Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ask Dr. Massey (II)

If you want water, you must go to the well.

Q (from Dr J): Belloc claims that Justification by Faith Alone was an afterthought, and that Luther's prime motivation was the denial of priestly power.

A (from Dr K): I really can't go along with that. First, Luther and the movement after him continued to have a role for an ordained minister of the Word *AND* Sacrament. And abundant writings by the man confirm his overarching focus on the heresy of Sola Fide, to include adding the word "alone"  (allein) where the Greek does not have it in Romans 3:28. So it wasn't a mere afterthought. It was the lens through which he viewed everything else.

Interestingly, the sermon I delivered on Sunday at my Church was on Luther and this point. I had read from Galatians 2:15ff which states that we are saved by Faith and not by works of the Law. Then the priest read from the Gospels about the soil that fell on various qualities of soil. And the visual I used in the sermon was to hold up to the congregation the seemly though simple green hard bound book of the Apostolikon (the book of the epistles for readings at Church) and then showed the book the priest had read, three times the size and gilded. And I made the point that any casual observer would certainly not assume that our community considers anything in the Apostolikon to outrank what is in that Gilded book. But yet that is exactly what Martin Luther did, and then even interprets Jesus in light of St. Paul. (For instance, the story of the Sheep and the Goats in which salvation is meeted out "according to what each has *done* in way of acts of charity flies in the face of the quietist tendencies of a dogmatic Sola Fide community.)

(I have penned a meditation upon this subject, lighly disguised as a detective-story, in “Lost and Found”, collected in I Don’t Do Divorce Cases.)

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