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Martin Luther and William Tyndale on the State of the Dead.

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  • Martin Luther and William Tyndale on the State of the Dead.

    In 1516 Pietro Pomponatius, of Mantua, noted Italian professor and leader among the Averrorists, issued a book 'Treatise on the Immortality of the Soul' which was against the position the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed. This was widely read, and as a result, he was hauled before the Inquisition, and his book publicly burned in Venice.

    The next year, Luther posted his famous Theses on the church door in Wittenberg. In his 1520 published Defence of 41 of his propositions, Luther cited the pope's immortality declaration, as among "those monstrous opinions to be found in the Roman dunghill of decretals" (proposition 27). In the twenty-seventh proposition of his Defence Luther said:

    'However, I permit the Pope to establish articles of faith for himself and for his own faithful—such are: That the bread and wine are transubstantiated in the sacrament; that the essence of God neither generates nor is generated; that the soul is the substantial form of the human body that he [the pope] is emperor of the world and king of heaven, and earthly god; that the soul is immortal; and all these endless monstrosities in the Roman dunghill of decretals—in order that such as his faith is, such may be his gospel, such also his faithful, and such his church, and that the lips may have suitable lettuce and the lid may be worthy of the dish.'—Martin Luther, Assertio Omnium Articulorum M. Lutheri per Bullam Leonis X. Novissimam Damnatorum.

    Here is what was said of Luthers view, 'Luther espoused the doctrine of the sleep of the soul, upon a Scripture foundation, and then he made use of it as a confutation of purgatory and saint worship, and continued in that belief to the last moment of his life..—Archdeacon Francis Blackburne, Short Historical View of the Controversy Concerning an Intermediate State,1765:Page 14.

  • #2
    Here is Tyndale, English Bible translator and martyr...

    ..In his Master of Arts thesis (1946), "A Study of Martin Luther's Teaching Concerning the State of the Dead," T. N. Ketola, tabulating Luther's references to death as a sleep—as found in Luther's Sammtliche Schriften, Walsh's Concordia, 1904 ed.—lists 125 specific Luther references to death as a sleep. Ketola cites another smaller group of references showing Luther believed in the periodic consciousness of some. But the main point is that, while the dead live, they are unconscious—which is stated some seven times.

    teaching of conditional immortality. This, as well as other teachings, brought him into direct conflict with the papal champion, Sir Thomas More, likewise of England. In 1529 More had strongly objected to the "pestilential sect" represented by Tyndale and Luther, because they held that "all souls lie and sleep till doomsday." In 1530 Tyndale responded vigorously, declaring:

    And ye, in putting them [the departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection.... And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?—William Tyndale, An Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue (Parker's 1850 reprint), bk. 4, ch. 4, pp. 180, 181.

    Tyndale went to the heart of the issue in pointing out the papacy's draft upon the teachings of "heathen philosophers" in seeking to establish its contention of innate immortality.

    The true faith putteth [setteth forth] the resurrection, which we be warned to look for every hour. The heathen philosophers, denying that, did put [set forth] that the souls did ever live. And the pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they cannot agree, no more than the Spirit and the flesh do in a Christian man. And because the fleshly-minded pope consenteth unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the Scripture to stablish it.—lbid., p. 180.

    In yet another section of the same treatise, dealing with the "invocation of saints," Tyndale uses the same reasoning, pointing out that the doctrine of departed saints being in heaven had not yet been introduced in Christ's day:

    And when he [More] proveth that the saints be in heaven in glory with Christ already, saying, "If God be their God, they be in heaven, for he is not the God of the dead;" there he stealeth away Christ's argument, wherewith he proveth the resurrection: that Abraham and all saints should rise again, and not that their souls were in heaven; which doctrine was not yet in the world. And with that doctrine he taketh away the resurrection quite, and maketh Christ's argument of none effect.—Ibid., p. 118.

    Tyndale presses his contention still further by showing the conflict of papal teaching with St. Paul, as he says in slightly sarcastic vein:

    "Nay, Paul, thou art unlearned; go to Master More, and learn a new way. We be not most miserable, though we rise not again; for our souls go to heaven as soon as we be dead, and are there in as great joy as Christ that is risen again." And I marvel that Paul had not comforted the Thessalonians with that doctrine, if he had wist [known] it, that the souls of their dead had been in joy; as he did with the resurrection, that their dead should rise again. If the souls be in heaven, in as great glory as the angels, after your doctrine, shew me what cause should be of the resurrection)—Ibid.


    • #3
      Soul has two meanings in scripture and is understood by the context in which it is used.
      I know Him, correctly, as Messiah whom you call Christ. Yah Shua whom you call Jesus. Messianists who you call Christians.

      "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm".

      I refuse, point blank, to speak peace to the unregenerate, hypocrites, religious dogma lovers and those that oppose the following statement:
      A regenerate man trusts in the evangelism of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed justness of Messiah alone.
      If you are fully persuaded, by experience, of this delightful, beautiful and life giving doctrine then I love you as a brother.

      Anyone who thinks that salvation is conditioned on anything a man thinks, does or says is atheist. I cannot and will not speak peace to him or her.

      I don't make statements online that I wouldn't repeat in front of my Maker, my grandmother or a judge.


      • #4
        I think once we look at the entire body of texts the overwhelming conclusion of what a soul is easily found. According to rules of hermeneutics; we must harmonize less-clear verses with those that are more clear. As such, Gen 2:7 is the clearer verse and it tells us exactly what a soul is.

        Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

        When God united His breath, or spirit with man, man became a living soul. A living soul is composed of body and spirit.

        05397 hmvn n@shamah nesh-aw-maw'

        from 05395; n f; {See TWOT on 1433 @@ '1433a'}

        AV-breath 17, blast 3, spirit 2, inspiration 1, souls 1; 24

        1) breath, spirit
        1a) breath (of God)
        1b) breath (of man)
        1c) every breathing thing
        1d) spirit (of man)

        When one dies, their spirit goes back to God who gave it, at which point, one is no longer a living soul. This is why humanity is not immortal, and must receive the same from God as a gift of salvation.

        The Bible tells us what a soul is (which we saw in Gen 2:7) and that only God has immortality at this point (1 Timothy 1:17 & 1 Timothy 6:15-16). Let's see those verses:

        1 Timothy 6:15-16 - Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

        1 Timothy 1:17 - Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.