From Here to Forever


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 warrant the burning of “a hundred thousand heretics.” HF 93.3

“What are all these Lutherans? A crew of insolent pedagogues, corrupt priests, dissolute 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 simple, warn the imprudent, decide the waverers, and give strength to the weak.”4 HF 93.4

The same arguments are still urged against all who dare to present the plain teachings of God's Word. “Who are these preachers of new doctrines? They are unlearned, few in numbers, and of 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 conclusive now than in the days of the Reformer. HF 93.5

Luther was not present, with the clear and convincing truths of God's Word, to vanquish the papal champion. There was manifest a general disposition not only to condemn him and the doctrines which he taught, but if possible to uproot the heresy. All that Rome could say in her own vindication had been said. Henceforth the contrast between truth and error would be more clearly seen as they should take the field in open warfare. HF 94.1

Now the Lord moved upon a member of the diet to give a true delineation of the effects of papal tyranny. Duke George of Saxony stood up in that princely assembly and specified with terrible exactness the deceptions and abominations of popery: HF 94.2

“Abuses ... cry out against Rome. All shame has been put aside, and their only object is ... money, money, money, ... so that the preachers who should teach the truth, utter nothing but falsehoods, and 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. Debauchery stretches out the hand to avarice. ... Alas, it is the scandal caused by the clergy that hurls so many poor souls into eternal condemnation. A general reform must be effected.”5 The fact that the speaker was a determined enemy of the Reformer gave greater influence to his words. HF 94.3

Angels of God shed beams of light into the darkness of error and opened hearts to truth. The power of the God of truth controlled even the adversaries of the Reformation and prepared the way for the great work about to be accomplished. The voice of One greater than Luther had been heard in that assembly. HF 94.4

A committee was appointed to prepare an enumeration of papal oppressions that weighed heavily on the German people. This list was presented to the emperor, with a request that he take measures for the correction of these abuses. Said the petitioners, “It is our duty to prevent the ruin and dishonor of our people. For this reason we most humbly but most urgently entreat you to order a general reformation, and to undertake its accomplishment.”6 HF 94.5