Martin Luther Is Probably In Hell

Martin Luther Is Probably In Hell

Assistant Professor, Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary [Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado]

One might imagine that to write an article with this title is presumptuous in the extreme. But I do not make this assertion based on the wicked acts of Martin Luther — his division of Christendom, his hatred of the Jews, his licensing of polygamy, his accusations of adultery against the Savior, his railing, his curses or his insults — but upon the simple principle of faith alone. For faith has the power to wipe out any sin by the precious blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but without faith we are lost.

It may surprise many readers to know that the Catholic Church teaches, as Dogma, justification by faith alone. She teaches this in the sense that she holds it to be impossible for anyone to be rendered acceptable in the sight of God unless and until they receive the supernatural virtue of living faith.

Furthermore, she teaches that nothing done before receiving this virtue can in any way merit justification in the sight of God nor can anything done apart from faith do so. What then is faith? Considered in itself faith is defined by the Catholic Church as “a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source by which assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our Creator and Lord.” It is for this reason that Blessed John Henry Newman felt able to say, “Protestants, generally speaking, have not faith.”

A shocking statement, you might suppose, but it follows from the definition of faith just given. If the reason that we believe what God has revealed is that God can neither deceive nor be deceived, then knowingly to doubt or deny a single proposition thus revealed is implicitly to deny that God has spoken at all and so to divest oneself of the saving virtue of faith. So that we might know what God has revealed and assent to it upon the strength of God’s own veracity, it is necessary that the means by which His revelation is conducted to us be endowed with infallibility. The Church teaches that every statement consigned to writing by the human authors of scripture, in the sense they intended when they wrote these books, is inspired by God and free from all error.

Nevertheless, for us to believe the saving words of this holy text on God’s authority, we must also have a divinely guaranteed interpreter. Otherwise, the one who receives Holy Scripture will be believing nothing more than his own interpretation guided by his own speculations; he will not have faith and he will remain in his sins. Catholics therefore “accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy Mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures” nor do they ever “receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers.” To stand alone without this authority is to have faith in oneself alone.

Martin Luther stood upon two principles: justification by faith alone and the Bible alone as the principle of true doctrine. The second of these principles betrays the fact that what he meant by faith is not the faith the Church proclaims, not the life-giving message of Jesus Christ, but a figment of his own invention. No doubt this is why he felt able to remove books from scripture itself and to falsify his translation of St. Paul’s greatest epistle with no better excuse than “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so.”

While we pray for God’s mercy upon Luther, we must conclude, in the words of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, that whosoever “knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.”

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2 comments on “Martin Luther Is Probably In Hell

  1. It may surprise many readers to know that the Catholic Church teaches, as Dogma, justification by faith alone.

    Surprise isn’t the word. While Fimister is right about Luther being in Hell (St. Alphonsus said it, St. Teresa spoke of all Lutherans falling into Hell), he’s wrong about justification. Also, he chooses to quote the weaker statement on necessity of faith from Vatican II. Below are the true teachings that we should always affirm.

    Council of Trent, Session VII, Canon IV. If anyone saith that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that without them, or without the desire thereof men obtain of God through faith alone the grace of justification; though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.

    Vatican I: And since without faith it is impossible to please God, and to attain to the fellowship of His children, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification; nor will anyone obtain eternal life, unless he shall have persevered in faith unto the end.

  2. A typical “conservative” Novus Ordo type.
    50% truth, 50% total Protestant BS.
    As Cyprian quotes Vatican I: Without Faith it is impossible to please God. (BTW, Denzinger gives 11 references to the doctrine that faith alone is NOT sufficient for salvation).
    Yes, but it’s also impossible to please God without Charity and Hope.
    Dz 800: “For Faith, unless Hope and Charity be added to it, neither unites one perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body. For this reason it is truly said: ‘Faith without works is dead’ (Ja. 2:17ff)”
    Dz 829: “If anyone shall say that nothing except faith is commanded in the Gospel…let him be anathema”

    More could be quoted, but what’s the point? Cyprian and I have stated two solemn, dogmatic definitions.
    There is nothing more to be said — except that the Novus Ordo seminaries are totally unmoored; they are the product of whatever wilful, private interpreting New Luthers run them, and thus they teach whatever personal ideas these despisers of Tradition FEEL to be good.
    Most of these people probably never even heard of Denzinger.

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