Luther on an Ass Against a Prophet

I’m reading through Luther’s "An Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate." It is quite interesting.

I’m just a few pages in right and he’s arguing that it doesn’t make sense scripturally to argue that nobody can critique the pope because of his authority. I read this gem and thought it was a clever rhetorical move:

In the olden days Abraham had to listen to Sarah, although she was in more complete subjection to him than we are to anyone on earth. Balaam’s ass, also, was wiser than the prophet himself. If God then spoke an ass against a prophet, why should He not be able even now to speak by a righteous man against the pope? In like manner St. Paul rebukes St. Peter as a man in error. Therefore it behooves every Christian to espouse the cause of the faith, to understand and defend it, and to rebuke errors.

I think I agree!


Chuck Grantham 2008-07-30 11:06:47

Yes, we all hear of Abraham’s great faith, but it seems to have been a growing thing, as he was forever trying to get an heir by any means other than waiting for God to fulfill His promise.

Of course, who knows what a nag Sarah actually might have been: "I trust you, Lord, but my ears are bleeding all day and all night from the wife’s constant nagging...."

As for Peter, it seems like everyone shut up at the Jerusalem council shut up after James spoke, doesn’t it?

Eric 2008-07-30 11:28:23

"A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike."

It does but there is no indication there (that I can see) that James had already taken over the dominant leading position from Peter. But at the very least he is considered as authoritative, and is a good lesson for anyone who thought the authority of the earliest church was centralized in one man.