The Anabaptists

Were the Anabaptists victims?

Or were they the perpetrators?Martha Rosler - anabaptist cages by Schoopz

Who’s really to blame for the murder and mayhem and the deaths of close to 100,000 people?

Were the Anabaptists just trying to worship peacefully, in their own way, in the privacy of their own homes? Or were they radicals bent on overthrowing the status quo and imposing their brand of religion onto society?

There are documents supporting both sides, are there not?

Then who can we trust for the more accurate picture of the Anabaptists in 16th century Germany?

If the Anabaptists had won the day, would Christianity have survived?



I appreciate any insights and comments you might have.




42 Responses

  1. Josh recently made a post ( including a link to a fascinating story about the Anabaptist takeover of Muenster:

  2. Xan,

    Great article at

    Thanks very much!

    The first link you provided reminds us of the fact that shennanigans were no stranger to either side!

  3. From the reading I’ve done, much of the Anabaptist issue in Luther’s Germany was not merely theological. The article Xan linked to is very good. The Anabaptist’s beliefs – especially concerning military service and secular government – made them essentially treasonous, and at times anarchist.

    I can only imagine the level of emotion that must have existed at this time; the oppression of the RCC seems to have created a pressure-cooker effect so that when Luther finally opened the door, the result was something he couldn’t have predicted. The Anabaptists seem to have been both a contributory cause as well as victims.

    It actually was less violent than it could have been, considering other social revolutions that have happened.

  4. I think you are right, Alden.

    Things could have been much, much worse.

    That’s why I’m wordering if those aligned against the Anabaptists did the right thing.

    Not that we advocate the killing of others, but if it prevents much worse killing and the possible eradication of Christendom at the hands of the Turks…well maybe it could have been much worse.

  5. I lived in Muenster where it all took place. The cages where the bodies were hung, still are there on the cathedral tower. The locals recount the history as a bloody, ruthless reign of terror by the Anabaptists.
    Sort of like the “christian Taliban”..

  6. Has anyone commenting here read anything written by an anabaptist? Has anyone read anything about Anabaptists other than Muenster? There is a four hundred year history of anabaptism that you have boiled down to one incident that lasted 18 months. The Amish are Anabaptist, the Mennonites are Anabaptist, the Hutterites are Anabaptist. Reading a caricature and then castigating fellow Christians based on that is dishonest, lazy and bearing false witness.

  7. Arthur Sido,

    I must admit that I have not read very much Anabaptist writing.

    I did read some stuff today, on the Anabaptist Network website, concerning Christian pacifism.

    I don’t agree with their viewpoint.

    I think for the sake of the neighbor, our families, and our counties, we ought fight evil with all our resources.

    I’ll do some more reading as I can.

    Thanks, Arthur, for coming over and giving your comments.

    – Steve

    • Steve,

      I am wrestling with the idea of pacifism as well. Having said that, disagreement with the bulk of the anabaptists over that issue (one where I think that the anabaptists frankly have Scripture on their side) doesn’t relegate the movement into a heretical one and certainly doesn’t excuse the persecution they endured.

  8. As an Anabaptist, I would like to say that those Muenster “Anabaptists” were anything but Anabaptist.Key Anabaptist beliefs include pacifism, the choice in becoming Christian, the choice in one’s church and the separation of church and state. The Muenster crowd did not practice this, therefore they were not Anabaptist at all.They were power greedy anarchists who exploited the Anabaptist faith for their means.

    Anabaptists know that we need others to uphold various necessary state positions that we cannot.(eg- the police, the courts, scientists)They are a necessary evil to maintain a normal society, but jobs that biblically we cannot do. We know that an Anabaptist country would be impossible, so we never had, have or will have an notion of setting up an Anabaptist state, unlike the Muenster group.Besides, we know that this world is not our homeland and to not get caught up with minor issues in this life because they mean nothing. It would not be good to become too engrossed within the things of this world lest we neglect God.

    • Lucy,

      I was raised in the idea that we need not participate in our society because it is so evil. So now after many years of non participation of God’s people we have abortion on demand, same gender marriages, people actually considering killing off the elderly and infirm and a host of other ills.

      Could God’s people by being in there fighting for the cause of righteousness stopped it? We are still drawing on the capital left over from many in the past who did just that.

      It is not to involve oneself in society or pay attention to God’s things but rather doing both. Then one can realize the vocation of being a concerned and involved citizen is doing the things of God.

      God’s peace. †

      • David

        The problem with the religious right movement is that it tries to legislate a morality that can only come through a changed heart. We are trying to make pagans act like Christians and that has had the opposite effect. If we want to impact the world, we should live simply as disciples of Christ and announce Him to a lost world. That is the only way change will come. Removing Nancy Pelosi from office will not see one lost sinner saved nor would electing Mike Huckabee.

      • Arthur,

        Yes the religious right has its problems. But that is no reason not to actively resist the murder of persons who are innocent of crime. It is not trying to win the country for Jesus per se but calling it murder as it is will give opportunities to proclaim the sweetness of the Gospel. It is carrying out the vocation of citizen of two realms. This vocation is where our Father has located us for a purpose.

        And it is the height of hatred to not warn those wanting to work towards civil recognition and approval of same gender unions. You mention impacting the world for Christ that includes proclaiming the law in all its fierceness so as to proclaim the sweetness of the Gospel.

        If the Christian does not proclaim these things by word and deed who will?

        God’s peace. †

      • David,

        The key is free will.It is a gift from God to choose Christianity or not.Therefore we cannot impose our form of Christianity on others. We can only be a testimony to others in our speech, behaviour, life and dress.I am all to aware of the issues of a state church having come from a narrow minded Catholic country that let it’s self be run by the church:

        -rape victims and single mums being sent to Magdalene Laundries for life.Their children took off them to be sold to Americans.

        -the removal of a politician who wanted to propose free healthcare for mothers and their children, just because the church feared that it would involve contraception.

        -the banning of contraceptives, even for non Catholics.

        -the obligation for all women to stop working on marriage, which lasted into the early 1980’s.

        -the sex abuse being covered up by the church.

        “Could God’s people by being in there fighting for the cause of righteousness stopped it? We are still drawing on the capital left over from many in the past who did just that.”

        The “righteous” were a disgrace; invading, forcibly converting people, causing religious wars. None of this is for me.

        Anabaptists do participate in helping society, we just do so quietly. There are Anabaptist retirement homes, there are Anabaptist homes for the disabled, there is an Anabaptist camp for troubled boys, there are Anabaptist relief missions, there is an Anabaptist group that cares for the children of parents in prison and there are Anabaptist churches planted in Europe, Africa, South America, Australia and Asia.

        Its not that we hide away from non-Anabaptists fearing contamination, only going out at night in groups! It is just we don’t compromise our faith or let ourselves be in situations and places that could tempt us. I have no problem being in the company of non-Anabaptist friends who openly smoke, often drink and admit to sex with their boyfriends, but they know that I will not accompany them to a pub, gig or cinema. When one is dressed in the in the “Anabaptist costume” people recognize that one is an Anabaptist and expect one behave in a certain way.If I went into a niteclub in a long skirt, long top and a veil people will get a bad impression and judge all Anabaptists by this. It would be a bad testimony.

        It’s true that we do not stand in the street helping the homeless, but it is because centuries of prosecution has left Anabaptists insular and shy of approaching outsiders.Many Anabaptists are working on this, but we do give money to groups that do help people on the fringes of society.

        But abortion, same sex marriage and so on, are political issues and we see it pointless to waste our time with political issues.Becoming involved in politics would be becoming involved in the world.Besides protesting outside a gay marriage or an abortion clinic spreads a message of hate, not love.

        Here are some links that may interest you:

  9. “If the Anabaptists had won the day, would Christianity have survived?”

    What kind of “trick” question is that?!? Christianity doesn’t depend on the thoughts-plans-doctrine of man! Human kind can’t undo what Christ has done any more than they can “un-create” the world!

  10. Nancy,

    Christianity does not seem to have survived in the Holy Land. There aren’t enough Christians left in the Middle East to fill a bus.

    I get your point, Nancy, but the fact of the matter is that Christianity needs to be fought for.

    We can’t sit idly by and do and say nothing and expect that all will work itself out. We are in a battle. We must speak of Christ and what He has done for us, and we must engage evil where we find it. The Lord hates evil and we are also to hate evil…and oppose it where it rears it’s ugly head.

    The Anabaptists would more than likely (due to their beliefs) have rolled over for the Turks and whomever else wanted to destroy the Christian faith.

    • I disagree about Christianity in the Middle East.

      People are coming to Christ in spite of severe persecution. Their being killed and oppressed left and right–but make no mistake, They are there.

      • You may be right, Heather. I just look at a country like Lebanon, a once Christian country, and see what the Muslims have done to it, and how there are hardly any Christians left there.

      • Yeah,

        Kind of like how we can look at the US from the outside and not have any hint of whether there is any sign of true LIFE.

        Check out Voice of the Martyrs site, if you haven’t before.

        It’s both encouraging and heartbreaking–God has really used it to change my perspective concerning our hope for change.

        The gates (meant to keep invaders OUT, by the way) of Hell cannot prevail. We’ve already won this war but we need to obediently move forward in order to take over that which has been given to the Son.

    • And, you are correct in saying we must stand against evil…if we do not,,,we must live with it…however, it will never prevail!

      Matthew 16:16-19 (New Living Translation)

      16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

      17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

    • Actually there are more than enough Christians to fill quite a LOT of buses. There are probably more churches per capita in Lebanon alone than in the Bible belt. Christians were here long before Muslims and they haven’t left. Depending upon which country and the political climate, they’re either visible or in hiding, but they’re here. In fact there are a few Christian Kuwaiti families and a few are serving in government.

      • Also, you can not say that there are hardly any Christians left in Lebanon. You might want to take into account that the president is required to be Marionite Christian, roughly half of parliament is Christian, with an equal number being Muslim, leaving room for representatives of the Orthodox and Druze communities. While Christians are no longer the majority, it is completely inaccurate to say there are hardly any left. I believe at present they’re about 40% of the population., so almost half.

      • T.C.,

        I am glad to be corrected.

        That Christianity is thriving in Lebanon makes me joyous!

        I don’t think it’s fairing quite so well in many other Middle Eastern Countries, but I might be wrong about that too!

  11. This is an interesting discussion. We live in an area where there is a large population of anabaptist (we’re not) –three or four different sects, I think. And many of them seem to be very nice, godly people.

    I know very little about the history but agree that persecution and murder of any people group is hardly an acceptable thing for any Christian to support. However, if the particular movement in reference was based on “stolen identity”, I don’t believe that could rightfully be called persecution.

    I believe the Bible supports the stance that true Christians can (and should be) actively involved in our culture to whatever extent the Holy Spirit personally directs. The key here is locked into the PERSONAL direction rather than the following of some man-devised set of Bible-based moral codes.

    Joseph and Daniel (and Daniel’s friends) were godly men in strategic political positions. They served the Lord first regardless of threatened consequences and in their understanding of God’s sovereignty, they did not attempt to further their “careers” beyond where the Lord placed them.

    On the other hand, Moses left his (God-appointed, btw) position in the Pharaoh’s household in order to be counted with his Hebrew brethren (a great picture of how Jesus left His own home in glory to be counted as one of us–for our sake!)

    Unfortunately, there ARE some “religious right wingers” who have gotten large numbers of Christians distracted with the notion that we are supposed to affect national change from the top down. And that is not right as Jesus clearly said that His kingdom is not of this world.

    But it is not Scripturally forbidden for a believer to vote, have a public voice or even hold public office (if society tolerates such a thing) as a God-fearing individual. If it was, then Joseph, Daniel, all the OT judges, King David and anyone of any standing who converted in the NT accounts (without stepping down) , would not be with the Lord today. I won’t accept the “well that was for a different time” argument, either,because God doesn’t change regardless of what culture, earthly kingdom or era WE are in.

    He has never had a separate plan of salvation for any people group at any time and anyone who gets into His Heavenly Kingdom will have to be covered by the blood of the Son.

    The disgraceful decline of ancient Israel is proof positive that good rules to not make good people–it just provides a measure of control to prevent us from killing each other off.

    Eventually, God-hating people can take over any system, regardless of how great it began. The problem is not “bad laws” at the top but “bad hearts” at all levels of the society.

    Fence rules (strict passifism, non-governmental involvement etc) can prevent the sheep from being attacked by wolves but it also can prevent the sheep from being actively involved in seeking and bringing to Christ those who He desires to save.

    Additionally, we can separate ourselves physically from the wickedness that is in the world, but we can’t hide from who we really are inside. That deceptive, internally dwelling evil is far, far more deadly to the soul than sitting behind a desk in the Oval Office.

    Jesus’ kingdom is not OF this world, but it certainly is IN this world–being carried in the hearts of His people wherever He takes us.

    If His life giving water is flowing out of an individual, the sewage of this world doesn’t have a chance to work it’s way in from the outside. If the pond gets stagnant or the flow is reversed, its a different story.

    Just my dollar and a half worth of commentary.

  12. In reading more about Anabaptist theology, it seems to me that they are very much like the ones they oppose.

    They despise the Roman Church, but they have a basic theology that is much the same…’a little bit of me and a lot of God’ (only it usually turns out the other way…’a little bit of God and a lot of me’).
    Christ has done this great work, BUT now it’s up to you to prove that you are one of the elect. You must kick in and work on your obedience and piety, so that you’ll know you are of God. That’s Roman Catholic, also.

    It puts the sinner, and his/her committment at the center, instead of the promises of God.

    This is a big difference from Lutheranism, which realizes that “all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags”, and that Christ is our righteousness, totally aside from anything we do, say, feel, or think.

    Are Anabaptists Christians? Sure! As much as anyone who confesses Christ, including Roman Catholics. But, in the end, it will be Christ who is the judge for each and every one of us. Only He knows the heart.

    Anyway, that’s where I am now, but I have a lot more reading to do.

    • I understand where you’re coming from.

      Religion can obscure the simple truth of the Gospel message, regardless of what form the religious activity takes.

      Every Christian group has it’s strengths and weaknesses and it’s true Christians and it’s pretenders.

      It isn’t for us to do the sorting of people at this point–but we have an obligation to ask the Lord for direction in sorting doctrinal truth from error.

    • ’a little bit of me and a lot of God’ (only it usually turns out the other way…’a little bit of God and a lot of me’).

      why the false accusation?

      And why to say that we have much in common with the Catholics when clearly we don’t?(I went to a Catholic school, I know the Catholic doctrine.)

  13. Thanks, Heather (for the link).

    That is a great site (I have been there before).

    You are right, the Lord will take care of His Church.

    But, I still believe He wants us to stand up to evil.

    There is a famine of the Word in this, and many other places in the world. There may come a time when the Word is no longer heard at all. It might be at that point that the Lord decides it is time to wrap up human history and usher in His New Kingdom.

    Whatever happens, we have our work cut out for us…but the Lord will take care of us no matter how bad things get!

    • I’m totally with you on this point!

      ” Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord has made ruler over His household, to give them food in due season?
      Blessed is that servant whom his Lord shall find him doing so when He comes.”
      Matthew 24:45-46

  14. Thanks for the discussion, Heather.

    I’m off to work. I’ll chech back this evening.


  15. Lucy,

    I’m pretty sure Anabaptists can be scientists.

  16. They were perpetrators and victims of their own false religion.

    I think one thing to keep in mind is that if one just looks at men battling other men one can never distill the truth. Many claim persecution by others as “proof” of their religion’s truth and validity. E.g. Mormons and JW’s. Muslim’s “persecute” Hindus and the Dali Lama for that matter, as does Secular Humanism. So abuse or persecution, per se, is not an indicator of truth. A lot of Anabaptist history seems to attempt to “play that card”, especially the Baptist who evolve their denomination from this history. They would say something like “they died for believers baptism”, “ergo = true”. But Luther points out well that the devil has his Martyrs as well as is so plain from false religions and heterodoxy as well.

    Ultimately they sought to over throw the ‘status quo’ and rise to power as does any false religion that attempts to erect or resurrect the (fallen) ‘city of man’.

    Luther saw this almost prophetically on the issue of the Lord’s Supper. Basically that when men begin to see it only as a symbol or sign, no real body and blood, men would at length no longer see God operating in His masks as far a rulers go. God works in the mask of the offices, vocations, even though the outward seat of the office is filled by an unbeliever and sinner. Since Christ’s body and blood are symbolic it is no far leap that now kings and princes no longer are the arm of God to exercise the civil law we find in Romans who then exercise, sometimes even often sinfully, the sword. The sacraments effectively gone the pathway was then made clear for the ejection of God from all things (according to the doctrine) especially vocations. At length the rule of kings and princes fell and in its place more pure secular forms of government arose. From America to Russia, right and left wing secular governments, democratic and communist, ruled by presidents, chancellors and other newly “anointed” leaders. That’s in governmental realms, other vocations evacuated the mask of God from science to medicine and the in roads of secular thought has came and continues to come through this route. It is not accident that evolution gained high ground after the sacraments were removed doctrinally among the Zwinglian and Calvinistic churches.

    The intimate connection between the Lord’s Supper (the real presence of the real body and blood of God) and the Christian vocation (the real presence of God in the office) is very clear and Luther saw it’s affects 500+ years ahead of time. And this connection plays out in the Anabaptist movement among other similar more or less sign/symbol “sacramental”/ordinance religions.

    The Anabaptist movement was not so much a peaceful movement trying to worship their own thing nor where they trying to over throw the status quo. Rather they refused to suffer the Cross, and via the sacraments ejected God from their religion, and thus received what they sought. God in nothing, not in the sacraments and not in society.


  17. Steve,

    You might find an interesting article related to this here:

  18. Larry,

    Must the “evolution” bogeyman be connected to every topic? There are plenty of orthodox Christians with a different interpretation of Genesis from yours. I think you’ll find that evolution gained the “high ground” _long_ after Zwingli and Calvin lost their way on the Sacraments, so making that connection may require some more specifics.

    Also I posted a link to that article in comment #1.

  19. Xan,

    The reason I connect the evolution argument is not from the normal side of the evolution argument problem, that is the science. I’m a scientist and a geologist at that, I know and understand the arguments from that side well beyond the laymen and pithy internet “research” that many do. So I don’t argue from that side of the argument. In fact the evolution argument as you put it, is not even the real issue. Rather the Word of God and Luther’s rather profound insite on this issue. The inroads of “evolution” and other forms of secularism that have evacuated God in the masks of vocation, for example, are intimately connected to the sacraments. That’s what Luther saw and stated explicitely at length would happen, and as we live and breath in history today some 500+ years out is now what Luther foresaw, a fact.

    The issue of the sacraments and all of Luther’s theology rested on what the Word of God said, not what is interpreted about it. To side track the issue as you are doing to the singular tangential issue of evolution is to miss the ENTIRE point concerning the Word of God. In other words you are loosing the forest for the trees here. Forget evolution per se for a minute. I’m only using it as an example of the larger problem, not arguing it specifically. Understand?

    Let’s see if we can peal this apart a bit more so we might better understand.

    What Luther saw was that at length if one sees in the sacrament of the altar as symbolism, sign only, parable and the like…given its clear statement…the ENTIRE Word of God as a whole at length and logical extension becomes entirely meaningless and cannot be understood at all. The clearly indicated this, so what did he mean. We tend to “just rattle our heads” in agreement with that and march on not really absorbing the reality, fact, truth and impact of what that means.

    AND THIS is where THAT goes and so it has become more and more in our day and age. Like the analogy of the arrow shot only a degree off target, imperceptible at first but hundreds of yards down the flight path the error begins to grow and grow as the trajectory is increasingly off course. Those on the off course trajectory often don’t realize they are on that false course not seeing the “big picture” and thus think, “we are on course”. That’s the operating principle here. Luther saw it at the “firing point”, we now see it yards down the road, either confounded as just stated and thinking the false trajectory true or seeing the big picture see the error. Thus, at length “symbolism” and mere signs and parable is read into the Word more broadly by various groups from heterodoxy to secularism to out side other religions. Here you may well see the connection of the various ancient histories and their operating principle, like arianism for example. Likewise at length, as another example, Genesis is reread in various shades of symbolism. Another way is the confounding of Law and Gospel. How does that primarily occur today? Men read this principle in sections of the New Testament whereby Jesus becomes the parabolic example and not the Savior Who DID something for us. This varies from sect to sect but some more obvious examples are interpretations of Jesus actual crucifixion. It at length becomes a model or symbol for our own sacrificing rather than God actually being sacrificed FOR US. Actual parables which Christ used to show forth the Kingdom of God and what the Gospel is and does FOR YOU, become symbolized beyond their real use and as such too become symbolic examples for us to follow rather than a picture of what the Savior DID IN FACT FOR US. The principle begins, by now, to reveal itself, what Luther saw concerning the Sacrament. When the true and real body and blood are doctrinally removed by false teaching and doctrines, when the plain words of God are not taken plainly then at length the entire Word of God becomes moldable to the whims of man – men at length begin to toy with the Word of God to fit their reason, affections and experiences, and that is eternally dangerous and deadly. Non symbolic books and passages become increasingly symbolic, once symbolic an interpretation from fallen human reason, affections and experiences may be supplied. Other symbolic and parabolic passages or books at length become PURE symbolism open to the same whatever interpretation of fallen human reason, affections or experiences dictate, rather than symbols that communicate the reality and fact of Christ’s work. All to drive away from the Jesus that DID to the Jesus that EXAMPLES for us. At length the Scriptures become a series of books of timeless truths, Gnosticism, rather than an actual, factual true account of what God did and IS DOING. The Word becomes example, which is false word and not the Word, rather than the living breathing reality that goes forth and causes all things and sustains them, even primarily faith itself.

    Make no mistake, its truly a battle of words, God’s versus Satan’s and nothing less, nothing more, nothing different.

    I hope that supplies a more helpful explanation.

    Yours truly,


  20. If the Anabaptists had won the day, would Christianity have survived?

    Locally? Say in Germany? Probably not as we know it today.

    My small reading and observation of Anabaptist theology is that they try to reconstruct primitive Christianity from scratch. I remember there is a doctrine about the Lord’s body being prepared in heaven and so the teaching suggests his body was not extruded from Mary. It is kinda the flesh of Jesus passing though the walls of the womb of Mary but that womb was just like an incubator, it did not supply literally the flesh of Jesus.

    I wonder if the Anabaptists listeners here can confirm that impression of mine.

    PS. Larry, a long time ago, I wrote about the connection of literal 7 days of creation in Genesis with the doctrine of the Supper.

  21. Hey LP,

    I’d love to read about. Do you have a link? Yea, for me it was not approaching it this way: “Is it a literal seven days or not, or evolution…” Looking at the specific. Rather I was reading about the Supper and Luther’s “stay IN the Word” prayer at Marburg and the weight of what that actually meant. The out come of that larger issue, faith sticks to the Word and the Supper, caused if you will the Genesis issue to become clear. In other words I didn’t seek to resolve or even address, nor was it even on my radar, the issue of Genesis, but rather what Luther had to say about the Word, faith and the supper that pulled in if you will the Genesis issue. It really boils down to faith adhering nakedly to the Word in the very face of offense to reason, emotions and experiences.

    It’s just like the incarnation. As a modern person and such one’s first unbelieving action is to roll your eyes because reason cannot grasp it. But faith hears the Word of God and believes it in the FACE of reason’s fallen objection. That’s the irony of it all. In the fall we’ve lost the knowledge of God, yet we go seeking for God. Yet this lost knowledge of seeking for God is really fleeing from God. Yet again, when God reveals something to us that shows Himself to actually BE God, something in the face of reason, emotions and experiences, we wish to reject it because it offends one of those three. So deadly is this deceptive blindness of Satan! An unbeliever might say, “Well I’d believe there is a God if he’d just do X miracles and prove he was God to me.” Then in perfect hypocrisy we say, “We’ll creation 7 days ex nihilo, a world wide flood, a Trinity, incarnation, raising from the dead, body and blood in bread and wine…this is absurd.” That’s how lost the knowledge of God is!

    Thanks in advance,


  22. Dear Larry,

    Here it is

    There is a label called “creationism” too and you will find the series of post in it.

    My thesis was very simple to articulate, I already believe in the presence of the body and blood of Jesus at the Supper and this is scientifically odd, so why should I not believe in a 24 hour creation? But my reading of 24 was also enlightened by my linguistic training on the Hebrew text.

    God bless,


  23. LP,

    I appreciate that. I really look forward to reading this. Your simple thesis is basically the way it experientially “occurred to me” while studying the Lord’s Supper. That is to say I didn’t set out or even have on my radar Genesis and that debate. Rather the evidence and reality of the Lord’s Supper connected with God’s Word led to it.

    Thanks much!



  24. LP,

    SUPERB! That was a great article. That’s really what it boils down to does it not, the Word versus the instruments of fallen man to ‘wrestle God to the ground and try to understand Him’. It is what Luther once said that by reason (and affections and experiences) we reveal our true fallenness by trying to understand god and to understand a thing is to stand OVER TOP OF IT…thus we show we want to BE GOD ourselves.

    It reminds me of my pre conversion “atheist moment” with a RC co-worker. We were talking one day, I was still an atheist, and she was telling me how God (of the OT) must learn and basically ‘get up to speed’ with the way things are today. In other words he was on a timeline learning curve like us.

    Even as an atheist in the hypothetical round “is there a God who IS in fact God” that didn’t make sense to me. I said, “But if God IS God then miracles are certain due to His deity and ability to create out of nothing.” Even an atheist can see that even if only in the hypothesis of his/her mind, I did. Thus since God creates ex nihilo in every sense of the Word, miracles are not only possible but absolute and required. God’s very being exudes the miraculous if you will. Since that is true, everything that props up atheism, secularism, evolution, etc…necessarily falls by the way side. The incarnation by itself is in fact proof that all such naturalistic thinking is false.

    And this same principle of God ex nihilo Creator that roundly dismantles all forms of naturalism simultaneously dismantles all heterodoxy on the Lord’s Supper. For it was God incarnate (the Word as John says from which all is that is) who spoke at the table and said “this is…” and that is no less the Creator’s ex nihilo creative Word than “let there be…”. It’s as Luther said He shows Himself everywhere to be Creator out of nothing, in virgin’s womb without the aid of human seed, at the Cross, in baptism, at the Lord’s Supper, in resurrection. The Word incarnate literally reveals God as God at every single turn.


  25. Larry,

    I don’t want to start this whole thing up again like the thread at Lito’s (where I fear I may not have always behaved as I would have liked), but I have to ask: Do you believe with Luther that the sun orbits the earth, and that it’s un-Christian to question it? Why or why not?

  26. Xan,

    You are still missing the real point and your question betrays it all too clearly.

    To answer your direct malformed question:

    “Do you believe with Luther that the sun orbits the earth, and that it’s un-Christian to question it? Why or why not?”

    In short, the way you are asking the question, the answer is “no”.

    Now to the broader discussion:

    This, again, is an old secular trick and word game in an attempt to unhinge the Word of God. The orbit of the earth around the sun, that particular motion, is irrelevant and quite frankly a very ignorant argument by not fully analyzing and understand motion and definitions.

    The scriptures do not dictate that God created it that way by divine fiat, just like the weatherman speaks every evening of the sun “rising and falling”, it’s still part of the weather forecasters language. Luther simply did not have advanced scientific observation available to him as part of legitimate science, as opposed to illegitimate science we find in evolution.

    The rising and falling sun versus the earth orbiting the sun is really not a dogmatic issue upon which faith rests, ex nihilo is. There’s nothing there for faith one way or the other as opposed to creation ex nihilo upon which faith must rest and can only rest upon the Word of God. For the Scriptures do dictate divine fiat, not only in Genesis but John, they do not dictate that the orbiting of the earth around the sun is an “ex nihilo” event. The sun is spoken of as “rising and falling” from the point of view of the earthling of which it becomes the forecaster, as Scripture says it will, of times and seasons. And so we still use it to this very day to determine, day and night, winter, spring, summer and fall. And these are two separate things that many confuse, MANY forget in shear ignorance of analyzing the situation. The orbiting of the earth as a body around the sun is one motion, yet the “rising and falling” of the sun around the earth is due not to that motion but another motion – namely the earth’s own rotation about its axis. From this perspective and this motion the sun does orbit the earth. For the earth’s axis movement and the general motion around the sun are two separate motions. It is rightly stated that the sun, due to the earth’s rotation, forms an orbit around the earth. It matters little which is in motion and which is not in motion for the concept of “orbit” is not dictated by the moving versus stationary body but rather the reality of the circumscribed boundary. If you stand motionless and I spin in a circle, an orbit is formed about me and you are part of the formation of that circumscribed boundary. In this the orbit is established. An orbit may be the object actually in motion around another object or due to the internal rotation of the first object creating a circumscribed area defined by a fixed object. Either way a circumscribed area is defined and followed.
    Nothing hear changes the literal reality of Genesis, ex nihilo.


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