Luther: On Atheists

There was mention of a citizen of Wittenberg who was an atheist and who confessed publicly before the town council that he had not received communion for fifteen years. To this Dr. Martin Luther said, “We’ve been sufficiently forbearing with him. After a couple of admonitions I’ll publicly declare that he’s excommunicated and is to be treated like a dog. If in view of this anybody associates with him, let him do so at his own risk. If the unbeliever dies in this condition, let him be buried in the carrion pit like a dog. As an excommunicated person we’ll turn him over to the civil laws.”  –  Luther’s Table Talk

I love Luther’s honest forthrightness.  Sure, he was wrong about some stuff but you just can’t ever accuse him of pandering or equivocating and these days I find that refreshing.

Was he harsh?  You bet.  But so far as he was concerned there was something harsher- death and hell.  He was trying to keep people from experiencing the latter since the former was inevitable.  This makes him miles superior to the likes of Warren and Rob Bell and the other array of self-aggrandizing self promoters.