#40 The Reformed Rejected Even the external Means of Grace for the “Spiritual”

And that is what happened. When we began to teach, on the basis of the gospel, that these external things do not save, since they are merely physical and creatural and are often used by the devil for the purpose of sorcery, people, even great and learned people, concluded that baptism, being external water, that the word, being outward human speech, that Scripture, being physical letters made with ink, that the bread, being baked by the baker, and the wine were nothing more than outward, perishable things. So they devised the slogan, “Spirit! Spirit! The Spirit must do it! The letter kills!” So Münzer called us Wittenberg theologians scribes of Scripture and himself the scribe of the Holy Spirit, and many others followed his example. There you see how the devil had armed himself and built up his barricades. If anyone were to attack his outward doctrine and sacraments (which afford quick, visible, and mighty aid), then the outward words and sacraments of Christ (attended by tardy or, at least, by invisible and feeble help) must go down to far worse destruction along with them.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.170-171)

Picture:  The Holy Spirit (Good Shepherd Window, top)

Posted in 2020 Church.

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