#42- The Pope Is Not the Church, but There Are Believers in the Roman Church

“This is the issue. They imitate the Pharisees and the Jews here and persist in their delusion that we are heretics. They exclaim that they are good Christians, but that we are heretics. This accusation we cannot and will not tolerate. We will not answer with physical force, but we will not pass over it in silence. Good and well, the pope declares that he is the Christian Church. We deny this, although we admit that in the papacy there are some people who are members of the Christian Church, just as there are many such among the Turks, in France, or in England. They are baptized, they have the Gospel, they use the Sacraments properly, and they are true Christians. But we object to their condemnation of us, to their assertion that our doctrine is false. We object to this, that meanwhile they whitewash and justify themselves with their laws, their inventions, their monastic orders, and their good works, and with their claim that he who observes these is a true Christian and that this is the true Christian Church.

We are ready to concede that they are in the Christian Church, but not that they are the true members of the church. To be sure, they have the pulpit, Baptism, the ministry, the Sacrament, and they are in the church; but they are not genuine members. Similarly, among us there are many who are baptized and partake of the Lord’s Supper, who pose as Christians, but who are still knaves through and through. They are not sincere. Therefore we say that they are numbered among the Christians, and that they bear the name and have the outward appearance and semblance of the church and of Christians. But for all that they are not the church and are not Christians”  (Luther’s Works, v. 23, p. 285-286).

Posted in 2017 Reformation Quotes.