Luther on the Origin of Heresies

If you want to know from whence heresy arises, Luther can tell you: it’s always from within the Church- like a cancer affecting the body.

lutherIt is obvious that no heretic has ever come from among the heathen; they have all come from the holy Christian Church.  … Now it has been of benefit to the holy Church that she confesses that those who have come out of her are heretics, condemns them, and does not maintain fellowship with them. [But] it must do us Lutherans no good that we, too, make our own confession and condemn all the sects (though they themselves deny that they have come from us) better than [the Papists] could do it themselves.

This is what befell even the Bible under the pope, when it was publicly called a heretics’ book, giving it the blame that the heretics made use of the Bible. They continue to do the same, crying: “Church, Church,” against and above the Bible. And the wise Emser refused to make up his mind about whether it would be advisable for the Bible to be translated into German, and perhaps even whether it should ever have been written in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin, seeing that it and the church are in such utter disagreement.

For since the Bible—which is the Holy Spirit’s own special book, writing, and Word—must suffer all this from them and be denounced as the mother and protectress of all heresy, why should we not have to suffer it all the more when they put the blame for all heresies upon us?

A spider sucks poison out of the lovely rose, yet the little bee finds nothing but honey in it. Can the rose help it that its sweet honey becomes the spider’s poison? And it is truly a wonder that they do not condemn their own body. For what good comes from it? The body eats and drinks the best of everything: bread, meat, wine, beer, even savory spices. And yet from it comes nothing but filth, snot, spit, matter, sweat, ulcers, abscesses, rash, scurf, menses, pus, feces, and urine. The body allows itself to be beautifully clothed with silk and gold, yet it emits lice, nits, fleas, and other vermin.   — Martin Luther

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