October 23, 2017

Luther: Living in a “Halloween” World

Werwolf (detail), Cranach

Werwolf (detail), Cranach

 

And though this world with devils fill’d
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath will’d
His truth to triumph through us.

• Martin Luther, trans. Frederick Hedge

Brother Martin lived in God’s presence, but they were generally three, for the Devil was seldom absent.

G.W. Foote

• • •

The world in which Martin Luther lived and led a Reformation was a magical one in which spirits filled the common imagination. The woodcut above by Lucas Cranach (1512), who later did many illustrations on behalf of Reformation causes, pictures a folkloric world of dark woods and the threatening presence of mythic creatures like the werewolf, here seen devouring a peasant woman’s family. Halloween was not a dress-up holiday to them, but an ever-present imaginative reality.

In Heiko A. Oberman’s remarkable study of the Reformer, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, the author contends that we cannot understand the good monk without accepting that he was a man “raised with the devil.” Oberman argues that it was not only his mother, whom Luther’s enemies described as a backwards peasant woman who introduced young Martin to a world full of demons. Indeed, the rumor they spread included the tale that the boy was conceived in a bathhouse through intercourse between his mother and the Devil himself! But belief in spirits and witchcraft and the devil were not simply the superstitions of ignorant peasants. Oberman says even the most erudite humanists of the time maintained such beliefs.

Today, I share with you a quote from Heiko A. Oberman, setting forth Luther’s mindset.

Luther’s world of thought is wholly distorted and apologetically misconstrued if his conception of the Devil is dismissed as a medieval phenomenon and only his faith in Christ retained as relevant or as the only decisive factor. Christ and the Devil were equally real to him: one was the perpetual intercessor for Christianity, the other a menace to mankind till the end. To argue that Luther never overcame the medieval belief in the Devil says far too little; he even intensified it and lent to it additional urgency: Christ and Satan wage a cosmic war for mastery over church and world. No one can evade involvement in this struggle. Even for the believer there is no refuge — neither monastery nor the seclusion of the wilderness offer him a chance for escape. The Devil is the omnipresent threat, and exactly for this reason the faithful need the proper weapons for survival.

There is no way to grasp Luther’s milieu of experience and faith unless one has an acute sense of his view of Christian existence between God and the Devil: without a recognition of Satan’s power, belief in Christ is reduced to an idea about Christ — and Luther’s faith becomes a confused delusion in keeping with the tenor of his time.

Attempts are made to offer excuses for Luther by pointing out that he never doubted the omnipotence of God and thus determined only narrow limits for the Devil’s activities. Luther himself would have been outraged at this view: the omnipotent God is indeed real, but as such hidden from us. Faith reaches not for God hidden but for God revealed, who, incarnate in Christ, laid himself open to the Devil’s fury. At Christmas God divested himself of his omnipotence — the sign given the shepherds was a child “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12) . To Luther Christmas was the central feast: “God for us.” But that directly implies “the Devil against us.” This new belief in the Devil is such an integral part of the Reformation discovery that if the reality of the powers inimical to God is not grasped, the incarnation of Christ, as well as the justification and temptation of the sinner, are reduced to ideas of the mind rather than experiences of faith. That is what Luther’s battle against the Devil meant to convey. Centuries separate Luther from a modern world which has renounced and long since exorcised the Devil, thus finding it hard to see the difference between this kind of religion and medieval witchcraft. But Luther distinguished sharply between faith and superstition. He understood the hellish fears of his time, then discovered in the Scriptures the true thrust and threat of Satan and experienced himself the Devil’s trials and temptations. Consequently he, unlike any theologian before or after him, was able to disperse the fog of witches’ sabbath and sorcery and show the adversary for what he really was: violent toward God, man and the world. To make light of the Devil is to distort faith. “The only way to drive away the Devil is through faith in Christ, by saying: ‘I have been baptized, I am a Christian.”’

macbr131The following chronicle of his own encounter with the Devil as a poltergeist has a clearly medieval ring:

It is not a unique, unheard-of thing for the Devil to thump about and haunt houses. In our monastery in Wittenberg I heard him distinctly. For when I began to lecture on the Book of Psalms and I was sitting in the refectory after we had sung matins, studying and writing my notes, the Devil came and thudded three times in the storage chamber [the area behind the stove] as if dragging a bushel away. Finally, as it did not want to stop, I collected my books and went to bed. I still regret to this hour that I did not sit him out, to discover what else the Devil wanted to do. I also heard him once over my chamber in the monastery.

The final passage, with its pointed formulation and its underlying expression of contempt for the Devil, was amazing at the time and is overlooked today: “But when I realized that it was Satan, I rolled over and went back to sleep again.” It is not as a poltergeist that the Devil discloses his true nature, but as the adversary who thwarts the Word of God; only then is he really to be feared. He seeks to capture the conscience, can quote the Scriptures without fault, and is more pious than God — that is satanical.

When I awoke last night, the Devil came and wanted to debate with me; he rebuked and reproached me, arguing that I was a sinner. To this I replied: Tell me something new, Devil! I already know that perfectly well; I have committed many a solid and real sin. Indeed there must be good honest sins — not fabricated and invented ones — for God to forgive for His beloved Son’s sake, who took all my sins upon Him so that now the sins I have committed are no longer mine but belong to Christ. This wonderful gift of God I am not prepared to deny [in my response to the Devil], but want to acknowledge and confess.

Luther’s purpose is not to spread fear but to strengthen the resistance of the faithful. Like Christ, the Devil is omnipresent. He acts and reacts, is drawn and challenged by anything that smacks of Christ and true faith. Here is found a radical deviation from the medieval concept of the Devil, according to which the evil one is drawn by the smell of sin, the sin of worldly concern. In Luther’s view, it is not a life dedicated to secular tasks and worldly business that attracts and is targeted by the Devil. On the contrary, where Christ is present, the adversary is never far away: “When the Devil harasses us, then we know ourselves to be in good shape!”. . .

(p. 104f)

 

What can we learn from Luther and his thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and actions regarding the Devil and the spirit world? Are these to be viewed merely as remnants of a bygone age of medieval superstition? Or does he have things to say which can inform and assist us in our lives today?

Comments

  1. I think that one of the devil’s biggest coups is that he has made people believe that he doesn’t exist.

  2. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

    I once wrote a comic book where Martin Luther was a supernaturalist (think Constantine). It was pretty good. And perhaps not as far off the mark as I had intended!

    • So, where is this gem hiding? I need to know which house to burgle.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Lol. Unfortunately, the script was for a classic 20-page comic book, but I only got about 1/3 done with the art.

        • I have a friend who publishes comic books if you ever want to revive it!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          That reminds me so much of all those small-press comics during the black-and-white boom of the Eighties, and so many fannish projects since. Start out strong but lose steam somewhere along the line.

  3. I rarely give the devil much thought. My own sinful nature gives me enough to worry about. I’m sure he holds more importance in others’ lives so I do not discount their beliefs and DO respect them for their beliefs. Just not for ME!

  4. I am not ignorant of the things that Jesus and His brother James have said. I realize that when I have done something wrong it can’t be attributed to someone else. I am not ignorant of the thoughts being thrown at me at times are not my own. Sometimes gross and disgusting things I never thought of before the last six plus years of my life. Always given in an accusatory way.

    I need the blood of the Lamb to atone for me and in that he is the one who has taken away my sin. Thank you Luther for such a comment. It seems to me those who work to further the Kingdom should be aware of such things.

    It is funny how we can take rational things and believe them and then years later when they change or science says no we were wrong it is more this way than that we still take it and say it is true. Jesus said things like if you can’t understand earthly matters how can you understand spiritual. Of course the rationalist approach totally neglects the other realms of who we are. Combined them and see where we end up. String theory is just a step into the spiritual realm. Dawkins who believes there is no God does His work. It would be a shame if his last day here he finally realizes that there is a God and can’t tell no one.

    We can believe in God but that something He created wanting to be Him doesn’t exist. Yet we see to different natures at work within our world all the time both of which we participate in unfortunately. We love and we hate. We have knowledge and we have ignorance. I have enough trouble of my own too. If I can believe in God then I can believe there are other things out there that want my worship and don’t care about me the way God has sending His only son to be of such help to me in this struggle that would be to my ruin. If this isn’t the foundation of salvation and redemption then what did he come for. I would be hard pressed to say I believe in Jesus without recognizing the things He was saying about other things that are going on around us.

    His many sayings about such things are there yet when we say we hand pick scripture to prove points and we hand pick what we want to believe and do the very same things we critique. How many time here do I see the relish in someones comments proclaiming darkness as shock and awe in the attempt to get responses and in the way of cheap control which isn’t so far as the same tactics used by the very darkness they are proclaiming doesn’t exist.

    Yes Oscar I agree and I see things in the light of Christ’s testifying. I too see the things my son and his friends fall for and I want them to see that they cannot fill them. I want them to see there is someone that can and overcome them so they can live freely and love in that way.

    I think it was tiring that was said. I am tired too all the time. My back hurts from morning to night. Thank you Adam. My work today is what I have to do and I will be in conversation with the one who never leaves me and I am not staying paralyzed anymore. I am moving on without my sis here and I think I will join the Christmas choir for the 3rd time in my life and sing to the ones I love. Do you think she will hear me.

    • W…….You bet I think she’ll hear you! Sing with gusto!

    • W~ What WaltG sez! I believe your sister hears you when you direct thoughts and conversation her way, and I expect some day the two of you will sit down and talk about all the ways you grew even more than you would have if she had not left early. Certainly a healthier communion than this Halloween business we’ve been wallowing in lately. Your sister is not dead, she is more alive than ever she was and a lot happier.

  5. I find myself wondering whether Luther’s experiences were in any way similar to mine and he just interpreted them differently, or whether his experience of life was from a completely different planet, so to speak. Whatever the case, I find it hard to make head nor tail of what he’s talking about (though I rather like his response to the devil’s appearance:

    “I already know that perfectly well; I have committed many a solid and real sin. Indeed there must be good honest sins — not fabricated and invented ones — for God to forgive for His beloved Son’s sake, who took all my sins upon Him so that now the sins I have committed are no longer mine but belong to Christ.”

    I don’t suffer from great fears or temptations or darkness and don’t spend time contemplating my sins, which may just mean that I am just a rather obtuse person! But regardless of why it is the case, I find that I have no experience that would equate to the existence of a devil: to slightly reuse Laplace’s quote in a different context, “I have no need of that hypothesis”.

  6. “It is not a unique, unheard-of thing for the Devil to thump about and haunt houses. In our monastery in Wittenberg I heard him distinctly. For when I began to lecture on the Book of Psalms and I was sitting in the refectory after we had sung matins, studying and writing my notes, the Devil came and thudded three times in the storage chamber [the area behind the stove] as if dragging a bushel away. Finally, as it did not want to stop, I collected my books and went to bed. I still regret to this hour that I did not sit him out, to discover what else the Devil wanted to do.”

    “Like Christ, the Devil is omnipresent.”

    Those two lines jumped out to me. The devil is omnipresent? And his direct encounter was with the devil banging around in a closet? Probably either the pointy tail or pitchfork. And his reaction was to…go to bed??

    Certainly a different time. I can’t speak to the nature of demons or what kind of power they actually have, but this is at least a humble reminder that nobody, no matter how far back we go or how systematic the theology, existed in a vacuum without a culture that shaped what they see and believe.

    • If you visit Luther’s suite in the Wartburg Castle (above the town of Eisleben), where he hid out for a year and translated the New Testament into German, you can see the spot on the wall where he threw his ink-pot at the Devil one night. The museum staff dabs a bit of new ink on that spot every year, as it fades due to sunlight, to make sure that the tourists don’t miss it.

  7. “Like Christ, the Devil is omnipresent.”

    I’d definitely disagree with this line. The classic three “omni” attributes (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent) are reserved for God alone.

    That said, we’ve done quite a bit of deliverance ministry in my parish over the years, and though I’ve only been on staff for 10 months or so, I’ve definitely seen some stuff that convinces me that the devil is indeed real. If Our Lord cast out devils and was himself tempted by Satan, I think it’s reasonable to expect similar things as we minister in His name.

    I’ve got a copy of the 1972 Church of England report commission by the Bishop of Exeter on Exorcism, and it’s probably the most balanced take on “spiritual warfare” I’ve come across that was written in the last 100 years or so. It was edited by Dom Robert Petitpierre and is readily available on the Internet.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      But you bring up a good point which is that all the major Christian traditions since the apostles until today believe in the Devil and demons, and most have at least some kind of formalized exorcism rituals. As weird as I find some of these quotes, I have to remember that it is I who am “weird” in orientation to church history, and not hte other way around.

    • On the “omni’s”: there’s a long history of people imagining the world as controlled by two co-equal gods aligned with good and evil. It looks a lot to me like that Bible, and the related rabbinical literature, is playing with that imagery but decisively rejecting any suggestion at co-equality. Whatever one thinks Satan is doing, the knowledge and power attributed to him must be far smaller than anything attributed to God. Everywhere, all the time? Nah.

      We don’t picture Michael or Gabriel this way, that I am aware of. Only a desire to believe that Satan is personally dealing with a whole lot of us at once makes him sound more powerful.

      That’s OK … I prefer not to have him in my basement.

  8. To deny the existence of Satan one must remove significant portions of scripture in both testaments. Personified evil is actually very easy to conceive, just as personified good is easy to conceive. It makes sense.

    • I wouldn’t have said there were significant portions of scripture (though that’s quibbling a bit, as ‘significant’ is not a particularly precise measure!), nor is it necessary to remove them, any more than it would be necessary to remove poetic language about God or nature from scripture.

      As to personified evil being easy to conceive, I don’t find it is. Lewis comes closest to convincing me, I think – but I find it difficult to conceive of something that is evil for the sake of being evil.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        I think I agree more with Chris here. The passages that speak of the devil are virtually impossible to frame as poetry or some such. I think it is more honest to say that the apostles believed in demons, and we don’t any more. I would say that I believe in demons, but the blunt fact is that I do not live as if that is true. It becomes pure theory.

        • If you had said that there are significant portions of scripture that speak of demons (or unclean spirits), I would be more in agreement. But to my mind, the most significant portion of scripture that speaks of Satan that would need to be seen as poetic rather than historic would be the temptation of Jesus.

        • It’s fine to believe in them, but not worry about them or think about them much. Finite number of demonic beings, infinitely more humans on this earth…pretty good odds.

        • “I think it is more honest to say that the apostles believed in demons, and we don’t any more.”

          Who are the “we” to whom you are referring, Dr.? Many people, probably a majority in the world, continue to believe in the existence of demons, and for a good number of those people, demons seem as real and actively alive as they did to Martin Luther. Speaking for myself, sometimes I’m more skeptical about their existence, and other other times I’m less skeptical, but in practical terms I live and think as if they don’t exist. That probably puts me, and you, in the minority, not the majority. All those others say, “The apostles believed in demons, and we still do today.”

  9. I know this sounds strange, but years ago my best friend maintained there was a spirit living in his house and he would hear it walking around. He said one night it tried to pull him out of his body.

    I slept there one night and in the middle of the night I woke up and there was this big black figure in the room. I yelled and it woke my buddy up, and it was gone.

    I once saw a small woman throw men across the room when they were performing an exorcism. That stuff is real and I am glad I do not have anything to do with it.

    • I had a similar experience sleeping at a friend’s grandparent’s house that was “built on an indian burial ground”…which was pretty legit as it was northern wisconsin and we’ve got many tribes. But in this case, it was three or four dark figures standing near my bed. Didn’t scare me, they just stood there and stared, I talked to them, then went back to sleep. That’s about it.

  10. Replace that werewolf with an ISIS “soldier” and it’s a pretty accurate picture above.

    It’s all a mystery. Jesus told Peter to “get behind me Satan”. If Peter is capable of this, how much more are we? At the same time, if Peter is loved by Jesus despite of this, is Satan ultimately loved as well, in spite of his rebellion? Oh the questions…

    I’m just going to go back to watching the World Series.

  11. OldProphet says:

    Could the Devil repent of his sins? What would happen if he did?

    • OIs it possible to repent on “the other side”? The story of the rich man and Laz suggests otherwise.

      • If true love exists only if there is free will, who is to say there will not be an opportunity to sin against God in Heaven after Christs brings His sheep home? If Satan and his buddies did, why couldn’t we? Hmmmmm….

      • There seem to be (as far as I can see) a number of features that would suggest that the parable should not necessarily be read as a detailed picture of the afterlife e.g.
        – why is Lazarus named?
        – is being rich or poor really a deciding factor in whether someone is damned or not?
        – do the blessed really rest on Abraham’s bosom?
        – do the damned really have conversations with Abraham?

        • Good questions. To me, even as a parable, it conveys enough to get at least a blurry picture. Add to this the story of the sheep and the goats being separated. Surely the goats would want to repent after being separated, no? Wouldn’t anyone separated from God have a change of heart? Well, besides Satan and company?

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      If I recall my Milton correctly, which I probably do not–it’s been a while–Satan had the opportunity to change his mind fairly late in the process. This is what led to the “better to reign in hell” bit that we all know from Khan and Kirk. I also vaguely recall that some of the fallen angels did repent, which was Milton making a point. I don’t know if the door was shut after that.

    • Christiane says:

      in Catholic theology, satan is a fallen angel and fallen angels, once fallen, do not ‘repent’

      the grace of the offer of repentance and forgiveness and renewal is for mankind . . . think about the Incarnation, ‘what is assumed’ . . .

      this grace is not available for fallen angelic beings who chose darkness over the known light of God which had been fully revealed to them and in which they had dwelt as angelic beings fully cognizant of God as their Creator

    • If I remember my theology correctly, it has something to do with how angels experience time. As I recall, they inhabit something called aeviternity. Whereas eternity (which God alone experiences) is an eternal present and therefore not subject to change, while time on the other hand is a measure of constant change, aeviternity is a state in which change is possible but not obligatory.

      For humans in time, things are always on the move, we’re constantly changing in various ways, and so repentance is an ever-present possibility. For the angels, though, they can make a choice and simply stick with it. Their experience of time can preclude any later decisions. They can choose, essentially, not to have any ‘later’.

  12. ‘When I awoke last night, the Devil came and wanted to debate with me; he rebuked and reproached me, arguing that I was a sinner’

    I do that to myself, fairly often. It could be the devil accusing me, or just my own insecurity and legalism. But Luther’s response – tell me something I don’t know, seems healthy.

    For my own part, I would like an explanation of how the devil is essential to the Jewish/christian story, and therefore cannot be read as a pagan addition.

    I also wonder, is it alright to be wrong on this issue? Assume that there is such a being as the Devil, does non-belief keep you liable to attack?

    • ->”For my own part, I would like an explanation of how the devil is essential to the Jewish/christian story, and therefore cannot be read as a pagan addition.”

      Not sure if this actually answers your question, but lately I’ve been mulling on Jesus temptation in the desert. Seems to me Satan is very real in that account. I’ve also asked Jesus, “Tell me a bit about yourself here, what do you want me to know about you?” He seems to suggest that: 1) He has no fear of Satan. There’s no sense that Jesus is trembling or afraid in his interaction with Satan; and 2) He needed those particular temptations and that particular encounter in order to train himself for the end of his ministry, when he would again be tempted to call down legions of angels and provide a way out on a path that wasn’t to the cross. Anyway, the temptation in the desert seems too rooted in Christ’s ministry to be just a pagan add-on.

      ->”I also wonder, is it alright to be wrong on this issue? Assume that there is such a being as the Devil, does non-belief keep you liable to attack?”

      Since I think it’s rare that the Devil comes up to anyone and says, “I’m the Devil” (he is the father of lies, after all…not of honesty), I’m not sure that non-belief makes you more liable to attack, but maybe liable to buy into his deceptions and thus more liable to being “deceived.”

  13. Vega Magnus says:

    I’m inclined to think that the vast majority of alleged demonic activity is not real, however, I will accept the possibility that in some rare occasions, it is legit. I’m a hyper-rational person so I always first think of all of the potential natural explanations to “demonic” scenarios before accepting a supernatural explanation and I think that is probably the best thing for everyone to do, but that’s just my opinion. In any case, I’d have to say that most if not all demonic influence in the world is felt through the actions of human beings rather than by direct action from spirits, so it really comes down to fighting standard human evil anyway, so there isn’t much difference between supernatural influence and non-supernatural influence.

  14. “The devil can come all dressed up as an angel of light.”

    So often, we probably can’t tell the difference between good and evil.

    • This.

      I was having a conversation similar to this with a friend just yesterday. I said, “I think we tend to over-spiritualize things we shouldn’t and under-spiritualize things we should and probably fail at discernment most of the time.”

      Case in point, I could point to the upswing in our church’s attendance and say, “That’s God at work and pleased with what we’re doing” when maybe it’s just because of good marketing and gimmicks and programs, and then I might point to a church that’s struggling and say, “That’s God not pleased with them,” when actually they’re more representative of His Kingdom than I realize. I’m struggling more and more with “God’s in this but not in that,” the whole “He found me a parking spot,” when He didn’t find it in Him to heal a sister-in-law and the wife of a good friend.

      The difference between good and evil can be found in the fruit that’s born from a person, and in nothing else…right?

      • OldProphet says:

        This joke is typical of lots of Christians. A man was driving around a mall forever looking for a parking spot. Finally in desperation he cried, “Lord, if you get me a parking spot, then I promise to give up smoking, give up drinking, stop running women, and go to church”. Suddenly, a spot opened up in front of him and he said, “Oh, never mind Lord, I found one myself”. ????

  15. Chaplain Mike, yesterday you kindly invited me to drop you a line. Your “write us” link does not work as I don’t have the appropriate email client program installed. I do email through Comcast servers. If you can supply an email address I can write you directly. Otherwise, I am sorry I can’t. Thanks.

  16. If one is going to discuss the demonic, some care needs to be taken that demons don’t get too much turf in our imaginations. In the Bible, we’ve got two types of passages where Satan or demons get serious play: cosmic battles where one side always wins, and Gospel stories in which demons show up for the express purpose of being trounced. I see no point in administering CPR. To imagine a demon behind my failure to complete my homework, or the BUMP on my roof, is to venture into speculative thought, and lurid mental pictures, and it is totally extraneous to what I need to think about – which is (1) seeking Christ and (2) doing my homework.

    A very active Satan is absolutely necessary to understanding Luther – the concept was very alive in his imagination. But the aspect of Luther’s thought that seems most relevant to *me* is his eventual ability to roll over in bed and go back to sleep.

    • Yep.

      I wonder why his belief in demons, witches and ghosts is being given much credence here, as if his explanations were accurate? But i guess some folks (not necessarily commenters here) would agree with his viewx on Judaism as well.

      Just because a person is right about some things does not mean that he/she is right about everything, after all…

    • Coincidentally, i am rewatching “Slings & Arrows,” which is focused – among other things – on a production of Macbeth. The cast believes devoutly in the so-called curse dogging “the Scottish play,” while the director doesn’t. Virtually every misfortune, tiny or enormous, is blamed on the curse of “Maccers.” It’s left up to viewers to decide whether it is or isn’t a real thing. I think one reason it was done that way is to show that all of us have our own particular superstitions and fears, both imagined and real.

      I spent 30+ years in charismatic/evangelical circles – more than enough time to have been taken in by a lot of superstitious beliefs about the devil and demons, and certainly more than long enough to be very skeptical about it all at this point. That’s not to say that i don’t believe in the reality of evil, but that i *do* think most evangelical/charismatic talk on this subject is prettymuch equivalent to the belifs of those who insist that the Scottish play is cursed, and that uttering Macbeth’s full name anywhere in a theater inevitably blight both the actors and the production.

      That doesn’t mean that there is no reality *in the minds and emotions* of those who believe. But correlation and actual causation are not the same thing, in the vast majority of cases.

      Also keep in mind that in Luther’s day, most people held eclipses, comets and shooting stars to be either evil omens or signs of God’s judgement. If anyone had tried to explain (in 21st c. terms) what they really were (shadow of the earth or moon, meterorites, etc.) I suspect that person would have been viewed as evil or crazy or both.

  17. Patrick Kyle says:

    I have always subscribed to the ‘One Satan and many demons’ theory. I highly doubt the Devil himself has anything to do with me, or anyone I know, or my congregation. Demons maybe afflict most congregations or believers from time to time. I suspect the Devil is off engineering the next genocide, planting the seeds of corruption and war in governments, and insuring a lot of people die with stuff like Ebola. In this view I could very easily see Satan himself vexing Martin Luther, who was on the verge of pulling the rug out from under one of the Devil’s best schemes, the corruption of the Church and her teaching.

  18. I think that Luther’s famous hymn says it so well. “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. It states clearly the warfare in which Christians are engaged. We don’t warfare language today in the Church. Too militant. Not PC at all. But nevertheless a fact. Yet it is a victory hymn at the same time. Great theology that American Christians just don’t get. I mean who wants to let “goods and kindred go”? Thank you Brother Martin.