...St. Augustine, a true saint and a giant among converts, was limited in one respect. The only philosophy he knew was that of Plato. St. Thomas Aquinas introduced Aristotle into Christian philosophy, and the Augustinian Platonists never really accepted it. They had a different approach to objective reality. One of those Augustinians was a monk named Martin Luther. Chesterton argues that the Reformation was really the revenge of the Platonists. You could say it started with a difference in emphasis, you could say it started as a quarrel among monks, but Luther’s emphasis on emotion rather than reason, on subjective truth rather than objective truth, and most unfortunately, on Determinism rather than Free Will, opened the door for an attack not just on Scholasticism but on all philosophy.
Lutheranism, says Chesterton, “had one theory that was the destruction of all theories; in fact it had its own theology which was itself the death of theology. Man could say nothing to God, nothing from God, nothing about God, except an almost inarticulate cry for mercy and for the supernatural help of
Christ, in a world where all natural things were useless. Reason was useless. Will was useless. Man could not move himself an inch any more than a stone. Man could not trust what was in his head any more than a turnip. Nothing remained in earth or heaven, but the name of Christ lifted in that lonely imprecation; awful as the cry of a beast in pain.”
St. Thomas and Luther are “the hinges of history,” and Luther managed to loom large enough to block out the huge figure of Aquinas. “Luther did begin the modern mood of depending on things not merely intellectual.” He was a forceful personality. He was a bully. He claimed Scripture as his authority and then altered Scripture itself, adding a word here and there in his own translation to accommodate his own theology. When confronted with the act,”he was content to shout back at all hecklers: ‘Tell them that Dr. Martin Luther will have it so!’ That is what we now call Personality… He destroyed Reason; and substituted Suggestion.”...
Well, then--there's 500 years of water under that bridge and at least 3 Lutheran branches to show for it, not to mention the Zwinglians, Episcopalians, Wesley-ites....
Post a Comment