Friday, September 21, 2012

Were the Reformers Heretics? part 1

Please note that the entire series entitled "Were the Reformers Heretics"? can now be viewed by clicking here as one complete essay.

The post below originally went from the "Introduction" to the sentence: "Luther ... receipt of the remission of sin."


Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Thomas,

I don't know if you will have this in this series, but it would be interesting to our readers if you included the story of your time at Westminster in a history class under Carl Trueman, when you asked him about John Calvin and baptism. I recall that you did that, but I'm not 100% sure. What say ye?

Anonymous said...


The Reformation got some things right and a lot of things wrong. One thing seems certain, though: It did not (and perhaps could not) produce a vibrant personal Christianity. It was too mired in church-state politics, Augustinianism, anal personalities, and warmongering for that.

T. Pennock

Joshua said...

Not Scriptural, but I have the following policy that has served me well:

Do not learn doctrine from men who would have killed, tortured or imprisoned you if they could have got their hands on you in their day.

If all the Reformers were flaming pederasts or confirmed rapists, they would have as many adherents as you can count on one hand. But because they applied their energies in the direction of persecution and murder instead, and it's 500 odd years ago now, we're supposed to just look back and laugh?

I'll learn from Paul because Paul was a persecutor, and the Lord saved him from it. I couldn't give two figs for the doctrine of men who were supposedly redeemed and then turned their hand to that practice.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

I was taking English Reformation Texts, a Ph. D./Th. M. class at Westminster, from Dr. Trueman. From that class, it was clear that he was:

1.) Very intelligent.

2.) From a very conservative Presbyterian tradition.

3.) He said, if I recall correctly, that he was converted over a period of a few months. (I hope I'm wrong on that one/misunderstood him.--this is about a decade ago, after all.)

4.) In relation to your specific question: I actually had asked him if Luther believed in baptismal regeneration. His reply--which I do remember clearly--was "of course."

It is not a matter of debate within serious scholarship that Luther believed in baptismal regeneration. Nobody is denying it. The only people I know who deny that Luther believed in baptismal regeneration are Baptists who have received hagiographical, "fundamentalized," and purged revisionist history of Luther through, say, high school textbooks from places such as Pensacola or BJU that purge out Luther's heresies. It is as easy to argue that Luther denied baptismal regeneration as it is to argue that the Pope was a Lutheran and that Luther excommunicated the Pope from the Roman Catholic religion.

Luther's doctrine of baptism is that of a modern, unconverted, conservative Lutheran in the Wisconsin or Missouri Synod.

KJB1611 said...

By the way, leaving Romanism and joining the Reformed or Lutheran churches did not require personal conversion; it required changing one's assent to doctrinal affirmations. If, say, one's prince decided that an area was now going to be Lutheran or Reformed, and the Catholic priests or Catholic populace was willing to mentally assent to different doctrinal propositions, everything was fine. Personal conversion and the new birth were certainly not required--saving grace had been sealed to one and all in baptism.

Unknown said...

Timely series especially with "Reformation Day" ahead (Oct. 31). I haven't looked over this in details, but I will, Lord willing, soon.