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Dr Luther wreaked havoc in the Church

The straight answer to the questions posed by the Rev John Gray (Write Back, November 2) is that Martin Luther is as wrong in his opinions on justification by faith today as he was 500 years ago.

Furthermore, the type of "Biblical Protestantism" espoused by those like the Rev Gray is not "true", because, ironically, in themselves, such views are unbiblical.

The Bible nowhere teaches either "faith alone" or "Scripture alone". These ideas were invented by Luther and others.

In fact, Luther decided to add the word "alone" into the sacred text of God's Word in Romans 3:28, "because Dr Luther would have it so". That "Dr Luther would have it so" is indicative of the resulting chaos and harm inflicted upon the body of Christ by Luther's massive ego.

Luther - despite whatever good intentions he may have had initially - wreaked havoc in the Church. He was an extremely problematic and difficult individual, with attitudes that are hard to reconcile with being a genuine Christian. We must leave him, of course, to the merciful judgment of Almighty God.

Contrary to Luther's notion, God's Word does not teach "faith alone". It teaches "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6).

It makes clear that good works are the vital signs of a living faith (James 2:14-25). It tells us that we will be judged on works of love on the last day (Matthew 25:31-46). We are saved by both faith and works - not faith "alone". We do agree with Luther, however, as Catholics, that salvation is by the grace of Christ alone.

We are not condemned to remain forever trapped in the polemics and diatribes of the past. Recent Popes all have spoken kindly of Luther and his sincere desire for reform.

Therefore, let the Rev Gray et alia be assured, Christians today, Protestant and Catholic, will not desist from striving to heal the wounds of division caused in the family, by the sins of both sides, in the past. We make no apology for so doing.

FR PATRICK McCAFFERTY

Corpus Christi Parish, Belfast

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