WCG, Romans, & Martin Luther

Protestant Reformer Martin Luther 


This morning, WCG sent out an email linking to the following written by its Joseph Tkach (bolding his):

The Apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the church in Rome nearly 2000 years ago. The letter is only a few pages long, less than 10,000 words, but its impact has been profound. At least three times in the history of the Christian Church this epistle has produced an upheaval that forever changed the church for the better.

One was in the early 1500s when an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther was trying to ease his conscience through living what he called a “life without reproach.” Yet in spite of obeying all the rituals and prescribed ordinances of his priestly order, Luther still felt alienated from God.

Then, as a university lecturer on the book of Romans, Luther found himself drawn to Paul’s declaration in Romans 1:17:

 “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (NIV).

The truth of this powerful passage finally struck Luther for what it was. He wrote:

“There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God…namely the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith…Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”

I think you know what happened next. Luther could not keep quiet about his rediscovery of the pure and simple gospel. The Protestant Reformation was a result.

As typical of many Protestants, Martin Luther’s writings are normally “sanitized” when quoted lest people really understand what Martin Luther really stood for.

The truth is that Martin Luther CHANGED a slightly later verse in Romans to justify a rallying cry he invented for the Protestant Reformation. 

Martin Luther, in his German translation of the Bible, specifically added the word “allein” (English ‘alone’) to Romans 3:28-a word that is not in the original Greek. Notice what a Protestant scholar has admitted:

…Martin Luther would once again emphasize…that we are “justified by faith alone”, apart from the works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28), adding the German word allein (“alone”) in his translation of the Greek text. There is certainly a trace of Marcion in Luther’s move (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 64-65).

Furthermore, Martin Luther himself reportedly said,

You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word alone in not in the text of Paul…say right out to him: ‘Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,’…I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102; see also Luther M. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127).

This passage strongly suggests that Martin Luther viewed his opinions, and not the actual Bible as the primary authority–a concept which this author will name prima Luther. By “papists” he is condemning Roman Catholics, but is needs to be understood that Protestant scholars (like HOJ Brown) also realize that Martin Luther changed that scripture.

So how could WCG’s J. Tkach actually write, “The truth of this powerful passage finally struck Luther for what it was“?

The truth of that passage was NEVER understood by Martin Luther because Martin Luther CHANGED THE BIBLE so he could promote lawlessness and justify his killings and hatreds.

Notice the following written by a Protestant theologian:

Alan Dershowitz opined, “’It is shocking that Luther’s ignoble name is still honored rather than forever cursed by mainstream Protestant churches.’”[1]  This sad state of affairs led the late Reformation historian Heiko Oberman to lament that many would have us choose between “two Luthers” – one, the “bold Reformer, the liberating theologian, the powerfully eloquent German”; the other, an “anti-Semite” who “wrote mainly about Jews,” and “preached hatred.”[2]  Such a choice is, of course, unnecessary.

Sadly, the history of Christianity has indeed been riddled by varying degrees of antisemitism, leading to oppression, marginalization, and – as in the Crusades and the Holocaust – even murder of Jews.[3]  While Luther certainly did not invent antisemitism, one cannot discuss the question of Christian antisemitism without reference to him.  He wrote at least five treatises on the subject of “the Jews” [4].  One in particular has fueled the greatest discussion of the reformer’s attitude toward Jews…

If Protestant Christians are to sincerely proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples, including Jews, such an enterprise must be entered into with full knowledge of the horrendous mistakes – indeed sins – of Christian forebears, including Luther’s (Probst C. Martin Luther and “The Jews” A Reprisal. The Theologian, UK (undated)  viewed 04/04/08 http://www.theologian.org.uk/churchhistory/lutherandthejews.html

The truth is worse than even portrayed above.   Martin Luther was NOT a true Christian, nor sadly are his Protestant followers.

Notice that Martin Luther advised his followers,

…to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulphur and pitch (Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 as quoted from Luther’s Works, Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). pp 268­, 293)

The fact is that Martin Luther, while correctly pointing out some of the flaws of the Roman Catholic Church, simply was not a real Christian.  Real Christians do not advocate racial hatred, nor do they kill (see also Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).

And people like WCG’s J. Tkach should know better than to promote Martin Luther.

Articles of related interest may include:

Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Living Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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