I’m into the actual words of Martin Luther in Bondage of the Will now.
He begins by saying what a good communicator Erasmus is, but also unbelievably stupid. He says Erasmus’ writings are like piles of dung being delivered on a plate of gold! Genius.
Some people don’t like that language in their theologians; I actually find it absolutely hilarious.
Anyway, Luther explains that the reason he delayed so long in replying to Erasmus is not because Erasmus has any kind of good argument, it’s because Luther doesn’t think replying to him will do anything. Luther claims he’s already said enough on this issue, anything else would just be wasted.
For people of that sort, you could never speak or write enough about anything.
Pearls before swine, basically is what he’s saying. but alas, he continues:
To those who have drunk in the teaching of the Spirit in my books, we have given enough and to spare already, and such find no difficulty in dismissing your arguments. But it is not surprising if those who read without the Spirit are tossed hither and thither, as a reed is tossed by every wind that blows.
This is a classic theologian line: If you had the Spirit you would totally agree with me. The only reason you think I’m wrong is because you don’t have the Holy Spirit.
Luther is just one of many people I’ve heard say this.
In one sense, I get it. Spiritual things are discerned by spiritual people. Jesus said to His disciples “whoever receives who I send, receives me.”
So, like, yeah, maybe, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that this might be true.
However, the sheer arrogance required to say to someone, “I’m right; if you had the Spirit you’d agree with me” I find a little sketchy.
I’ve heard people on both sides of an issue claim this. Someone’s got to be lying.
I’d refrain from saying it myself. I’ve disagreed with myself enough to know not to say this. I’ve changed my doctrine enough to know not to say this.
One of the downfalls of good doctrine is to assume you’ve already got good doctrine. No further adjustments needed. In order to say “If you have the Spirit you’d agree with me” you’d have to be 100% sure you had completely right doctrine.
Luther, I don’t think, has any trouble admitting he’s 100% right.
I can’t go there.
I plan on growing and learning until the day I’m made like Christ when I see Him as He is. Until then, I assume I can say some stuff wrong and believe things that are not 100% perfectly rightly understood. Even Paul said, “I have not yet apprehended.” He still presses toward the mark, wanting to know more about Christ.
Luther is not saying anything out of the ordinary for theologian types, but I’d caution anyone to go there and, just guessing, Luther knows better now.