Luther Isn’t Interested In Your Being His Follower

luther_docAsk your evangelists, my dear sirs and brothers, to turn you away from Luther and Karlstadt and direct you always to Christ, but not, as Karlstadt does, only to the work of Christ, wherein Christ is held up as an example, which is the least important aspect of Christ, and which makes him comparable to other saints. But turn to Christ as to a gift of God or, as Paul says, the power of God, and God’s wisdom, righteousness, redemption, and sanctification, given to us. — Martin Luther

Luther doesn’t want followers. He wants Christians.

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….


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.


I Know What Luther Would Say to These ‘Lutherans’- And They Wouldn’t Like It

This essay addresses the recent ‘transgender service’ at a Lutheran ‘Church’ in Minnesota:

There is Christianity.  There is liberal Christianity, which stretches the term considerably.  There is heretical Christianity, which is outside the pale but at least claims to still be Christian.  At what point, though, does a religious expression cease to be Christian altogether?  Consider the “Transgender Day of Remembrance” Communion service at the ELCA’s Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, on November 15.

You can watch the service here, on YouTube.  If you don’t want to watch all 59 minutes, I’ll give you just a few highlights.

Instead of beginning “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” two of those terms being construed as sexist, the invocation in this service is “in the name of Creator, Christ, and the Holy Breath.”

There is a confession of sins, but it expresses our failure to be wild and free.  The absolution tells us that all shackles are broken and that God accepts us as we are.

The service avoids male terms for God–He, Him, Father, Lord–but then goes all in for gendered language to refer to God.  When it comes time to say the Lord’s Prayer, it is addressed to “Our mother who art in heaven.”

God is thereby transgendered!

We could go on, but let’s stop there.

He doesn’t actually stop.  He just stops talking about the ‘service’.  Read more at

I know what Luther would say to that ‘Church’-

Whoever tolerates and listens to you should know that they are listening to the devil himself, incarnate and abominable, as he speaks out of the mouth of a possessed person.

December 8, 1532

Luther and Melanchthon never saw eye to eye on the subject of astrology. At the table on 8 December, 1532, Luther remarked

Astrology is not a science because it has no principles and proofs. On the contrary, astrologers judge everything by the outcome and by individual cases and say, ‘This happened once and twice, and therefore it will always happen so.’ They base their judgment on the results that suit them and prudently don’t talk about those that don’t suit.

My Philip has devoted much attention to this business, but he has never been able to persuade me to accept it, for he himself confesses, ‘There is science in it, but nobody has mastered it, for astrologers have neither principles nor knowledge gained from experience, unless they wish to call something that happens experience.’ But knowledge gained from experience is derived by induction from many individual instances, as in the case of this fire: this fire burns, therefore all fire burns. Astrology doesn’t have such knowledge but judges only on the basis of uncertain events.*

I’ve never understood Melanchthon’s attitude towards the nonsense of astrology.  He was too smart for such craziness.   I guess no one is perfect.

*Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 54; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 173.

Luther On Suicide


“I don’t share the opinion that suicides are certainly to be damned. My reason is that they do not wish to kill themselves but are overcome by the power of the devil. They are like a man who is murdered in the woods by a robber.”

Luther’s view is quite impressive given his Sitz im Leben and society.

Luther Laments the Increase of Godlessness…

“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

Calvin’s Letter to Bullinger, About Luther, on 25 November 1544

In a letter to Bullinger, dated November 25, 1544, he adjured him to treat the great man, meaning Luther, with respect:—

“I hear that Luther assails not only you, but all of us, with horrible abuse. Now I can scarcely ask you to be silent, since it is not right to allow ourselves to be so undeservedly abused, without attempting some defence. It is difficult moreover to believe that such forbearance could do any good. I wish however that the following may be clearly understood:—in the first place, how great a man Luther is; by what extraordinary gifts he is distinguished; and with what energy of soul, with what perseverance, with what ability and success he has continued up to the present day to overthrow the kingdom of antichrist, and to extend at the same time the doctrine of salvation.

I have already often said, that were he to call me a devil, I should still continue to venerate him as a chosen servant of God, uniting with extraordinary virtues some great failings. Would to heaven that he had striven more to subdue those tempests of feeling which he has so continually allowed to break forth! Would that he had only employed that violence, so natural to him, against the enemies of the truth, and not against the servants of God! Would that he had exercised more care to discover his own defects!

Unhappily there was too great a crowd of flatterers about him, who added still more to the self-confidence peculiar to his nature. It is even our duty to view his failings in such a light, that we may the more properly estimate his extraordinary gifts.

I beg you therefore to bear in mind, that we have to do with one of the first servants of Christ; with one to whom we all owe much. I would also have you consider, that you could not possibly gain any advantage by entering into a struggle with him. You would only, by such a course, afford pleasure to the enemy, who would delight not so much in our defeat as in that of the Gospel.

People will everywhere willingly believe what is said, when we vilify and condemn each other. You must consider this, rather than what Luther may have deserved on account of his violence; lest that should happen to us of which Paul speaks, namely, that while we bite and devour one another, all may go to the ground. Nay, even should he challenge us to the contest, we must rather turn away than hazard by our twofold fall the injury of the church.”*

Calvin understood Luther better than Luther understood himself.

*Paul Henry and Henry Stebbing, The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer, vol. 2 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 15–16.

Whence Ingratitude?

When someone refuses to accept or to be thankful to one who has given temporal goods and this life, and moreover gives eternal blessings as well, that cannot be anything natural or human, for it is contrary to reason and common sense; rather, it is the devil himself from hell who has possessed the people in body and soul alike. — Martin Luther

Luther’s Epistle of Straw: The Voice of St. James in Reformation Preaching

This work challenges the common consensus that Luther, with his commitment to St. Paul’s articulation of justification by faith, leaves no room for the Letter of St. James. Against this one-sided reading of Luther, focused only his criticism of the letter, this book argues that Luther had fruitful interpretations of the epistle that shaped the subsequent exegetical tradition. Scholarship’s singular concentration on Luther’s criticism of James as “an epistle of straw” has caused many to overlook Luther’s sermons on James, the many places where James comes to full expression in Luther’s writings, and the influence that Luther’s biblical interpretation had on later interpretations of James. Based primarily on neglected Lutheran sermons in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this work examines the pastoral hermeneutic of Luther and his theological heirs as they heard the voice of James and communicated that voice to and for the sake of the church. Scholars, pastors, and educated laity alike are invited to discover how Luther’s theology was shaped by the Epistle of James and how Luther’s students and theological heirs aimed to preach this disputed letter fruitfully to their hearers.

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.