Was Theologian Martin Luther a hero or a villain?

Right at the pinnacle of the fall of humanity, is displayed man’s desire to be recognized as hero rather than villain: “The man said ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it’” (Genesis 3:12) (NIV). Adam preferred that the wrong-doing be conferred on Eve, rather than himself. Similarly, the first son of Adam, Cain, murdered his brother Abel, out of desire to be recognized as hero, rather than Abel (Genesis 4:2-3).

In answer to God’s question, Cain revealed that the welfare of his brother Abel had all along been none of his concern. “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Genesis 4:9) (NIV).

Heroes are known to be heroes when viewed as smarter than others. A person becomes hero, as long as considered smarter than others. This is what sustains the current civilization. However, this cannot be the case, to those with the opposite mind-set?  Such people are their brothers’ keepers.

The sad reality is that brothers’ keepers are few and most unpopular in this world of sin. What is most popular is highlighting misdemeanours of others—but seeking to highlight one’s own strengths. This is what ensures the attainment of hero status. Our educational system, in the academic world embraces this behaviour fantastically.

This is why educationists seek to attain certification more than seeking the ability to produce results after graduating. Attaining graduate certificate is more satisfying than what a person would be able to produce, thereafter. Arguably, graduating is seen as what encourages studies?

However, this cannot be the case for those desiring to provide value to benefit their fellow man. Such people are not worried about titles, like “Dr” for instance. Their motive is more for serving humanity, than for their potential rewards.

Nevertheless, Jesus introduced a new civilization that reverses consideration of achievers to be recognized as heroes. If anyone wants to know a single significant factor, causing Jesus’ murder—being also major hurdle in Christian advancement—it is the following Scripture:

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi.’ For you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher.’ For you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8-12) (NIV).

This passage simply confers responsibility on knowledgeable individuals—to enlighten others. In other words, the knowledgeable person is a servant of those without knowledge. Being privileged with knowledge that others do not have does not invite the status of being considered a hero. But a responsibility to help others to attain same knowledge.

While several accusations were leveled against Jesus, all emanated from what Jesus said in this scripture. Other accusations were simply justifications of the real offence—contained in what is articulated in the above scripture. The mind-set of Jesus was found to be diametrically opposite of the established culture in recognizing heroes.

Jesus was more knowledgeable than everyone in His environment. Instead of being rewarded with hero status, Jesus had to submit to taking the position of the worst criminal known to exist at the time—Barabbas (John 18:39-40). In His display of what the new civilization entailed, Jesus ensured that His heroism had to, instead, be allowed to carry the badge of a villain.

The new civilization cannot be new, as long as displaying Cain’s mind-set—desperately desiring to project oneself as better than others. Therefore, most of what we see in Christian world ought to be evaluated on the basis of what Jesus, also taught in Matthew 20:25-28.

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NIV).

When casually analysing the behaviour of humanity in this world, Noah’s son, Ham, can be classified as a hero—exposing his father’s nakedness. Exposing the weaknesses of other people makes one a hero—evaluated against the conducts of the person concerned. Ham sought recognition from his brothers, by exposing his father’s nakedness. Unfortunately for him, his brothers took a position that left him out to be a villain, rather than a hero (Genesis 9:20-23).

After observing his father’s nakedness, Ham could have done the simple thing—covering the nakedness of his Father. However, that would have left him without potential to be recognized as hero. Though deserving credit, no-one would have known about him having done such a noble thing.

The nakedness of Noah would not have been exposed, so as to remain with his integrity, even at his old age. This explains the value of the newspaper industry. If I commit myself to do anything noble, that would not be newsworthy. If I need recognition and good publicity, I have to expose the wrongs of others.

Image result for martin luther pictures

Only scandals of highest degree in magnitude are newsworthy. To be a hero, I have to concentrate on exposing evils committed by others, instead of helping such people out of such deplorable evils. This is exactly the point from where the church lost its significance. Historians are in agreement that, after the Early Church persecutions, the resuscitation of Christianity evolved through the Roman Catholic Church.

The real disunity that engulfed the Roman Catholic Church marked the character of Christianity. Historians agree in that Christianity is projected in the protestant movement that was initiated by Theologian Martin Luther? He was excommunicated for his 95-point Thesis—against the position taken by the Roman Catholic Church authorities.

Obviously, Martin Luther must have been considered a Hero, by those all along muffling discontentment with Catholicism? To such people, Martin Luther was, indeed heroic. But to the Roman Catholic authorities? Martin Luther remains a villain. How can truth be projected from the two opposing viewpoints?

This initiates an argument, too difficult to handle. I therefore choose not to be part of that perennial argument, as it is beyond the scope of my writing. Instead, I choose to remain focused on what Jesus taught:

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi.’ For you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher.’ For you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8-12) (NIV).

How could the derailment of unity in Christianity become possible, if Jesus’ words had been taken verbatim in this Scripture? Christianity is mockery today, not that Jesus intended to make it so—but because stubborn humanity chose to make it that way. Jesus was clear in what sustains Christianity, as revealed in what He reiterated to some of His early followers:

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32) (KJV).

The pivotal point is: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”  In other words, the only sign that one is a disciple of Jesus is continuing in His word. Anyone can declare being a disciple of Jesus, but that does not make one bona fide. What Jesus also said in Matthew 7:21-23 cannot be taken as idle, by those who are serious in their Christian conduct.

One of the purposes of Jesus’ coming was to introduce a new civilization that is diametrically opposite to the one that prevails. The most disturbing thing, though, is that such civilization appears impossible to come out of the fragmentation of Christian confusion as it stands?

However, I do not rule out a miracle—leading to some corners of Christianity adopting what is advanced here and teaching it as truth? Nevertheless this appears as a lone voice that has remained without takers for more than seven years. From a human point of view, this is frustrating indeed. But I take comfort in that Jesus never indicated that standing for truth is like walking in the park.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.

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