Monday, June 11, 2012

The best book on Martin Luther now available on Google Play Books!

Martin Luther: The Man and the Image

By Herbert David Rix

By far and away, the best book written on Matin Luther in the 20th Century was "Martin luther: The Man and the Image" by Medieval scholar and Erasmus expert Herbert David Rix.  It was published by a small independant New York press Irvington Publishers in 1983.  It did not receive much press.  I obtained a used copy in a small bookshop in Oxford, UK in 1989.  I had never heard of it before, but as I glanced through it in the shop, I knew it was a must read.  My expectations were more than realized.  it was essentailly a life-changing book and I used it as the basis for an extended lecture on Martin Luther entitled "The Death of Charity" which I delivered to the Pro Fide Forum at Westminster Cathedral in London in October 1989.

Dr. Rix did an extended survey of Luther's works from the Weimar Edition of Luther's collected works.  He also did a survey of the various analyses of Luther's personality and work by his 16th Century contemporaries and by scholars since the Quadricentenniel of his birth in 1883.  Rix makes several connections in the timeline of Luther that I have not seen documented in other biographical materials.  He also gives a plusible (if somewhat dated) psychological profile of the heretic using pre-DSM3 categories.

In short, Dr. Rix thinks that Luther suffered from a severe manic-depressive disorder puncutated with periods of extreme mania that bordered on the psychotic and characterized by a poor self image, severe depression, and delusions of grandeur.  In this view he was not alone.  he quotes from previous authors who wrote about Luther including Erasmus, Richard Simon, Preserved Smith, Fr. Heinrich Denifle, Fr. Hartman Grisar, Preserved Smith, Paul Reiter, and Eric Eriksson. 

Based on his masterful summary in this book, it is abundantly clear that Luther was suffering from severe mental illness and that ths illness lay as the foundation of his alleged religious "breakthrough." To put it bluntly, the theological foundation of Protestnatism is mental illness.  Luther's amoral and antinomian heresy of "justification by faith alone unformed by charity and without good works" was a personal catharsis which the heretic used to control his periods of depression.


This book has been out of print for over a decade, but now Google Play has a PDF version of it that is available here for $16.50!  It would be cheap at twice the price. 

Drop everything and check this book out!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ecclesial Deism: Former Protestants Admit the Problem of the Innovations of the 16th Century

In Catholic Apologetics we many times end up dealing with the usual suspects.  You know who they are.  the radicals who question whether Catholics are even Christian and who KNOW they are going to heaven but are not really sure about anyone else.  I have generally found these types of Protestant apologists to be rude, arrogant, condescending, and not at all Christ-like.  They are the types who think that Salvation is a purely OBJECTIVE phenomenon with no subjective component either on God's part or our own.  The 'god' they worship doesn't really care about human beings.  He just uses them to prove how great He is.  And the 'elect' in their view are chosen arbitrarily with no reference to either their love for God or man.  I refer to these kind of Protestants as 'Death Eaters' or 'The Kampus Krusade for Kthulhu.'

Numbered among these ne'er-do-wells are James 'Pseudopodeo' White, Robert Reymond, Jack Chick, James Swann, Jimmy Swaggart and his spawn Donnie, Robert Zins, and the ever militant Ian Paisley just to name a few.  This crowd will literally tell you that unless someone believed in "Luther's view of salvation of faith alone apart from good  works" that person could not be saved.  They are actually willing to consign 1500 years of pre-Deformation Christians and 500 years of post-Defomation non-Protestants to eternal punishment in a "christless eternity"  because they either rejected OR NEVER KNEW Luther's private interpretations.  The teaching of the church from time immemorial is eother denied, misrepresented,  or ignored as unimportant.  Pushed to the extreme, they will claim that the Church apostatized in the 1st Century after the death of the Apostles and that sound doctrine was not rediscovered until the 16th Century.

Recently, I discovered a new website "Called to Communion: where the Reformation meets Rome" which hosts articles by former Protestants who have entered into Communion with the Catholic Church.  The level of discourse is above average, devout ,and respectful of both Catholic and Protestant sensibilities but from a Catholic viewpoint.  This is an excellent site that I highly recommend. 

There was an article at this site entitled "Ecclesial Deism" by Bryan Cross which directly deals with the claims of the Death Eater crowd that Catholics cannot be Christians.  More importantly it makes the telling BIBLICAL argument that if the Church in the 1st Century (or the 4th Century for that matter) had abandoned sound doctrine, then the Gates of Hell would have prevailed against the Church in spite of Jesus' promise that they would not do so.  Bryan makes the further point that such an argument is derived from the philosophical position of Deism and not form the biblical and tradition views of Divine Providence.

There are several articles on Ecclesial Deism that you can find by Googling that term , but Bryan's is the first one to use this term and it is an important one.  I recommend that Catholics view this article and the responses to it for an in depth treatment of this issue.

We should remember that despite the dissembling of the Death Eater crowd, God so LOVED world that he sent his only beloved Son (John 3:16).  It was not for His self-aggrandizment but to save poor sinners (Phillipians 2:4-8).  Furthermore we have been told quite clearly by Jesus himself that to gain eternal life we must keep the commandments (Mat 19: 16-17): Love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Luke 10:25-28).  Faith alone is not complete without our response to God in love (James 2:22). As St. Paul told us, "So in the end three things will endure: faith, hope, and love ; but the greatest of these is love. " (1Cor 13:13).