Quote of the Day

Every proud person is a heretic, if not actually, then potentially. However, it’s difficult for a man who has excellent gifts not to be arrogant. Those whom God adorns with great gifts he plunges into the most severe trials in order that they may learn that they’re nothing. Paul got a thorn in the flesh to keep him from being haughty. And if Philip Melanchthon were not so afflicted he would have curious notions. … Pride drove the angel out of heaven and spoils many preachers. Accordingly it’s humility that’s needed in the study of sacred literature.” — Martin Luther

Martin Luther Making Friends…

When he [Martin Luther] was arguing with his wife he said, “You convince me of whatever you please. You have complete control. I concede to you the control of the household, provided my rights are preserved. Female government has never done any good. God made Adam master over all creatures, to rule over all living things, but when Eve persuaded him that he was lord even over God she spoiled everything.  We have you women to thank for that! With tricks and cunning women deceive men, as I, too, have experienced.” – Table Talk

Yeah, ladyfolk…. take that… why don’t ya….

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Luther Burns Your Bull

Our Saxon friends write

“Exsurge Domine” (Latin: Arise O Lord) is a papal bull issued on 15 June 1520 by Pope Leo X. It was written in response to the teachings of Martin Luther which opposed the views of the Church. It censured forty one propositions extracted from Luther’s 95 theses and subsequent writings, and threatened him with excommunication unless he recanted within a sixty-day period commencing upon the publication of the bull in Saxony and its neighboring regions. Luther refused to recant and responded instead by composing polemical tracts lashing out at the papacy and by publicly burning a copy of the bull on 10 December 1520.

‪#‎Luther‬ ‪#‎OnThisDay‬

Luther would be burning a lot of bull if he were alive today.  A LOT.

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Did You Have a Bad Day Today?

Well back in 1537 on 7 December, so did Luther… who wrote

“I am so overloaded with tasks and so troubled with sicknesses that I have often been compelled, and still am, to leave my duties unperformed.”

Bless his heart.  He still had 9 years to live.

Luther Laments the Increase of Godlessness…

luther“It’s a remarkable and very offensive thing that the world is constantly degenerating more and more, though the gospel has been preached often. Everybody interprets the spiritual liberty of Christ as if it were carnal pleasure. In external matters, therefore, the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of the pope are best for the world, for the world wishes to be governed by laws, the lies of superstition, and tyranny and is only made worse by the doctrine of grace because it doesn’t believe that there is any future life after this one. This was demonstrated by the man who, when he was dying, set down his written will and testament in a letter in which nothing was read but these words: ‘As long as I could I robbed. Rob as long as you can!’ ” –  Martin Luther

Hard to imagine what he would say 500 years later….

Doubt is Easier than Faith

A question was proposed by Master Ignatius, a student of sacred literature, on the day before the Kalentis of December, 1532 [i.e., 30 November]: Why do we more readily believe Satan when he terrifies than Christ when he consoles? The question was answered by Dr. Martin Luther: “Because we are better equipped to doubt than to hope; because hope comes from the Spirit of God but despair comes from our own spirit. Accordingly God has forbidden it [despair] under severe penalty. That we more easily believe penalty than reward is a product of the reason or spirit of man. Hoping and believing are different from thinking and speculating. Reason sees death before it, and it’s impossible for reason not to be terrified by it. Likewise we can’t be persuaded [by our reason] that God gives his Son and loves us so much, and hence we say, ‘You have not allowed your Son to be crucified for nothing!’ This is above reason. That God is so merciful, not on account of my works but on account of his Son, is incomprehensible. – Luther’s Table Talk

Zwingli and Others on Harlots and Harlotry

Is it not a disgraceful thing to sleep with a woman and next morning hold mass? Answer: Can one not also do that if he has stayed with a harlot? If we had not conscience otherwise than that we so far forgetting God and ourselves should be inclined to such wickedness…  – H. Zwingli

I am now come to speak of adultery, which is a sin whereby the husband goeth to another woman, or the wife turneth aside after another man, to whom they make common the use of their bodies, which are not their own bodies now, but their mates in wedlock. Some there are that flatter themselves, and are of opinion, that they are not culpable of adultery, if they have the company of any unbetrothed maiden, or one that is unmarried; or if a woman play the harlot with an unwedded man: they will have it (in God’s name) to be fornication, and not adultery. But the scripture teacheth the contrary. Thou goest to another woman, thou art an adulterer: thou breakest thy faith, thou art forsworn: thy body is not thine, but thy wife’s; when therefore thou bestowest thy body on another, thou committest adultery. If thou, being wedded, dost lie with a married wife, thou doublest the sin of thine adultery. – H. Bullinger

… all know that no seed is so fertile in propagating mankind as the sacerdotal: for to such a degree has the untamed lust of almost all monks and popish priests burst forth, that he is justly deemed chastest who is satisfied with a harlot in his house. — J. Calvin

Never has a heathen, never a Turk, never a pope, never an emperor, and never any human being on earth made or enforced a law that anyone should be put to death because of marriage.  It is a new, unheard-of thing, begun by you new bishops, who are the greatest endowment robbers, harlot keepers, and whore hunters on earth in your chapters.  Nor do you do it for the sake of chastity, but all because others will not practice harlotry and unchastity, as you do, for you let them go unpunished. No one can believe that you conscientiously intend chastity with this penalty, since there are no greater enemies of chastity anywhere than you are, for you pursue it in your own bodies with all lewdness most shamefully, without letup. – M. Luther

It Really Does…

It makes me tingle with pleasure from head to toe when I see that through me, poor wretched man that I am, God the Lord maddens and exasperates you hellish and worldly people, so that in your spite you will burst and tear yourselves to pieces – while I sit under the shade of faith and the Lord’s Prayer, laughing at you devils and your crew as you blubber and struggle in your great fury.  – Martin Luther

Oecolampadius to Zwingli, on Luther

In 1528 Johannes Oecolampadius wrote his friend in Zurich the following (among other things) –

Lutherum ferunt de verbo externo quedam in Iesaia contra nos scribere. Ibi iterum strennue se geret.

Two things worth noting: first, Oecolampadius saw himself and Zwingli as so connected as friends and co-reformers that when Luther attacked one, he attacked both.  And second, it didn’t matter how much Luther wrote against them- he was just wasting his effort.

Oecolampadius was to Zwingli a true friend and constant support.

I Just Like the Title…

Of Luther’s little work-

WHOEVER HAS EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM HEAR A REALLY FAT, GROSS, CORPULENT—A THOROUGHLY PAPIST—LIE, FOR THUS IT SAYS IN THE CANON LAW: DIST. 96, C. CONSTANTINUS:  Martin Luther, “Preface, Marginal Glosses, and Afterword to One of the High Articles of the Papist Faith, Called the Donation of Constantine [ca. 800], Translated by Dr. Martin Luther against the Postponed Council of Mantua: 1537,”

Not only is the title long, it includes the word corpulent.  A word we don’t use nearly enough.

Luther: Cheering You Up With His Cheery Welcoming Tolerant Loving Kind Warm Embracing Spirit

“Preachers are the greatest murderers because they admonish the ruler to do his duty and punish the guilty. I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the uprising, for I ordered that they be put to death; all their blood is on my neck. But I refer it all to our Lord God, who commanded me to speak as I did. The devil and the ungodly kill, but they have no right to. Accordingly priests and official persons must be distinguished well, so that we may see that magistrates can condemn by law and can put to death by virtue of their office. Today, by the grace of God, they have learned this well. Now they abuse their power against the gospel, but they won’t get fat from it.” — Martin Luther

Martin Luther Was Right About The Evil in the World

What he said nearly 500 years ago is just as true today:

When we were children, nothing disturbed us; we ourselves did indeed lead a more peaceful life, but the world has always been the same.

To be sure, it is true that in one era wickedness erupts more than in another, but this happens because different situations and greater opportunities exist for it to erupt; the wickedness of the world, however, always remains the same. Julius Caesar shook up the whole world because he had a great opportunity to do so; if Esau or Absalom had had such an opportunity, they would have done the same thing.

Therefore the evil in the world is always the same. See to it, then, that you have a peaceful and tranquil heart and that you do not get angry when you see this evil. You will never change the world, but see to it that you change into another kind of man.*

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*Luther’s Works, Vol. 15: Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Last Words of David, 2 Samuel 23:1-7 (pp. 117–118.)

The Birth of Martin Luther…

luther33Took place on 10 November, 1483. Luther tells the story of his origins thusly:

Concerning my family background, no one can give more trustworthy information than the counts of Mansfeld. I believe that these nobles have enough of a name and authority in the Empire to deserve to be believed on this subject. … I was born, by the way, at Eisleben, and baptized there in St. Peter’s Church. I do not remember this, but I believe my parents and the folks at home.

My parents moved there from [a place] near Eisenach. Nearly all my kinfolk are at Eisenach, and I am known there and recognized by them even today, since I went to school there for four years, and there is no other town in which I am better known. I hope the people there would not have been so stupid that any one of them would call the son of Luther “nephew,” another “uncle,” another “cousin” (I have many of them there), had they known that my father and my mother were Bohemians or other such People, rather than those born in their midst.

The rest of my life I spent in school and in the monastery at Erfurt until I came to Wittenberg. I was also in Magdeburg for one year at the age of fourteen.*

Luther tells Spalatin all this because, at the time he wrote the letter, some were accusing him of being a native of Bohemia.  It is the only place in his writings where he mentions his birth (that I’ve been able to track down).
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*M. Luther, Luther’s works, vol. 48: Letters I, pp. 145–146.

It’s Martin Luther’s Birth-iversary

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther!

Einen Gruß an das Geburtstagskind: Heute vor 533 Jahren wurde Martin Luther geboren. Und fast 500 Jahre ist es her, dass der Urheber der Reformation seine 95 Thesen am Hauptportal der Schlosskirche in Wittenberg angeschlagen hat. Zahlreiche Gemälden des Reformators haben wir der Werkstatt von Lucas Cranach dem Älteren zu verdanken, die ab den 1520er Jahren ganze Serien produzierte. Nicht nur gelten sie als Meisterwerke der Porträtkunst dieser Zeit sondern prägen tatsächlich unser Luther-Bild bis in die Gegenwart. Dieser erscheint mal als energischer und unbeugsamer Mönch, als Junker Jörg mit Vollbart oder als Gelehrter mit und ohne Doktorhut. So gestaltete Cranach nicht nur von Beginn an das öffentliche Image Luthers, sondern gab der gesamten Reformation ein Gesicht, das die neue Lehre in ganz Europa bekannt machte. Auch Doppelporträts mit Ehefrau Katharina von Bora gehören zum Repertoire der Cranach’schen Kunst. Den Theologieprofessor und den Maler Cranach verband eine enge Freundschaft.

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Go Ahead, Luther, Cheer Me Up…

The children of God have all the afflictions. The ungodly children of Satan enjoy the highest state of well-being. Everything seems the opposite of what it should be. The godly are maltreated, the ungodly receive gifts. In this vein the flesh blasphemes the work of God. So today we see our word and God’s Word to be futile, everything seems exactly the opposite of what it should be, and then we see God’s work to be unjust.

So God and Satan weary us with masks and external spirits so that we are led to believe that what is of God is Satan, and what is Satan is of God, and then we say in our heart, “I wish I had never been born.” All of us must experience this mood.

All the godly have felt this mood together with Christ, who cried on the cross (Matt. 27:46), “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” or with Jeremiah, who said (Jer. 20:14), “Cursed be the day on which I was born!”*

Yeah that hit the spot…

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* Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 17: Lectures on Isaiah: Chapters 40-66, pp. 127–128.

Luther: On His Translation of the Bible

“This German Bible (this is not praise for myself but the work praises itself) is so good and precious that it’s better than all other versions, Greek and Latin, and one can find more in it than in all commentaries, for we are removing impediments and difficulties so that other people may read in it without hindrance. I’m only concerned that there won’t be much reading in the Bible, for people are very tired of it and nobody clamors for it any more.” — Martin Luther