Luther: On the Turks (Read, Muslims)

Luther wasn’t a very politically correct person.  Even for his own day.  Indeed, he was brusque and said what he thought regardless of how people felt.  Who can help but admiring such a stalwart?  In what follows be sure to read ‘Muslims’ where you see ‘Turks’, as that’s what Luther meant.

News came from Torgau that the Turks had led out into the great square at Constantinople twenty-three Christian prisoners, who, on their refusing to apostatize, were beheaded. Dr. Luther said: Their blood will cry up to heaven against the Turks, as that of John Huss did against the papists. `Tis certain, tyranny and persecution will not avail to stifle the Word of Jesus Christ. It flourishes and grows in blood. Where one Christian is slaughtered, a host of others arise. `Tis not on our walls or our arquebusses I rely for resisting the Turk, but upon the Pater Noster. `Tis that will triumph. The Decalogue is not, of itself, sufficient. I said to the engineers at Wittenberg: Why strengthen your walls—they are trash; the walls with which a Christian should fortify himself are made, not of stone and mortar, but of prayer and faith.

The last sentence is so very true and still 500 years after Luther said it, we still lumber along as though he never had.  Buffoons.

And this certainly could be written today were it not for our reticence to see things as they are

The Turks pretend, despite the Holy Scriptures, that they are the chosen people of God, as descendants of Ishmael. They say that Ishmael was the true son of the promise, for that when Issac was about to be sacrificed, he fled from his father, and from the slaughter knife, and, meanwhile, Ishmael came and truly offered himself to be sacrificed, whence he became the child of the promise; as gross a lie as that of the papists concerning one kind in the sacrament. The Turks make a boast of being very religious, and treat all other nations as idolaters. They slanderously accuse the Christians of worshipping three gods. They swear by one only God, creator of heaven and earth, by his angels, by the four evangelists, and by the eighty heaven-descended prophets, of whom Mohammed is the greatest. They reject all images and pictures, and render homage to God alone. They pay the most honorable testimony to Jesus Christ, saying that he was a prophet of preeminent sanctity, born of the Virgin Mary, and an envoy from God, but that Mohammed succeeded him, and that while Mohammed sits, in heaven, on the right hand of the Father, Jesus Christ is seated on his left. The Turks have retained many features of the law of Moses, but, inflated with the insolence of victory, they have adopted a new worship; for the glory of warlike triumphs is, in the opinion of the world, the greatest of all.

No matter how much things change, they remain the same.  There’s really nothing new under the sun.