Sunday, November 09, 2014

Why Was Luther Wrong - Part 7 - Sin

This is Part 7 of a series of 8 presenting "Why Was Luther Wrong" using Exsurge Domini from Pope Leo X.  This section deals with Luther's errors on sin.

31. In every good work the just man sins.
If it is a "good work" then there is no sin, especially if the work is done by a "just man."  The assumption is made that the man is justified, like Abraham was justified when he did not withhold his son when God instructed him to sacrifice Isaac (James 2:21-24) and it was by his works that Abraham was justified; by his works Abraham's faith was perfected.  There is no sin in the just man doing good works!
32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.
My response is much the same as the previous.  Speaking as a former Lutheran myself - I know that Luther's point here is sola fide (faith alone), the concept of which is utterly thwarted in James 2:24 - the ONLY place in Scripture where the words "faith" and "alone" are used together - and it is DENIAL of sola fide!
33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.
One must recall the time/period of Luther and this statement.  There was no separation of church and state at this time and heresy was seen as treason.  To this day treason is punishable by death in many countries.  It was most often the state which tried and put persons to death - but not always.  There were also cases (many of them, like Servetus) where Protestants put persons to death for heresy too.  To be fair, I am not aware of Lutherans doing this, but Calvinists and Anglicans of Luther's day have their share of blood on their hands.  My point here is that society in general supported capital punishment of heretics - regardless of which "side" they were on.  I would add too, there is this place called "Hell" which has an "eternal fire" (Jude 1:7) set aside for heretics from the Faith - so this would also make Luther's statement contrary to what God has in store for the heretic.
34. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.
If there is a cause for a just war then it is the responsibility of the country to protect herself.  That God might use an enemy force to punish iniquities is not an excuse not to defend ones self and country.
35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.
In order for a sin to be a mortal sin it has to be done with full consent of the will, thus if there happened to be some "hidden vice" then it would not be with full consent and thus not a mortal sin.
36. Free will after sin is a matter of title only; and as long as one does what is in him, one sins mortally.
Without free will there would be no just cause for God to condemn actual sin (mortal or venial).  Since our God is a Just God, free will is necessary for God's justice.  We should also remind the Lutheran that there are indeed two types of sin, one which is unto death (mortal) and one which is not unto death (venial).  See 1 John 5:16.

See the Indices Page for the complete listing of these articles.

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