Reformation Quotes

Quotes tagged as "reformation" (showing 1-30 of 88)
Martin Luther
“Since then your sere Majesty and your Lordships seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed. Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen."

(Reply to the Diet of Worms, April 18, 1521)”
Martin Luther, Luther's Works, 33: Career of the Reformer III

T.H. White
“There was just such a man when I was young—an Austrian who invented a new way of life and convinced himself that he was the chap to make it work. He tried to impose his reformation by the sword, and plunged the civilized world into misery and chaos. But the thing which this fellow had overlooked, my friend, was that he had a predecessor in the reformation business, called Jesus Christ. Perhaps we may assume that Jesus knew as much as the Austrian did about saving people. But the odd thing is that Jesus did not turn the disciples into strom troopers, burn down the Temple at Jerusalem, and fix the blame on Pontius Pilate. On the contrary, he made it clear that the business of the philosopher was to make ideas available, and not to impose them on people.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King

G.K. Chesterton
“The Reformer is always right about what's wrong. However, he's often wrong about what is right.”
G.K. Chesterton

John  Adams
“...Turn our thoughts, in the next place, to the characters of learned men. The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. Read over again all the accounts we have of Hindoos, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Teutons, we shall find that priests had all the knowledge, and really governed all mankind. Examine Mahometanism, trace Christianity from its first promulgation; knowledge has been almost exclusively confined to the clergy. And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate a free inquiry? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.

[Letters to John Taylor, 1814, XVIII, p. 484]”
John Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams

J. Gresham Machen
“For Christians to influence the world with the truth of God's Word requires the recovery of the great Reformation doctrine of vocation. Christians are called to God's service not only in church professions but also in every secular calling. The task of restoring truth to the culture depends largely on our laypeople.

To bring back truth, on a practical level, the church must encourage Christians to be not merely consumers of culture but makers of culture. The church needs to cultivate Christian artists, musicians, novelists, filmmakers, journalists, attorneys, teachers, scientists, business executives, and the like, teaching its laypeople the sense in which every secular vocation-including, above all, the callings of husband, wife, and parent--is a sphere of Christian ministry, a way of serving God and neighbor that is grounded in God's truth. Christian laypeople must be encouraged to be leaders in their fields, rather than eager-to-please followers, working from the assumptions of their biblical worldview, not the vapid clichés of pop culture.”
J. Gresham Machen

Martin Luther
“If anyone attempted to rule the world by the gospel and to abolish all temporal law and sword on the plea that all are baptized and Christian, and that, according to the gospel, there shall be among them no law or sword - or need for either - pray tell me, friend, what would he be doing? He would be loosing the ropes and chains of the savage wild beasts and letting them bite and mangle everyone, meanwhile insisting that they were harmless, tame, and gentle creatures; but I would have the proof in my wounds. Just so would the wicked under the name of Christian abuse evangelical freedom, carry on their rascality, and insist that they were Christians subject neither to law nor sword, as some are already raving and ranting.

To such a one we must say: Certainly it is true that Christians, so far as they themselves are concerned, are subject neither to law nor sword, and have need of neither. But take heed and first fill the world with real Christians before you attempt to rule it in a Christian and evangelical manner. This you will never accomplish; for the world and the masses are and always will be unchristian, even if they are all baptized and Christian in name. Christians are few and far between (as the saying is). Therefore, it is out of the question that there should be a common Christian government over the whole world, or indeed over a single country or any considerable body of people, for the wicked always outnumber the good. Hence, a man who would venture to govern an entire country or the world with the gospel would be like a shepherd who should put together in one fold wolves, lions, eagles, and sheep, and let them mingle freely with one another, saying, “Help yourselves, and be good and peaceful toward one another. The fold is open, there is plenty of food. You need have no fear of dogs and clubs.” The sheep would doubtless keep the peace and allow themselves to be fed and governed peacefully, but they would not live long, nor would one beast survive another.

For this reason one must carefully distinguish between these two governments. Both must be permitted to remain; the one to produce righteousness, the other to bring about external peace and prevent evil deeds. Neither one is sufficient in the world without the other. No one can become righteous in the sight of God by means of the temporal government, without Christ's spiritual government. Christ's government does not extend over all men; rather, Christians are always a minority in the midst of non-Christians. Now where temporal government or law alone prevails, there sheer hypocrisy is inevitable, even though the commandments be God's very own. For without the Holy Spirit in the heart no one becomes truly righteous, no matter how fine the works he does. On the other hand, where the spiritual government alone prevails over land and people, there wickedness is given free rein and the door is open for all manner of rascality, for the world as a whole cannot receive or comprehend it. ”
Martin Luther, Luther and Calvin on Secular Authority

Patrick Hamilton
“The Law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction? The Gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction.”
Patrick Hamilton

Herman Bavinck
“Manifest in this trade (commercial sale of indulgences via bankers) at the same time was a pernicious tendency in the Roman Catholic system, for the trade in indulgences was not an excess or an abuse but the direct consequence of the nomistic degradation of the gospel. That the Reformation started with Luther’s protest against this traffic in indulgences proves its religious origin and evangelical character. At issue here was nothing less than the essential character of the gospel, the core of Christianity, the nature of true piety. And Luther was the man who, guided by experience in the life of his own soul, again made people understand the original and true meaning of the gospel of Christ. Like the “righteousness of God,” so the term “penitence” had been for him one of the most bitter words of Holy Scripture. But when from Romans 1:17 he learned to know a “righteousness by faith,” he also learned “the true manner of penitence.” He then understood that the repentance demanded in Matthew 4:17 had nothing to do with the works of satisfaction required in the Roman institution of confession, but consisted in “a change of mind in true interior contrition” and with all its benefits was itself a fruit of grace. In the first seven of his ninety-five theses and further in his sermon on “Indulgences and Grace” (February 1518), the sermon on “Penitence” (March 1518), and the sermon on the “Sacrament of Penance” (1519), he set forth this meaning of repentance or conversion and developed the glorious thought that the most important part of penitence consists not in private confession (which cannot be found in Scripture) nor in satisfaction (for God forgives sins freely) but in true sorrow over sin, in a solemn resolve to bear the cross of Christ, in a new life, and in the word of absolution, that is, the word of the grace of God in Christ. The penitent arrives at forgiveness of sins, not by making amends (satisfaction) and priestly absolution, but by trusting the word of God, by believing in God’s grace. It is not the sacrament but faith that justifies. In that way Luther came to again put sin and grace in the center of the Christian doctrine of salvation. The forgiveness of sins, that is, justification, does not depend on repentance, which always remains incomplete, but rests in God’s promise and becomes ours by faith alone.”
Herman Bavinck

“All that is deformed ought to be reformed. The Word of God alone teaches us what ought to be so, and all reform effected otherwise is vain.”
Francis Lambert

“Manz, formerly one of Zwingli's closest allies, held that there was no biblical warrant for infant baptism. Refusing to recant his views, he was tied up and drowned in the River Limmat.”
Alister E. McGrath, Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution: A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First

Kazuo Ishiguro
“Revolution? Really, Ono! The communists want a revolution. We want nothing of the sort. Quite the opposite, in fact. We wish for a restoration.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World

Oswald Spengler
“The inner history of the Magian religion ends with Justinian’s time, as truly as that of the Faustian ends with Charles V and the Council of Trent. Any book on religious history shows “the”Christian religion as having had two ages of grand thought movements — 0-500 in the East and 1000-1500 in the West.61 But these are two springtimes of two Cultures, and in them are comprised also the non-Christian forms which belong to each religious development. The closing of the University of Athens by Justinian in 529 was not, as is always stated, the end of Classical philosophy — there had been no Classical philosophy for centuries. What he did, forty years before the birth of Mohammed, was to end the theology of the Pagan Church by closing this school and — as the historians forget to add — to end the Christian theology also by closing those of Antioch and Alexandria. Dogma was complete, finished — just as it was in the West with the Council of Trent (1564) and the Confession of Augsburg (1540), for with the city and intellectualism religious creative force comes to an end. So also in Jewry and in Persia, the Talmud was concluded about 500, and when Chosroes Nushirvan in 529 bloodily suppressed the Reformation of Mazdak.”
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West

“Jan van Leyden announced that a new world order [anabaptism] had been revealed to him and promptly began to implement it. Money was abolished; polygamy was legalized; marriage was made compulsory for women. Those who dissented faced execution.”
Alister E. McGrath, Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution: A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First

Fergus Kerr
“The central thesis of Surnaturel, then, is that, neither in patristic nor in medieval theology, and certainly not in Thomas Aquinas, was the hypothesis ever entertained of a purely natural destiny for human beings, something other than the supernatural and eschatological vision of God. There is only this world, the world in which our nature has been created for a supernatural destiny. Historically, there never was a graceless nature, or a world outside the Christian dispensation. This traditional conception of human nature as always destined for grace-given union with God fell apart between attempts, on the one hand, to secure the sheer gratuitousness of the economy of grace over against the naturalist anthropologies of Renaissance humanism and, on the other hand, resistance to what was perceived by Counter-Reformation Catholics as the Protestant doctrine of the total corruption of human nature by original sin. The Catholic theologians, who sought to protect the supernatural by separating it conceptually from the natural, facilitated the development of the humanism which flowered at the Enlightenment into deism, agnosticism and ultimately atheism. The conception of the autonomous individual for which the philosophers of the Age of Reason were most bitterly criticized by devout Catholics was, de Lubac suggested, invented by Catholic theologians. The philosophers which broke free of Christianity, to develop their own naturalist and deist theologies, had their roots in the anti-Protestant and anti-Renaissance Catholic Scholasticism of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.”
Fergus Kerr, Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians

“Though the Reformation originated with the Lord's fresh move through various reformers, in a rather short time the resulting churches became institutionalized with a mixture of politics, human organization, and hierarchy.”
Henry Hon, ONE: Unfolding God's Eternal Purpose from House to House

“What are we going to do now?' Archbishop Albert asked. 'The Fuggers are holding a knife to our throat.'
'They are called the 'Kings of the Whores' for good reason,' said Ulrich, not waiting to be called this time. Albert sighed. 'What they purchase from the Pope, they sell for varying amounts, all paid by the Pope's flock. Moreover, they are supported by God.'
'Against the Church?' Albert raised his eyebrows.
'They house hundreds of poor in Augsburg, practically for free. They are only asked to say three prayers a day for the family of the Fuggers. A Lord's prayer, a Creed and a Hail Mary. So they pay the poor to pray for them. And God answers those prayers. So they can buy even God himself. One more reason to be on good terms with them.'
Albert chuckled despite the bitterness inside.”
Alexander Taylor, Luther Five Asides

“I am afraid Luther will not recant, Holy Father,' Cajetan said. 'I looked into his eyes. He would not recant even facing the fire of the stake.'
'I have no problem with the fire of the stake either.' Leo X answered.”
Alexander Taylor, Luther Five Asides

William    Cunningham
“The history of the church seems to indicate to us two positions as true, with reference to this matter,—viz. lst, That assurance of salvation has been enjoyed more fully and more generally by men who were called to difficult and arduous labours in the cause of Christ, than by ordinary believers in general; and 2dly, That this assurance, as enjoyed by such persons, has been frequently traceable to special circumstances connected with the manner of their conversion as its immediate or proximate cause. So it certainly was with the Reformers.”
William Cunningham, The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation

Erich Fromm
“The Renaissance was the culture of a wealthy and powerful upper class, on the crest of the wave which was whipped up by the storm of new economic forces. The masses who did not share the wealth and power of the ruling group had lost the security of their former status and had become a shapeless mass, to be flattered or to be threatened—but always to be manipulated and exploited by those in power. A new despotism arose side by side with the new individualism. Freedom and tyranny, individually and disorder, were inextricably interwoven. The Renaissance was not a culture of small shopkeepers and petty bourgeois but of wealthy nobles and burghers. Their economic activity and their wealth gave them a feeling of freedom and a sense of individually. But at the same time, these same people had lost something: the security and feeling of belonging which the medieval social structure had offered. They were more free, but they were also more alone. They used their power and wealth to squeeze the last ounce of pleasure out of life; but in doing so, they had to use ruthlessly every means, from physical torture to psychological manipulation, to rule over the masses and to check their competitors within their own class. All human relationships were poisoned by this fierce life-and-death struggle for the maintenance of power and wealth. Solidarity with one's fellow man—or at least with the members of one's own class—was replaced by a cynical detached attitude; other individuals were looked upon as "objects" to be used and manipulated, or they were ruthlessly destroyed if it suited one's own ends. The individual was absorbed by a passionate egocentricity, an insatiable greed for power and wealth. As a result of all this, the successful individual's relation to his own self, his sense of security and confidence were poisoned too. His own self became as much an object of manipulation to him as other persons had become. We have reasons to doubt whether the powerful masters of Renaissance capitalism were as happy and as secure as they are often portrayed. It seems that the new freedom brought two things to them: an increased feeling of strength and at the same time an increased isolation, doubt, scepticism, and—resulting from all these—anxiety. It is the same contradiction that we find in the philosophical writings of the humanists. Side by side with their emphasis on human dignity, individuality, and strength, they exhibited insecurity and despair in their philosophy.”
Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

Erich Fromm
“… Protestantism and Calvinism, while giving expression to a new feeling of freedom, at the same time constituted an escape from the burden of freedom”
Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

Michelle DeRusha
“[Martin Luther's] understanding of grace-based faith versus works-based faith was more than a personal revelation; it informed his entire rebellion against the church. After all, if human beings couldn't possibly earn salvation by their good works, if human beings had no righteousness of their own and were entirely dependent on Christ for their salvation and hope, where, then, did that leave good works like pilgrimages and fasting? Where did that leave the notion of purgatory? Where did that leave the monastic vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity? Where did that leave the pope, with his sales of indulgences, and the priests, doling out penance in the confessionals? Luther came to believe that the church to which he had dedicated his life was built on sand, and each abuse, each indulgence, added an unsustainable weight to the structure. In his eyes, Romans 1:17 obliterated the very foundation of the Roman Catholic Church.”
Michelle DeRusha, Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk

“In the wake of the Reformation, it was the Bible that reorganized Europe as modern nation-states. Developing vernaculars through Bible translation was only the first step towards linguistic nation-states. The Bible also provided the theological justification for fighting to build independent nation/states such as Holland.”
Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

“As soon as the gold in the casket rings; the rescued soul to heaven springs.”
Johnann Tetzel

“As soon as the gold in the casket rings; the rescued soul to heaven springs.”
Johann Tetzel

Martin Luther
“I ask for the Scripture, and Eck offers me the Fathers. I ask for the sun, and he shows me his lanterns. I ask, “where is your Scripture proof?” and he adduces Ambrose and Cyril. . . . With all due respect to the Fathers, I prefer the authority of Scripture.”
Martin Luther

Martin Luther
“We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6,000 years ago. . . . He calls “a spade a spade,” i.e., he employs the term “day” and “evening” without allegory, just as we customarily do . . . we assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e., that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of the teacher to the Holy Spirit.”
Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 1-5

John Calvin
“Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fullness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings.”
John Calvin, The Institutes of Christian Religion

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“It is the human race, not the world, that desperately needs to be changed.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Peter L. Bernstein
“The Reformation meant more than just a change in humanity's relationship with God. By eliminating the confessional, it warned people that henceforth they would have to walk on their own two feet and would have to take responsibility for the consequences of their own decisions.”
Peter L. Bernstein, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk

Clement of Alexandria
“Und der nämliche ist gerecht und gut, der wahrhafte Gott, der selbst alles ist, wie alles er selbst ist, weil er selbst Gott, der alleinige Gott ist. Denn wie der Spiegel dem Häßlichen nicht übelgesinnt ist, weil er ihn so zeigt, wie er ist, und wie der Arzt dem Kranken nicht übelgesinnt ist, wenn er ihm sagt, daß er Fieber hat (denn der Arzt ist nicht schuld an dem Fieber, sondern er stellt das Fieber nur fest), so ist auch der Tadelnde gegen den nicht übelgesinnt, der an seiner Seele krank ist; denn er bringt die Verfehlungen nicht erst in sie hinein, sondern weist auf die vorhandenen Sünden hin, um von ähnlicher Handlungsweise abzuhalten.”
Clement of Alexandria

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