Episode 34 – Thieving and Murderous Hordes

Martin Luther had very little understanding of the realities of the revolution when he waded into commenting on the Twelve Articles of the Swabian Peasants. He knew the princes were abusing the peasants, but he had only heard vague rumors of the atrocities of the peasantry.

That all changed when he took a trip to Thuringia to open a new Christian school. He was confronted by hecklers who openly mocked his calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. There’s also evidence that he heard more of first hand accounts of the peasants attacks on the princes.

When Luther returned to Wittenberg, he wrote a sharp rebuke of the peasantry with language so harsh that his friends pleaded with him to soften it. But Luther would not be swayed, releasing “Against the Robbing and Murderous Hordes of Peasants” in May of 1525, a book that Luther advocates have repeatedly had to explain and defend for the past 500 years.

Beer break

M-43 N.E. IPA

NAMED AFTER MICHIGAN HIGHWAY 43, WHICH RUNS THROUGH WILLIAMSTON

New England IPA

The First release in Old Nation’s “New Orthodox” IPA series, M-43 is designed to accentuate the deep and complex character from the combination of Calypso, Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo hops. Citrus and Tropical notes of Pineapple, Mango and Grapefruit come through in the huge, yet surprisingly delicate aroma. The flavor backs these aromas with a soft, pillowy mouthfeel. Hop bitterness is not particularly intense, which leads to a very drinkable, New England IPA even non-IPA fans love. The Haze is not from yeast, but rather from an interplay of lipids from the malted oat and oils and acids which naturally occur in the hand selected Dry hops. This beer is a perfect interplay between top grade malt and hops, MI water and brewing technique which cannot be faked.

Title page of Martin Luther’s addendum to Admonition to Peace, titled Against the Murderous and Plundering Peasant Hordes. This is a reprint of just the addendum by Johann Weyßenburger (Landshut, 1525), available from the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

AGAINST THE ROBBING AND MURDERING HORDES OF PEASANTS
Luther built his entire position on the first few verses of Romans 13.
Let’s take a sidebar into Romans 13 to see what Paul has to say.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

Luther starts out pretty strong:
“In my earlier book on this matter, I did not venture to judge the peasants, since they had offered to be corrected and to be instructed; and Christ in Matthew 7 [:1] commands us not to judge. But before I could even inspect the situation, they forgot their promise and violently took matters into their own hands and are robbing and raging like mad dogs. All this now makes it clear that they were trying to deceive us and that the assertions they made in their Twelve Articles were nothing but lies presented under the name of the gospel.”

He then references Muntzer:
“This is particularly the work of that archdevil who rules at Mühlhausen, and does nothing except stir up robbery, murder, and bloodshed.”

Luther then outlines “3 terrible sins”.
The first sin is a lack of obedience to ruling authorities.

The second sin is abusing the property of the others.

The third sin is that the peasants have called themselves a “Christian Association”. Luther is especially upset that they are calling themselves Christian, even as they rebel.

Luther goes back to his original position to finish everything up. “If anyone thinks this too harsh, let him remember that rebellion is intolerable and that the destruction of the world is to be expected every hour.”

Well, there are plenty of people who think Luther was too harsh. Even modern “law and order” folks would have problems with Luther’s call against due process in the face of revolution, especially coupled with the use of the sword to kill. Our mind immediately goes to people like Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot, where the civil authorities need to be constrained. Of course, Luther had never seen industrialized killing, like we have.

Thanks to Josh our sound engineer
James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision
Christina Vunguyen – The Black Death: How it affected Feudalism
Eric W. Gritsch – Thomas Müntzer: A tragedy of errors
Luther’s Works 46
Wikipedia
contact us: graceontap.podcast@gmail.com
Let us know if you’d like to host a road trip.
catch us on Facebook at graceontap podcast

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.

Episode 33 – The Rebellious Spirit of Thomas Müntzer

A Rebellious Spirit

When Thomas Müntzer was installed as the Evangelical preacher at the Lutheran church in the small town of Allstedt, nobody could have predicted how things would progress over the next two years. By the time everything was settled, thousands would be dead and wounded in one of the most violent uprisings in Europe.

Müntzer wasn’t alone. Many people were ready for revolution. There were revolutionaries in the Black Forest, Bavaria, Thuringia, and Swabia. There were even nobles who supported the revolutionary cause.

Even though he wasn’t alone in his appeal for revolution, Müntzer was unique in his mixing of theology with the revolutionary call, a powerfully toxic amalgamation of teachings that he perfected while he preached in Allstedt. His preaching left the commoners believing they were doing God’s work, even as they pillaged and murdered those who stood against them.

Background

In 1522, people were tired of the excesses of the rich and powerful. Revolution was in the air.

There was the revolution in Spain. The Revolt of the Comuneros, which was a revolt in Castile against Charles V.

There were characters like Franz von Sickingen, who proclaimed himself to be a sort of military-style Robin Hood, attacking the powerful on behalf of the weak.

There’s a lot going on at the same time here, so we’re going to use this episode to catch up with another revolutionary, Thomas Müntzer. In episode 30, we left off with Thomas Müntzer and the Zwickau Prophets being run out of Wittenberg by Martin Luther. We also covered Müntzer’s Prague Manifesto, where he outlines his apocalyptic vision.

This episode picks up when Müntzer shows up again in April of 1523 in Allstedt, a small village of about 600 people about 120 km (75 mi) southeast of Wittenberg.

Beer break

Frankenmuth Brewery – BATCH 69 AMERICAN IPA

Batch 69 IPA is a delicious American IPA brewed with four pungent hop varietals that will wake up your senses to fine American hops! This IPA exudes a floral aroma and is also dry-hopped for a subtle bite, finishing off with pleasant notes of citrus and pine. Michigan’s 2015 World Expo of Beer Competition Gold Medal winner, for Best IPA!

People Wanted Change

The medieval world hadn’t heard the last of Thomas Müntzer. In many ways, his teachings were in line with the spirit of the times. The peasantry was excited about the changes that were being brought about by Luther and the Reformation, but they were unwilling to wait for the work of the Spirit. They wanted change now and were ready to take matters into their own hands.

Thomas Müntzer, with his unique apocalyptic vision, gave the peasants the kind of leader they were looking for.

We’ll be getting back to Müntzer and his leadership of the peasants as things ramped up to full out revolution in episode 35, but first, we’re going to use the next episode to take a look at Luther’s response as the revolution became violent.

 

Thanks and Recognitions

Thanks to Josh Yagley, our sound engineer

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision

Matthias Riedl – Thomas Müntzer’s Prague Manifesto – A case study in the secularization of the apocalypse.

Eric W. Gritsch – Thomas Müntzer: A tragedy of errors

Wikipedia

Contact us

Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.

graceontap-podcast.com

or catch us on Facebook at graceontap podcast

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.

Episode 32 – Admonition to Peace

The arrival of the plague in the mid 1300’s radically changed medieval Germany. The peasants, who were the foundation of the social system, were decimated between the arrival of the plague and the start of the reformation over 170 years later. Ironically, the plague opened up incredible opportunity for many of the surviving peasantry with salable skills.

But as large groups of peasants moved to the cities to become bankers, traders and other merchants, the peasantry that remained in the old feudal system became more and more burdened as the lower nobility sought to create laws and systems that would keep the peasants tied to the land and unable to advance in society.

These peasants who were being horribly mistreated began to make demands for justice. The most famous demands were the Twelve Articles of the Swabian Peasants, written in 1525.

Since the Twelve Articles were promoted as a Christian document, it caught the attention of Martin Luther. He was not impressed.

We’ve spent a couple episodes talking about Franz von Sickingen and Thomas Müntzer, the respective leaders of the Knights’ and the Peasants’ Revolts.

In our last episode, we spent most of the time talking about the Knights’ Revolt, but then we took a little time to go through the Twelve Articles of the Swabian Peasants, since this document did a lot to explain the societal issues that were behind these revolutions.

In this episode, we’ll be talking about Luther’s response to Twelve Articles, in a document titled Admonition to Peace. The full name is “Admonition to Peace, A Reply to the Twelve Articles of the Peasants in Swabia”.

Today, we’ll just cover Luther’s first thoughts on the subject of revolution, the Admonition to Peace.

Title page of Martin Luther’s addendum to Admonition to Peace, titled Against the Murderous and Plundering Peasant Hordes. This is a reprint of just the addendum by Johann Weyßenburger (Landshut, 1525), available from the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Beer break

The Weihenstephan Brewery can trace its roots at the abbey to 768, as a document from that year refers to a hop garden in the area paying a tithe to the monastery. A brewery was licensed by the City of Freising in 1040, and that is the founding date claimed by the modern brewery. The brewery thus has a credible claim to being the oldest working brewery in the world.[1] (Weltenburg Abbey, also in Bavaria, has had a brewery in operation since 1050, and also claims to be the oldest brewery in the world.) When the monastery and brewery were secularised in 1803, they became possessions of the State of Bavaria.

Late history: Since 1923, the brewery has been known as the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan (in German Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan), and is operated in conjunction with the Technical University of Munich as both a state-of-the-art production facility and a centre for learning.

The brewery produces a range of pale lagers and wheat beers including Weihenstephaner Weissbier, a 5.4% ABV weissbier which is available in filtered (Kristall) and unfiltered (Hefe) versions. The strongest beers the brewery produces are Infinium (10.5% ABV), Vitus (a 7.7% ABV wheat beer) and Korbinian (a 7.4% ABV strong lager or bock).

Hefe Weissbier (Wheat beer) A golden-yellow wheat beer, with its fine-poured white foam, smells of cloves and impresses consumers with its refreshing banana flavor. It is full bodied and with a smooth yeast taste. To be enjoyed at any time, goes excellently with fish and seafood, with spicy cheese and especially with the traditional Bavarian veal sausage. Brewed according to their centuries-old brewing tradition on the Weihenstephan hill.

Sign off

Thanks Josh Yagley for the help with the audio on every episode.

Recognition of source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Christina Vunguyen – The Black Death: How it affected Feudalism
  • Luther’s Works vol 46
  • Wikipedia

Contact us

graceontap.podcast@gmail.com

Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.

Would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.

Episode 30 – The Prague Manifesto of Thomas Müntzer

When Thomas Müntzer arrived in Wittenberg in early 1522, Philip Melanchthon, Andreas Karlstadt and the other reformers had no idea of the radical ideas that had come to fruition within his heart.

These ideas, which would ultimately threaten to tear Germany apart, were still hidden from the other scholars in the Wittenberg circle. But they weren’t hidden from everybody. A few months before his return to Wittenberg, Müntzer had outlined his radical theology for the believers in Prague, in a document that would be called Müntzer’s Prague Manifesto.

Müntzer hoped the manifesto would help the believers in Prague to unite against the emperor to form a new society. Instead, it only served to highlight the radical nature of Müntzer’s thinking.

Although Luther was able to calm everything down with the Invocavit Sermons in Wittenberg, there was continuing unrest throughout the rest of Germany, eventually resulting in the Peasants War.

Thomas Muntzer, c.1600 (hand coloured woodcut) by German School; Private Collection; (c.1488-1525 was a Reformation-era German theologian and Anabaptist)

Before we dive into the Peasants War, we’ll introduce Thomas Müntzer, a former Wittenberger who eventually became the leader of the peasants in the war. He was also one of Luther’s earliest supporters.

When one of Müntzer’s parishioners, Nicholas Storch, showed unusual Biblical insight, Müntzer advocated making Storch a preacher without any formal training.

The city council of Zwickau became fearful of this irregularity, they summoned Storch to be questioned. Storch fled Zwickau with two friends, Thomas Drechsel and Marcus Strübner. Strübner was a former student in Wittenberg.

Storch, Drechsel and Strübner eventually ended up in Wittenberg, staying with Andreas Karlstadt. These were the Zwickau Prophets we mentioned back in episode 27.

Karlstadt, Amsdorf and Melanchthon were impressed by the Zwickau prophets claims of special revelation. But both Amsdorf and Melanchthon disagreed with the Zwickau prophets on the rejection of infant baptism. By the time Luther had returned, Thomas Müntzer had also arrived in Wittenberg. But by March 1522, Müntzer’s teachings had changed dramatically compared with when Luther knew him as a student.

Beer break

North Peak Brewing Company – Diabolical IPA

North Peak Brewing Company is located in a historic building which was formerly the Big Daylight Candy Factory.

In March of 1899, a partnership was formed by John G. Straub, his brother, Anton F. Straub and George E. Amiotte in the creation of candies and confectionary in Traverse City.

Under the style of Straub Brothers and Amiotte, the firm soon established success with a large local following and an extensive wholesale trade. So rapidly did the business increase, that it became necessary to provide a building of sufficient capacity to meet the growing demands of the trade.

The building housing North Peak Brewing Company was Straub’s third and final building. Straub Brothers and Amiotte “Big Daylight Candy Factory” is a handsome imposing brick edifice of three floors and a basement. It was constructed with 400,000 bricks and 250,000 feet of lumber, erected and supplied with the latest and most approved machinery devices for the manufacturing of all kinds of candies. It compared favorably on a scale with the largest and most successful establishments of its kind.


Diabolical IPA

An aggressively hopped IPA, with a nice caramel sweetness. This brew features multiple hop additions (including local Cascade, Chinook & Willamette) which provide an abundance of flavor & aroma. Citrus, pine, mint, and floral notes can’t be missed while enjoying this North Peak flagship beer

Northern United Brewing Company beers, spirits and wines are made in Michigan. Using ingredients grown in Michigan.

Recognitions

Josh Yagley

Source materials

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision

Matthias Riedl – Thomas Muntzer’s Prague Manifesto – A case study in the secularization of the apocalypse.

Wikipedia

Contact us

graceontap.podcast@gmail.com

Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip or catch us on Facebook.

Would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.