Love Under Fire


Luther Accused of Heresy

With learning and eloquence, Aleander set himself to overthrow Luther as an enemy of the church and the state. “In Luther's errors there is enough,” he declared, to justify the burning of “a hundred thousand heretics.” LF 65.1

“What are all these Lutherans? A crew of insolent teachers, corrupt priests, immoral monks, ignorant lawyers, and degraded nobles.... How far superior to them is the Catholic party in number, ability, and power! A unanimous decree from this illustrious assembly will enlighten the ignorant, warn the reckless, decide the waverers, and give strength to the weak.”4 LF 65.2

People still make the same arguments against all who dare to present the plain teachings of God's Word. “Who are these preachers of new doctrines? They are uneducated, few in numbers, and from the poorer class. Yet they claim to have the truth and to be the chosen people of God. They are ignorant and deceived. How greatly superior in numbers and influence is our church!” These arguments are no more valid now than they were in the days of the Reformer. LF 65.3

Luther was not there to vanquish the papal champion with the clear and convincing truths of God's Word. Most of the assembly was inclined not only to condemn him and the doctrines he taught, but if possible to uproot the heresy. All that Rome could say in her own defense had been said. From here on, the contrast between truth and error would become clearer as the open warfare developed. LF 65.4

Now the Lord moved upon a member of the assembly to give a true account of the effects of papal tyranny. Duke George of Saxony stood up in that princely gathering and specified with terrible precision the church's deceptions and abominations: LF 65.5

“Abuses ... cry out against Rome. All shame has been put aside, and their only interest is ... money, money, money, ... so that the preachers who should teach the truth speak nothing but falsehoods. They are not only tolerated, but rewarded, because the greater their lies, the greater their gain. It is from this foul spring that such tainted waters flow. Indecency stretches out the hand to greed.... Sad to say, it is the scandal caused by the clergy that hurls so many poor souls into eternal condemnation. We must bring about a general reform.”5 The fact that the speaker was a determined enemy of the Reformer gave greater influence to his words. LF 65.6

Angels of God sent beams of light into the darkness of error and opened hearts to truth. The power of the God of truth controlled even the enemies of the Reformation and prepared the way for the great work about to take place. The voice of One who was greater than Luther had been heard in that assembly. LF 65.7

A committee was appointed to prepare a list of papal oppressions that weighed heavily on the German people. This list was presented to the emperor, with a request that he take measures to correct these abuses. The request said, “It is our duty to prevent the ruin and dishonor of our people. For this reason we most humbly but most urgently ask you to order a general reformation and use your power to accomplish it.”6 LF 65.8