Gruber 84 De Capivitate Babylonia Ecclesiae. Praeludium Martini Lutheri. Vuittembergae. Wittenberg: Melchior Lotter the Younger, 1520. (The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, October, 1520) Aland 120; Benzing 704; WA 6.484-573. Luther's Works 36.3-126.
"[This document referred] to the enslavement of the sacraments by the Church. This assault on Catholic teaching was more devastating than anything that had preceded.... The reason was that the pretensions of the Roman Catholic Church rest so completely upon the sacraments as the exclusive channels of grace and upon the prerogatives of the clergy, by whom the sacraments are exclusively administered.... Luther with one stroke reduced the number of sacraments from seven to two." Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand. A Life of Martin Luther, 105-106.
Translation of Part I in Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings, ed. Timothy F. Lull, 210-38. Luther indicted three aspects of the current Roman teaching concerning the Lord's Supper:
The withholding of the cup from the laity summarizes the whole tyrannical, arbitrary, power-oriented side of the medieval church.
The doctrine of transubstantiation...is an unnecessary, speculative philosophical imposition on simple faith that Christ is present in the bread and wine as he promised.
Most serious of all, the doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass turns what ought to be a gracious gift of God into a human work or human action. Lull, 210.
This work is a fundamental critique of the Roman Catholic sacramental system. Only baptism and the Lord's Supper fully qualify as dominically instituted sacraments; the church has no authority to require all Christians to recognize the other five rites as sacraments. Erasmus wrote: "The breach is irreparable."
Gruber 85 Von den newen Eckischenn Bullen vnd lugen D. Martini Luther. MDXX. Wittenberg: Melchior Lotter the Younger, 1520. Aland 173; Benzing 718; WA 6.576-594. Von den neuen Eckischen Bullen und Lügen
The Gruber Collection was assembled by L. Franklin Gruber, President of Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, Maywood, Illinois.
Annotation prepared by Ralph W Klein