Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy 200th Birthday ...

... to General Robert E. Lee. Christian, gentleman, patriot, and hero. May God give us more men like him. (see McCrory's discussion)

UPDATE: Obviously, this post is about a year late. Yesterday was the 201st anniversary of Lee's birth.

Federal Vision - Heresy not anti-Paedo-Baptistic Reductio

In this recent post from GreenBaggins, one can almost see froth on the fingertips of James B. Jordan, a profane pastor some have started calling the "godfather" of the Federal Vision movement (link) (update, apparently Jordan has apologized in part). Meanwhile, well-meaning but misinformed Reformed Baptists over in the comment thread of Centuri0n's blog have the gumption to view the Federal Vision problem as a reductio ad aburdum of Presbyterianism! (link) (hosting page) (yikes!)

Frankly, while I appreciate the need for the PCA to act in an orderly manner, the sooner the matter of closing this open scandal of Federal Vision within the PCA is concluded, the better.


Not the Way to do Apologetics

This photograph is amusing, whether or not it is doctored. (link) It demonstrates a technique we see a lot from certain folks, and even occasionally from folks from whom we'd not normally expect it. It's the old "ad hominem" response.

Suppose I'm the bald guy in the picture, challenging the "church" and its supposed authority - warning people to turn to Jesus. It's an invalid apologetic to be the holding the sign saying, "Turretinfan is an anonymous, anti-[insert church name here] jerk, don't listen to him."

And same goes for me: I can't be the young guy simply calling those on the other side jerks, even when they are.

May God give us wisdom to defend the truth appropriately!


Why Should I Believe that?

Every apologist is bound to get the question, "Why should I believe that?"

Sometimes the answer is as simple as: "Because the Bible says it," or "Because it follows logically."

But not everyone one meets shares one's common epistemic foundation. Not everyone accepts that logical deduction provides truth. Not everyone believes the Bible. What can we do then?

1. In some cases we can find some other common foundation.

For example, suppose we are addressing someone who accepts only the gospels, and not the other parts of the Bible. In that case, we may be able to prove our doctrine to them out of the gospels. If someone is unwilling to accept the Bible as true, we may be able to prove our point from shared intuition or some other aspect of creation.

2. In some cases we can present our case in a different way.

If a lack of common foundation prohibits strictly logical dialog, we can still discuss the matter using some other mode of discussion. For example, if a person refuses to accept absolute truth, one can appeal to their conscience, to their common sense, etc.

Bottom Line: Some Things are not Arguable

You cannot prove logic's validity logically. You cannot prove to people that the Gospel is true. You cannot cure congenital blindness, you cannot heal leprosy, and you cannot raise the dead. That's God's turf.

You cannot argue anyone to Christ. You can present the truth to them. You can defend the truth against their attacks, but you cannot force someone to believe, whether by sword, by love, by deceit, or by logic. We have to present the truth to people as best we can, and pray to God to open their eyes and hearts and minds to the truth.

May God do so!


Friday, January 18, 2008

The Purpose of this blog - In Arabic

I'm sorry, I do not speak Arabic. Still, I can express to you, in Arabic, the purpose of this blog:

. وَأَمَّا هَذِهِ فَقَدْ كُتِبَتْ لِتُؤْمِنُوا أَنَّ يَسُوعَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَلِكَيْ تَكُونَ لَكُمْ إِذَا آمَنْتُمْ حَيَاةٌ بِاسْمِهِ

I hope you will. It is the only hope you have for the life to come.


Methodist Pastor Jumps Ship

A man who was, until recently, a senior pastor at what is the third largest Methodist church recently made the move from non-Catholic synergism to Catholic synergism (link).

One order of Elder: Two (main) Offices Therein

These days, when most ruling elders have a part-time vocation (to that post, and a full time "secular" vocation) and most teaching elders are full-time, it is easy for people to begin to give greater authority to "the preacher." It is easy for this to happen, but it ought not.

Consider these words that I recently happened to stumble across: "both the gospel minister and the ruling elder are the biblical presbyter, and that these are distinguishable offices within one order" (link).

There are distinguishable, yes, and yet of equal dignity. Read the article at the link for more info.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Luther Citation Discussion - Status Report


1. Partial "original" from Cochlaeus.
2. English translation of Luther, apparently from the German original.
3. Armstrong has the German original of Luther as produced in his "works," which we expect will simply reveal that the English translation is accurate.
4. We also have a practically illegible (to me) photograph of a single page from a manuscript copy of the work in question, in Luther's hand.
5. I don't think anyone has bothered to obtain a copy of the original German work pre-compilation into Luther's works.
6. Apparently, no one has been able to get a copy of the original "official" translation of Luther.


At this point there are several possible outcomes.

1. If the English ends up essentially matching the German and "official Latin" we can simply agree with Whitaker that the "quotation" made by Cochlaeus is a spurious gloss, and Catholic apologists should have heeded Whitaker's warning.

2. If the "official Latin" ends up matching Cochlaeus' Latin, it will be a bit surprising, but we will have to acknowledge that Whitaker may well have been wrong.

3. It seems fairly apparent that the single line of German that Armstrong has produced does not correspond to Cochlaeus' Latin, but does correspond to the English translation (cf. the German back-translation from the Latin previously provided). However, if the "German Scholars" (apparently including Steve Ray's relative and one other person) conclude otherwise, we will have to figure out why they do so.

I suspect that we will end up with number (1), which will demonstrate that James Swan's intuition was right all along.

Preliminary Conclusions:

1. So far, I think it is resaonable to conclude that none of the Catholic apologists except Cochlaeus ever read the Latin sentence that Cochlaeus reported in any work by Luther. As such, if no more evidence appears, we can simply dismiss the alleged "quotation" as a spurious gloss loosely based on a sentence with a different meaning, and handed down as - in effect- an "urban legend" via reliance on secondary sources by Catholic apologists.

2. Also, I think it is reasonable to conclude that there is no other Luther work from which Cochlaeus might have gleaned the spurious gloss than the one that has been identified.

3. Finally, I think it is reasonable to conclude that Leibniz (putatively a Lutheran, not a Catholic) simply borrowed from Bellarmine.

These preliminary conclusions would be rather different if the "official Latin" turned out to match Cochlaeus' gloss - so we are, I suppose, still waiting to see what will be pulled from the hat.

Incidentally, while I probably have missed some things along the way, I think this quotation by Ranolder of Cochaelus' gloss has been omited from Armstrong's list (link). Of course, unsurprisingly, his wording is roughly the same as those who went before him, with no additional context provided.

Selection from “That These Words of Christ, ‘This is My Body,’ etc., Still Stand Firm Against the Fanatics,”

Once Scripture had become like a broken net and no one would be restrained by it, but everyone made a hole in it wherever it pleased him to poke his snout, and followed his own opinions, interpreting and twisting Scripture any way he pleased, the Christians knew no other way to cope with these problems than to call many councils. In these they issued many outward laws and ordinances alongside Scripture, in order to keep the people together in the face of these divisions.

As a result of this undertaking (though they meant well), arose the sayings that the Scriptures were not sufficient, that we also needed the laws and the interpretations of the councils and the fathers, and that the Holy Spirit did not reveal everything to the apostles but reserved certain things for the fathers. Out of this finally developed the papacy, in which there is no authority but man-made laws and interpretations according to the “chamber of the holy father’s heart.”

When the devil saw this he jeered and thought: "Now I have won! Scripture lies prostrate, the fortress is destroyed, the weapons are beaten down. In their place they now weave walls of straw and make weapons of hay, i.e., they intend now to array themselves against me with man-made laws. Ah, this is serious! What shall I do? I shall not fight against this, but pitch in and help them build so that they remain nicely united, and help them gather enough straw and hay. It serves my purpose well that they should neglect the Word and not dispute over the Scriptures, but that at this very point they should be at peace and believe what the councils and the fathers say. But within this peace and unity I shall stir up many another controversy and quarrel, so that the pope will contend against emperor and kings, bishops against princes and lords, scholars against scholars, clerics against clerics, and everyone against the other, for the sake of temporal honor, possessions, and pleasure, yet leaving untouched their unity of belief in the holy fathers. The fools! What can they expect to accomplish with quarrels over the Scriptures and the things of God they do not understand? It is better for them to quarrel over honor, kingdoms, principalities, property, pleasure, and bodily needs, which they do understand, and meanwhile remain faithful Christians united in the glossed faith of the fathers, i.e., a flimsy faith."

This is the way the plot worked out for the fathers: Since they contrived to have the Scriptures without quarreling and dissension, they thereby became the cause of men’s turning wholly and completely away from the Scriptures to mere human drivel. Then, of course, dissension and contention over the Scriptures necessarily ceased, which is a divine quarrel wherein God contends with the devil as St. Paul says in Ephesians 6 [:12], “We have to contend not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in the air.” But in place of this, there has broken out human dissension over temporal honor and goods on earth, yet there remain a united blindness and ignorance of the Scriptures and a loss of the true Christian faith, i.e., a united obedience to the glosses of the fathers and to the holy see at Rome. Isn’t this also a piece of devilish craftiness? No matter what play we make, he is a master and an expert at the game.

Now in our day, having seen that Scripture was utterly neglected and the devil was making captives and fools of us by the mere straw and hay of man-made laws, we have tried by God’s grace to offer some help in this matter. With immense and bitter effort indeed we have brought the Scriptures to the fore again and released the people from man-made laws, freed ourselves and escaped the devil, although he stubbornly resisted and still continues to do so.

However, even though he has had to let us go, he does not forget his tricks. He has secretly sown his seed among us so that they may take hold of our teachings and words, not to aid and assist us in fostering the Scriptures, but while we were leading in the fight against human drivel to fall upon our host from the rear, incite rebellion and raise an uproar against us, in order that caught between two enemies, we may be more easily destroyed. This is what I call throwing quicksilver into the pond!

However, he does not leave the matter there, but quick as a flash goes to work on the sacraments, although in this respect he has already torn at least ten rips and loopholes in the Scriptures. I have never read of a more shameful heresy, which from the outset has gathered to itself so many heads, so many factions and dissensions, although on the main point, the persecution of Christ, they are united. But he will keep on and attack still other articles of faith, as he already declares with flashing eyes that baptism, original sin, and Christ are nothing. Once more there will arise a brawl over the Scriptures, and such dissension and so many factions that we may well say with St. Paul, “The mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Th 2:7), just as he also saw that many more factions would arise after him.

If the world lasts much longer, men will, as the ancients did, once more turn to human schemes on account of this dissension, and again issue laws and regulations to keep the people in the unity of the faith. Their success will be the same as it was in the past. In short, the devil is too clever and too mighty for us. He resists and hinders us at every point. When we wish to deal with Scripture, he stirs up so much dissension and quarreling over it that we lose our interest in it and become reluctant to trust it. We must forever be scuffling and wrestling with him. If we wish to stand upon the councils and counsels of men, we lose the Scriptures altogether and remain in the devil’s possession body and soul. He is Satan, and Satan is his name, i.e., an adversary. He must obstruct and cause misfortune; he cannot do otherwise. Moreover, he is the prince and god of this world, so that he has sufficient power to do so. Since he is able and determined to do all this, we must not imagine that we shall have peace from him. He takes no vacation and he does not sleep.

Choose, then, whether you prefer to wrestle with the devil or whether you prefer to belong to him. If you consent to be his, you will receive his guarantee to leave you in peace with the Scriptures. If you refuse to be his, defend yourself, go at him! He will not pass you by; he will create such dissension and sectarianism over the Scriptures that you will not know where Scriptures, faith, Christ, and you yourself stand.


Emphasis added to the words in question. This short quotation was originally extracted from the American Edition of Luther’s Works (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1961) volume 37, pp. 14-17, Robert H. Fischer, translator/editor (quoted as a "fair use" - should the copyright holder disagree, it is requested that he contact the blog owner through the email found on his profile).

This context provides a rather different sense as to what Luther was trying to say, than the sense conveyed by Cochlaeus and many who have followed him.

But let us not render final judgment. Perhaps Mr. Fischer has rendered the text too kindly to Luther. Perhaps the German or Latin source documents will reveal a pro-Lutheran bias in Mr. Fischer's translation.

Those interested can read more of the document here (link), notes on the work beginning at page 3, work itself beginning at page 13 (bold portion above at page 17), with the last available part of the treatise ending at page 73 (obviously, there is a lot more context that could be provided).


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Speculative Luther Citation Tree

German Original statements in "These words, 'this is my body,' etc."
Cochlaeus' inaccurate gloss on a single sentence from that work.
Bellarmine and Chrismann (independently of one another)
with Bellarmine serving as major node, with many Catholic apologists (possibly including Gregory Martin, de Sales, and so forth) and Leibniz obtaining it from Bellarmine or from someone who relied on Bellarmine.
For example,
Audioso obtaining from Bellarmine
Balmes obtaining from Audioso
Ray obtaining from Balmes

Caveat: This is just speculative (though certain connectors, like the Leibniz-Bellarmine connector, are strong). I can't recall where Steve said he found the quotation.

UPDATE: I note that the current version of Dave' page states: "The other remaining task is to give a solid contextual interpretation (because the accusation all along has been that the quotation was snatched from context and isolated, thus leading to a false impression of what Luther meant). I have already made an ambitious start in that endeavor in section VIII above. More is forthcoming, including the analysis of a Professor of German of our citation, based on the context of the original work in German (we have photocopies of the beginning of it, from the Weimar Werke collection, obtained at the University of Detroit). We also have photocopies of the relevant sections from the Erlangen and Walch editions (obtained at Concordia University library in Ann Arbor)."

Hopefully the original German text will be shared if only in image form. That would permit the main question (about whether the quote is being abused by being taken out of context), to be answered. The other questions (about whether the translation from German to Latin is fair (or not) or even whether it is the "official" translation or a Cochlaean paraphrase, are interesting but secondary.

Oh well ... I guess we will wait and see.

At this time I am most interested in (in order of interest):

1. The original German context. (I assume that this will be forthcoming, and will demonstrate that the Latin translation we have seen is something of a [more or less, I'm not sure] rough paraphrase. I assume it has not been posted yet because of size issues.)

2. The "official" Latin translation (to contrast with Cochlaeus') [If it is close to Cochlaeus' it will reduce the issues involved]

3. Even one writer (Catholic, nominal Lutheran, or anything) who quoted more of the context than Cochlaeus. (I doubt this will be found, but I'd be happy to be wrong.)

4. Any Catholic writer who ever answered Whitaker's charge that the quotation was a spurius Cochlaean invention. (I also doubt that this will be found, prior to this particular exchange.)


I note that I have omitted the possibility that Cochlaeus may have obtained his gloss legitimately from the "official" translation, since Cochlaeus wrote prior to the issuance of that translation. This pretty much solves the derivation puzzle.

Mostly it goes:

Bellarmine and Chrismann
-and from Bellarmine-
Many Catholic writers (including Balmes) and to Leibniz (plagiarizing Bellarmine), either directly or indirectly

I'm conflicted about whether to assign Gregory Martin's translation (in English) to derivation from either Cochlaeus or Bellarmine. I'm not sure it matters much.

(Incidentally, I think Grisar's different quotation is not derived directly from this family. Grisar appears actually have read the original work. Grisar misstates Luther's position, but he is far more fair and reasonable than any who followed Cochlaeus.)

Here is Grisar:

Grisar's tag is clearly incorrect, as even Armstrong seems to have admitted. Luther was not "plead[ing] the cause of the Catholic principle of authority." Luther attributed not "his own Scriptural system" to the devil, but the dissension of the fanatics and the quicksand of popery. Grisar was far more fair (his "obliged" seems to go to far) but was still incorrect. The context is available for anyone to read it. If you doubt my word read it (link).

As far as I am concerned, the derivation puzzle is solved. Cochlaeus is the ultimate source, and Luther never wrote the words attributed to him, although he wrote something from which Cochlaeus derived what he did. Furthermore, Bellarmine is the secondary major source.

All that remains is (a) the interesting question of whether Cochlaeus' gloss was fair. If the English translation is accurate, then "necessarium" is Cochlaeus' invention and is misleading. It is "necessarium" chiefly that is key to the Catholic use of the quotation. It's a fairly subtle change, but one that creates a vast difference in meaning. The (b) for that (a) is that we should check the "official" Latin version to see if "necessarium" appears there too. If so, then that will weaken both the claim to Cochlaean derivation (since others could theoretically have extracted it from the official translation), as well as the claim that the translation is unfair.

There are several other aspects of the gloss. These are less significant, but when combined with the major error, make the misrepresentation worse.

a) Man-made rules etc. is replaced by councils. This changes the tone of the sentence. In context, one of the many man-made rules that Luther has in mind are councils, but also included are popes, etc.

b) "Confugiamus" suggests taking refuge, which again changes the tone of the sentence. In context, Luther was suggesting that men would turn to man-made rules as a way to quench controversy.

c) "Propter" without context, suggests that the reason for the turning of men to man-made rules is primarily the diverse interpreations of Scripture. In fact, in context, the reason is the influence of Satan.

d) "Fidei unitatem" is probably an accurate translation of the words, but out of context one loses the saracstic sense in which Luther intended them. Recall his earlier comments about the unity of the faith, for he called that: "a united obedience to the glosses of the fathers and to the holy see at Rome."

In short, the sense Luther gives is condemnatory: first Satan stirs up trouble, then Satan imposes legalism. The way Luther is quoted, one cannot get that point. In fact, in most cases one is led to believe that Luther was suggesting that councils would be the "necessary" cure for the disease of individual interpretation.

Ah well, if anyone sees that Dave has made progress towards those ends, let me know.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thoughts on Free Will

Dear Non-Calvinist Reader,

As you think about your views on free will, here is something to consider:

There is a future, one future, and only one future. What that future is, is already known to God and to those to whom God has revealed it. Their knowledge of the future cannot (present tense) be otherwise, even if you will say that it could have (past tense) been otherwise. There is an inexorable connection between their knowledge and the future itself (though that link is not that the future causes prior knowledge of itself, which would invert causality, nor is the link that the knowledge itself causes the future, which would be contrary - at a minimum - to common sense). The proof of the inexorable connection is the certainty with which we can know the future based on divine revelation, coupled with the logical impossibility of our certainly knowing the future, and yet the future being otherwise than what we know.

Thus, while - in some sense - man may have an ability to do otherwise than man does, that sense cannot be a compound sense that considers everything including man's heart.

Furthermore, the Bible speaks of man's choices and actions in a deterministic way, and we actually see some degree of determinism in human actions all the time.

The Biblical proof is the "fruit of the tree" analogy. A good heart brings forth good fruit, and vice versa. Other examples are Biblical statement that people made various choices or took various actions "because" of something. Thomas' believing "because" he saw is an example.

Likewise, in the world of advertising we see man practically applying determinism to make money. Advertisers attempt often with great success to determine people's choices through clever advertisement.

Similarly, criminology relies on man's behavior being deterministic to solve crimes and convict criminals.

Furthermore, there is a degree of logical absurdity that arises when definitions of Libertarian Free Will (LFW) are attempted. Either the definition is so vague as to encompass Calvinism, or tight but self-contradictory or contrary to reason and/or Scripture.

The bottom line: man's choices are determined by:

  • the state of man's heart, which is itself produced by:

  • - Nature (the initial condition and direction of man's heart) and

  • - Nurture (the impulses either opposing or reinforcing nature and/or the previous state of man's heart); and

  • the circumstances in which man is.

God is fully in control of man's nature and nurture, and as well is fully in control of the circumstances in which man is. Man does make choices IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS HEART. Scripture says so:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Isaiah 59:13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

And God can determine the heart:

1 Chronicles 29:18 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:

And God does determine the heart:

Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

And it is Biblical both to say that wicked men voluntarily speak evil, AND that they cannot do otherwise:

Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

Thus, we affirm the truths of Scripture by hearkening to the Scriptural compatibility between God's Absolute Sovereignty, and man's will. Man's will does not cease to be free any more than the wind ceases to be free, though God is in control both of the wind, and the wills of men. We cannot always see the motive for the wind to blow one way and not the other, or for man to make one choice and not the other, but we can take comfort in knowing that "all things" including the wind and the wills of men "work[] together for good to" us, "the called."

May God grant us both wisdom to grow in greater understanding of His Word,


UPDATE: I have date-bumped this post to the front page and made minor revisions to this post.

The Real Turretin - on Christian Liberty

Andrew Compton has provided a transcription (with commentary) of what the Real Francis Turretin had to say about Christian Liberty (first part) (second part). These thoughts are especially timely in a day when the Baptists are drawing new battle lines over the issue of forbidding folks from drinking.

Thanks, Andrew, for publishing his remarks!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Quick Footnote to the Luther Citation Dialogue

UPDATE: I note that as of this update, Armstrong has micharacterized this post as: " that [] Robert Bellarmine is the original Latin source (at least for the quote in isolation, if not its translation) ." That's not what this post says or means. I invite readers to read the post for themselves. I'm not suggesting Bellarmine translated Luther from German to Latin. I'm not even suggesting that Bellarmine ever once saw the German original.

You may recall that Dave Armstrong had previously sought to present some sort of nuanced reductio ad absurdum one of the premises of which appeared to be that Leibniz is a genius and he cited Luther basically the same way as Steve Ray did.

Leaving many of the important issues aside, we should point out that Leibniz's usage is quite likely simply taken from Bellarmine. Leibniz cites:

- Luthurus, praef. in psalmos

- Luthurus, lib 1. contra Zwinglium et Oecolampadium

- Brentius, prolegomenis contra Petrum a Soto

These citations are basically a shortening and reordering of citations that Bellarmine uses in

De Verbi Dei, Interpretatione, Book 3 (Liber Tertius), Chapter 1 (Caput I), towards the end of the chapter (p. 98 in this edition of Bellarmine's works). Bellarmine places the contra Zwinglium et Oecolampadium citation first, lists several other citations from praef. in psalmos and provides several additional citations. In short, it looks like Leibniz copied down his citations from Bellarmine. Thus, we have no reason to think Leibniz ever considered the context (in the original - though he probably considered the context of Bellarmine's own discussion) of the quotation that he provides.

Armstrong had noted some textual variations between a quotation from Bellarmine (which is not the quotation observed above) and the quotation from Leibniz. Actually, Leibniz uses essentially the version found at page 98, except that for "atque" he has "et" and he has removed some of the irregular capitalization. The change in sense between "atque" and "et" is rather nuanced in this case, and we could reasonably consider that Leibniz considered "atque" to be a typographic error. After all, "et" makes slightly better sense the way the rest of the sentence is presented at page 98. Furthermore, "sacrae" has been inserted, which could have simply been instinctive, as Scripture is frequently called "Holy Scripture."

Since all of the other times we have found the quotation in Latin, we have seen "atque", we may reasonably blame Leibniz for the change, rather than speculate that he had the "original" Latin (obviously, the original was ultimately the German of 1527, not the Latin of 1556). My opinion here would change if I discovered that the "original Latin" used "et" (or included "sacrae"), but I do not expect that to be the case.

The ease with which minor textual variations can occur can be seen from the differences between the quotations at pages 76 (identified by Armstrong) and 95.

The differences are:


p. 76 capitalizes "Si" and "Scripturae"
p. 98 capitalizes "Si", "Mundus", "Fidei", and "Conciliorum"

p. 76 breaks up the quotation with "inquit". This is not an important difference. "Inquit" is simply a word that translates to "he says" (link). Likewise, that it is not part of the quotation be seen from the fact that it is printed in plain face, not italics, like the remainder of the quotation. Armstrong seems to have missed this fact, although he noted the word as different from the presentation in the other instances he located.

p. 76 uses "erit" instead of "fore". This is a slight semantic difference. Fore is the future infinitive of "to be" whereas "erit" is future active indicative.

p. 76 uses "ut" before "propter" rather than before "ad conservandum". This seems simply to be matter of syntactic preference. (interestingly, Armstrong's transcription misplaces the "propter diversas" in the reading from p. 76)

Mellini quotes from Bellarmine, p. 98, and gives Bellarmine credit (link).
Audisio generally follows Bellarmine's p. 76 version (link).
Brunati generally follows Bellarmine's p. 76 version (link).
Hallinen may have followed Bellarmine's p. 76 version (link).
It's a little hard to be sure, but Balmes may have obtained his version from page 76 of Bellarmine (link), via Audisio (note the same quotation from Beza is used by Balmes as was used by Audisio).

de Sales was a contemporary of Bellarmine, thus it is hard to make a definitive statement regarding derivation. de Sales quotation is more similar to Bellarmine p. 76 than to Bellarmine p. 98 (link). On the other hand de Sales' editor seems to have located an "original" and added a footnote to it. Thus, de Sales' editor may have corrected de Sales' quotation to match the editor's original.

At the end of the day, not a single Catholic apologist provided the context of the quotation, and it is entirely possible that only Bellarmine ever actually read the original (with the others copying more or less faithfully from the original) (also de Sales' editor may have read the original, or may simply have located a copy of the original).

Is that exactly what Steve Ray did? I think we can say with assurance that Steve had not read either the original or any translation of the work from which his quotation. If he obtained it from Balmes, he may have obtained it third hand (not counting translations) from Balmes, via Audisio, via Bellarmine.

Hopefully eventually the Latin/German originals will be available.

Dave has posted this "German original" of the quotation in question, but it contains at least some errors:

"Und wo die wellt solt lenger stehen, wird man widderumb, wie die alten gethan haben, umb solche zwitracht willen auch menschliche anschlege suchen und abermal gesetze und gebot stellen, die leute ynn eintracht des glaubens zuerhalten, das wird denn auch gelingen, wie es zubor geungen ift."

For example, it seems likely that the last word is "ist" not "ift."

Interestingly, I found a secondary source in German that states:

Luther erflärte schon in einem seiner bessern Momente, das menn es mit der Zmentracht und der Anarchie aller Doctrinen so sortgebe, man am Ende zur Erhåltung der Einbeit der Glaubens zu den Beschlüssen der Concilien merde zurüeffehren můssen:

(link) (this work, as it turns out, is by a Catholic ... I'm guessing he translated Bellarmine back into German for the purposes of providing this "quotation" rather than actually having read Luther's original comments. The reverse translation is useful in demonstrating how far "off" the Latin translation is, whether that was an official or unofficial translation.)

In any event, the German original is rather hard to find, so we'll have to wait and see if either the Latin or German contexts are provided by those who have promoted Luther's comment as being an admission of the failure of sola scriptura.

We're still waiting. Let's what comes of the matter.


UPDATE: Paul Hoffer has kindly identified another usage that I had not addressed in the article above, namely the reference in the preface to the 1582 edition of the Rheims New Testament. Paul suggested that this year pre-dates Bellarmine, which Paul seems to think is a problem for my discussion above.

In answer: (a) Bellarmine's printing actually appears to have begun 1581, with the first complete work being finished in 1586, but more importantly (b) his works were based on previous lectures, and (c) those lecture notes were widely disseminated according to the contemporary witness, Whittaker (see comments below). So, although Gregory Martin (the lead translator of the Rheims Bible) may not have gotten his quotation directly from Bellarmine's printed works as such, a Bellarminic derivation may still be maintained.

Finally, of course, whether or not Bellarmine is the main or only source of the quotation for Catholic apologists is not the important issue. It is nifty to see that Leibniz apparently poached from Bellarmine, but the important thing to note is that not a single person who has quoted Luther has provided any more context than a reference to the treatise in which the quotation is alleged to be found.

Did any of them know the context? Is it a fair quotation or not? We are waiting to see.

FURTHER UPDATE: I notice that Armstrong has identified a further document that confirms Whitaker's report that Cocholaeus first used the Luther quotation in question, and provides support for the theory that Bellarmine himself may have got his quotation from Cocholaeus rather than from an original document by Luther (which would explain the lack of context). Unfortunately, all we have so far on that investigation is Chrismann citing Cocholaeus (link), and not Cocholaeus' original work. Armstrong has some textual musings, but his explanations regarding derivation fall short. If anyone needs a more detailed explanation, I could provide. Otherwise, I'll just let my judgment stand as a bare assertion.

Apparently now with the help of Whitaker and Chrismann we have pushed a possible decontextualization back to Cocholaeus - with Bellarmine deriving his quotations from Cocholaeus. In order to verify or discredit that theory, we need to see Cocholaeus' original (apparently the book cited at footnote 31, here), to determine whether Chrismann cited verbatim or whether Chrismann paraphrased Cocholaeus.

There's more to be said on the Coch/Bell connection, but time does not permit at present.

FURTHER UPDATE: Ok, so there is evidence from Bellarmine's own works that he used Cochlaeus' work from which Chrismann quotes, see page 32 of the same "Works of Bellarmine" to which the p. 76 and p. 98 quotations refer. This seems to confirm that Bellarmine himself may have piggybacked on Cochlaeus' work, rather than reading Luther's original statement in context.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: Here's a Cochlaeus original, in "snippet." (link) This suggests that Chrismann may have copied badly from Cochlaeus.

Cochlaeus writes: "Si diutius steterit mud, iteru erit necessariu, ut, ppter diversas Scripture interpretationes, q nunc sunt, ad coservandum fidei unitatem, Concilioru ..." (the snippet view fails at this point ... some more clever person can find a way to get the rest of Cochlaeus' quotation) There's also a bit before the quotation, which would seem to demonstrate that Cochlaeus provided a citation of some sort, which would explain why others might cite piggybacking on Cochlaeus' citation. (By the way, note that I write: "a" Cochlaeus original, as Cochlaeus may have recycled this quotation in multiple works.)

YET A NEW UPDATE: Should one wish to obtain a copy (link).

Luther's New Testament (in German)

Martin Luther's New Testament (complete with the Epistle of James, no matter what you may have heard) can be found here (link). Sadly the scanning quality was not great - several pages are practically illegible, and the font used (while a traditional, noble, German font) is hard to read, especially for moderners, who are used to nice clean fonts.

Also, here is the first part of his Old Testament (link). The publisher included 666 pages of the Old Testament, which leaves the reader at the end of the Song of Solomon.

Shibboleth Typing Tool

A cool tool I recently noticed, available for free from Logos ( It lets you type in a variety of non-standard arcane scripts. It includes some very nifty tools.

Also of note this Tyndale Tech Tool (, which may be better than Logos' tool.