the Jews and Moslems believe.
88) The quoted passage of Acts refers to priests, not deacons, being installed.
90, 130, 136, 138, 139, 142, 143, 145) see general comment on betrothal to God.
91) Not entirely true. Ambrose was chosen before he was baptized.
93) Luther underestimate's St. Peter's influence. See general comment.
105, 108, 109, 110, 113, 115) Jesus, replying to the controversy involving James and John, over who should be rulers with Him, said only the Father can grant dispensation, as to who sits with him. As for dedicating a child to God, it was a common Jewish practice. We know that the Virgin Mary was a Virgin, for instance, because she was dedicated as a Temple Virgin.
118) Both Luther and Paul missed the contractual expression in God's betrothal to Israel and man: sic. My promise is merited by obedience to My will.
124) The words, believed and proclaimed a fast, support the argument that faith without works is death.
128) The only way to propitiate God.
140) Not true. The covenant in the Torah anticipated that Israel would stray from God; nevertheless it retained the final promise.
184) Abraham was promised, so he believed-and it was for all his children.
191, 194, 199, 201) Water is the sign of the Kingdom-see general comment on the Keys of Knowledge.
209) See our introductory remark.

page 60

Apendix B
Letter Log

Mr. Buckley's Response
to Works and Days among the Hyperboreans

June 13, 1994

Well, some Jews were murderers and adulterers. So were some Christians, and St. Paul reproved them, too.
The plain sense of Acts 21 is that the other Apostles judged that Jews should still be bound by the Law even after baptism. St. Paul evidently acceded to their decision. Technically you can't call his having said the opposite a sin, because a dogma has to be defined before you can sin by getting it wrong.

Yours cordially,

Wm. F. Buckley Jr.

Our Response:

June 16, 1994

Dear Mr. Buckley,

Thank you for your letter of June 13, 1994. Your assumption that Paul acceded to our Council of eleven apostles in Jerusalem, after he was charged with "anti-Semitic" teachings is not supported by his last epistle, to Titus, A.D. 65, where he continues to harangue against the Circumcised Church and their Law, to wit:

page 61

Titus 1.10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
1.11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
1.12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. [perhaps referring to Barnabas's disciples; ed. note]
1.13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.
1.14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
1.15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
1.16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

St. Peter took this somewhat hard. Witness his reply in two parts:

I Peter. 3.8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
3.9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
3.15 ..But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
3.16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
3.17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
II Peter 1.15 Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
1.16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
1.17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

page 62

1.18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
1.19 We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
1.20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
1.21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2. 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
2.10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
2.13..sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
2.14..beguiling unstable souls..
2.15 ..which have forsaken the right way..
2.19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
2.20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2.21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2.22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
3.1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
3.2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior;
3.13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
3.14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

page 63

3.15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
3.16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
3.17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.

While we have quoted these conversations before, it seems worthy to repeat them with reference to your comment, as you must keep in mind that Paul, until his last breath, had been separating the church unto himself; and the apostles in Jerusalem called him to the carpet to dissuade him from preaching against the Circumcised Church and their government which is wholly founded upon the full Commandments of Christ and the Law of Moses. Paul continued preaching "freedom from the Law", which conversation is reviewed in more detail in the enclosed book which we have prepared in response to your presumption that Paul and St. Peter were of one mind or that Paul's two-faced dogma was cleansed of its anti-Semitism. Here we have followed your suggestion. Let's look at the Pauline dogma and see whether it be in whole or part either good or evil. Since Luther commented in detail on the dogma and carried the same double spirited image, we believe here would be a good forum for discussion, as better shown in the enclosed [Planks towards Freedom ].

Sincerely yours,


Please beam me back up to Maravot's_Index.html
Please send me over to check out From Dust and Ashes to Joy.html: How Christ viewes His Second Coming
Please send me over to check out the Marriage Plan:
the Acceptable Day of the Lord

launched 9.22.96
Updated 5.27.2000; 2.12.06
Copyright © 1996-2006 Maravot. All rights reserved
Copyright © 1996-2006 Mel Copeland. All rights reserved