Libel Against Luther (7 April 2004) PDF Print E-mail


The Editor
The Cape Times
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7 April 2004

Dear Editor


Douglas Bax ( Cape Times , April 7) persists in wanting to smear Luther as an anti-Semite. Despite Luther having written against anti-Semitism, and having engaged in extensive evangelism of the Jewish people in his area.
Unlike many of his time, Luther did not, however, hold Jews responsible for the death of Christ. As he wrote in a hymn: “We dare not blame…the band of Jews; ours is the shame.” Luther frequently emphasised that the blame for the death of Christ was upon each individual sinner, not least himself. Luther continued to the end of his life to maintain an eagerness and desperate longing that the Jews might be won for Christ.
It is most disturbing that such a humble and God fearing man, who, against all odds, gave to the Church and the world: the Bible, freely available in the common tongue; who introduced congregational singing; championed justification by God’s grace, receive by faith, on the basis of the finished work of Christ; who stood for Sola Scriptura – that Scripture alone is our ultimate authority; and who was so wonderfully used to bring about the greatest Reformation and birth of freedom the world had ever known could be the target of such vicious slander – 450 years after his death. 
The Scriptures command us to respect our elders. There is a disturbing tendency today to continually set ourselves up as judges of those who are better than us. Many have the gift of criticism.
Do those who so confidently condemn Martin Luther really believe, in the light of eternity, that they have served the cause of faith and freedom with even one percent as much dedication and effectiveness as Martin Luther? 

Dr Peter Hammond
P O Box 74
Cape Town
Tel.: 021 689 4480
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