The Problem with ‘The Wrong Side of History’ arguments is…

… you actually don’t know the future. Take this example from letter written by Pope Leo X to Frederick the Wise, exhorting him to give up Martin Luther. Notice the appeal to what future generations would say:

Beloved son, the apostolic benediction be upon you. We recall that the chief ornament of your most noble family has been devotion to the faith of God and to the faith of God and to the honor and dignity of the Holy See. Now we hear that a son of iniquity, Brother Martin Luther of the Augustinian eremites, hurling himself upon the Church of God, has your support. Even though we know it to be false, we must urge you to clear the reputation of your noble family from such calumny. having been advised by the Master of the Sacred Palace that Luther’s teaching contains heresy, we have cited him to appear before Cardinal Cajetan. We call upon you to see that Luther is placed in the hands and under the jurisdiction of this Holy See lest future generations reproach you with having fostered the rise of a most pernicious heresy against the Church of God (as quoted in Roland Bainton, Here I Stand, pg. 71).

Pope: Give up Luther, or you’ll be on the wrong side of history.
Frederick the Wise: No.

Whether it’s ego or the worst extremes of ‘sovereign self’ thinking, we need to come back to the rather obvious points that a) no one knows the future and b) it’s incredibly arrogant and manipulative to think I can presently control what future people will say about me and c) in any other context such a mentality in which my decisions are based primarily on what other people think of me could be labelled as some form of codependency.

With the Reformation, we saw people who stood with conscience and were not concerned what future generations had to say about it.

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