Martin Luther: a Catholic Critique & Appraisal (Index Page)

Martin Luther: a Catholic Critique & Appraisal (Index Page) November 9, 2006

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Portrait of Martin Luther (1528), by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]
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[For those who wrongly think I am some sort of “Luther-hater” or “Luther-basher”, beyond disagreeing with his theology, and can never praise or agree with him: in many of the papers below (well beyond a score by now: see the appropriate sections below), I defend Luther (as well as, by the way, John Calvin) against myths and bum raps, cite him in agreement, or take a fairly neutral stance towards his opinion.
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I wrote in a paper dated March 2000: “I (like many Catholics) do admire him in certain ways. I like his passion and boldness and apparent sincerity and good intentions (though thoroughly deluded and wrongheaded). He had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary and to the Eucharist.” And in February 2001, I posted on the Catholic Convert Message Board: “I have never maintained that Luther was ‘evil’ or essentially a ‘bad’ man, nor have I ever denied his good intentions . . . No one can find those sentiments on my website.”]
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For more of my opinion on Martin Luther, see the Introduction to my book, Martin Luther: Catholic Critical Analysis and Praise. A full third of that book is devoted to areas where Catholics and Luther substantially agree.
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Also, my book,  The “Catholic” Luther : An Ecumenical Collection of His “Traditional” Utterances, (see the Introduction) is devoted to his statements that Catholics would agree with. 
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WHY LUTHER SEPARATED FROM THE CHURCH / CAUSES OF THE PROTESTANT REVOLT (aka “REFORMATION”)
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Medieval Catholic Corruption: Main Cause of Protestant Revolt? [6-2-03; revised slightly: 1-20-04; 10-10-17]
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Luther Film (2003): Detailed Catholic Critique [10-28-03; abridged with revised links on 3-6-17]
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50 Reasons Why Martin Luther Was Excommunicated [National Catholic Register, 11-23-16]
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Myths and Facts Regarding Tetzel and Indulgences [11-25-16; published in Catholic Herald]
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Critique of Ten Exaggerated Claims of the “Reformation” [10-31-17; its 500th anniversary date]
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LUTHER’S VIEWS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HEADED BY THE POPE, TRADITION, AND THE CHURCH FATHERS
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10 Remarkably “Catholic” Beliefs of Martin Luther [National Catholic Register, 10-6-17]
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LUTHER’S ARBITRARY CLAIMS TO ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY
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LUTHER’S DISGUST AND AGONY OVER PROTESTANT SECTARIANISM AND MORAL LAXITY

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Luther on the Deaths of Zwingli, St. Thomas More, & St. John Fisher [11-30-07; expanded on 10-31-17]

Martin Luther: “Our manner of life is as evil as is that of the papists” [12-29-07]

Zwingli, Bucer, Oecolampadius: Luther & Lutherans Not Christians [1-10-08]

Did Luther Regret Anything About His “Reformation”? [5-13-08]

Unbridled Sectarianism, Sola Scriptura, Luther, & Calvin [6-24-09]

Luther on Early Lutherans: “Ingrates” Who Deserve God’s “Wrath” [2-28-10] 

Luther’s Disgust Over Protestant Sectarianism and Radical Heresies [3-1-10; abridged and published in the National Catholic Register: 9-8-17] 

Luther on Early Lutheran Degeneracy & Bad Witness [3-2-10]

Was Luther in His Old Age in Agony & Bitter About Lutheranism? [3-3-10] 

Luther’s “Agony” Over Sectarianism (vs. a Lutheran) [3-10-10]

Luther: Monks & Priests More “Earnest” Than Lutherans [11-10-11]

Martin Luther as Initial Cause of Protestant In-Fighting [10-13-17]

ERASMUS-LUTHER CONTROVERSY (REASON VS. RELENTLESS RHETORIC AND INSULTS)
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“Luther Meets His Match” (Seven Parts, Feb. 2009)
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SOTERIOLOGY (THEOLOGY OF SALVATION, JUSTIFICATION, & SANCTIFICATION) / SOLA FIDE

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Luther and the Origin & Nature of “Instant” Salvation [1991]

Reflections on Luther’s Novel Soteriology [1994; hosted at Internet Archive]

Baptismal Regeneration: Central Doctrine, According to Luther & Lutheranism [1996]

Faith Alone & Original Sin: Reply to Smalcald Articles [1-30-01]

N. T. Wright and the “New Perspective” on St. Paul: Did Luther Misinterpret Paul’s Soteriology? [Facebook, 5-5-04]

Luther’s Error Concerning Justification (N. T. Wright) [Facebook, 5-19-04]

Luther’s “Snow-Covered Dunghill” (Myth?) [10-5-05]

Luther’s Projection of His Depression & Crises Onto St. Paul [6-1-06]

Dialogue on Luther’s “Getting to a Gracious God” (vs. Lutheran historian “CPA”) [6-4-06]

Martin Luther: Good Works Prove Authentic Faith [4-16-08]

Luther on Theosis & Sanctification [11-23-09]

Luther: God Predestines Reprobation of the Damned [2-27-10]

Martin Luther: Faith Alone is Not Lawless Antinomianism [2-28-10]

Merit & Sanctification: Martin Luther’s Point of View [11-10-14]

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CHRISTOLOGY

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Luther & the “Immaculate Purification” of Mary [10-2-10]

Luther & James Swan Blaspheme (Christ’s Sinlessness) [9-10-20]

 

BAPTISM AND OTHER SACRAMENTS

Baptismal Regeneration: Central Doctrine, According to Luther & Lutheranism [1996]

“Man-Centered” Sacramentalism: The Remarkable Incoherence of James White (How Can Martin Luther and St. Augustine Be Christians According to His Definition?) [11-26-03]

Luther: Confirmation is a Sacramental, Not a Sacrament [4-14-08]

Martin Luther on Absolution & Private Confession [4-14-08]

How Many Sacraments: According to Martin Luther? (+ Luther Expert James Swan’s and Luther’s Works Editors’ Confusion as to Luther’s Position) [11-17-18]

 

THE EUCHARIST

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PURGATORY, PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD, AND THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS

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SOLA SCRIPTURA , THE BIBLE, AND THE RULE OF FAITH
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Luther & the Previously Obscure [?] Bible (expanded version, vs. James Swan) [6-15-11]
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Did Luther Rescue the Bible in German from Utter Obscurity? [National Catholic Register, 10-30-17]
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Martin Luther on the Exact Nature of Being “Biblical” [11-10-14; revised and expanded on 1-5-20]
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THE BIBLICAL CANON / DEUTEROCANON / “APOCRYPHA”
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Luther’s Radical Views on the Biblical Canon (His Outrageous Assertions, Protestant Scholars’ Opinions & “Debate” with John Warwick Montgomery) [9-25-04]

Did Luther Deny the Canonicity of Esther? [3-24-07]

Luther’s View of the Book of Esther (Anti-Catholic Attempts to Blame Catholics for a Questionable Luther Citation Passed Down by Three Admiring Protestants) [8-20-11]

Protestant Errors Regarding Luther & the Biblical Canon (and anti-Catholic blaming of Catholic apologists for them) [8-27-11]

James Swan Ignores Protestant Errors on Luther’s Canon (Instead, He Absurdly Blames Catholic Apologists for Historical Errors of Protestant Writers) [expanded “dialogue” edition of the previous article; 8-27-11]

Luther & the Deuterocanon (So-Called “Apocrypha”) [2014]

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LUTHER AND THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY 

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2nd Reply to James Swan Re Luther’s Mariology [6-28-03; abridged on 7-19-20]
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PEASANTS’ REVOLT AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT / TOLERATION ISSUES
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Luther Favored Death, Not Religious Freedom, For ‘Heretics’ [National Catholic Register, 10-25-17]
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LUTHER’S COARSE AND “VIOLENT” LANGUAGE AND SANCTION OF VULGAR ART
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LUTHER ON MARRIAGE, POLYGAMY, CONCUBINAGE, BIGAMY, CELIBACY, SEXUALITY, AND WOMEN
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Luther and Calvin Opposed Contraception and “Fewer Children is Better” Thinking [2-21-04; published at National Catholic Register, 9-13-17]
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LUTHER’S CLINICAL DEPRESSION AND NEUROSES (?)
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SUPERSTITIONS, SILLINESS, AND SCIENCE

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MISCELLANEOUS AND GENERAL
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DEFENSES OF MARTIN LUTHER AGAINST “ANTI-LUTHER” BUM RAPS
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“One other thing I should point out in Dave’s defense. He has, if I recall correctly, previously responded to some of the most extreme anti-Lutheran garbage out there. So, while he’s clearly on the other side of the Tiber from Luther, one should not conclude that his errors in scholarship are somehow solely the result of malice and ill-will toward Luther.” (Anti-Catholic Calvinist “Turretinfan,” 3-1-10, on a Lutheran blog)
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Denunciation of “Anti-Luther” Catholic Polemics [1-11-08; slightly revised on 6-30-18]
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AGREEMENTS WITH, AND COMMENDATIONS OF LUTHER / FAIRLY NEUTRAL STANCE TOWARDS HIM
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CONTROVERSIES CONCERNING MY LUTHER RESEARCH
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Denunciation of “Anti-Luther” Catholic Polemics [1-11-08; slightly revised on 6-30-18]
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MARTIN LUTHER: PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WORKS AND BIOGRAPHIES ONLINE

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Resources: Martin Luther (by James Swan. Exhibits considerable anti-Catholic bias, but an impressively comprehensive bibliographic resource for locating online Lutheriana)

Six-Volume Philadelphia Edition of Luther’s Works

Luther (Hartmann Grisar, S. J., 1914-1917) [Volumes One / Two / Three / Four / Five / Six]
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Luther on the Eve of His Revolt (M. J. Lagrange, O. P., 1917)
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Here I Stand (Roland H. Bainton [Protestant], 1950)
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Life of Luther (Julius Koestlin [Lutheran], 1881)
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The History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches, Jacques Bénigne Bossuet [Catholic]
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The History of the Life and Acts of Luther (+ Volume Two) (Philip Melanchthon, 1548; translated by T. Frazel, 1995)
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Links to Additional Luther-Related Writings

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Last updated on 10 September 2020.

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