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History Notes > Luther and the German Reformation Notes

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Need love - greater than the papacy

'Hear this, O pope, not of all men the holiest but of all men the most sinful! O that God from heaven would soon destroy your throne and sink it into the abyss of hell!'

1518 - met Cajetan in Augsburg Leipzig Debate - summer 1519

1. Extravagant dress

Removed medieval distinction between clergy and laity

Main abuses

Written in German

2. Abuse of eating and drinking

Background Temporal power has no jurisdiction over them

3. Open and common brothels

First wall - spiritual and secular classes

'all Christians are truly of the spiritual estate' 'baptism, gospel and faith alone make us spiritual and a Christian people'

To the Christian Nobility - August 1520 Abolish pilgrimages

God will canonise saints - do not create places of pilgrimage

Priesthood of all believers Three walls

Clerical marriage

Difference between murder of a priest and a peasant

List of issues and solutions Confession to brothers and sisters

Second wall - only pope can interpret Scripture

Abolish festivals - retain Sunday People neglect work and spend money

Third wall - council needs sanction by the pope The Pope

Do not canonise saints

Worldly and ostentatious Abolish begging

Yet they cannot point to a single letter of proof

Praise of the temporal authorities

Reference to the devil

Has not found errors in John Huss's writings Real Antichrist

Only hold one benefice University reform Discard Aristotle

'Since, then, such devilish rule is not only barefaced robbery, deceit and the tyranny of hell's portals, but ruinous to the body and soul of Christendom, it is our duty to exercise all diligence to protect Christendom from such misery and destruction'

Now that Italy is sucked dry, the Romanists are coming into Germany

Evils of Rome

Wolves lying in wait for sheep

Written in Latin Final break with Catholicism

Nearly half on Lord's Supper and Baptism

Discusses engagement, impediments and divorce

Suppressed in Ducal Saxony

Erasmus - 'the breach is irreparable'

The treatise

Wicked and despotic to deny both kinds

Aleander - completely blasphemous

Confirmation, marriage, ordination and extreme unction are not sacraments Nothing in scripture on ordination being a sacrament

1. Withholding cup from the laity

Wanted to show Luther to be a heretic

Translated into German by Thomas Murner

Give grace - why not lesser sign? => why do priests receive both?

3 captivities of the Lord's Supper

Priests are not lords but servants - must administer both kinds

2. Transubstantiation

Lord's Supper

Flesh and blood of Christ

'all of us that have been baptised are equally priests'

3. Sacrifice of the mass

Priesthood of all believers

No mention of this by the holy fathers

Infants partake through faith of the Church

Word of the gospel, not the law

Substance and accidents e.g. red-hot iron =>

The Babylonian Captivity of the Church - October 1520

'we are all equally priests' - same power in respect to the Word and the sacraments

Sign - memorial or remembrance of his promise Nature of sacraments

Have abolished it

word + sign Divine promise and faith

Contrition as a work and merit - not faith Faith Confession is necessary and commanded of God

Penance Does not desire or need works

Mystery or secret thing received by the faith of the heart

Confess to brothers and sisters Receive mass, give prayer Not 7 sacraments - baptism, penance and the bread Absolution should follow satisfaction

Christ's testament Death

Should have one single sacrament - 3 sacramental signs

Very few remember baptism or glory in it Promise Divine promise - belief and baptism => saved (Mark 16:16)


All sacraments are to nourish faith Signifies death and resurrection

Infants are aided by the faith of others

Power consists in the words of Christ

Good work

Not a good work - cannot commune for someone else

'It is you Romans who are the heretics and godless schismatics, for you presume upon your figments alone against the clear Scriptures of God'

Not a sacrifice Against vows - faith alone Require faith and grace

Cannot be proved from scripture

Should not judge others - edifying love Glories of the Christian life are not preached about or sought after

After Leipzig Debate - returned to Wittenberg and wrote a lot

A Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbour

Conciliatory spirit Unyielding, stubborn ceremonialists

2 classes of men

Simple-minded, ignorant men - weak in the faith

Miltitz wanted to prevent a rift in the Church


First published in German - yet also in Latin Must discipline his body Leo as a lamb in the midst of wolves
- Babylon of the Roman Curia

The Freedom of a Christian - November 1520

Subject it to the Spirit

Eck was the Devil's servant

Outer man

Works - done only to please God


A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none

Builder and house analogy

Can be misinterpreted

Priesthood of all believers

Good works do not make a good man but a good man does good works

A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all

Trees exist before their fruits Twofold nature of man - spiritual and bodily Works cannot glorify God Not works, only faith


Promise of God - believe in Christ

'One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ'

Only thing necessary for the soul

31powers1of1faith: Christ's1atonement181no1need1for1works Promises1of1New1Testament Wedding1ring1of1faith

Commandments => realise our helplessness

Faith unites soul with Christ - wedding ring Teaches us inwardly though the living instruction of his Spirit

'we are also priests forever'

Ceremonies are the test of the righteousness of faith

10 directors must constantly investigate state of the poor

Appoint pastor

Wants)decline)in) existing)foundations

Household preaching

Monkery)1)harmful) error)and)deception Preface Annual contribution

Let)them)dwindle) away)or)help)them) to)disappear

Provisions Distributed amongst poor

2 barrels for foodstuffs

Box for coins

Governing)authorities) should)take)over) property

Common chest

2 nobility 2 council 3 town citizens 3 rural peasantry

3.)Common)chest)1) gifts)to)the)needy

Schoolmaster for boys

10 elected trustees



Ordinance)of)a) Common)Chest)1) Leisnig,)1523

No begging


Solicitation of alms




Also instruct girls under 12

Pastor - Word of God

All have own keys General assembly 3 times a year

Key ideas

No toleration for begging

Support for old and ill


Avoid drink, fornication, gambling etc.

Universal priesthood - rights to parish property

Used)to)be)called) bona%ecclesiae%1) common)property

Archbishop - secular pomp Obligated to wage war against the Turks - vengeance for pillage and murder

Choice to refuse evil and do good

Weak and miserable without God Instituted by God

Hindered by the devil


'No attention is paid to how one teaches, or believes, loves, how one lives a Christian life, how to care for the poor, how one comforts the weak, or punishes the unruly and whatever else belongs to such an office'

Bishop means supervisor or visitor Other rules on the Christian Ban and the teaching of children

Free Will

Not obligated to teach and rule in spiritual affairs

Preface Appeal to John, Duke of Saxony

No divorce

Obligated to order things so that rebellion does not arise amongst subjects

Keep some holy days Divides up teaching the gospel

The Doctrine Sin to dishonour sacrament True repentance Promise of righteousness and eternal life - remission of sin

Examination before the sacrament


Should be taught the difference between church order and secular government

Preach the whole Gospel

The Ten Commandments

3. Teach reason for the use of the sacrament

Fear God and show contrition Sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord

2. Both kinds Unless weak Christians

Elements of the Christian life

Use German where most do not understand Latin

1. True body and blood of Christ

10 Commandments
- teach good works

Sinful not to pray For both spiritual and temporal things

True Christian Prayer

Children are to be baptised

Keep Sabbath holy

Should be grateful preserves peace e.g. grateful for saving child

Obey government

2. Faith that sins will be forgiven True Christian Penance Still obedient to harsh government

1. Need true contrition and terror before God

2. Faith => forgiveness of sins and righteousness

3. Good works



Hear Word of God

Should not use sword without government authority - live by the sword, die by the sword

1. Repentance / contrition

All tribulation is from God

In German Not just for children reminds others to repent

Fear judgement of God


Baptism Honour parents

Preach repentance and forgiveness of sins

Water - penitence, contrition and sorrow


'each tribulation washes away sin, if its pain is endured in faith'

after&Exsurge&domine Still&identified&with&


Temptation - test and proof of our faith

Thomas&a&Kempis Suffering

New&ideas&and&influences Late&medieval&

'all suffering is a punishing rod with which the heavenly Father visits, cleanses and beautifies his children'


Widely&used Anabaptists&5&

Better to have death of flesh and life of spirit


Rejoice in suffering

Faith dependent upon it


Take up the cross - suffering, mockery, ridicule, death and destruction

Word of God

Bible - so clear that a layman can understand it

'I know that there is no greater virtue on earth and in heaven than detachment, when a person leaves behind all possessions, honour, friends, body and soul' Christ - 'I have come to send a sword - a sword which separates children from their parents'

Places detachment ahead of works and suffering

'I will willingly divest myself of my archdeaconate and all the goods which I have; forgive father, mother, brothers and sisters; and surrender [Gelassen] everything in body and soul which draws me away and distances me from divine promises. I know that I must be yielded [Gelassen]
and that I must let go [Gelassen] of all creatures and that I must not trust any angel who wishes to teach and bless me other than as delineated in the Bible'

Otherwise devil will find you

Scripture is the sword

Must be accomplished with suffering, blood and death

e.g. Hus

1. Images are wrong against 1st commandment (no other gods before me)

2. Carved or painted idols on altars are even worse

3. Necessary to do away with them - give reasons from Scripture

Should prevent begging and forestall hunger

Show that there are not Christians in the town

Removal of Images Images are an abomination

Concerning Beggars

We attribute holiness to images - call them saints

Give them a trade or job Deuteronomy - you are to destroy altars and smash images

Cloisters are wicked

Monks and nuns should leave monasteries

Appearance and external signs of God Falsehood of images

On the Removal of Images and That There Should Be No Beggars Among Christians - 1522

Church income and interest

Authorities should have done this

Heart is far from God

Crucifixion - only see physical suffering

Common box


Exodus 20:3 - 'You shall have no other gods before me'

Christ says the spirit gives life

'It cannot be true therefore that images are the textbooks of lay persons. For they are unable to learn their salvation from them'

'Without the power of Christ, no one will be saved; but without the physical form of Christ, many thousands shall be saved in days to come'

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