Concordia Theological Monthly

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private judgment, luther, pope, doctrine, faith, clayton, papal power, boniface, laity, st. paul

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Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


In his recent book Luther and His Work the Catholic writer Joseph Clayton says: "To this day Martin Luther is praised ... for bringing the gift of private judgment in faith and morals to all believers. On the other hand, among Catholics Luther is held in abhorrence as an apostate monk who drew countless souls into heresy and whole nations into schism; the evil of whose life has lived after him." According to Luther "No one, neither pope nor bishop, has any right to dictate to the individual Christian what he shall or shall not believe. . . The notion that the Pope has the right to interpret the Sacred Scriptures must be destroyed, since to all baptized believers is given the priesthood." "When Luther burned the whole collection of papal decrees known as the body of canon law and the bull of excommunication on Dec. 10, 1520 … a new theology was inaugurated, placing man's private judgment in the seat of authority and promising assurance of personal salvation." "Feeling usurped the place of thought, private judgment came to be raised above all decisions of pope and council, so that quite suddenly, as in a night while men slept, new creeds and new beliefs cropped up." "The path from Catholicism to private judgment in religion . . . led on to skepticism and thence to the ultimate atheism so widespread and active in our day" (pp. XV, XXIII,75,79,84,103).


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 10:15; 1 John 4:1; Matthew 7:15; John 27:5; 1 Corinthians 3:21-22; 1 Corinthians 2:15; Galatians 2:16;

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Laity; Ministers; Scholars