Exposing the Enemy in the Camp
The humanistic author of deception:
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus
• October 27, 1466, born in Rotterdam, Holland
• 1478 orphaned and sent to church schools
• 1486 entered an Augustinian monastery
• 1492 took vows to become a Roman Catholic priest.
• 1506 received a doctor of divinity degree in Turin, Italy
• 1510 befriended by Henry VIII, taught Greek at Cambridge University in England
• 1516 made the first translation of the Greek New Testament into English
• 1519 wrote tract on matrimony
• 1521 left England
• July 12, 1536, died in Basel, Switzerland
The humanistic instrument of deception:
The fifth view, which was not introduced until the sixteenth century, was called “The Erasmian view:” This view was written more than eleven hundred years after the four authentic historic views and, consequently does not qualify to be called an earliest Church father’s view. When adopted and elaborated on by the reformers it was eventually renamed “The Traditional Protestant View.”
Doesn’t it seem ironic when we realize a rationalistic, humanistic re-interpretation of the marriage doctrine was created by a Roman Catholic teacher and priest, ended up being titled; “The Traditional Protestant View?”
Disiderius Erasmus (1467-1536), after whom this historic doctrinal view was named, was otherwise known as Erasmus of Rotterdam. In university libraries today, he is called “the prince of humanists.”
After his death, the early Roman church declared Erasmus a heretic and all of his writings were banned or burned .v Later, the Pope had every existing anathema declared over Erasmus’ grave and his bones were dug up and scattered.
“Although Erasmus is often regarded as a precursor of the Reformation and his works were later listed in the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Trent, his war against ignorance and superstition was prompted by his convictions as a humanist rather than as a theologian. He was not a religious reformer, as were Martin Luther and French theologian John Calvin; nor was he inclined to participate in theological discussions. He was first and foremost a man of letters, and as a humanist, he was at the forefront of his age.”vi
Erasmus wrote his paper on marriage and divorce in 1519. His conclusions on the subject were greatly influenced by his humanistic paradigm and total disregard of the earlier Church positions.
J.C. Grayson said, “…Erasmus wished to explain the Scriptures, unconstrained and not squeezed into the harness of doctrinal decisions and tradition.”vii
Erasmus introduced a new idea in his treatise by saying, “any marriage which is capable of being dissolved was never a marriage at all.”viii Whenever we hear such teaching, it is important to again compare it with the clear concise teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We say again, this conclusion is without merit. This false doctrine was invented by a humanistic philosopher who birthed this heretical position, based upon a false premise. The Christian community adopted his false premise even though his teaching is clearly contrary to the historically clear teaching of God’s Word and all of the earliest Church fathers. The family, which is the bedrock unit of our society, is disintegrating at an alarming rate as a result of adopting this false doctrine.
Despite Jesus’ clear, non-contradictive teaching, the vast majority of today’s religious leaders follow Erasmus’ teachings.
The Erasmian position allows for remarriage where adultery or desertion is involved.
Erasmus, who never left the Roman Catholic Church, deceptively “laid the egg and the reformers hatched it.”ix Erasmus placed this erroneous theory, which I have called the Trojan Horse, before the Protestant reformers. They enthusiastically received it, not realizing the enemies it contained. Hiding inside this Trojan Horse were the devastating enemies; rationalism, humanism, compromise, distorted ideas of men, and doctrines of demons. These enemies represent the secularized humanistic worldview in contrast to a Biblical world view and display a total disregard for what Jesus, Paul and the earliest Church Fathers taught concerning marriage.
The religious societal environment that birthed this new wave of freedom of thought, rationalistic humanism, was one of total intellectual and spiritual bondage. If the Church in Erasmus’ day said the earth was flat and you disagreed by saying it was round, you could be burned at the stake. If the Church said that baptism is by sprinkling and you said that baptism is by immersion, you and your fellow believers stood in danger of being drowned by soldiers at your next baptismal service. There was no room whatsoever for dissent.
Erasmus was a free thinker, and after becoming famous for his publication of a critical edition of the Greek New Testament in 1516 and a second edition used by the translators of the “Authorized King James Version of the Bible,” he was emboldened to write more aggressively. The article, Desiderius Erasmus Roterdamus, found in Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia states; “In Switzerland he, (Erasmus), was especially exposed to criticism through his association with men who were more than suspected of extreme rationalistic doctrines.” He not only broke away from the normal boundaries of the Church, but also went on to say, “Reason is the only one guide of life, the supreme arbiter of all questions, politics and religion included.”x
Using this as his overriding paradigm in approaching answers to problems he observed in the society in which he lived, Erasmus said, “it should be looked into if there may not be other interpretations which are to be read in the gospels and the epistles.”xi
With this paradigm he proceeded to re-interpret Matthew 5 & 19 and 1 Corinthians 7 in an unprecedented way, forsaking all the early Church had ever taught. He ignored and twisted what Jesus, Paul the Apostle and the early Church Fathers taught, to promote his humanistic convictions. He called their statements and teachings, “monstrous.” Monstrous? Would you or I ever make such a charge? Do we dare be in agreement with someone who “Reasoned” that way? It might benefit us here to pause and analyze the full meaning of this accusation Erasmus made against the teachings of our Lord Jesus, Paul the Apostle, and every one of the earliest church fathers. The Webster’s Dictionary describes this word to mean: “shocking in its wrongness and absurdity.”
Synonyms of this word; “Monstrous” are even more enlightening of Erasmus’ view of scripture and the sanctity of marriage.
• Outrageous: “extremely offensive”; “exceeding one’s power to bear or endure.”
• Heinous: “hatefully bad; such flagrant conspicuousness that it excites hatred or horror.”
• Atrocious: “such badness that it excites condemnation.”
With this mindset, Erasmus attacked the sacredness of God’s Word and the marriage covenant.
To Erasmus, it seemed “monstrous that a couple should be compelled to stay together in the flesh when they no longer and perhaps never were united in the spirit…forcing a couple to stay together when they detest one another is dangerous. It may end in poison. Those whose marriage is already on the rocks should be granted a divorce and permitted to remarry. Paul’s dictum that it is better to marry than to be tormented by passion is not inapplicable to persons once unhappily married and now separated…” “The Church must not be bound by the past.”xii Paul said we must be bound and limited to “My gospel.” Romans 2:16
Today, we must understand that we are not bound by the past but always restricted by the Word of God alone, in order that we can be free to please and serve God.
In his reasonings, Erasmus also concluded:
“…the case of a youth who may have been caught into a marriage through wine and drunkenness. In such instances there are often mutual quarrels, irremediable hatred, dread of poisoning and murder, anticipating nothing but evil. Neither can live continently and if they cleave to each other they perish twice, but if the marriage is dissolved and they are allowed to marry again, it is hoped that they both should be outside peril.”xiii
Erasmus did not say these things in an intellectual vacuum, but realized perfectly well in all of this argumentation that he was going counter to all former Church doctrine as well as current practice. “Erasmus appealed to consensus only on theological points about which he was not deeply concerned. On a matter of ethics, like marriage, he was ready to contravene the consensus for the sake of humane legislation.”xiv It is clear that Erasmus’ primary concern was not what the Word of God said, but rather, that man’s happiness is most important.
“He (Erasmus) is aware of the common opinion which opposed remarriage after divorce for adultery, but he also knows that it lies within the hearts of good men to change their opinions in order to deal with a good cause. His conviction, evident throughout his approach, is that enlightenment would usher in a new era and bring reform within the Church. Two basic propositions are laid down. It should be permissible to dissolve certain marriages, not fortuitously but for very serious reasons, by the ecclesiastical authorities or recognized judges, and to give the innocent party the freedom to marry again. These two views were considered revolutionary and heretical by the theologians of his day.”xv
“Erasmus brings the reader face to face with the problems of the many thousands who are unhappily coupled together with the result that both parties thereby perish. They could be saved if they were divorced and able to marry someone else. If this were possible without doing injury to the Word of God, then it ought to delight all godly men. Furthermore, charity sometimes does what it legally is not able to do, and it is justified in doing so. Erasmus realizes that this proposition may be regarded as unheard of and absurd, as well as being unworthy of being called into discussion…Erasmus would reason that it is against nature that the innocent party in a divorce case should not be allowed to remarry.”xvi
Please keep in mind that these false premises, which sound so reasonable in today’s churches, were previously unheard of and totally contrary to New Testament and early Church theology. They were in total opposition to the clear teachings of Scripture, and ignited a firestorm of greater rationalizations, when the reformers adopted and added to this corrupt unscriptural premise.