Summary: Is it Heresy or Blasphemy?
Heresy or Blasphemy?
Today is reformation Sunday. The day protestant Christians celebrate the reformation that began in 1517 when Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk nailed the 95 thesis on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.
This is where it all began and how the Lutheran Church came to be and thereafter many other Protestant denominations.
Several years later in 1521 Martin Luther declared, "Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract anything I have written, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
Was this bold statement by Martin Luther defending his protest against the Roman Catholic Church Hersey or Blasphemy or neither?
Luther’s Protestant views were condemned by the Roman Catholic Pope, Pope Leo X. Consequently Luther was summoned to either renounce or reaffirm them at the Diet of Worms on 17 April 1521.
When Martin Luther appeared before the assembly, a spokesman for Emperor Charles the Fifth presented Luther with a table filled with copies of his writings.
Then he asked Luther if he still believed what these works taught. Luther requested time to think about his answer. Granted an extension, Luther prayed, consulted with friends and mediators and presented himself before the assembly the next day.
When the counselor put the same question to Luther the next day, the reformer apologized for the harsh tone of many of his writings, but said that he could not reject the majority of them or the teachings in them.
Luther respectfully but boldly stated, "Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
On May 25, the Emperor issued his Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw. Heretic, blasphemy or neither? What do you think?
Before one can answer this one must understand what heresy and blasphemy is. Heresy is an opinion or a doctrine at difference with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from or denial of Church dogma by a professed believer or baptized church member.
Dogma is a doctrine or a collection of doctrines relating to matters such as morality and faith, set forth in an authoritative manner by the church.
Again Heresy is an opinion or a doctrine at difference with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from or denial of Church dogma/doctrine by a professed believer or baptized church member.
Next what is blasphemy; blasphemy is a contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God. In short: Heresy = an opinion contrary to established religious doctrine. Blasphemy = a profane action against God.
So what Martin Luther did was it, Heresy or blasphemy or neither?
Here we are 492 years later asking ourselves the same question…. Is it heresy, blasphemy or neither? Let me explain, with the recent vote by the National ELCA Church Assembly on human sexuality and changes in ministry policies some would say that this was heresy.
In fact I have heard a previous Bishop of the ELCA call the ELCA vote heresy by a bunch of heretics.
I heard at the Lutheran CORE convocation the previous leader of the ELCA Conference of Bishops say this vote was contrary to two thousand years of established doctrine of the Christian Church. Was he saying this was present day heresy?
On the other hand, I had some one say to me that prior to the National ELCA Assembly many were praying that the Holy Spirit be present and guide the assembly. At the national gathering prior to the vote the Bishop of the ELCA and others prayed asking the Holy Spirit to guide the assembly. With this, as communicated to me one must accept that God heard those prayers and that the Holy Spirit was present and that guided the vote. Therefore, to reject the conclusions of the ELCA Assembly on human sexuality and ministry policy changes is blasphemy!
So what is it, heresy, blasphemy or neither? I do not know and do not pretend to know what group may be right or wrong. What I do know what transpired at the August 27, 2009 ELCA National Assembly was historical.
I know what took place on September 26, 2009 at the Lutheran CORE Convocation in Fishers Indiana was historical.
I also know what Martin Luther stood for and did in 1517 was historical. I do not believe any of these people are heretics or blasphemies. I do not believe that such definitions are accurate at all, not for Martin Luther in 1517, not for those at the assembly on August 27, 2009 or those at the convocation on September 26, 2009.