Do Lutherans really reject Reason as the Devil’s Whore?

Hogarth




I am convinced that people will not come to Lutheranism via the Whore of Reason. Reason is quite akin to the theology  of  glory  and  law  and  the  hidden  god.  People  love  some  law. It  makes  them  feel  better about themselves. In fact, intellectual argumentation is of course connected to reason and glory. After all, it must inevitably look  at faith as something  we  can   muster up in ourselves or through intellectual arguments.  But Lutheranism confesses total depravity. The Reformed do as well, but from our perspective, and given the above, we believe they confess it in spite of their theology.
 
Lutheranism is for the weak and the doubting. It is for those who are weak in faith. It is contrary to reason.                                                    
                                                                           —orthodox Lutheran blogger



“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom… Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”

                                                  —Martin Luther, Works, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148.

 


Gary:  In my last post I responded to these Lutheran statements by asking this question:  Why do Lutherans use reason for every other aspect of their lives except when it comes to evaluating the supernatural claims of their Church/the Bible?
 
 
An anonymous Lutheran reader of this blog left this response:

Gary, it is apparent that you have not grasped the Lutheran teaching that in matters from “above” that is heavenly matters, reason is limited and quite fallible. However regarding matters “below”, earthly matters, we are capable to fully exercise our reason.

Gary:  I’m not sure if this anonymous reader is going to continue on in this discussion, so I am going to post an imaginary conversation with him below:

G:  Why is reason limited to only those things that are “below”?

Lutheran:  The Bible says so.

G:  How do you know that the Bible is true?

Lutheran:  Faith.

G:  But how did you receive this faith; a faith that confirms to you that the Bible is true and that you should suspend the use of reason when evaluating the claims of the Bible?

Lutheran:  I received it in my Baptism.

G:  How do you know that you received this supernatural power you call “faith” when a pastor poured water over your head when you were a baby?  Did angels appear?  Did God appear to everyone in the church that day and say, “This is now my child”?

Lutheran:  The Bible, God’s Word, says that the words of Jesus have power, and when I was baptized, the pastor spoke the words of Jesus, and those words had the power to save my soul and gift me faith to believe.

G:  But how do you know that the Bible is true?

Lutheran:  I already told you that.

G:  Yes, you did, but you said that your belief that the Bible is true is based on faith, which you received as a gift in your baptism, which you know you received because the Bible says so, and the Bible is true. 

That’s a circular argument.

Lutheran:  I believe the Bible is true because Jesus says it is true, and I know that what Jesus says is true because Jesus is God.

G:  But how do you know Jesus is God…and please don’t say because the Bible says he is.  That would be another circular argument.

Lutheran:  I know that Jesus is God because he rose from the dead.

G:  Ok.  Now we are getting somewhere.  And how do you know that Jesus rose from the dead?  Did God reveal the historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus to you simply by faith?  Did you have a vision of the Resurrection?  Did God come and tell you in visible form, in an audible voice, that Jesus rose from the dead?

Or, do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead simply because the Bible says so…and then we are back to the circular argument again?

Lutheran:  I believe that Jesus rose from the dead because there were eyewitnesses; because Paul says he saw the resurrected Jesus; because the disciples would not have died for a lie; the fact that Christianity grew like wildfire is proof that it was true; if the Gospels were not true, the eyewitnesses would have spoken out against them; and, finally, Paul says that 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus at once!

G:  So…you admit then that your supernatural beliefs (faith) is not based on God’s gift of faith, but on using your brain to reason the probability that four anonymous first century writers (of the gospels) wrote down true historical events, and, upon the testimony of one vision-prone Jewish rabbi (Paul) who saw a talking bright light while traveling on a deserted road??

Lutheran:  Well…its not all based on faith…there is some reason involved.

G:  So Lutherans do use Reason to evaluate things “from above”, my Lutheran friend!  In fact, Lutherans use Reason like one would use a “whore”:
                             
                                           Lutherans use reason when they really need it!

 

 
 
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