I read a very important article in the May 2010 issue of the newsletter of the Coming Home Network. (The link is for their newsletter archive page.) It is not just one among the many stories of Protestants who convert to Catholicism. The man holds a Ph.D. and was an anti-Catholic Protestant church historian. In his careful research and study, with the intention of “assaulting the Catholic Church and winning converts,” he ended up becoming a convert to Catholicism! He discovered, much to his initial dismay but later to his great joy and gratitude, that it is the Protestant religion, not the Catholic religion, that is the unbiblical one. This account is a very clear and cogent summary of what he learned by studying the Bible, the early Church Fathers, and even some modern Protestant theologians: the Protestants misread Paul, and the Catholics had Christianity correct right from the beginning. He shows how modern evangelicalism is not even faithful to the Reformation, let alone to Apostolic Christianity. The claim that Protestantism is a recovery of the faith of the early Church is demonstrated to be bogus. All Catholics and Protestants should read this!
This article is in pdf format, and after bungling an attempt to convert it to Word, I’ve uploaded it here. The link below should take you there. You might be interested in reading some back issues of the CH Network newsletter at the above link. They may help confirm you in your conviction that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ!
[I’m adding the following information to this page just before “Reformation Day,” in the hopes that some people might realize just how corrupt the father of Protestantism was. If the root is so corrupt, what can one say of the whole plant? Why celebrate someone who caused millions of people to abandon the True Church? The following article, by Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, can be accessed here.]
I do not understand how men of the Church today, including some of the most cultured, learned, and illustrious, mythicize the figure of Luther, the heresiarch, in their zeal to favor an ecumenical rapprochement directly with Protestantism and indirectly with all the religions, schools of philosophy, and so forth.
Do they not perceive the danger that is lying in wait for all of us at the end of this road, that is, the formation on a world-wide scale of a sinister supermarket of religions, philosophies, and systems of all sorts, in which truth and error will be broken up in pieces, mixed together in a cacophonous confusion? The only thing missing from the world would be – if we could reach such a point – the whole truth, that is, the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Faith, with neither spot nor wrinkle.
Today I present some facts about Luther that clearly point up the odor that his revolted figure would spread in that supermarket, or rather, that morgue of religions, of philosophies, and of human thought itself. To him belongs, from a certain point of view, the role of being the point of departure in this march toward total confusion.
I have drawn these passages from the magnificent work of Fr. Leonel Franca, S.J., A Igreja, a Reforma, e a Civilização [The Church, the Reformation, and Civilization] (Rio de Janeiro, 1934).
A uniquely characteristic element of Luther’s teaching is the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Put more simply, this means that the superabundant merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ, alone and by themselves, without our cooperation, assure the eternal salvation of man, so that one may lead a life of sin in this world with neither remorse of conscience nor fear of God’s justice.
For Luther, the voice of conscience was not that of grace, but rather that of the Devil!
For this reason, he wrote to a friend that a man vexed by the Devil should occasionally “drink more abundantly, gamble, entertain himself, and even commit some sin out of hatred and spite for the Devil so that we may not give him an opportunity to disturb our consciences with trifles. The whole Decalogue should be erased from our eyes and our souls, from us who are so persecuted and molested by the Devil”.
(M. Luther, Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken, Ed. DeWette [Berlin, 1825-1828]; Franca, pp. 199-200)
Along the same line he also wrote: “God only obliges you to believe and to confess (the faith). In all other things He leaves you free, lord and master to do whatever you will without any danger to your conscience; on the contrary, it is certain that, as far as He is concerned, it makes no difference whether you leave your wife, flee from your lord, or are unfaithful to every obligation. What is it to Him if you do or do not do such things?” (Werke, Weimar ed., XII, pp. 131 ff.; Franca, p. 446)
The incitement to sin given in a letter to Melanchton on August 1, 1521, is perhaps even more categorical: “Be a sinner, and sin strongly (esto peccator et pecca fortiter), but believe and rejoice even more firmly in Christ, the conqueror of sin, of death, and of the world. During this life, we have to sin. It is sufficient that, by the mercy of God, we know the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Sin will not separate us from Him, even though we were to commit a thousand murders and a thousand adulteries per day”. (Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken, II, p. 37; Franca, p. 439)
This doctrine is so bizarre that even Luther himself could scarcely manage to believe in it: “There is no religion in the whole world that teaches this doctrine of justification; I myself, even though I teach it publicly, have a great difficulty in believing it privately”. (Werke, XXV, p. 330; Franca, p. 158)
Luther himself recognized the devastating effects of his admittedly insincere preaching: “The Gospel today finds adherents who are convinced that it is nothing but a doctrine that serves to fill their bellies and give free reign to all their impulses”. (Werke, XXXIII, p. 2; Franca, p. 440)
And Luther added, regarding his evangelical henchmen, that “they are seven times worse than they were before. After the preaching of our doctrine men have given themselves up to robbery, lying, imposture, debauchery, drunkenness, and every kind of vice. We have expelled one devil (the papacy), and seven worse ones have come in”. (Werke, XXVIII, p. 763; Franca, p. 441)
“After we understood that good works are not necessary for justification, I became much more remiss and cold in doing good…and if we could return now to the old state of things and if the doctrine of the necessity of good works to be holy could be revived, our alacrity and promptness in doing good would be different”. (Werke, XXVII, p. 443; Franca, p. 443)
All these insanities make it understandable how Luther reached a frenzy of satanic pride, saying of himself: “Does this Luther not appear to you to be eccentric? As far as I am concerned, I think he is God. Otherwise, how could his writings or his name have the power to transform beggars into lords, asses into doctors (of learning), falsifiers into saints, slime into pearls!” (Werke, Ed. Wittenberg, 1551, IV, pp. 378; Franca, p. 190)
At other times, Luther’s opinion of himself was much more objective: “I am a man exposed to and involved in society, debauchery, carnal movements, in negligence and other disturbances, to which are added those of my own office”. (Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken, I, p. 232; Franca, p. 232)
Excommunicated in Worms in 1521, Luther gave himself up to idleness and sloth. On July 13 of that year he wrote to Melanchton: “I find myself here insensate and hardened, established in idleness. Oh, woe! Praying little, and ceasing to moan for the Church of God, because my untamed flesh burns in great flames. In short, I, who ought to have the fervor of the spirit, have the fervor of the flesh, of licentiousness, sloth, idleness, and somnolence”. (Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken, II, p. 22; Franca, p. 198)
In a sermon preached in 1532: “As for me I confess, and many others could undoubtedly make an equal confession, that I am careless of discipline and zeal. I am much more negligent now than under the papacy; no one has ardor for the Gospel now like that you used to see”. (Saemtiliche Werke, XVII , p. 353; Franca, p. 441)
What, then, can be found in common between this morality and that of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church?
This article was originally published in the Folha de São Paulo, on January 10, 1984.
Just in case you need further evidence, here is a footnote published in Surprised by Truth, by Patrick Madrid (p.129). Not only was Luther wrong about many things—especially his cherished doctrine of salvation by faith alone—he even changed the words of the Bible in his own translation to support his unbiblical theology of salvation. And he even defiantly bragged that his own will was sufficient for changing the word of God!
“In order to substantiate his claims that man was justified by faith alone, Luther deliberately added the word ‘alone’ to his German translation of Romans 3:28. In reality, the only time ‘alone’ appears with the word ‘faith’ in the Greek text is in James 2:24 where it says we are ‘not saved by faith alone.’ Luther defended his novel addition bragging, ‘You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word “alone” is not in the text of Paul. If your Papist makes such an unnecessary row about the word “alone,” say right out to him: “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,” and say: “Papists and asses are one and the same thing.” 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, and it was not necessary for the Papists to teach me that. It is true those letters are not in it, which letters the jackasses look at, as a cow stares at a new gate… It shall remain in my New Testament, and if all the Popish donkeys were to get mad and beside themselves, they will not get it out.’ Cited in John Stoddard, Rebuilding a Lost Faith, (Rockford, IL: TAN Books), 136-137.”
The father of Protestantism…