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.

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