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The Betrayal of Martin Luther

by Tom Stewart

October 30, 1999

Martin Luther, a symbol of the historic remonstrance against Rome's franchise on Eternal Salvation, escaped betrayal and death after Babylon the Great (the Church of Rome) interdicted him for his stubborn refusal to recant of his "heretical" opinions; however, he will be again betrayed on Halloween 1999-- and, this time officially by Lutherans. "But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:48). Sunday, October 31st 1999 coincides with the modern celebration of Halloween, which historically is the pagan celebration of the Witches' Sabbath on All Hallows Eve. "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (Isaiah 5:20). This inauspicious time was also preceded 70 years earlier by the devastation of the Stock Market on what is now remembered as Black Friday or the Crash of '29 (October 29th 1929). "He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him" (Proverbs 28:22). And, 400 some years earlier, on October 31st 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses, objecting to the papal sale of indulgences, i.e., the right to sin without punishment, on the church door in Wittenburg. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

On October 31st 1999 in Augsburg, Germany, representatives of the 58 million members of the Lutheran World Federation will sign a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification with papal emissaries of the 1.4 billion strong Roman Catholic Church, officially ending the doctrinal separation between Lutherans and the Church of Rome over the "faith vs. works" controversy concerning Eternal Salvation.
"It is God that justifieth" (Romans 8:33). The Declaration's purpose is to demonstrate ecumenical unity in the essential area of the Doctrine of Justification, between Catholicism's traditional opponent, the Lutheran Church, and the Church of Rome; as they stated: "Thus it becomes clear that the mutual condemnations of former times do not apply to the Roman Catholic and Lutheran doctrines of justification as they are presented in the joint declaration." "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in" (Matthew 23:13).

Why all this concern over a seemingly innocuous attempt to bring unity to Professed Christianity?
"Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully" (Jeremiah 48:10). As the Roman Pontiff, John Paul II, vies for the headship of the world's religions, e.g., the United Religions Initiative, the soon possibility of the False Prophet or beast "out of the Earth" (Revelation 13:11) arising to direct the worship of the Antichrist, is imminent. Consequently, Rome must find ecumenical union with its traditional foes, i.e., Lutherans, to bring about this goal. Those who do not "discern the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3) and "are at ease in Zion" (Amos 6:1), cannot fully appreciate that this ecumenical Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification represents the final stage(s) of preparation before the Antichrist will unify the world through political, economic, and military treaties. "And [Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [the Tribulation Week]" (Daniel 9:27). Only shortly thereafter, will Antichrist reveal his real intention of forcing the world to worship him as God. "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (2Thessalonians 2:4).

Ostensibly, the statements made in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification complement the salvation by faith of the traditional Lutherans with that of the salvation by works of Rome.
"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18). However, both Lutherans and Catholics seem to miss the underlying point that though faith saves, i.e., "8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9), and faith is always accompanied by works, when given the opportunity, i.e., "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:20), it is Jesus-- and, Jesus only-- that saves! "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5).

The question is not so much if faith or works are necessary for Eternal Salvation, but who saves us from our sins?
"Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Both the Old and New Testaments agree that God alone saves. "Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me" (Isaiah 45:21). And, Jesus is the prophesied "Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6), that came nearly 2,000 years ago to redeem mankind by His sacrificial death on the Cross. "And without controversy great is the Mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). And, if Martin Luther were yet alive today, he, too, would be fervently awaiting the soon appearing of the LORD Jesus Christ to judge the world; and, he would not be making appeasements with Babylon the Great (Revelation 17:5). "Looking for that Blessed Hope, and the Glorious Appearing of the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). Though Luther is betrayed by this Joint Declaration, it is the LORD Jesus Christ Who is the truly Offended Party. "Seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:6).

Brethren, be watchful!
"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our LORD Jesus Christ unto Eternal Life" (Jude 21).

[Please see our "Babylon the Great" ---New Window series of articles to better understand the historical circumstances of the tragedy of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Also, our "Topical Links On Sound Doctrine" ---New Window series of articles may aid your understanding of the "wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:11).]

Tom Stewart

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