Luther, Erasmus, Freedom, Doctrine, and the Wonder of It All

Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) are referred to as humanists, because they studied the "humanities" and were well educated thinkers; nothing like the humanists of today—who are secular (that is, "antichrist") humanists; who have made humanism itself into a religion that worships man.  The Dutchman Erasmus was a scholar of the highest type, but his faith appears to have been cold academia of the Scriptures, not the fiery faith of the German Luther, whose scholarship and mind made for a formidable opponent.  However, Erasmus was more mild natured and insecure and he, unbiblically, preferred the "cover of the church" even if that church was corrupt and even if the doctrine was wrong.  Peace at all costs seems to have been his motto, which also meant a comfortable lifestyle, popularity, in addition to the absence of strife and without life itself being threatened.  Luther was neither meek or mild (in terms of defense of the faith, but he was a gentle man, tender to God and sensitive to not sinning against God through overcompensating in the other direction) and he was not of the same mind, but that Scripture is Supreme: for it alone is the revealed Mind and Will of God, and anything that departs from it is error—and if that error is embraced knowingly, above the Word of God, then it is antichrist. Luther's motto, in contradistinction, would have been more like Divine Truth and obedience to God at any cost. 

Luther and Erasmus were originally cordial, but as the rift deepened and the gap widened, their cordiality was strained.  Erasmus not only took personal insult at Luther's dissection of his works and personal jabs, but Erasmus was between a rock and a hard place, in that the Papacy wanted to use him as a tool to counter Luther's arguments.  Erasmus' heart was not in it, for it appears it was primarily cold toward doctrine, while a true scholar, Erasmus seemed to be more one who liked to lounge on the deck of a cruise ship and be waited on in refinement, while discussing matters of academia with other scholars.  Thus, his written answers to Luther, in the form of treastises of his own, were more cold academia, heated at times with personal vendetta and a little motivation to protect himself from the papal purge of dissenters; to please Rome, more as a mercenary, than a soul-devoted crusader.

Regardless, in a very humorous and picturesque way, Ronald H. Bainton, in his classic biography of Luther, "Here I Stand" (1950) 441pp., Hb., 20.00 + P&H explains the difference:

"Nature cannot reveal God.  Nature indeed is very wonderful, and every particle of creation reveals the handiwork of God, if one has the eyes to see.  But that is precisely the difficulty.  If one already believes in the beneficence of God, then one is overcome with amazement and joy at the trembling of the dawn when night is not yet day and day is not night but light imperceptibly dispels darkness.  How amazing are the clouds sustained without pillars and the firmament of heaven upheld without columns!  How fair are the birds of heaven and the lilies of the field!  "If thou couldst understand a single grain of wheat, thou wouldst die for wonder."  God is in all this.  He in every creature, inwardly and outwardly, through and through, over and under, behind and before, so that nothing can be more inward and hidden in any creature of God.  "In him we live and move and have our being."  Without him is naught.  God fills all the world , but by the world he is not contained.  "Whither shall I fly from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou are there."  But who sees all this?  Only faith and spirit.  The trouble with Erasmus is that he is not stupefied with wonder at the child in the womb.  He does not contemplate marriage with reverent amazement, nor praise and thank God for the marvel of a flower or the bursting of a peach stone by the swelling of the seed.  He beholds these wonders like a cow staring at a new door.  The deficiency of faith is made evident by lack of wonder, for nature is a revelation only to those to whom God has already been revealed." (pp.214,215)


Every Christian should read this biography, and at least once a year as a family / church also watch the dramatized:

Martin Luther: Martin Luther’s Protest Changed the Course of History, 15.00 + P&H, 105 minute DVD, dramatic B&W 1952 classic, Awesome; if you have never seen it, get it; I try to make it a point to watch every year; originally released in theaters worldwide/nominated for 2 Academy Awards; magnificent depiction of Luther & forces at work in surrounding 16th century society resulted in historic reforming efforts; traces Luther’s life from guilt-burdened monk to eventual break w/ Rome; despite its age, it is unsurpassed. Special 50th Anniversary colorized Edition includes: full length film; story of making of the film; Biography of many features not available before, a documentary history with Robert E. A. Lee, retired head of Lutheran Film Associates; trip to historic Luther sites including breathtaking color views of Wittenberg, Eisenach, Worms, Wartburg, Augsburg. Photos, background info, credits for producer, director, writer leading actors.

Every Christian should read my,

Does God Repent...? Can God Change His Mind...? [And an Utter Demolishment of the Humanistic Myth of Man’s “Free Will” and Arminianism], 484pp., 22.50 + P&H. Dovetails nicely with God and Evil and The Sovereignty of God.... Lively, profound, revealing, thought provoking, convincing thought, logic, Scripture. Exposes the subversion of true Christian faith in counter reformation re-introducing false theology of Origen and Pelagius and corruption of modern church by Jesuits and crypto-jews and terribly deceived humanists such as Scheiermacher, Kierkegaard, Spinoza, Barth, Schweitzer, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and many more, including undermining of Puritan church by Solomon Stoddard, and much more; also Dissects the false theology from one chapter of two different books; one by Dr. Normal Geisler and one by Brother Andrew.

and my historical and theological introduction in

History of Puritans & Pilgrim Fathers (1888) which incorporates: The Puritans in England (1849) W.H. Stowell, & The Pilgrim Fathers (1849) D. Wilson, 508pp.; with added 230pp. by R.A.B. (500 hours of research /writing) of historical and theological introduction to the Reformers, Puritans, Pilgrims, Nonconformists, Covenanters, the Westminster Assembly, the history of the Anglican Church and Presbyterian Church in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the Anglican Church and monarchs of Britain in their persecution of those Protestants who disagreed with the Anglican Church’s Catholic ritual, and an insightful look at the Great Awakening and revivals in England, Ireland, Scotland (and its Isle of Lewis) Wales, and New England; with over 800 short biographies and over 250 illustrations added; total c.740pp.; 7x8.5, 35.00 + P&H.

And each Christian should read at least the brief,

Twelve Reformation Heroes (1960) Neilson, 96pp., pb., 12.50 + P&H.

if not larger works like

The Story of the Light That Never Went Out: A History of English Protestantism For Young Readers (1903) W.S.M. and Augusta Cook; 586pp., 8.5x11, hundreds of illustrations, excellent; pb., 45.00 + P&H. One person who ordered this book, who is an older gentleman who has long been an avid reader, said this was one of the best and most important 5 books he has ever read. Another person saw an original at the library of Bob Jones University and was impressed with the book and ordered a copy from me, and could not believe the quality, being far better than the original; he took his new copy to BJU and showed it to them, and they ordered a copy so they could "retire" to the archives the original. [Contents: How The Light Came; How the Darkness Came; Parting of the Ways; The Venerable Bede, and Other Famous Men; England’s Greatest King; William the Conqueror and the Norman Period; Gathering Shadows; Midnight; England’s Bulwark, Or The Foundation of Liberty Laid; Monks and Friars With Shaven Crowns; How Lamp Was Kept Buring; Thomas Bradwardine, Man Who Trimmed the Lamp; Robert Longland, Man Who Dreamed A Dream; John Wycliffe; The Lollards; Chariots of Fire; The Fifteenth Century; Preparation For Reformation; How English Reformation Began; Two Great Discoveries & What Came of Them; Much-Married Monarch; William Tyndale; Martyr’s Prayer Answered; English Josiah; Dark Days; “Latimer’s Light Shall Never Go Out”; England’s Greatest Archbishop; “Of Whome World Was Not Worthy”; Daughters of The King; Lambs In Flock Of Slaughter; Why Martyrs Suffered; Martyr’s Memorials; John Foxe; What Might Have Been; Brighter Days; Jesuits; “Bonnie Queen Bess”; Invincible Armada; Martyrs or Murderers—Which?; Gunpowder, Treason & Plot; Old Time Ritualist; King & Parliament; “Old Noll”; Puritan England; “Merry Monarch”; Tinker Of Bedford; Stuart Schemer; Bishops Of Right Sort; Glorious Revolution; Protestantism Ascends The Throne; Light In Eighteenth Century; Victorian Era—World’s Greatest Empire; “Thy Kingdom Come.”]

—which will all help understand the Big Picture.

as well as books like:

Faith & Freedom: Christian Roots of American Liberty, Hart, 384pp. excellent; one best books on Christian roots of U.S.; out of print, good used pb.,/Hb. copies; inquire.

I Was A Slave In Russia (1958) & I Found God In Soviet Russia (1959) 192pp. [intro. by Billy Graham], 192pp., John Noble; 2 incredible books, on Christian faith through persecution. When “allies” (USSR) took over after bombing of Dresden, German-born U.S. citizen & his family were arrested, their business stolen by USSR, and they were imprisoned for nearly 15 years under torture. Incredible. A must. new printing, 2-in-1, pb., 24.00 + P&H.

Tortured For His Faith, Popov (Roumanian pastor suffered 18 years imprisonment/torture behind iron curtain) 146pp., pb., 8.00 + P&H.

The Persecutor (1973) Sergei Kourdakov; Russian Secret Police Officer; job to beat/torture Christians; converted to Christ, Out of print, good used pb/Hb copies available. A must. [Inquire]

The Secret Holocaust, Mullins, 34pp., 4 00 + P&H. (66 MILLION European Christians exterminated by Bolshevism)

The Human Cost of Soviet Communism, Prepared at Request of Sen. T. Dodd for Subcom. to Investigate Administration of Internal Security Act and other Internal Security Laws of Committee on Judiciary U.S. Senate, 1971, 40pp., 5 00 + P&H. (180 million European Christians exterminated by Bolshevism).

[All titles mentioned herein are in stock.  Inquire.]

Without understanding what freedom (ecclesiastic and political) cost—and what "life" can be like without it, and what TRUE suffering actually is—there is NO WAY that anyone can appreciate it and uncompromisingly fight to preserve it. How true it is that One does not truly appreciate what he has until he loses it (or almost loses it).  Blessed it the man whom God brings to this point of appreciation, like on the edge of Niagara, but with miraculous deliverance so that it is not lost.  Those who would not be changed by such a "second chance" and who would not glorify God and be possessed with a new zest and awe and vigilence for life and truth deserve to go over the edge to never rise from the depths again.

Despite his Unitarianism (apparently John Adams did not instruct his family well enough in the true faith), John Quincey Adams was intelligent and did make valid observations and poignant declarations, such as

"Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom.  I hope you will make good use of it.”

However, Samuel Adams was much more blunt:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”


The Apostle James, under Divine inspiration, penned,

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.... Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 1:22; 4:17)


See also:

Important Books For Christendom

The Karl Gustav Nieritz Library / Emily Sarah Holt Library / William Herchenbach Library

(Poster / Chart) Coordinated Chronology of the Reformers

(Poster / Chart) A Coordinated Chronological Table of the Patriarchs