Luther's Faith in the One, Holy Church (2)

No more serious charge has been made against Luther than that he destroyed the unity of the Church; even more, that he was the great destroyer of the Church itself. The charge is, of course, also levelled against those who align themselves with the Lutheran Reformation, and at the church which calls itself the Evangelical Lutheran Church. That was the reason why the Evangelicals of Augsburg had to endure so much before they were able to celebrate the Peace in 1650.**
It was certainly not only the evil within human nature which drove their fellow Catholic citizens to fight against the Evangelical cause, although the passions and sins of men did indeed play their part in the conflict. No, in the struggle of the Jesuits of Augsburg against the Reformation there was genuine concern for the unity of the Church. The unity of the Church, even its very existence, seemed to be threatened by Luther and his Reformation. Only the person who shares this great concern for the unity of the Church can appreciate the concern for the Church evidenced by both sides in this conflict, and only such a person can understand both the Church's greatness and her wretchedness.

* The Peace of Augsburg was a treaty between Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Schmalkald League, an alliance of Lutheran princes, ratified on September 25, 1555, in the imperial city of Augsburg (in present-day Bavaria, Germany). It provided the legal basis for the co-existence of Catholicism and Lutheranism in the Empire, a co-existence which proved harder to establish on the ground, as the ensuing Thirty Years War (1628-1648), during which Augsburg itself was the subject of bitter fighting, shows. The Peace of Augsburg was first celebrated in the city in 1650 and is to this day celebrated as a holiday there on the 8th August each year, celebrating religious pluralism.

From a talk given in Erlangen, Germany, on 8th August, 1943.


  1. You have done a lot in my absence from the blogosphere. I'll have to come back and check out your new looks/blogs. btw, I updated the PW-the real me, blog.

  2. Posting regularly here is a good discipline for me -it encourages me to keep reading regularly. I'm sure there are times when a hiatus is necessary, but for now I'm enjoying it.


Free Hit Counter