Among those friends and acquaintances of the more religiously devout, I have often asked questions
that have puzzled and perplexed the most knowledgeable people. In particular, I would like to address the issue - or rather,
decree - of those who have been presumed "ordained of God."
Now literally thousands of souls have at one time or another
been declared the mouthpiece of God, a prophet, a teacher, or an orator of divine revelation. Martin Luther, for instance,
the founder of Protestantism (he submitted in 1517 A.D. his 95 Theses to the Roman Catholic Church; go to http://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html to read them) was and is considered by many to be annoited of God. Oh, not "anointed" in the
same way Jesus Christ was anointed, but anointed,
so to speak, by the Holy Spirit of God (if one favors the Trinitarian view). In short, moved by what he perceived as injustices
in the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the buying and selling of indulgences, Luther's resistance and subsequent ostracism
led to many, many subsequent changes, categorically summed up in what is called The Reformation.
Luther's ongoing study of religious texts as a result of his excommunication and Germanic translations of the Bible (derived
in large part from Erasmus' Textus Receptus) led him to the
belief that parts of the original Bible was "'good to read' but not as the inspired Word of God" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther). Even some of the books in today's Protestant versions of the Bible were considered dubious
by Luther, epistles whose divine origins were historically disputed by early Christians, most curiously, Revelation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antilegomena).
However, Luther's actions are deemed - at least by Protestants - as ordained of
God, a 16th century spiritual "voice of reason" in an age of gross abuses by religious clergy, primarily those involving the
selling of indulgences. Just ask any modern, mainstream Protestant if Luther was anointed by God, and they will answer a resounding
Now here's where the Litmus Test comes into play: Is it safe to assume that when a person
is ordained of God, they are acting within God's will? (If you don't agree, then wouldn't you have to admit that perhaps the
Bible's authors were not ordained of God as they wrote the text? Luther re-wrote the Bible, and most seem perfectly willing
to accept it and read it today as if it was personally handed to them by Jesus Himself!) The only logical answer is in the
Then here is the quandary: How can someone "ordained of God," if you will, believe and openly profess derision
for something that is absolute fact? Wouldn't God have blessed and enlightened that someone so that they see through the web
of secular logic and argument and perceive the truth?
Martin Luther committed such an act when he forthrightly derided
the Copernican heliocentric theory, published at the dawn of the 16th century. In fact, Luther is reported to have said the
following concerning the teaching of Heliocentrism:
"People gave ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove
to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must
devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of
astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth" (http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whitec02.html).
Now stop me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Earth really revolve around the
Sun? Wherefore, then, does Martin Luther - a man ordained by God - come off on the side of deception and error? Granted, it
is possible to assert that being chosen, or ordained, by God does not make one's every
action or utterance necessarily right: Luther is, afterall, still human and weak like the rest of us. However, there is a
flaw with such an explanation, for couldn't one equally ask, "How do we know on what issues Luther was guided by God, and
what issues he was guided by on his own?" Obviously, Luther was dead wrong on the geocentrism thing. Could he have been wrong
on anything else?
Although some of you may accuse me of inciting doubt in my readers in the belief in divine will
and ordination by God, I would counter-charge that you may be inciting blind faith in "man" and in humanity's ability to divine
Truth from deception. All I wish to do is to inspire thoughtfulness, to provoke contemplation, in a topic otherwise accepted
dogmatically by many people today.
Creation versus Evolution. Rapture versus Non-rapture. Conservative versus Liberal.
Patriot versus Traitor. Truth versus Heresy. All of these traditional polar opposites - and many more - require reexamination
as to their veracity, a fresh look into the logic behind their arguments and the political-sociological traps we often fall
prey to as those in positions of authority seek to consolidate their base and their power. To simply accept at face value
the "opinions" of others without research and introspection is unwise. But to accept things by others under the assumption
that "God said..." or "God so ordained..." is a dangerous proposition, one that could lead to further erroneous suppositions.
Let me conclude with a simple little story indicative of the topic at hand:
boy was watching his mother bake a ham. Before she placed it in the oven, the mother removed both ends of the ham with a sharp
knife. "Mommy," the boy asked, "why did you cut off the ends of the ham?" The mother smiled and laughed, "Because that's what
we're supposed to do, silly!" But the boy was not satisfied, and continued to ask his mother why. When the mother had no further
explanation, she insisted, "Go ask your grandmother, son," with a frown and deep sigh.
"Grandma," the boy asked when he next saw his grandmother.
"Why do we cut off the ends of the ham before putting it into the oven?" Grandma gave the boy an all-knowing look and soft
chuckle before replying. "That's how it's supposed to be done." "But why?" the boy persisted, beginning to annoy his grandmother.
The grandmother told the child that that's the way it is and that it isn't polite to keep pestering her, but the boy was not
satisfied. "Oh, go ask your great-grandmother!" she finally blared, unable to take anymore questioning. Finally, when the
boy next saw his great-grandmother, he asked, "Great-grandma, why do we cut off the ends of the ham before it goes in the
oven?" Well, the old woman laughed and laughed heartily, for the young child's question brought back a vague memory long forgotten.
"Why, that's easy to answer," she told the boy. "When I was a little girl, my grandmother lived on a homestead on the prairie.
Her cast iron stove was so tiny, that almost nothing could fit in it! I remember that she had to cut off the ends of the ham
just to make it fit!"
See the moral, anyone?
think when Christ said to come to him like a child, he was thinking of that innocent, childhood fascination to know "why"
and "how," not the naivete that accepts everything at face value simply because we're told, "That's the way it's supposed
Whose ordained voice are you still following? Do they pass the "litmus test?"