Tag Archives: Disagreement

The Crosses of Peace, Purity, and Progress

In his famous biography Roland Bainton paints a captivating (if perhaps not altogether honest) portrait of one of Martin Luther’s most famous moments. Attending an imperial assembly in the city of Worms, Luther was called upon to give answer to his writings. He entered the town in a two wheeled cart with a processional of two thousand people. He was ushered into the presence of the emperor where when asked to recant of the many things he had written, he apparently replied: “Since then Your Majesty and your lordship desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by the Scripture and plain reason–I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other–my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”

Centuries later it’s easy to romanticize the moment — the resolve, courage, confidence, and conviction that seems to define and almost overwhelm the scene. Luther is, so to speak, an iron pillar against whom the waves of this […]