Most majestic Prince, gracious lord. Although for several years great earnestness and diligence has been expended so that the gospel was preached to all creatures, I, nevertheless, unfortunately, find many people who to this point have learned and grasped no more than two pieces from all the preaching.
First, one says: “We believe; faith saves us.”
Second, “We can do nothing good. God works in us the desire and the doing. We have no free will.”
Now, however, such remarks are only half-truths from which one can conclude no more than half-judgments.
Whoever makes a whole judgment and does not lay the counter-Scriptures on the same scale next to it, to him a half-truth is more damaging than a whole lie. For when the half-truth is believed and sold under the appearance of a whole truth, then all sects, quarrels, and heresies result.
They are only doing patchwork with the Scripture, not comparing opposing Scriptures and uniting both into a whole judgment. Whoever does not divide the judgment in the Scripture in such a way eats of the unclean animals who do not part their hooves, Lev. 11:4.6 Indeed, under the cover of these aforementioned half-truths all kinds of evil, disloyalty, and unrighteousness have fully and totally gotten the upper hand.
Now all carelessness and impudence hang in the balance. There sit unfaithfulness and falsehood in their splendid throne, ruling and triumphing mightily in all things.
No longer does any Christian work shine forth among all people.
Brotherly love is extinguished in all hearts; and it has come to pass, as the prophet says, that truth has fallen to the ground in the streets and righteousness cannot enter anywhere, Isa. 59:14.
Wisdom calls aloud and no one wants to hear her, Prov. 1:20. For it has come about (may it be faithfully lamented to God) that the world is now more evil than a thousand years ago, as all histories prove.
All this happens, as painful as it is to say it, under the appearance of the gospel. For as soon as one says to them, “It is written: leave evil and do good,” Ps. 37:27, they answer: “We can do no good. Everything happens out of the providence of God and from necessity.”
They imagine that by that they are permitted to sin. If one says further: “It is written: ‘Whoever does evil will go into the eternal fire,’ ” John 5:29; Matt. 25:41, immediately they find a fan of fig leaves with which to cover their vices and they say: “Faith alone saves us and not our works.”
Yes, I have heard of many people who have not prayed, fasted, nor given alms for a long time, for their priests say that their works are of no value before God, wherefore they straightway neglect them.
These are the half-truths under which we, as under the form of angels, protect all license of the flesh and blame all our sin and guilt on God, as Adam did on his Eve and Eve on the snake, Gen. 3:12. Yes, God must be responsible for all our vices, which is the greatest blasphemy on earth.
Balthasar Hubmaier, Balthasar Hubmaier: Theologian of Anabaptism, ed. John H. Yoder and H. Wayne Pipkin, vol. 5, Classics of the Radical Reformation (Scottdale, PA; Waterloo, ON: Herald Press, 1989), 427–429.