Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Martin Luther, The Large Catechism, The Apostles' Creed, Article III, paragraphs 43-45:

43] For where He does not cause it to be preached and made alive in the heart, so that it is understood, it is lost, as was the case under the Papacy, where faith was entirely put under the bench, and no one recognized Christ as his Lord or the Holy Ghost as his Sanctifier, that is, no one believed that Christ is our Lord in the sense that He has acquired this treasure for us, without our works and merit, and made us acceptable to the Father. What, then, was lacking? 44] This, that the Holy Ghost was not there to reveal it and cause it to be preached; but men and evil spirits were there, who taught us to obtain grace and be saved by our works. 45] Therefore it is not a Christian Church either; for where Christ is not preached, there is no Holy Ghost who creates, calls, and gathers the Christian Church, without which no one can come to Christ the Lord. 46] Let this suffice concerning the sum of this article. But because the parts which are here enumerated are not quite clear to the simple, we shall run over them also.

It seems that Dr. Martin Luther is denying here the fact of the Church's existence among the Roman Catholic Church of his time. I've learned here that while claiming that there were a lot of non-Christians in the Roman Catholic Church of his time, he still didn't consider all the clerics of the Roman Catholic Church as surely not the Church, however, these words that I just read in his Large Catechism (see the quotation above) seem to say the opposite. Can anyone, please, clarify this?

share|improve this question
2  
Is this not simply a case of "my church is the real church, you are doing the wrong [x]" ? (not uncommon, really) –  Marc Gravell Mar 17 '12 at 22:30
    
@MarcGravell - Marc, I don't quite understand your point here. –  brilliant Mar 18 '12 at 6:52
    
If a church is schisming/schismed, it follows that some people believe that some doctrine/dogma/practice was incorrect vs the "real" Christianity, so it is not uncommon to hear about the "real" church from one side or the other, who believe the other folks were wrong about whatever the split was about. –  Marc Gravell Mar 18 '12 at 8:34
1  
@Marc: In May I plan to tackle this topic head on. Not all splits are primarily motivated by religious differences. One interpretation of history is that many (if not most) church splits are cultural, societal, or institutional. Luther actually hoped (at least in the beginning) to reform the church rather than to split with Rome. (That seems to be part of the struggle of the question, in fact.) –  Jon Ericson Mar 19 '12 at 17:14
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think he is speaking in the abstract. But without reading more context, I can't be sure if the entire passage is meant that way.

Take the first quoted sentence:

For where He does not cause it to be preached ... it is lost.

I think the rest of the passage is meant in the same context. In other words, I think the point he is making (by reordering the sentence) is:

For where Christ is not preached ... there is no Holy Ghost [and] ... it is not a Christian Church, either.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.