Now this took away the sacramental foundation of the whole hierarchical system.

But most important was his attack on the Mass. The Mass is a sacrifice we bring to God, but we have nothing to bring to God, and therefore it is a blasphemy, a sacrilege. And in most Protestant countries in the period of the Reformation, the state government, prohibited – as still in many countries today there are laws against printed or spoken, blasphemy – the Mass, which was supposed to be such a blasphemy, and therefore it was persecuted and it a blasphemy because here man gives something to God, instead of expecting that God has given everything He has to give, namely Himself in Christ, and that nothing more than this was needed.

This was perhaps the most profound attack on the Roman system, which is a sacramental system completely, and which was dissolved just by this criticism.

Now this is the conf lict of Luther with the Roman church – some of the main points in it. I now come to the other conf licts, the conf lict with the humanists and the conf lict with the Evangelical Radicals.

The Conf lict with the Humanists The representative of humanism at that time was Erasmus of Rotterdam. In the beginning they had friendly feelings for each other, but then the attacks on both sides created a break between Protestantism and humanism, and this break has not been healed up to today, in spite of the fact that Zwingli tried to heal it as early as in the 20’s of the 16th century. Erasmus was a humanist, but he was a Christian humanist; he was not anti-religious at all. He believed himself to be a better Christian than any Pope of his time, and he agreed in this in unity with Luther. But he was a humanist, and that means he had special characteristics distinguishing him from the prophet. You have Dr. Richardson’s article on the prophet and the scholar, and the confrontation of Luther and Erasmus in these terms. What Luther couldn’t stand in Erasmus, he has expressed very clearly. He couldn’t stand his unexistential detachment, the detachment from the religious content without passion, as he says; the scholarly attitude towards the contents of the Christian faith. He felt that in Erasmus there is some unconcern, while the problems are matters of ultimate concern.