Fun Facts From Church History: Luther Wasn’t a Fan of the Fathers

At Luther’s table

luther… there was talk about the writings of the church fathers on the Bible and how these left the reader in uncertainty. He [Martin Luther] responded, “I’m not allowed to make judgments about them because they’re writers of recognized authority and I’m compelled to be an apostate.

But let him who wishes read them, and Chrysostom in particular. He was the supreme orator, but how he digressed from the thing at hand to other matters! While I was lecturing on the letter to the Hebrews and consulted Chrysostom, [I found that] he wrote nothing about the contents of the letter.

I believe that as the greatest orator Chrysostom had plenty of hearers but that he taught without fruit. For it ought to be the primary and principal function of a preacher to reflect upon the substance, contents, and sum total of the matter and instruct his hearer accordingly. Once this is done the preacher can use rhetoric and exhort.”

In other words, stick to the text when you’re preaching it! And that, regrettably, the Father’s didn’t do.  The Father’s are useful only for the windows they open on the history of the Church.  Their exegesis is, frankly, rubbish.  And their theology is, for the most part, frankly, ridiculous.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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2 Responses to Fun Facts From Church History: Luther Wasn’t a Fan of the Fathers

  1. Jason says:

    My limited interactions with them thus far have led me to similar conclusions!

    Like

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