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    Denomination & Faith Movement Discussions - Thread: Was Luther Insane?

    1. #1
      Lämmchen's Avatar
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      Was Luther Insane?

      https://tabletalkmagazine.com/posts/...luther-insane/

      The biggest reason for questioning Luther’s sanity has to do with his period of intense scrupulosity in the confessional. It was customary and required of the young monks of the monastery to go through daily confession. As a matter of prescribed procedure, the monks would come into the confessional in the morning, and they would confess the sins of the last twenty-four hours, receive the absolution of the priest, and go about the day’s labors. This would typically take each monk two or three minutes.
      Logically and theologically then, Luther was the sanest man in Europe. He understood the demands of the law of God, and it seemed to be driving him crazy. That is, until his brilliant mind, in his preparation of lectures for Romans, turned its attention to Romans 3: “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Then Luther read a word that is the most precious word in all of Scripture. It’s the gospel in one word—but: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law.” Then he read the conclusion in verse 28: “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

    2. #2
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      Martin Luther died a long time ago. Diagnosing a mental illness for a man so long dead doesn't seem likely to yield anything reliable and certain. Besides, is there any real theological significance to the theme? Even if Martin Luther were known to be insane would that either validate or invalidate his stated beliefs? The idea that it would looks a lot like some sort of Ad Hominem attack (in the case of invalidating his theology) or an appeal to unjustified authority (in the case of validating his theology).

      I think the question of Martin Luther's sanity is irrelevant. "meh" is the best response. "who cares, really?" is good too.

      If the idea of this thread is to ask was Martin Luther's theology good or bad, true or untrue? then there's room for discussion.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    3. Likes ImaginaryDay2 liked this post
    4. #3
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      It's obvious MC did not read the link for the article.

      The first sentence is "With the advent of modern psychoanalysis, it’s become popular to evaluate the psyches of famous historical figures: people like Alexander the Great, Moses, Nero, and others. One of the favorite targets of study is Martin Luther."

      Yes, Luther is dead. Yes, Luther's behavior was at times odd and passionate...even aggressive. It was still an interesting article to read.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

    5. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      It's obvious MC did not read the link for the article.

      The first sentence is "With the advent of modern psychoanalysis, it’s become popular to evaluate the psyches of famous historical figures: people like Alexander the Great, Moses, Nero, and others. One of the favorite targets of study is Martin Luther."

      Yes, Luther is dead. Yes, Luther's behavior was at times odd and passionate...even aggressive. It was still an interesting article to read.
      I am careful about external links because they can be to long articles and because I figure that the thread poster can give whatever salient points are in the article in their post and if they don't then that is a discouragement for me to go and read the article.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    6. #5
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      Sanity, insanity, neurosis, and psychosis are clever words to throw around when one (R.C. Sproul and others) really has no understanding of their meaning. Frankly, they're quite demeaning when left to the imagination of the reader as to their meaning. As for what issues Luther may have had, it's possible he'd fit a category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). His behavior was (at times, from the casual reading I've done) erratic, but where that may place him is a mystery as we don't have him here to diagnose. And a diagnosis is just that - a convenient medical label, but says little about the actual functioning of a person.

      Luther may have had some signs of an anxiety disorder, depression, and the like, but (again) it would be looking back at history to decide that. We could make the same argument about the ones who declared him a heretic as being narcissists. But it would be a rush to judgment as we don't have the council in front of us to tell what kind of men they were.
      I can't stop the world from turning around, or the pull of the moon on the tide...
      But I don't believe that we're in this alone, I believe we're along for the ride..
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    7. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      I am careful about external links because they can be to long articles and because I figure that the thread poster can give whatever salient points are in the article in their post and if they don't then that is a discouragement for me to go and read the article.
      I hate clicking on links too so I don't blame you really.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

    8. #7
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      I like big "buts" and I cannot lie...

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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      I am careful about external links because they can be to long articles and because I figure that the thread poster can give whatever salient points are in the article in their post and if they don't then that is a discouragement for me to go and read the article.
      Yet you post the egregiously long RCC catechism...

    10. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
      Yet you post the egregiously long RCC catechism...
      Posting the salient points is informative for all who read with the aim of being informed.

      God bless you, MennoSota.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    11. #10
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      Luther was passionate.

      That's not the same as insane.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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