Danish law mandates church weddings for gays

Denmark has passed a law requiring the state Lutheran church to hold church weddings for gay couples.  It allows pastors who don’t believe in gay marriage–from one-third to one-half of the clergy–to opt out, but bishops must provide a replacement pastor to preside over the wedding.

It isn’t clear to me from the news stories how this will affect other church bodies than the state church.  Reuters says, “The new law permits homosexual marriages in the Evangelical Lutheran Church as well as churches of other faiths, depending on those churches’ own rules.”  So are Roman Catholics, who have “rules” against this sort of thing, excused?  Or must they allow gays to use their facilities for church weddings, though they are not obliged to perform the ceremony?

Still, this shows that the assurance that churches won’t be forced to perform gay weddings, should gay marriage be legalized, may well last only as long as the government wants it to. 

Is it realistic to think that once gay marriage becomes the law that churches who don’t go along won’t eventually be targeted as discriminatory and forced to go along?  Or is this simply the jeopardy of a state church, with American traditions of religious freedom able to resist that kind of legal mandate?

New Danish law lets homosexuals wed in church | Reuters.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    “Is it realistic to think that once gay marriage becomes the law that churches who don’t go along won’t eventually be targeted as discriminatory and forced to go along?”

    Yes.

  • Pete

    “Is it realistic to think that once gay marriage becomes the law that churches who don’t go along won’t eventually be targeted as discriminatory and forced to go along?”

    Yes.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Certainly they will be targeted.

    State Churches…phooey.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Certainly they will be targeted.

    State Churches…phooey.

  • http://parentaloffice.com Joshua

    My libertarian politic leads to say this is an example of how anything government affiliated is tarnished and corrupted by that relationship. It is a State Church, so sure it can easily be told what to do by the State. Any Church (even U.S. ones) which play with making Biblical Law a State rule are playing in a dangerous place – which can backfire (is Biblical Marriage even an example of this?).

    However, I am concerned long-term, that social pressure in the United States or tax-exempt status, will push Churches weak on this issue to cave. Brace.

  • http://parentaloffice.com Joshua

    My libertarian politic leads to say this is an example of how anything government affiliated is tarnished and corrupted by that relationship. It is a State Church, so sure it can easily be told what to do by the State. Any Church (even U.S. ones) which play with making Biblical Law a State rule are playing in a dangerous place – which can backfire (is Biblical Marriage even an example of this?).

    However, I am concerned long-term, that social pressure in the United States or tax-exempt status, will push Churches weak on this issue to cave. Brace.

  • Trey

    I really think America is different given that religion and state is separate and this is embedded in the First Amendment. This still doesn’t stop the homosecularists from pushing the state on the church, but the First Amendment is typically upheld.

    I didn’t realize there was a biblical marriage and a secular marriage? The state has a vested interest in protecting this estate since from it comes its most virtuous and productive citizens.

  • Trey

    I really think America is different given that religion and state is separate and this is embedded in the First Amendment. This still doesn’t stop the homosecularists from pushing the state on the church, but the First Amendment is typically upheld.

    I didn’t realize there was a biblical marriage and a secular marriage? The state has a vested interest in protecting this estate since from it comes its most virtuous and productive citizens.

  • rlewer

    Churches in the U.S. are not required to do any weddings. Churches that do wedding can choose what weddings they will do. Many have rules concerning church membership, pre marriage counseling, etc. Therefore, churches in the U.S. are not required to do gay weddings. On the other hand, the Federal government seems to be moving to impose itself on churches as much as possible.

    The problem in Europe is that they are State churches. The camel has taken over the tent.

  • rlewer

    Churches in the U.S. are not required to do any weddings. Churches that do wedding can choose what weddings they will do. Many have rules concerning church membership, pre marriage counseling, etc. Therefore, churches in the U.S. are not required to do gay weddings. On the other hand, the Federal government seems to be moving to impose itself on churches as much as possible.

    The problem in Europe is that they are State churches. The camel has taken over the tent.

  • Fws

    Trey @4

    NOM, National Organization to SAVE Marriage which is run mostly by Roman Catholics has already ditched the Biblical definition of marriage and embraced the secular one:
    Marriage and not just “marriage”=receiving a marriage license.

    The proof for this is rather obvious:
    Spending millions of dollars and using up govt resources to get constitutional amendments to prevent the queers from getting a legal document issued by the government is THE action that will SAVE real marriage! And most here seem to accept that assertion of fact without question.
    You too Trey seem to accept this proposition as reasonable and right.

    I predict that the religious in Denmark will also bind their conscience not to the Biblical definition of Marriage but to the civil one:
    Marriage=a church wedding.

  • Fws

    Trey @4

    NOM, National Organization to SAVE Marriage which is run mostly by Roman Catholics has already ditched the Biblical definition of marriage and embraced the secular one:
    Marriage and not just “marriage”=receiving a marriage license.

    The proof for this is rather obvious:
    Spending millions of dollars and using up govt resources to get constitutional amendments to prevent the queers from getting a legal document issued by the government is THE action that will SAVE real marriage! And most here seem to accept that assertion of fact without question.
    You too Trey seem to accept this proposition as reasonable and right.

    I predict that the religious in Denmark will also bind their conscience not to the Biblical definition of Marriage but to the civil one:
    Marriage=a church wedding.

  • Fws

    rlewer @ 5

    +1

    In addition pastors, by doing weddings, become state officials. Churches seem to insist upon this. They want a church’s act to have the force of civil law.

    My question is simple: why do they want that power? Why not return it to the government where it belongs. It has nothing at all to do with the Biblical definition of who is truly married or not.

    And if they want to retain this governmental power, why do they feel they should be exempt from being ordered about as the unpaid government functionaries they seek remain.

  • Fws

    rlewer @ 5

    +1

    In addition pastors, by doing weddings, become state officials. Churches seem to insist upon this. They want a church’s act to have the force of civil law.

    My question is simple: why do they want that power? Why not return it to the government where it belongs. It has nothing at all to do with the Biblical definition of who is truly married or not.

    And if they want to retain this governmental power, why do they feel they should be exempt from being ordered about as the unpaid government functionaries they seek remain.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#4 The Feds are continually trying to erode the First Amendment protection for churches. The HHS mandate is the latest example. Hopefully, it will be struck down, but the more things progress the less hope I hold.

    Also, there are already municipalities who are passing ordinances that require anybody who opens their facilities to the public for weddings must abide by non discrimination ordinances. I forget which town in Kansas it was that recently made the news doing so.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#4 The Feds are continually trying to erode the First Amendment protection for churches. The HHS mandate is the latest example. Hopefully, it will be struck down, but the more things progress the less hope I hold.

    Also, there are already municipalities who are passing ordinances that require anybody who opens their facilities to the public for weddings must abide by non discrimination ordinances. I forget which town in Kansas it was that recently made the news doing so.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If it is so popular and accepted, why do they need a law?

    If they are so thrilled by diversity, why insist on uniformity?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If it is so popular and accepted, why do they need a law?

    If they are so thrilled by diversity, why insist on uniformity?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    A church wedding certainly isn’t necessary for people to be legally married in the eyes of the State. At least not in the United States. Don’t they have something similar in Denmark? Or don’t they have any Justices of the Peace? Have they pushed the function of the Justice of the Peace onto the Minister of the Gospel?

    If same-sex marriage is already legal and recognized in Denmark, then forcing churches to perform them isn’t really about extending legal equality to such arrangements; it is about mandating respectability (the holy grail) into such arrangements.

    I don’t think making State churches perform same-sex marriages will have that desired effect though. What will happen is that the State church performed marriage will be devalued .

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    A church wedding certainly isn’t necessary for people to be legally married in the eyes of the State. At least not in the United States. Don’t they have something similar in Denmark? Or don’t they have any Justices of the Peace? Have they pushed the function of the Justice of the Peace onto the Minister of the Gospel?

    If same-sex marriage is already legal and recognized in Denmark, then forcing churches to perform them isn’t really about extending legal equality to such arrangements; it is about mandating respectability (the holy grail) into such arrangements.

    I don’t think making State churches perform same-sex marriages will have that desired effect though. What will happen is that the State church performed marriage will be devalued .

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Saw this one coming a million miles away….

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Saw this one coming a million miles away….

  • DonS

    Yes, J. Dean, indeed. Of course, this reasoning will ultimately be extended, by fanatical homosexual rights activists, beyond the direct subsidies and legal advantages afforded to state churches in Europe to the tax-advantaged status we afford churches in this country. Of course, the media will trumpet this “reasoning”, and conveniently forget that the purpose for exempting churches from governmental taxation was to keep them disentangled from the state.

  • DonS

    Yes, J. Dean, indeed. Of course, this reasoning will ultimately be extended, by fanatical homosexual rights activists, beyond the direct subsidies and legal advantages afforded to state churches in Europe to the tax-advantaged status we afford churches in this country. Of course, the media will trumpet this “reasoning”, and conveniently forget that the purpose for exempting churches from governmental taxation was to keep them disentangled from the state.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    When I talk to Americans about it, they respond with “Oh, that’s Denmark, not us. Won’t happen here.” They still don’t get that some people see the Constitution as nothing but a list of suggestions.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    When I talk to Americans about it, they respond with “Oh, that’s Denmark, not us. Won’t happen here.” They still don’t get that some people see the Constitution as nothing but a list of suggestions.

  • Jon

    Why does the state license marriages anyway? Is it to register two persons’ mutual love or friendship? Is it for tax breaks, or deciding who can visit in a hospital, or inherit?

    I still hold the reason the state is in the marriage license business in the first place is because of what Trey@4 alluded to; that is, only M plus F = C, and the state wants to not only ensure that C is connected to M and F, but that M plus F should have a license to go and procreate C.

    It’s why we still prosecute sex crimes, and why we used to prosecute adultery and make that a legal grounds for divorce. It’s why you can’t get a license to marry your sister or first cousin.

    What benefit would issuing a marriage license to M plus M or F plus F possibly serve that can’t already be legally taken care of by another contractual means or legal method (e.g., adoption, etc.)?

    It’s what Mike Westfall said @10–this is about the reaching the holy grail of overcoming the impossibility of biology (natural law?) and being celebrated in spite of it.

  • Jon

    Why does the state license marriages anyway? Is it to register two persons’ mutual love or friendship? Is it for tax breaks, or deciding who can visit in a hospital, or inherit?

    I still hold the reason the state is in the marriage license business in the first place is because of what Trey@4 alluded to; that is, only M plus F = C, and the state wants to not only ensure that C is connected to M and F, but that M plus F should have a license to go and procreate C.

    It’s why we still prosecute sex crimes, and why we used to prosecute adultery and make that a legal grounds for divorce. It’s why you can’t get a license to marry your sister or first cousin.

    What benefit would issuing a marriage license to M plus M or F plus F possibly serve that can’t already be legally taken care of by another contractual means or legal method (e.g., adoption, etc.)?

    It’s what Mike Westfall said @10–this is about the reaching the holy grail of overcoming the impossibility of biology (natural law?) and being celebrated in spite of it.

  • kerner

    Jon:

    I think you come closest to hitting the reason. It’s not that Marriage = a license. It’s that Marriage = $$$.

    Under the law as it has developed in western culture, married people have certain economic benefits by operation of law. They don’t need a separate contract. And some benefits are due “family” members, and family members only, regardless of the existance of a separate contract. This is true, even though our culture has changed such that some of the reasons for the existence of those benefits are no longer present, at least not in their original form.

    Take inheritance. Most states, common law or community property, have laws that allow any surviving spouse to claim at least a part of the deceased spouse’s estate, and this cannot be avoided by the dead spouse’s will. These laws exist based on the assumption that the surviving spouse might be a widow who would be incapable of supporting herself. It was the husband’s duty to leave her something to live on because nobody else was obligated to support her.

    Or take health care benefits. Back when those developed, it was assumed that the man was the bread winner. He supported his wife and children with his wages, so it only made sense that company paid health care that the husband earned would support his wife and children, just like his wages did. But when a third party is obligated to pay something to a person’s “family”, having a clear legal definition of who that person’s “family” is is a critical question. So, a government issued legal document that says: “Person XX is Person XY’s spouse”, therefore a member of XY’s family, and therefore XX is entitled to receive health care coverage and inherit if XY dies, is a valuable document to have. There is often a lot of money at stake in such a situation, and never mind our usual debates over the theological and emotional aspects of all this. When there is that much money involved, those who cannot get in on it, WANT in on it. And they are going to insist on there being a government issued legal document that gets them in on it.

    And frankly, so will the people who have to pay out benefits (insurance companies, taxpayers, etc.) insist on a government issued legal document that tells them who they have to pay off. Because they aren’t going to pay off anybody who doesn’t have one.

    This is why wishing for a society with no legal way to tell who is married and who isn’t will never happen. We need that goverment issued legal document to determine who gets paid and who doesn’t.

    But you’re also correct that M + F = C. And C cannot support themselves. Even today, F’s ability to support herself is usually compromised, perhaps temporarily eliminated, by the existance of C. Even today, M + F = C is the anthropological reason for the family as we know it. If it were not for that “= C” business, there would be no such thing as marriage and families. Therefore, the basic formula should not be modified.

  • kerner

    Jon:

    I think you come closest to hitting the reason. It’s not that Marriage = a license. It’s that Marriage = $$$.

    Under the law as it has developed in western culture, married people have certain economic benefits by operation of law. They don’t need a separate contract. And some benefits are due “family” members, and family members only, regardless of the existance of a separate contract. This is true, even though our culture has changed such that some of the reasons for the existence of those benefits are no longer present, at least not in their original form.

    Take inheritance. Most states, common law or community property, have laws that allow any surviving spouse to claim at least a part of the deceased spouse’s estate, and this cannot be avoided by the dead spouse’s will. These laws exist based on the assumption that the surviving spouse might be a widow who would be incapable of supporting herself. It was the husband’s duty to leave her something to live on because nobody else was obligated to support her.

    Or take health care benefits. Back when those developed, it was assumed that the man was the bread winner. He supported his wife and children with his wages, so it only made sense that company paid health care that the husband earned would support his wife and children, just like his wages did. But when a third party is obligated to pay something to a person’s “family”, having a clear legal definition of who that person’s “family” is is a critical question. So, a government issued legal document that says: “Person XX is Person XY’s spouse”, therefore a member of XY’s family, and therefore XX is entitled to receive health care coverage and inherit if XY dies, is a valuable document to have. There is often a lot of money at stake in such a situation, and never mind our usual debates over the theological and emotional aspects of all this. When there is that much money involved, those who cannot get in on it, WANT in on it. And they are going to insist on there being a government issued legal document that gets them in on it.

    And frankly, so will the people who have to pay out benefits (insurance companies, taxpayers, etc.) insist on a government issued legal document that tells them who they have to pay off. Because they aren’t going to pay off anybody who doesn’t have one.

    This is why wishing for a society with no legal way to tell who is married and who isn’t will never happen. We need that goverment issued legal document to determine who gets paid and who doesn’t.

    But you’re also correct that M + F = C. And C cannot support themselves. Even today, F’s ability to support herself is usually compromised, perhaps temporarily eliminated, by the existance of C. Even today, M + F = C is the anthropological reason for the family as we know it. If it were not for that “= C” business, there would be no such thing as marriage and families. Therefore, the basic formula should not be modified.

  • kerner

    FWS @7:

    “In addition pastors, by doing weddings, become state officials. Churches seem to insist upon this. They want a church’s act to have the force of civil law.

    My question is simple: why do they want that power? Why not return it to the government where it belongs. It has nothing at all to do with the Biblical definition of who is truly married or not. ”

    I can answer that, and it has nothing to do with Christianity in particular. It is to assure that the parties are married as defined by their culture, while not forfeiting the benefits conferred upon married persons under civil law. In many middle eastern countries
    they don’t have marriage licenses as we do. What they have is a system of marriage contracts, not that different from what they had in Biblical times. I used to have clients come to me and say that they were married “Islaamically”, but that they had no government issued certificate. They wanted to know their legal rights, and the answer was: none. Back in the old country, their rigid social structure, backed up by social ostracism and occasional personal violence, would have been enough to enforce marital obligations in most cases. But not here, where we are so pluralistic that there is no rigid social structure and personal violence to punish dishonoring a sister or daughter is illegal. It was only a matter of time before the Imams (largely at the urging if Muslim lawyers) started filling out state marriage licenses (which, for awhile, they had not been doing). Now they and their flock can rest assured that they are married “Islaamically”, and still know that the broader culture will recognize the marriage.

    You don’t have to be a Christian clergyman to want to make sure your laity get a marriage that is recognised by both the sub-culture and the broader culture.

  • kerner

    FWS @7:

    “In addition pastors, by doing weddings, become state officials. Churches seem to insist upon this. They want a church’s act to have the force of civil law.

    My question is simple: why do they want that power? Why not return it to the government where it belongs. It has nothing at all to do with the Biblical definition of who is truly married or not. ”

    I can answer that, and it has nothing to do with Christianity in particular. It is to assure that the parties are married as defined by their culture, while not forfeiting the benefits conferred upon married persons under civil law. In many middle eastern countries
    they don’t have marriage licenses as we do. What they have is a system of marriage contracts, not that different from what they had in Biblical times. I used to have clients come to me and say that they were married “Islaamically”, but that they had no government issued certificate. They wanted to know their legal rights, and the answer was: none. Back in the old country, their rigid social structure, backed up by social ostracism and occasional personal violence, would have been enough to enforce marital obligations in most cases. But not here, where we are so pluralistic that there is no rigid social structure and personal violence to punish dishonoring a sister or daughter is illegal. It was only a matter of time before the Imams (largely at the urging if Muslim lawyers) started filling out state marriage licenses (which, for awhile, they had not been doing). Now they and their flock can rest assured that they are married “Islaamically”, and still know that the broader culture will recognize the marriage.

    You don’t have to be a Christian clergyman to want to make sure your laity get a marriage that is recognised by both the sub-culture and the broader culture.

  • kerner

    P.S.

    I also think that an important reason the Imams started to fill out the state marriage licenses is that it allows them to credibly claim that it is they, the Imams, who marry the happy couple under Allah. To then tell the couple that they still have to go to a government official to be “really” married is to imply that the broader secular culture has moral authority that the Imam does not. And that leads people to question why they need the Imam in the first place. No clergyman wants to tell his people that an essential act with theological and moral implications is worthless unless some bureaucrat in the county courthouse gives his OK. It would create the impression of diminished clerical authority.

  • kerner

    P.S.

    I also think that an important reason the Imams started to fill out the state marriage licenses is that it allows them to credibly claim that it is they, the Imams, who marry the happy couple under Allah. To then tell the couple that they still have to go to a government official to be “really” married is to imply that the broader secular culture has moral authority that the Imam does not. And that leads people to question why they need the Imam in the first place. No clergyman wants to tell his people that an essential act with theological and moral implications is worthless unless some bureaucrat in the county courthouse gives his OK. It would create the impression of diminished clerical authority.

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  • Fws

    kerner brother!

    Get the book by Steve Paulson “Lutheran Theology”. It will tie together all the stuff we have been discussing with each other in our long side thread on the nature of the Law.

    I am not completely through with it yet. He uses the Epistle to the Romans as his outline for his book. I am up to the start of his treating Romans 7. Which I think is where you and I get stuck in our discussions.

    Get the book. It has already changed alot of my views and I think he will explain things better and more correctly than I ever could.

    Take care Kerner. Nice to see you pop in here. Always great comments.

  • Fws

    kerner brother!

    Get the book by Steve Paulson “Lutheran Theology”. It will tie together all the stuff we have been discussing with each other in our long side thread on the nature of the Law.

    I am not completely through with it yet. He uses the Epistle to the Romans as his outline for his book. I am up to the start of his treating Romans 7. Which I think is where you and I get stuck in our discussions.

    Get the book. It has already changed alot of my views and I think he will explain things better and more correctly than I ever could.

    Take care Kerner. Nice to see you pop in here. Always great comments.

  • Jon

    Kerner @15,

    I don’t disagree that marriage = $$$, but I submit that the reason that it is way is also, and maybe primarily, a result of the fact that the state recognizes that only M+F=C. For instance, take your point that a H can’t disinherit W to the advantage of their C by operation of law on account of marriage . The reason for it, I submit, is that W whose work (ahem) it was to produce C should not thereafter potentially lose out to C in the inheritance. There is no analog to this in the M-M or F-F situation, because, by nature, M-M or F-F did not produce C, but relied instead on the good graces of at least one willing third party in order for perhaps at least one of them to adopt C as the case may be. Healthcare benefits for F, too, developed because M plus F = C. If H dies leaving W and C, who takes care of W who is taking care of C? Any other extension to other types of relationship than M plus F is giving in to a pure fiction, not to make them any more well off or cared for than they otherwise would be, but in my estimation, only to make themselves feel good about the self. Again, what benefit is that to the state to be in the business of maintaining a friendship registry?

  • Jon

    Kerner @15,

    I don’t disagree that marriage = $$$, but I submit that the reason that it is way is also, and maybe primarily, a result of the fact that the state recognizes that only M+F=C. For instance, take your point that a H can’t disinherit W to the advantage of their C by operation of law on account of marriage . The reason for it, I submit, is that W whose work (ahem) it was to produce C should not thereafter potentially lose out to C in the inheritance. There is no analog to this in the M-M or F-F situation, because, by nature, M-M or F-F did not produce C, but relied instead on the good graces of at least one willing third party in order for perhaps at least one of them to adopt C as the case may be. Healthcare benefits for F, too, developed because M plus F = C. If H dies leaving W and C, who takes care of W who is taking care of C? Any other extension to other types of relationship than M plus F is giving in to a pure fiction, not to make them any more well off or cared for than they otherwise would be, but in my estimation, only to make themselves feel good about the self. Again, what benefit is that to the state to be in the business of maintaining a friendship registry?

  • kerner

    Jon:

    I agree, which is why I said that, if it were not for the “=C” part of the equation, marriage as we know it would not exist.

  • kerner

    Jon:

    I agree, which is why I said that, if it were not for the “=C” part of the equation, marriage as we know it would not exist.

  • fws

    kerner @ 20

    Ok Kerner. Society has decided to allow gays and lesbians to adopt, have foster children, and also to retain custody of children in a divorce.
    By your logic it would be actually wrong to not wrap all this legally in marriage. For the sake of the children involved.
    What would be your argument against this?

  • fws

    kerner @ 20

    Ok Kerner. Society has decided to allow gays and lesbians to adopt, have foster children, and also to retain custody of children in a divorce.
    By your logic it would be actually wrong to not wrap all this legally in marriage. For the sake of the children involved.
    What would be your argument against this?

  • fws

    jon @ 19

    You are ignoring the facts on the ground I suggest.
    Marriage of Gays is often to be able to legally protect the children.
    marriage certificates are not just to legalize a “friendship”. and then what about persons who marry who cant bear children. should we deny them as well? Of course you dont think that. So lets have some honest arguments.

    society has , for a long time now, allowed gays to adopt, have foster kids and also to retain custody in divorce. In the case of death, serious illness, medical coverage, ss coverage for children of deceased etc that civil marriage license means a great deal.

    NOM and such organizations argue correctly, that children do better being raised by both birth parents. Oddly though, this argument has NOTHING to do with gay marriage.

    Fact: It is not like there are going to be more or fewer children raised with both birth parents as a result of preventing or allowing gay “marriage”. The argument is a total red herring. They take a fact and draw conclusions from that fact in a very wierd way.

  • fws

    jon @ 19

    You are ignoring the facts on the ground I suggest.
    Marriage of Gays is often to be able to legally protect the children.
    marriage certificates are not just to legalize a “friendship”. and then what about persons who marry who cant bear children. should we deny them as well? Of course you dont think that. So lets have some honest arguments.

    society has , for a long time now, allowed gays to adopt, have foster kids and also to retain custody in divorce. In the case of death, serious illness, medical coverage, ss coverage for children of deceased etc that civil marriage license means a great deal.

    NOM and such organizations argue correctly, that children do better being raised by both birth parents. Oddly though, this argument has NOTHING to do with gay marriage.

    Fact: It is not like there are going to be more or fewer children raised with both birth parents as a result of preventing or allowing gay “marriage”. The argument is a total red herring. They take a fact and draw conclusions from that fact in a very wierd way.

  • Jon

    Marriage of Gays is often to be able to legally protect the children.

    Por que? Adoption in the same gender situation is the legal protection of the child, not the marriage of the parent. An adopted child inherits from the adoptive parent. An adopted child of a deceased parent can get SS benefits.

    It’s why we also allow singles to adopt and to foster, etc. There are mechanisms other than marriage that adequately protect the children legally.

    Heck, it’s no different for a natural married couple who adopt. Its not the parents’ marriage that makes a difference of legal significance to the child, that’s the work of the adoption.

    Again it gets back to the M plus F=C difference. Only in that combination do both the parents not need to adopt. Technically, they don’t even need to marry for C to have all the legal protections.

    Where a marriage does make a legal difference in the M plus F = C situation is that married couple who have a child in wedlock are automatically connected without the need for adoption. It’s why the H is the presumed father of W’s child in wedlock.

    By operation of nature, only that situation of M plus F can have that legal connection by marriage. Any other non-natural “married ” union is thus a fiction, because their “marriage” alone cannot tie a child to the “parents” of that union except through adoption for at least one of them.

    So the “marriage” of the parents provides the child with no additional legal protections and is itself a red herring in that regard.

  • Jon

    Marriage of Gays is often to be able to legally protect the children.

    Por que? Adoption in the same gender situation is the legal protection of the child, not the marriage of the parent. An adopted child inherits from the adoptive parent. An adopted child of a deceased parent can get SS benefits.

    It’s why we also allow singles to adopt and to foster, etc. There are mechanisms other than marriage that adequately protect the children legally.

    Heck, it’s no different for a natural married couple who adopt. Its not the parents’ marriage that makes a difference of legal significance to the child, that’s the work of the adoption.

    Again it gets back to the M plus F=C difference. Only in that combination do both the parents not need to adopt. Technically, they don’t even need to marry for C to have all the legal protections.

    Where a marriage does make a legal difference in the M plus F = C situation is that married couple who have a child in wedlock are automatically connected without the need for adoption. It’s why the H is the presumed father of W’s child in wedlock.

    By operation of nature, only that situation of M plus F can have that legal connection by marriage. Any other non-natural “married ” union is thus a fiction, because their “marriage” alone cannot tie a child to the “parents” of that union except through adoption for at least one of them.

    So the “marriage” of the parents provides the child with no additional legal protections and is itself a red herring in that regard.

  • Jon

    So it gets back to why do states “license” marriage at all?
    (1) To place limits on which Ms and Fs ought to be able to qualify to get married–over the age of consent, not too consanguinous, etc., so that they are best suited to produce C, and
    (2) To legally tie C to the natural parents by operation of law, without any other legal means necessary (like adoption) so C is protected and presumed to be of H&W, and not a bastard (in the legal sense of the term), a situation which only natural marriage can accomodate.

    Why allow barren couples to marry/remain married? Again, because only M plus F = C. Back in the day, it was miraculous, today, no less miraculous through the wonders of science that a barren married couple conceives. And, even if the there is a third party gamete involved, the married coupld gets the presumption of parentage in the marriage because only M plus F = C, a fictional presumption that cannot be maintained in the same sex couple were they permitted “marriage.”

    Why allow old couples to marry? Many these days are finding that it is better to divorce and live together for tax and inheritance purposes. Go figure.

  • Jon

    So it gets back to why do states “license” marriage at all?
    (1) To place limits on which Ms and Fs ought to be able to qualify to get married–over the age of consent, not too consanguinous, etc., so that they are best suited to produce C, and
    (2) To legally tie C to the natural parents by operation of law, without any other legal means necessary (like adoption) so C is protected and presumed to be of H&W, and not a bastard (in the legal sense of the term), a situation which only natural marriage can accomodate.

    Why allow barren couples to marry/remain married? Again, because only M plus F = C. Back in the day, it was miraculous, today, no less miraculous through the wonders of science that a barren married couple conceives. And, even if the there is a third party gamete involved, the married coupld gets the presumption of parentage in the marriage because only M plus F = C, a fictional presumption that cannot be maintained in the same sex couple were they permitted “marriage.”

    Why allow old couples to marry? Many these days are finding that it is better to divorce and live together for tax and inheritance purposes. Go figure.

  • Jon

    To my mind, it all gets back to the notion that it used to be a really bad thing in society to produce C’s outside marriage. The state didn’t want unnecessary bastards and orphans running around burdening things when it was mostly avoidable by marriage. Cs were best raised in their two parent household or adopted into them if orphaned at their parents’ death. It’s why we had adultery and bastardy laws on the books, and we criminalized it. But we’ve gotten away from the scarlet A. It cheapened the marriage license, and then, legally, bastard children and their mothers could begin to sue for paternity, and so make a connection to the natural parent and thus ease the burden on the state. The marriage “license” used to actually “license” a certain activity. No longer. And so here we are.

  • Jon

    To my mind, it all gets back to the notion that it used to be a really bad thing in society to produce C’s outside marriage. The state didn’t want unnecessary bastards and orphans running around burdening things when it was mostly avoidable by marriage. Cs were best raised in their two parent household or adopted into them if orphaned at their parents’ death. It’s why we had adultery and bastardy laws on the books, and we criminalized it. But we’ve gotten away from the scarlet A. It cheapened the marriage license, and then, legally, bastard children and their mothers could begin to sue for paternity, and so make a connection to the natural parent and thus ease the burden on the state. The marriage “license” used to actually “license” a certain activity. No longer. And so here we are.

  • Joanne

    When a man and a woman agree to live the rest of their lives together, they are married now in God’s eyes. Yes, that would make the engagement tantamount to the marriage and this is why an engagement cannot be broken as it would amount to braking a marriage. This is why the bans are posted in church for weeks and weeks before the wedding ceremony to bless and sanctify the marriage in the public family of the church. The couple make public pledges and vows before God and everyone, so all will know they are no longer available to marry anyone else. It will be established before God and all present that any children derived from this marriage are the resonsibility of both the husband as father and wife as mother.

    The engagement/promise is what makes a marriage.
    The wedding ceremony blesses and sanctifies.
    The paper documents from the state informs the state of the marriage and that marriage laws can now be applied to this couple.

    But, any Hindu will tell you what any Christian, or Jew, or other group used to tell you, that “First comes marriage; then comes love.” Marriage for love is wrong because what is being joined together until death do us part is two families and they want the major say in who or with whom their children’s marriage will relate them for all time.

    What you promise to do when you marry is nothing that will kill or drive away the natural development of love between a husband and a wife. Ideally, the man and woman will not know each other before the engagement which as been handled by the families to be joined together. The families will require contracts that spell out property transfers that do or do not happen with this marriage. When property enters the situation, so does the law and those that enforce it.

    And, both families agree there will be no divorce, but if one partner of the marriage does not behave properly according to ancient custom, the family of the problem partner will lose social status, property, and money. They will do all in their power to make the marriage work.

    Or don’t any of you knotheads watch any of these wonderfully romantic Hindu movie musicals? Sigh. No kissing in Hindu movies, and I’m not too sure of hand holding.

    When King David took another man’s wife and made a baby with her, God’s punishment was that the baby must die no matter how much David debased himself before God begging for the child’s life.

    Christianity is a religion of the parousia, the return of Christ and the new beginning in a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no husbands and wives. As a religion only to help us get from this world to the new world, long term family relationships through marriage are not the focus, or even remotely seen as important. We are here to get throught it and survive into the new world. If to keep from sinning and to keep your life in order, you need the ancient help of wedded life while waiting for the parousia, then you must do it to control your lust.

    Most people need this crutch; St. Paul was one of the very few who did not, although the throngs of monks in later years might have made one wonder. Were there really 10s of thousands of monks who did not need the crutch of marriage to avoid sin? What was behind, sorry for the pun, Luther’s remark about the Carthusians bringing the “sin” to Germany. Seems to be too narrow a view of the problem.

    God governs the Kingdom of the left with the Natural Law, the one even the Hindus know. I believe the natural law says that women and children need protection; I believe it says that marriage needs protections against those who would try to break into it.

    But I’m just saying things I think are true but I can’t seem to bring it into any kind of system, or meaning for this thread. It’s after 1:00 am and I’m going to bed. Sorry if you read all this and got nowhere too.

  • Joanne

    When a man and a woman agree to live the rest of their lives together, they are married now in God’s eyes. Yes, that would make the engagement tantamount to the marriage and this is why an engagement cannot be broken as it would amount to braking a marriage. This is why the bans are posted in church for weeks and weeks before the wedding ceremony to bless and sanctify the marriage in the public family of the church. The couple make public pledges and vows before God and everyone, so all will know they are no longer available to marry anyone else. It will be established before God and all present that any children derived from this marriage are the resonsibility of both the husband as father and wife as mother.

    The engagement/promise is what makes a marriage.
    The wedding ceremony blesses and sanctifies.
    The paper documents from the state informs the state of the marriage and that marriage laws can now be applied to this couple.

    But, any Hindu will tell you what any Christian, or Jew, or other group used to tell you, that “First comes marriage; then comes love.” Marriage for love is wrong because what is being joined together until death do us part is two families and they want the major say in who or with whom their children’s marriage will relate them for all time.

    What you promise to do when you marry is nothing that will kill or drive away the natural development of love between a husband and a wife. Ideally, the man and woman will not know each other before the engagement which as been handled by the families to be joined together. The families will require contracts that spell out property transfers that do or do not happen with this marriage. When property enters the situation, so does the law and those that enforce it.

    And, both families agree there will be no divorce, but if one partner of the marriage does not behave properly according to ancient custom, the family of the problem partner will lose social status, property, and money. They will do all in their power to make the marriage work.

    Or don’t any of you knotheads watch any of these wonderfully romantic Hindu movie musicals? Sigh. No kissing in Hindu movies, and I’m not too sure of hand holding.

    When King David took another man’s wife and made a baby with her, God’s punishment was that the baby must die no matter how much David debased himself before God begging for the child’s life.

    Christianity is a religion of the parousia, the return of Christ and the new beginning in a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no husbands and wives. As a religion only to help us get from this world to the new world, long term family relationships through marriage are not the focus, or even remotely seen as important. We are here to get throught it and survive into the new world. If to keep from sinning and to keep your life in order, you need the ancient help of wedded life while waiting for the parousia, then you must do it to control your lust.

    Most people need this crutch; St. Paul was one of the very few who did not, although the throngs of monks in later years might have made one wonder. Were there really 10s of thousands of monks who did not need the crutch of marriage to avoid sin? What was behind, sorry for the pun, Luther’s remark about the Carthusians bringing the “sin” to Germany. Seems to be too narrow a view of the problem.

    God governs the Kingdom of the left with the Natural Law, the one even the Hindus know. I believe the natural law says that women and children need protection; I believe it says that marriage needs protections against those who would try to break into it.

    But I’m just saying things I think are true but I can’t seem to bring it into any kind of system, or meaning for this thread. It’s after 1:00 am and I’m going to bed. Sorry if you read all this and got nowhere too.

  • fws

    Joanne @ 26
    The entire Lutheran doctrine on Matrimony can be found in the Large Catechism, 4th and 6th commandments. http://www.bookofconcord.org

    There the Confessions teach us to resolve this issue, as with all other issues, by applying the distinction of Law and Gospel to it. The issue was whether or not marriage was a sacrament and whether celebacy could be demanded of men and women. So how is it that a Law and Gospel distinction would be applied to this?
    1) Matrimony is ALL Law we are told. There is NO Gospel in it. 2) Demanding celebacy is to demand an act that is “useless” (quoting the argument of the Confessions). It provides NO benefit for anyone.
    By observing that fact, we can be certain that the intent of enforced celebacy is, alone, to offer to God an “obedience” that is a “self-chosen worship” (ie Idolatry).
    Only Christ can offer such Obedience. Our actions must always be aimed at serving the needs of others. The Worship of Obedience must be to trust alone in faith the Obedience of Another.
    Morality then is alone what evidentially and reasonably can be seen, even by a pagan, to provide for the perishable carnal benefit of our neighbor. It is to do mercy.
    Before you think this is to advocate for free love a second fact must be considered: Pagans also know that this doing of mercy for others is impossible without the self-discipline, and self-restraint that christians call “mortification” or “deathing”.
    The mistake of the religious is to say that mortification or self-restraint is the righteousness God demands even if there is no evidence that the intended fruit of this self-discipline is service to others. This is to say “virtue is it’s own reward.” This is false. Virtue is only as good as the fruit towards others it produces according to Scripture.

    Now the Confessions:

    4th commandment:
    Matrimony is the sanctioning/authorization by God for a husband and wife to rule over their entire household, including the hired help and finances and children.
    Sex and children will simply happen as certainly as the Law of Gravity.
    Marriage is God’s way of ordering these inevitable events in a fallen world.
    The purpose of Marriage is to be the cradle for the other two governments or temporal , transitory orders/governments of Church and society. It is to provide rulers for those other two governments.
    If Matrimony is not governing well, than the other two governments will not function well either.
    Take home points:
    1) Marriage is pure Law. There is no Gospel in it. It is not a sacrament. There is nothing “more” to matrimony than death/mortification of Old Adam. It is true that the Gospel of Church as bride is used to illustrate this Law. But it is still pure Law. (cf FC Law & Gospel for a discussion of how the Gospel is used to illustrate Law).
    2) The definition of marriage is that it is a government.
    3) Children and sex are not essential to the definition of marriage but the ordering of those two things is the essence. Nuance here!

    6th commandment:
    Here we are told that God not only sanctions matrimony and for what purpose, but also that he protects marriage. But how? Is it by our preventing a couple of Fags from getting a marriage licence? No. Not even close.

    So how?

    We are told that God commands everyone, withhout exception (‘short of a miracle ” means that) to be married. Why? Sexual self discipline! The Confessions declare that the ONLY form of “sexual self discipline” named in the bible is Matrimony. How is that?
    Each person is to be given his own personal and private ration (confessions “portion”) of sex. That is the Confessional and Biblical definition of “sexual self discipline. ” the ONLY definition they declare. Therefore, ALL men and women, without exception are COMMANDED to be married.
    And this protects OTHER marriage from YOU. If you have your own private designated ration of sex, then you are less likely to covet someone elses property that provides them their sex.
    We are further told that this scheme of God will not work well unless love and companionship are also provided as the context for sex.
    Therefore the Confessions, following st Paul in 1 cor 7 declare that to demand celebacy of anyone is sinful and wrong, and can only lead to a bad ending, and will increase sexual immorality and its destructive and corrosive effects in society. they say this is self evident. They present the carthusians as proof. We today could present the examples of conservative, christian, politicians and penticostal preachers who decry homosexuality only to be found out to be homosexuals their own selves.

    This is the sum total of what the Lutheran Confessions teach on matrimony. It is very comprehensive. It is far from the Roman Catholic teaching on Natural Law it should be noted!

  • fws

    Joanne @ 26
    The entire Lutheran doctrine on Matrimony can be found in the Large Catechism, 4th and 6th commandments. http://www.bookofconcord.org

    There the Confessions teach us to resolve this issue, as with all other issues, by applying the distinction of Law and Gospel to it. The issue was whether or not marriage was a sacrament and whether celebacy could be demanded of men and women. So how is it that a Law and Gospel distinction would be applied to this?
    1) Matrimony is ALL Law we are told. There is NO Gospel in it. 2) Demanding celebacy is to demand an act that is “useless” (quoting the argument of the Confessions). It provides NO benefit for anyone.
    By observing that fact, we can be certain that the intent of enforced celebacy is, alone, to offer to God an “obedience” that is a “self-chosen worship” (ie Idolatry).
    Only Christ can offer such Obedience. Our actions must always be aimed at serving the needs of others. The Worship of Obedience must be to trust alone in faith the Obedience of Another.
    Morality then is alone what evidentially and reasonably can be seen, even by a pagan, to provide for the perishable carnal benefit of our neighbor. It is to do mercy.
    Before you think this is to advocate for free love a second fact must be considered: Pagans also know that this doing of mercy for others is impossible without the self-discipline, and self-restraint that christians call “mortification” or “deathing”.
    The mistake of the religious is to say that mortification or self-restraint is the righteousness God demands even if there is no evidence that the intended fruit of this self-discipline is service to others. This is to say “virtue is it’s own reward.” This is false. Virtue is only as good as the fruit towards others it produces according to Scripture.

    Now the Confessions:

    4th commandment:
    Matrimony is the sanctioning/authorization by God for a husband and wife to rule over their entire household, including the hired help and finances and children.
    Sex and children will simply happen as certainly as the Law of Gravity.
    Marriage is God’s way of ordering these inevitable events in a fallen world.
    The purpose of Marriage is to be the cradle for the other two governments or temporal , transitory orders/governments of Church and society. It is to provide rulers for those other two governments.
    If Matrimony is not governing well, than the other two governments will not function well either.
    Take home points:
    1) Marriage is pure Law. There is no Gospel in it. It is not a sacrament. There is nothing “more” to matrimony than death/mortification of Old Adam. It is true that the Gospel of Church as bride is used to illustrate this Law. But it is still pure Law. (cf FC Law & Gospel for a discussion of how the Gospel is used to illustrate Law).
    2) The definition of marriage is that it is a government.
    3) Children and sex are not essential to the definition of marriage but the ordering of those two things is the essence. Nuance here!

    6th commandment:
    Here we are told that God not only sanctions matrimony and for what purpose, but also that he protects marriage. But how? Is it by our preventing a couple of Fags from getting a marriage licence? No. Not even close.

    So how?

    We are told that God commands everyone, withhout exception (‘short of a miracle ” means that) to be married. Why? Sexual self discipline! The Confessions declare that the ONLY form of “sexual self discipline” named in the bible is Matrimony. How is that?
    Each person is to be given his own personal and private ration (confessions “portion”) of sex. That is the Confessional and Biblical definition of “sexual self discipline. ” the ONLY definition they declare. Therefore, ALL men and women, without exception are COMMANDED to be married.
    And this protects OTHER marriage from YOU. If you have your own private designated ration of sex, then you are less likely to covet someone elses property that provides them their sex.
    We are further told that this scheme of God will not work well unless love and companionship are also provided as the context for sex.
    Therefore the Confessions, following st Paul in 1 cor 7 declare that to demand celebacy of anyone is sinful and wrong, and can only lead to a bad ending, and will increase sexual immorality and its destructive and corrosive effects in society. they say this is self evident. They present the carthusians as proof. We today could present the examples of conservative, christian, politicians and penticostal preachers who decry homosexuality only to be found out to be homosexuals their own selves.

    This is the sum total of what the Lutheran Confessions teach on matrimony. It is very comprehensive. It is far from the Roman Catholic teaching on Natural Law it should be noted!

  • fws

    kerner @ 16

    Excellent.

    It is important to note the difference between muslims and christians here. It is THE important difference.

    I am told that when a muslim asks someone what their “religion” is. the word they use for “religion” actually translates as “Law”. They are asking “what is your law?”

    Christians separate Law from Gospel. ALL we do here on earth is Law. Therefore NOTHING we do here on earth is anything we would call “Christian”. Marriage is ALL Law. It is about the death of Old Adam. There is nothing more to it.
    So we are happy to let the dead bury the dead.

    Take home point:
    Marriage is fine to be left completely as an act of government. There is no “christian” component to it in even the slightest way!

  • fws

    kerner @ 16

    Excellent.

    It is important to note the difference between muslims and christians here. It is THE important difference.

    I am told that when a muslim asks someone what their “religion” is. the word they use for “religion” actually translates as “Law”. They are asking “what is your law?”

    Christians separate Law from Gospel. ALL we do here on earth is Law. Therefore NOTHING we do here on earth is anything we would call “Christian”. Marriage is ALL Law. It is about the death of Old Adam. There is nothing more to it.
    So we are happy to let the dead bury the dead.

    Take home point:
    Marriage is fine to be left completely as an act of government. There is no “christian” component to it in even the slightest way!

  • Joanne

    Hi Frank,
    I’m remembering a reading of Franz Pieper on marriage from decades ago, and I didn’t even reread it for this blog comment. It’s all from long term memory. Systematic theology takes the source documents (Bible and Confessions) and puts them into a, duh, system that can make day to day sense about what we do and believe.

    Do you remember the TV show “Connections” where in a technical/scientific context the narrator took us round and round the world to show us how seemingly far afield connections maybe a 100 years ago, made the jet endine possible today. Or something like that.

    Well Pieper and the other systematicians do that with the source documents to show how we get from here to there in Christianity and how it’s all connected. There was a time in my life when I read Pieper for fun; I still have all four volumes, now very dusty and foxed.

    A few days ago, Grace and others asked me how I could be so sure about what angels could and could not do. How did I know the good angels could be driven away by sin. I had reread Pieper on Angelology. But it’s one of those subjects that I have to reread every so often because there is so much popular angel nonsense out there and people love it.

  • Joanne

    Hi Frank,
    I’m remembering a reading of Franz Pieper on marriage from decades ago, and I didn’t even reread it for this blog comment. It’s all from long term memory. Systematic theology takes the source documents (Bible and Confessions) and puts them into a, duh, system that can make day to day sense about what we do and believe.

    Do you remember the TV show “Connections” where in a technical/scientific context the narrator took us round and round the world to show us how seemingly far afield connections maybe a 100 years ago, made the jet endine possible today. Or something like that.

    Well Pieper and the other systematicians do that with the source documents to show how we get from here to there in Christianity and how it’s all connected. There was a time in my life when I read Pieper for fun; I still have all four volumes, now very dusty and foxed.

    A few days ago, Grace and others asked me how I could be so sure about what angels could and could not do. How did I know the good angels could be driven away by sin. I had reread Pieper on Angelology. But it’s one of those subjects that I have to reread every so often because there is so much popular angel nonsense out there and people love it.

  • fws

    Hi Joanne @ 29

    You can’t go wrong with Frank Pieper. He is that good.
    The Confessions tell us that they do not intend to be a source document as you suggest.

    So what do they claim to be? I propose it is this:

    They exist to demonstrate a proposition. The proposition is that any and all doctrinal disputes are a blurring of Law and Gospel. Therefore the solution to ANY doctrinal dispute, be it homosexuality, marriage and celebacy, liturgy vs contemporary worship, pastors who wear stilhettos, the christians role in the abortion debate is all to be resolved by a proper distinction of Law and Gospel.

    I say “demonstrate a proposition” because that is precisely what each and every article in every confession in the Book of Concord intends to do. Pick any one to test me on this.

    We are not to read the Confessions like a paper magisterium as the reformed confessions and trent are. They are not to be a list of doctrines that we are to conform to. Its better than that!

    They intend for us to watch over their shoulders as they demonstrate that ALL doctrinal controversy boils down to a confusion of Law and Gospel and clarity as to what is right can ONLY be had when we can see this!

    So when we read the Confessions we are to look for a Law-distinguished-from-Gospel in every nook and crany. that IS the point there.

    Then we are to put on our Confessional two lense Law/Gospel reading glasses to read Holy Scriptures. And what are we to find? That the entire Scriptures are written as a testimony to the Person of Christ. Period.

    The Confessions are about 90% Law and describing and defining the Law. Why? This is what Old Adam understands so this is where Old Adam pushes everything. So to secure the Gospel, we first need to do lots and lots of Law. We need to see what it is correctly. Then we can see what the Law is not. The Law cannot end sin. Instead the Law increases sin.

    So the Systematic professors? Important. Certainly. Why Joanne?

  • fws

    Hi Joanne @ 29

    You can’t go wrong with Frank Pieper. He is that good.
    The Confessions tell us that they do not intend to be a source document as you suggest.

    So what do they claim to be? I propose it is this:

    They exist to demonstrate a proposition. The proposition is that any and all doctrinal disputes are a blurring of Law and Gospel. Therefore the solution to ANY doctrinal dispute, be it homosexuality, marriage and celebacy, liturgy vs contemporary worship, pastors who wear stilhettos, the christians role in the abortion debate is all to be resolved by a proper distinction of Law and Gospel.

    I say “demonstrate a proposition” because that is precisely what each and every article in every confession in the Book of Concord intends to do. Pick any one to test me on this.

    We are not to read the Confessions like a paper magisterium as the reformed confessions and trent are. They are not to be a list of doctrines that we are to conform to. Its better than that!

    They intend for us to watch over their shoulders as they demonstrate that ALL doctrinal controversy boils down to a confusion of Law and Gospel and clarity as to what is right can ONLY be had when we can see this!

    So when we read the Confessions we are to look for a Law-distinguished-from-Gospel in every nook and crany. that IS the point there.

    Then we are to put on our Confessional two lense Law/Gospel reading glasses to read Holy Scriptures. And what are we to find? That the entire Scriptures are written as a testimony to the Person of Christ. Period.

    The Confessions are about 90% Law and describing and defining the Law. Why? This is what Old Adam understands so this is where Old Adam pushes everything. So to secure the Gospel, we first need to do lots and lots of Law. We need to see what it is correctly. Then we can see what the Law is not. The Law cannot end sin. Instead the Law increases sin.

    So the Systematic professors? Important. Certainly. Why Joanne?

  • Joanne

    Is this an Augsburgian proposition?

    I’ve often explained to people that become exasperated with Lutheranism that they need to remember it was derived from Academia, created in a University by professors of Bible, theology, and what not. And that all it’s great statements of faith derive from academic debate. Is Luther making a debate proposition here or a Gospel proclamation. Or is he doing both in the guise of a list of debating propositions.

    Lutheranism was planted and grew in the medium of cities and educated princes and laity. Lutheranism is a rather effete and learned and elite approach to the problems it faced, whenever Philip could keep Luther from cursing at kings.

    Luther often talks like a professor instead of a politian or church leader. If he were with us now, he’d be the seminary professor on several committees.

    I will say that Luther’s bible was written for the average German, but Luther’s commentaries which he used in his classes, tell us there was a remarkable amount of depth behind that simple bible translation. What do they say, it is much harder to be simple than complex.

    And our really basic problem is that Luther was not a systematician. He resisted turning his thoughts into a whole system of theology. And, Philip who could do it, was unsure of himself; he was not a clergyman; he did not hear confessions and make absolutions; and even though Cranach paints Philip in the act of baptising a baby in the 1547 Wittenberg Altarpiece, I don’t think Philip ever baptised anyone. For Philip it was all in the head and for Luther to be a preacher, a seelsorger, pastor, and teacher of bright students was his greatest pleasures. When he must put his thinking down on paper he often grows irritable while addressng only the issue at hand.

    If it hadn’t been for the great Lutheran systematicians, Lutheranism would have unwoven within decades of Luther’s death. Acting as the pastor of Europe, Luther wrote to everyone on every subject. He said professorial things like, we have changed nothing, but we could change it all under certain circumstances. Can you really make a church function and grow without systematising what the belief and practices are? Luther didn’t do it.

    But others did, other professors with a brutal focus on structure and organization and puzzle-solving. I understand that CPH is publishing a fine English transtlation of Johan Gerhardt’s systematics work. I’m sure he was a major source for Pieper.

    http://cyberbrethren.com/2011/03/17/johann-gerhards-loci-theologici-the-best-and-most-comprehensive-lutheran-presentation-of-christian-doctrine/

    At Augsburg in 1530, what was presented by the Lutherans was expected to be used by them in the defense of their doctrines at a church council, still a possibility then with an Emperor who only 5 years before had sacked Rome itself with his German and Spanish army. I believe by 1580, the council (von Trent) had happened without them and cemented Rome’s midieval errors into their canon books. Things had changed when the systematitions rose up to order the faith. And so the wall was built that Luther had so avoided.

    Remember the dramatic confrontation scene in the Thrivent “Luther” movie when at Worms Staupitz had come to be be with Luther and while shaving his tonsure, they talked. Suddenly in response to something Staupitz said, Luther grabbed his forearm, the one with the razor in it?, and said, “Did you really think there would be no consequences?”

  • Joanne

    Is this an Augsburgian proposition?

    I’ve often explained to people that become exasperated with Lutheranism that they need to remember it was derived from Academia, created in a University by professors of Bible, theology, and what not. And that all it’s great statements of faith derive from academic debate. Is Luther making a debate proposition here or a Gospel proclamation. Or is he doing both in the guise of a list of debating propositions.

    Lutheranism was planted and grew in the medium of cities and educated princes and laity. Lutheranism is a rather effete and learned and elite approach to the problems it faced, whenever Philip could keep Luther from cursing at kings.

    Luther often talks like a professor instead of a politian or church leader. If he were with us now, he’d be the seminary professor on several committees.

    I will say that Luther’s bible was written for the average German, but Luther’s commentaries which he used in his classes, tell us there was a remarkable amount of depth behind that simple bible translation. What do they say, it is much harder to be simple than complex.

    And our really basic problem is that Luther was not a systematician. He resisted turning his thoughts into a whole system of theology. And, Philip who could do it, was unsure of himself; he was not a clergyman; he did not hear confessions and make absolutions; and even though Cranach paints Philip in the act of baptising a baby in the 1547 Wittenberg Altarpiece, I don’t think Philip ever baptised anyone. For Philip it was all in the head and for Luther to be a preacher, a seelsorger, pastor, and teacher of bright students was his greatest pleasures. When he must put his thinking down on paper he often grows irritable while addressng only the issue at hand.

    If it hadn’t been for the great Lutheran systematicians, Lutheranism would have unwoven within decades of Luther’s death. Acting as the pastor of Europe, Luther wrote to everyone on every subject. He said professorial things like, we have changed nothing, but we could change it all under certain circumstances. Can you really make a church function and grow without systematising what the belief and practices are? Luther didn’t do it.

    But others did, other professors with a brutal focus on structure and organization and puzzle-solving. I understand that CPH is publishing a fine English transtlation of Johan Gerhardt’s systematics work. I’m sure he was a major source for Pieper.

    http://cyberbrethren.com/2011/03/17/johann-gerhards-loci-theologici-the-best-and-most-comprehensive-lutheran-presentation-of-christian-doctrine/

    At Augsburg in 1530, what was presented by the Lutherans was expected to be used by them in the defense of their doctrines at a church council, still a possibility then with an Emperor who only 5 years before had sacked Rome itself with his German and Spanish army. I believe by 1580, the council (von Trent) had happened without them and cemented Rome’s midieval errors into their canon books. Things had changed when the systematitions rose up to order the faith. And so the wall was built that Luther had so avoided.

    Remember the dramatic confrontation scene in the Thrivent “Luther” movie when at Worms Staupitz had come to be be with Luther and while shaving his tonsure, they talked. Suddenly in response to something Staupitz said, Luther grabbed his forearm, the one with the razor in it?, and said, “Did you really think there would be no consequences?”

  • Joanne

    For those of us for whom this marriage stuff is clear as mud, here’s an interesting link that will throw a little sand in you face just to make it fun. Papyrus marriage and divorce documents from the 1st centuries BC/AD.

    http://www.tyndalearchive.com/Brewer/MarriagePapyri/Index.html

  • Joanne

    For those of us for whom this marriage stuff is clear as mud, here’s an interesting link that will throw a little sand in you face just to make it fun. Papyrus marriage and divorce documents from the 1st centuries BC/AD.

    http://www.tyndalearchive.com/Brewer/MarriagePapyri/Index.html

  • fws

    joanne @ 32

    what part of the large catechism, commandments 4 and 6 is “clear as mud”? I am curious. It was written by that same martin Luther that you say was not systematic (clear? ) enough….

  • fws

    joanne @ 32

    what part of the large catechism, commandments 4 and 6 is “clear as mud”? I am curious. It was written by that same martin Luther that you say was not systematic (clear? ) enough….

  • fws

    Joanne @ 31

    What I propose is, alone , what makes anyone a Lutheran. We Lutherans read the Confessions to see what is truly Lutheran. We are not Luther-ans.

    The proposition that the Confessions exist as a working example of how to resolve any doctrinal controversy by applying the proper distinction of Law and Gospel is the most important contribution of Lutheranism to the Church at large.

    Pastors take an oath to read the Holy Scriptures through the lense of the Confessions. And to read Scriptures making that Law and Gospel distinction everywhere is what that oath is demanding. It is not demanding the reading of the confessions as a checklist of doctrines to conform to. or to read the Confessions as a prooftext to win arguments with.

    I am describing Joanna THE central and underlying proposition that sets Lutherans apart from other christian sects. Other distinctives such as the real presence, baptismal regeneration, and even the communication of attributes all spring from a proper distinction of Law and Gospel.

  • fws

    Joanne @ 31

    What I propose is, alone , what makes anyone a Lutheran. We Lutherans read the Confessions to see what is truly Lutheran. We are not Luther-ans.

    The proposition that the Confessions exist as a working example of how to resolve any doctrinal controversy by applying the proper distinction of Law and Gospel is the most important contribution of Lutheranism to the Church at large.

    Pastors take an oath to read the Holy Scriptures through the lense of the Confessions. And to read Scriptures making that Law and Gospel distinction everywhere is what that oath is demanding. It is not demanding the reading of the confessions as a checklist of doctrines to conform to. or to read the Confessions as a prooftext to win arguments with.

    I am describing Joanna THE central and underlying proposition that sets Lutherans apart from other christian sects. Other distinctives such as the real presence, baptismal regeneration, and even the communication of attributes all spring from a proper distinction of Law and Gospel.

  • fws

    Joanne @ 31

    Chemnitz Loci Communes has been out for a long while. brilliant translators did the work. It is probably better even than Gerhardt. Also Brilliant is Chemnitz’ Examine of the Counsel of Trent.

    But best of all…. is the Apology to the Augustana and the Catechisms. If one does not really understand the historical context, ie what the Scholastics taught in turn understanding Aristotle that St Thomas based his teaching upon, then one will not really understand the line of reasoning in the Apology or the Catechisms.

    If one TRULY wishes to be Lutheran , one must start there. The Formula will be read in a Reformed way without this understanding.

    The confessions are the PUBLIC and FORMAL confession of all the men you mention. This means they would point you to the Confessions as the final word on what their personal confession of faith was. Reading Lutherans doing theology, it doesnt look like people really believe that to be true. They knit what they think Luther and gerhardt and others believe much as you do. I disagree with that approach. it is to put cart before horse. Luther would point us to the Apology and Smalcald and catechisms to see what he believes. Those are not scattershot and unsystematic as you would suggest. Yes I am aware melancthon was the main author of the Apology. So? It was a collaborative work with Melancthon as the editor. But Luthers signing of it was truly to make it his very own personal confessions. He said he would stand before God on judgement day with THAT confession of faith. His personal writings? Other than the commentary on Galatians and bondage of the Will he encouraged them all to be burned…

  • fws

    Joanne @ 31

    Chemnitz Loci Communes has been out for a long while. brilliant translators did the work. It is probably better even than Gerhardt. Also Brilliant is Chemnitz’ Examine of the Counsel of Trent.

    But best of all…. is the Apology to the Augustana and the Catechisms. If one does not really understand the historical context, ie what the Scholastics taught in turn understanding Aristotle that St Thomas based his teaching upon, then one will not really understand the line of reasoning in the Apology or the Catechisms.

    If one TRULY wishes to be Lutheran , one must start there. The Formula will be read in a Reformed way without this understanding.

    The confessions are the PUBLIC and FORMAL confession of all the men you mention. This means they would point you to the Confessions as the final word on what their personal confession of faith was. Reading Lutherans doing theology, it doesnt look like people really believe that to be true. They knit what they think Luther and gerhardt and others believe much as you do. I disagree with that approach. it is to put cart before horse. Luther would point us to the Apology and Smalcald and catechisms to see what he believes. Those are not scattershot and unsystematic as you would suggest. Yes I am aware melancthon was the main author of the Apology. So? It was a collaborative work with Melancthon as the editor. But Luthers signing of it was truly to make it his very own personal confessions. He said he would stand before God on judgement day with THAT confession of faith. His personal writings? Other than the commentary on Galatians and bondage of the Will he encouraged them all to be burned…

  • Joanne

    Reading Luther and reading Melancthon (author of the Augsburg Confession as well as the Apology) is like listening to Bach and then listening to Telemann. Both were among the best musical technicians of their time. No one would call Telemann lacking in his musical talents. But his music lacks the rock solid faith that one is drawn to in Bach. It’s happening to the Japanese and they don’t understand the faith at all behind what they are attracted to. I maintain that one can tell by a sermon whether the preacher is a believer or not in this same way we can instantly sense the beautiful spirit of God in Bach, and yes even in his instrumental compositions. (Can you tell I just finished the Stiller book this morning and am full of parrotting what I read?)

    Or let’s try this, the idea of surface and depth. I didn’t just finish a book on Telemann, but when I listen to a Telemann cantata, and his jobs required him to write hundreds too, once is enough and it’s been a task keeping my mind from wandering. It’s like it’s all one-layer deep, and I miss the constant hymn tune/hymn texts that are woven throughout Bach cantatas.

    There were books of cantata poetry and Telemann made good use of them. Bach would use them only after “blue pencilling” them to a fair thee well. They were good enought to form a basis or structure for Bach, but not good enough to emphasize the sermon his music was meant to expound upon. But, he is not known to change the texts of the hymns he used in his work. (parrotting like I really know this stuff)

    Bach’s work and the preacher’s sermons were captives to the liturgial practices and requirements of the day. The Sermon and the cantata could be so well coordinated because the liturgy even determined the hymns of the day, especially the haupt hymn. It determined the texts on which the sermon was to be preached and for how long at which service.

    No wonder that the Pietists and the Ratonalists chaffed under the almost straight-jacket control of the liturgy as applied in Leipzig in the last flourishing of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Rosenmuller (1780s), the one most responsible for “modernizing” along rational lines has written that a private confession was a much complained of waste of his time doing repetitive things. “Say you have 100 confessors, can you imgine saying and doing the same thing over and over for hours when you could be studying and preparing your sermon.”

    Oh, and Schmaldkald, the princes of the league thought they were going to get a meeting with the Emperor and hopes for the church council were high again, so they ordered Luther to pull together the statement while they all happened to be in Schmaldkald. Luther was under orders to make the statement and present it to the assembled princes, right there, right then.

    Luther could do it under emotional duress, and basing it on previous statements, wasn’t there a Torgau Statement too that was a preStatement for something? And it was short. But, Luther would much prefer to work in committee on statements letting Melancthon take the lead and getting the credit in this kind of work.

    There is no doubt that Luther was an excellent teacher and creator of teaching materials as the catechisms so excellently exemplarize. If we had all Luther’s course preparation materials and class lectures, I’m sure he covered most, all, and/or more than Melancthon, Gehrhard, and Chemnitz did in their systematic works. Just don’t ask Luther to turn his work into systematic excellence. He didn’t and he didn’t want to.

    He may not even have wanted it done, but he never lived to see 1580 and how the religous world with the fresh and bold counter reformation had changed theological needs. But nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition, or the Jesuits. I wouldn’t want to go up against the Jesuits without a fully systematized theology to back me up, after the Bible first, and the Confessions second. And, as you say, Chemnitz itemized response to Trent.

  • Joanne

    Reading Luther and reading Melancthon (author of the Augsburg Confession as well as the Apology) is like listening to Bach and then listening to Telemann. Both were among the best musical technicians of their time. No one would call Telemann lacking in his musical talents. But his music lacks the rock solid faith that one is drawn to in Bach. It’s happening to the Japanese and they don’t understand the faith at all behind what they are attracted to. I maintain that one can tell by a sermon whether the preacher is a believer or not in this same way we can instantly sense the beautiful spirit of God in Bach, and yes even in his instrumental compositions. (Can you tell I just finished the Stiller book this morning and am full of parrotting what I read?)

    Or let’s try this, the idea of surface and depth. I didn’t just finish a book on Telemann, but when I listen to a Telemann cantata, and his jobs required him to write hundreds too, once is enough and it’s been a task keeping my mind from wandering. It’s like it’s all one-layer deep, and I miss the constant hymn tune/hymn texts that are woven throughout Bach cantatas.

    There were books of cantata poetry and Telemann made good use of them. Bach would use them only after “blue pencilling” them to a fair thee well. They were good enought to form a basis or structure for Bach, but not good enough to emphasize the sermon his music was meant to expound upon. But, he is not known to change the texts of the hymns he used in his work. (parrotting like I really know this stuff)

    Bach’s work and the preacher’s sermons were captives to the liturgial practices and requirements of the day. The Sermon and the cantata could be so well coordinated because the liturgy even determined the hymns of the day, especially the haupt hymn. It determined the texts on which the sermon was to be preached and for how long at which service.

    No wonder that the Pietists and the Ratonalists chaffed under the almost straight-jacket control of the liturgy as applied in Leipzig in the last flourishing of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Rosenmuller (1780s), the one most responsible for “modernizing” along rational lines has written that a private confession was a much complained of waste of his time doing repetitive things. “Say you have 100 confessors, can you imgine saying and doing the same thing over and over for hours when you could be studying and preparing your sermon.”

    Oh, and Schmaldkald, the princes of the league thought they were going to get a meeting with the Emperor and hopes for the church council were high again, so they ordered Luther to pull together the statement while they all happened to be in Schmaldkald. Luther was under orders to make the statement and present it to the assembled princes, right there, right then.

    Luther could do it under emotional duress, and basing it on previous statements, wasn’t there a Torgau Statement too that was a preStatement for something? And it was short. But, Luther would much prefer to work in committee on statements letting Melancthon take the lead and getting the credit in this kind of work.

    There is no doubt that Luther was an excellent teacher and creator of teaching materials as the catechisms so excellently exemplarize. If we had all Luther’s course preparation materials and class lectures, I’m sure he covered most, all, and/or more than Melancthon, Gehrhard, and Chemnitz did in their systematic works. Just don’t ask Luther to turn his work into systematic excellence. He didn’t and he didn’t want to.

    He may not even have wanted it done, but he never lived to see 1580 and how the religous world with the fresh and bold counter reformation had changed theological needs. But nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition, or the Jesuits. I wouldn’t want to go up against the Jesuits without a fully systematized theology to back me up, after the Bible first, and the Confessions second. And, as you say, Chemnitz itemized response to Trent.

  • fws

    ya lost me Joanne. I am not sure what you said has to do with what I said about the confessions.

  • fws

    ya lost me Joanne. I am not sure what you said has to do with what I said about the confessions.

  • jasper mcmillan

    The Church is being hurled back to the dark ages in order to please a very loud and degenerate minority but then this was prophesied in the Bible long ago. The Church has always been under attack by people who are inspired by the great adversary. This becomes very clear when one considers that Islam and Muslims take a far more harsh approach when dealing with Homosexuals yet it is the Christian Church that is targeted vice Islam and its Mosques. The great adversary has no argument with ANY gods except the one that can truly put him into Hell therefore Christ and his Church are the only viable targets. The thing is, Jesus Christ and his Church win in the end regardless of how loud the Homosexual Community may scream “Bigots” and other foul names at the Church. By their very actions they prove beyond a doubt that it is THEY who are the Bigots and it is also THEY who are so intolerant of any counter views that they seek Laws authored by cowardly Politicians to enforce their views upon the Church regardless of any protests. No true Church of the living God will ever adhere to nor obey the cowardly and degenerate demands thrust upon them by a twisted minority because, unlike the almighty, they have no power to destroy the soul.

  • jasper mcmillan

    The Church is being hurled back to the dark ages in order to please a very loud and degenerate minority but then this was prophesied in the Bible long ago. The Church has always been under attack by people who are inspired by the great adversary. This becomes very clear when one considers that Islam and Muslims take a far more harsh approach when dealing with Homosexuals yet it is the Christian Church that is targeted vice Islam and its Mosques. The great adversary has no argument with ANY gods except the one that can truly put him into Hell therefore Christ and his Church are the only viable targets. The thing is, Jesus Christ and his Church win in the end regardless of how loud the Homosexual Community may scream “Bigots” and other foul names at the Church. By their very actions they prove beyond a doubt that it is THEY who are the Bigots and it is also THEY who are so intolerant of any counter views that they seek Laws authored by cowardly Politicians to enforce their views upon the Church regardless of any protests. No true Church of the living God will ever adhere to nor obey the cowardly and degenerate demands thrust upon them by a twisted minority because, unlike the almighty, they have no power to destroy the soul.

  • Joanne

    Before Trent, there was some use in avoiding the kind of finalizing that a full and complete systematic (5 volume) document would have meant for any discussing at an Ecumenical Church Council. The Lutherans were looking for a Nicean type, or at the least a Constance type experience. You can’t arrive at such a council with all you points listed ahead of time as non-negotiotiable.

    I think Luther hoped to be able to enlighten and to change minds at Trent. Philip was probably just looking forward to a once in a lifetime chance to debate the best in front of the whole world showing how conciliatory he could be.

    I don’t know this but were the Arians completely shut out at Nicea or were they allowed to come and discuss? Trent was a show council not too different from the “we’ve got you over a barrell” council at Farrara/Florence in 1439/40. The Latins manipulated the desperate Romans and Emperor John. Decisions were made, but none kept on either side and in 1453 the inevitable happened.

    But the Latins were able to lure westward two high clergy from the Roman Camp, and one, Metropolitan Bessarion, soon Cardinal Bessarion brought his Greek language library with him. When he died he left his library to the Venetian Republic where it stayed in its packing crates for almost 100 years. But finally the Marciana Library was created for it. It had been thought that Aldus Manucius used Bessarion’s books to create his version of several Greek texts, until a scholar noticed that they were still in their crates in 1515 when Aldus died.

    We’re in Venice at the Marciana to talk about Luther’s excommunication and just how serious was such a thing. Today it sounds dreadful and final, but in the Renaissance and the Medici were the Renaissance, excommunications came and went almost on a whim.

    After they got the Marciana all set up, as with all libraries of the time, no books were allowed to be taken out, ever, at all. Unless of course you were somebody important, or knew someone important, or the librarian just liked you. And invariably books were not returned. These are manuscripts, irreplaceable hand-written on vellum books, you understand, in a very fine scholastic Greek hand, and some with illuminations.

    I’m a retired librarian so to be able to excommunicate someone who won’t return his books is a power I would have loved to have had. The Marciana had gotten just such power in writing from a Pope. Written requests to return a book were accompanied with a writ of excommunication, if said book didn’t return within so much time. Can you imagine me calling you up from the local PL and threatening you with HellFire if you didn’t return your books? I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to do that on several egregious occassions.

    And, I suppose you’d think that in Italy where the inquisition was and was not (not allowed in Venice nor Florence, I believe), but where surely these were religous people, that the threat of excommunication, and then the subsequent excommunication had the expected results. Well if the warning didn’t get the books back, obviously it didn’t work well. And when the actual excommunications didn’t get the books back, we understand the actual gravitas, i.e. none, of an excommunication in Italy. If it really bothered the borrower, and it would surely near death, but usually sooner, he’d get his favorite Uncle cardinal to “fix it.”

    All this verbiage just to point out that Luther could have been merely slapped on the back of the hand at Trent, some changes made in the Evangelical direction, and the excommunication fixed, if those with enough power wanted it to happen. If Trent had not been a rump council, but had been a real Ecumenical Council, then there really was hope.

    What I’m saying is that they were not so foolish at Schmalcalden to hope for a real council and to really be heard.

    In retrospect, they were very foolish because there were never enough powerful people Europe-wide to care enough about Luther’s real cause, and way too many bankers who wanted the debts of the Bishops to be paid. Did you know that to get Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz to abandon his primary rezidence in Halle an der Saale, the town council agreed in negotiations to pay all the Archbishop’s substantial debts to the Fuggar Bank? It seems they were happy to do it. And the day Albrecht left Justus Jonas declared the Reformation in Halle.

    History amuses me. I’m sorry that I can’t make any cognizant conclusions with it on this subject. Music and wit are the levity of my life.

  • Joanne

    Before Trent, there was some use in avoiding the kind of finalizing that a full and complete systematic (5 volume) document would have meant for any discussing at an Ecumenical Church Council. The Lutherans were looking for a Nicean type, or at the least a Constance type experience. You can’t arrive at such a council with all you points listed ahead of time as non-negotiotiable.

    I think Luther hoped to be able to enlighten and to change minds at Trent. Philip was probably just looking forward to a once in a lifetime chance to debate the best in front of the whole world showing how conciliatory he could be.

    I don’t know this but were the Arians completely shut out at Nicea or were they allowed to come and discuss? Trent was a show council not too different from the “we’ve got you over a barrell” council at Farrara/Florence in 1439/40. The Latins manipulated the desperate Romans and Emperor John. Decisions were made, but none kept on either side and in 1453 the inevitable happened.

    But the Latins were able to lure westward two high clergy from the Roman Camp, and one, Metropolitan Bessarion, soon Cardinal Bessarion brought his Greek language library with him. When he died he left his library to the Venetian Republic where it stayed in its packing crates for almost 100 years. But finally the Marciana Library was created for it. It had been thought that Aldus Manucius used Bessarion’s books to create his version of several Greek texts, until a scholar noticed that they were still in their crates in 1515 when Aldus died.

    We’re in Venice at the Marciana to talk about Luther’s excommunication and just how serious was such a thing. Today it sounds dreadful and final, but in the Renaissance and the Medici were the Renaissance, excommunications came and went almost on a whim.

    After they got the Marciana all set up, as with all libraries of the time, no books were allowed to be taken out, ever, at all. Unless of course you were somebody important, or knew someone important, or the librarian just liked you. And invariably books were not returned. These are manuscripts, irreplaceable hand-written on vellum books, you understand, in a very fine scholastic Greek hand, and some with illuminations.

    I’m a retired librarian so to be able to excommunicate someone who won’t return his books is a power I would have loved to have had. The Marciana had gotten just such power in writing from a Pope. Written requests to return a book were accompanied with a writ of excommunication, if said book didn’t return within so much time. Can you imagine me calling you up from the local PL and threatening you with HellFire if you didn’t return your books? I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to do that on several egregious occassions.

    And, I suppose you’d think that in Italy where the inquisition was and was not (not allowed in Venice nor Florence, I believe), but where surely these were religous people, that the threat of excommunication, and then the subsequent excommunication had the expected results. Well if the warning didn’t get the books back, obviously it didn’t work well. And when the actual excommunications didn’t get the books back, we understand the actual gravitas, i.e. none, of an excommunication in Italy. If it really bothered the borrower, and it would surely near death, but usually sooner, he’d get his favorite Uncle cardinal to “fix it.”

    All this verbiage just to point out that Luther could have been merely slapped on the back of the hand at Trent, some changes made in the Evangelical direction, and the excommunication fixed, if those with enough power wanted it to happen. If Trent had not been a rump council, but had been a real Ecumenical Council, then there really was hope.

    What I’m saying is that they were not so foolish at Schmalcalden to hope for a real council and to really be heard.

    In retrospect, they were very foolish because there were never enough powerful people Europe-wide to care enough about Luther’s real cause, and way too many bankers who wanted the debts of the Bishops to be paid. Did you know that to get Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz to abandon his primary rezidence in Halle an der Saale, the town council agreed in negotiations to pay all the Archbishop’s substantial debts to the Fuggar Bank? It seems they were happy to do it. And the day Albrecht left Justus Jonas declared the Reformation in Halle.

    History amuses me. I’m sorry that I can’t make any cognizant conclusions with it on this subject. Music and wit are the levity of my life.


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