Sunday, August 12, 2012

Luther on Baptism and Confession

You cry, "What good has come of Luther's new teaching?" I must ask you in turn, "Tell me, what good has remained among you?" You have not left one thing incorrupt. You have, as you heard, disgraced the mass, our unique and highest treasure, with countless idolatries and abominations and crushed underfoot the right Christian usage, disturbed the faith, and silenced the Word. Baptism has remained for the children, though used clumsily and indolently enough. But as soon as the child has grown up and come to the age of reason, you have straightway strangled him, worse that the Turk does, and have taken his baptism away again through your damnable doctrine of penance and works whereby he learns to scorn his baptism, as now lost through sin and become of no value and henceforth to seek salvation through his own works. It is exactly as though baptism had been a temporary human work, just as the Anabaptists teach, and not an everlasting covenant of God. Tell me here, what good is left among you? I will not ask what good would have come of it, if we also could not have maintained against you our baptism, sacrament, gospel, faith, and Christ. For you have taught nothing right, but have taught everything contrary to baptism, sacrament, and penance. That is clear.

Among the Turks, however, there is the avantage that if someone is baptized, he is certainly not instructed in what is contrary to his baptism. Rather, the evil Turkish life and example is dangerous and offensive. And if someone were to teach directly against baptism, it would be easy to resist, because the Turk is no Christian and is scorned by a Christian, along with his doctrine. But here among you not only the example and life are dangerous, but you also teach against baptism and storm against it with words and works and do that in the name of Christ, as the dear fathers of souls and friends of baptism. That cuts like a sharp razor, as the Psalm [52:2] says. St. Peter, too, complains about you in II Peter 2 [:18], "For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely excapted from those who live in error."

Martin Luther, AE LW vol. 34 pp 31,32
Luther's accusation of the Roman Catholic Church written at the time of the Diet of Augsburg whence came the Augsburg Confession.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Free From Guilt

For an evil conscience can in no way be satisfied or converted to God unless it has died. Otherwise it always flees from God, from whom it should neither flee nor shrink, since God is such a good God that He should be the sole Refuge of all those who despair and are destitute of the help and comfort of all creatures. But a heart conscious of its guilt would rather be changed into a thousand forms and sooner rush through rocks, fires, bronze mountains, and finally to the devil himself than approach God.
Is it not great and deplorable wretchedness that we fear and shun Him concerning whom Holy Scripture so often asserts that He has become our Refuge from generation to generation? Indeed, if father and mother forsook us and cast us off, He would receive those who have been cast of, as Ps. 27:10 states: "My father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up." Therefore if all creation were to declare nothing else than that you are lost, cursed and damned, you would nevertheless have to say with Ps. 73:26-26" "Just as long as I have Thee, my flesh and my heart may fall, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." What do I care if only I have a gracious God?
AE Luther's Works vol. 7 pp 335-336.