Last modified on 22 November 2014, at 19:21

Martin Luther

Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it.
Through faith we are restored to paradise and created anew.
It is always necessary that the substance or essence of a person be good before there can be any good works and that good works follow and proceed from a person who is already good.

Martin Luther (November 10 1483February 18 1546) was a German theologian, an Augustinian monk, and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions.

QuotesEdit

  • On the Ninety-five Theses:
  • You wonder I did not tell you of them. But I did not wish to have them widely circulated. I only intended submitting them to a few learned men for examination, and if they disapproved of them, to suppress them—or make them known through their publications, in the event of their meeting with your approval. But now they are being spread abroad and translated everywhere, which I never could have credited, so that I regret having given birth to them—not that I am unwilling to proclaim the truth manfully, for there is nothing I more ardently desire, but because this way of instructing the people is of little avail. As yet I am still uncertain as to some points, and would have gone into others more particularly, leaving some out entirely, had I foreseen all this.
    • To Christoph Scheurl (Christophoro Scheurlo), March 5, 1518.
    • Letters of Martin Luther, Margaret A. Currie, tr., 1908, MacMillan, London (reprinted: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, ISBN 0548156174 ISBN 9780548156179), p. 23. [1]
    • Latin text: Weimar Briefwechsel (correspondence), 1, n. 62, p. 152, 6)[2]

Luther describes Jews as a "base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth."Luther wrote that they are "full of the devil's feces … which they wallow in like swine,"and the synagogue is an "incorrigible whore and an evil slut".In the first ten sections of the treatise, Luther expounds, at considerable length, upon his views concerning Jews and Judaism and how these compare against Christians and Christianity. Following this exposition, Section XI of the treatise advises Christians to carry out seven remedial actions. These are - for Jewish synagogues and schools to be burned to the ground, and the remnants buried out of sight; for houses owned by Jews to be likewise razed, and the owners made to live in agricultural outbuildings; for their religious writings to be taken away; for rabbis to be forbidden to preach, and to be executed if they do; for safe conduct on the roads to be abolished for Jews; for usury to be prohibited, and for all silver and gold to be removed and "put aside for safekeeping"; and for the Jewish population to be put to work as agricultural slave laborers. wikipedia:Martin Luther[3]

  • Although indulgences are the very merits of Christ and of His saints and so should be treated with all reverence, they have in fact nonetheless become a shocking exercise of greed. For who actually seeks the salvation of souls through indulgences, and not instead money for his coffers? This is evident from the way indulgences are preached. For the commissioners and preachers do nothing but extol indulgences and incite the people to contribute. You hear no one instructing the people about what indulgences are, or about how much they grant, or about the purpose they serve. Instead, all you hear is how much one must contribute. The people are always left in ignorance, so that they come to think that by gaining indulgences they are at once saved.
    • Tractatus de indulgentiis per Doctorem Martinum ordinis s. Augustini Wittenbergae editus., or, A Treatise on Indulgences Published by Doctor Martin of the Order of St. Augustine in Wittenberg. To Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, October 31, 1517. Luther's "forgotten" treatise was found in the Mainz archives “among the papers making up the correspondence between Archbishop Albrecht and the Mainz University faculty in December 1517” and published by F. Herrmann in the Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte (ZKG) in 1907, vol. 28, pp. 370-373. Catholic Luther scholar Jared Wicks S. J. believes this early treatise to be of considerable historical significance: "This document is the short treatise sketching a tentative theology of indulgences which Luther sent to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz and Magdeburg on that fateful October 31, 1517. The other two documents of Luther's intervention are well known. First, there was the respectful, though urgent letter to the Archbishop in which Luther related the misunderstandings being spread by Tetzel's preaching and in which he begged the Archbishop to issue new instructions which would bring Tetzel under control. Secondly, there was the list of Latin theses on the doctrine and practice of indulgences which Luther intended to use as the basis of a theological discussion of the many vexed questions in this area. The third document sent to Albrecht, Luther's treatise, has not received the attention it deserves from historians and theologians studying the beginning of the Reformation. This is most regrettable, since the treatise depicts in orderly and succinct fashion Luther's understanding of indulgences in 1517 and reveals his conception of their limited role in Christian living. The treatise gives us the theological standpoint on which Luther based his intervention, and it shows in miniature the rich Augustinian spirituality of penance and progress that he had forged in his early works. ...[T]he great tragedy of 1517 was that the barbed [95] theses spread over Germany in a matter of weeks, and this penetrating little treatise fell into dusty oblivion."
    • Martin Luther's Treatise on Indulgences,Theological Studies 28 (1967), pp. 481-482, 518. [4] [5]
  • If it were art to overcome heresy with fire, the executioners would be the most learned doctors on earth.
    • To the Christian Nobility of the German States (1520), translated by Charles M. Jacobs, reported in rev. James Atkinson, The Christian in Society, I (Luther’s Works, ed. James Atkinson, vol. 44), p. 207 (1966).
  • I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God's word becomes corrupt. Because of this we can see what kind of people they become in the universities and what they are like now. Nobody is to blame for this except the pope, the bishops, and the prelates, who are all charged with training young people. The universities only ought to turn out men who are experts in the Holy Scriptures, men who can become bishops and priests, and stand in the front line against heretics, the devil, and all the world. But where do you find that? I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell.
    • To the Christian Nobility of the German States (1520), translated by Charles M. Jacobs, reported in rev. James Atkinson, The Christian in Society, I (Luther’s Works, ed. James Atkinson, vol. 44), p. 207 (1966).
  • The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they would not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.
  • Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.
    • Statement in defense of his writings at the Diet of Worms (19 April 1521), quoted in Martin Luther by Martin Brecht
  • Dieser yrthum von freyen willen ist eyn eygen Artickel des Endchrist.
    • This error of free will is a special doctrine of the Antichrist.
    • This error about the free will is a peculiar teaching of Antichrist.
    • Grund und Ursach aller Artikel D. Martin Luthers so durch römische Bulle unrechtlich verdammt sind (Defense and Explanation of all the Articles of Dr. Martin Luther which were Unjustly Condemned by the Roman Bull; An Argument in Defense of All the Articles of Dr. Martin Luther Wrongly Condemned in the Roman Bull), Article 36, March 1521. Weimar, 7:451 [6] [7][8][9]
  • The mad mob does not ask how it could be better, only that it be different. And when it then becomes worse, it must change again. Thus they get bees for flies, and at last hornets for bees.
    • Whether Soldiers Can Also Be in a State of Grace (1526).
  • Ein' feste burg is unser Gott,
    ein gute wehr und waffen.
    Er hilft uns frei aus aller not,
    die uns itzt hat betroffen.
    • A mighty fortress is our God,
      A bulwark never failing.
      Our helper He amid the flood
      Of mortal ills prevailing.
      • Psalm. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (1529), translated by Frederic H. Hedge, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
    • Literal Translation: A firm fortress is our God,
      a good defense and weapon.
      He frees us from all need,
      that has struck us.
    • Complete hymn, Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Book translation, at Wikisource.
  • What can only be taught by the rod and with blows will not lead to much good; they will not remain pious any longer than the rod is behind them.
    • The Great Catechism. Second Command (1529).
  • Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.
    • On Marriage (1530).
  • Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die.
    • On Marriage (1530).
  • Labour therefore diligently, that not only out of the time of temptation, but also in the time and conflict of death, when thy conscience is thoroughly afraid with the remembrance of thy sins past, and the devil assaileth thee with great violence, going about to overwhelm thee with heaps, floods and whole seas of sins, to terrify thee, to draw thee from Christ, and to drive thee to despair; that then I say, thou mayest be able to say with sure confidence: Christ the Son of God was given, not for the righteous and holy, but for the unrighteous and sinners.... If he gave himself to death for our sins, then undoubtedly he is no tyrant or judge which will condemn us for our sins. He is no caster-down of the afflicted, but a raiser-up of those that are fallen, a merciful reliever and comforter of the heavy and broken-hearted. Else should Paul lie in saying: "which gave himself for our sins."
    • A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (1535. Translation revised 1953 by Philip S Watson. On Galatians 1:4.).
  • By God's grace, I know Satan very well. If Satan can turn God's Word upside down and pervert the Scriptures, what will he do with my words -- or the words of others?
    • Confession Concerning Christ's Supper, Part 3. Robert E. Smith, tr.Dr. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtsusgabe. (Weimar: Herman Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1909), pp.499-500. [10]
  • Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace.
    • An Introduction to St. Paul's Letter to the Romans fromDr. Martin Luthers Vermischte Deutsche Schriften. Johann K. Irmischer, ed. Vol. 63(Erlangen: Heyder and Zimmer, 1854), pp.124-125. (EA 63:124-125)[11]
  • If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.
    • Letter 99, Paragraph 13. Erika Bullmann Flores, Tr. from: Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche SchriftenDr. Johann Georg Walch Ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15, cols. 2585-2590. [12]
  • What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.
    • Large Catechism 1.1-3, F. Bente and W.H.T. Dau, tr.Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church(St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), 565. [13]
  • But since the devil's bride, Reason, that pretty whore, comes in and thinks she's wise, and what she says, what she thinks, is from the Holy Spirit, who can help us, then? Not judges, not doctors, no king or emperor, because [reason] is the Devil's greatest whore.
    • The original German is "Vernunft … ist die höchste Hur, die der Teufel hat".
    • Martin Luther's Last Sermon in Wittenberg … Second Sunday in Epiphany, 17 January 1546.Dr. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe. (Weimar: Herman Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1914), Band 51:126, Line 7ff
    • Martin Luther (1483-1546). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • When we are inclined to boast of our position [as Christians] we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord. Therefore, if one is to boast of flesh and blood the Jews are actually nearer to Christ than we are.
    • That Jesus Christ Was Born a JewLuther's Works, American Edition (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1962), Volume 45, Page 201.
  • I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture.
    • Letter to Chancellor Gregory Brück (An Den Kanzler Brück), 1524-01-13, in Dr. Martin Luther's Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken: volständig aus den verschiedenen Ausgaben seiner Werke und Briefe, aus andern Büchern und noch unbenutzten Handschriten gesammelt. From the Wilhelm Martin Leberecht De Wette Collection of Luther's Letters (Berlin: Georg reimer, 1826) vol. 2, p. 459 (Letter DLXXII; Latin text).
  • For the history of the centuries that have passed since the birth of Christ nowhere reveals conditions like those of the present. There has never been such building and planting in the world. There has never been such gluttonous and varied eating and drinking as now. Wearing apparel has reached its limit in costliness. Who has ever heard of such commerce as now encircles the earth? There have arisen all kinds of art and sculpture, embroidery and engraving, the like of which has not been seen during the whole Christian era. In addition men are so delving into the mysteries of things that today a boy of twenty knows more than twenty doctors formerly knew.
    • Sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent, Luke 21:25-36 (1522), in John Nicholas Lenker, ed., Sermons of Martin Luther: Church Postils (Baker Book House, 1989), ISBN 0-80105-626-8 [14]
  • Few are the women and maidens who would let themselves think that one could at the same time be joyous and modest. They are all bold and coarse in their speech, in their demeanor wild and lewd. That is now the fashion of being in good cheer. But it is specially evil that the young maiden folk are exceedingly bold of speech and bearing, and curse like troopers, to say nothing of their shameful words and scandalous coarse sayings, which one always hears and learns from another.
  • The First Sermon on the Day of the Visitation of Mary (Die erste Predigt am Tag der Heimsuchung Mariä). (1532).
  • "For He that is mighty hath done great things for me, and Holy is His Name" (Luke 1:49). Luther comments:
  • The "great things" are nothing less than that she became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed upon her as pass man's understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among whom she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in Heaven, and such a child. She herself is unable to find a name for this work, it is too exceedingly great; all she can do is break out in the fervent cry: "They are great things," impossible to describe or define. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her or to her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees, or grass in the fields, or stars in the sky, or sand by the sea. It needs to be pondered in the heart, what it means to be the Mother of God.
  • On coming to the house, they (the Magi), saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. (Matthew 2:11)
  • [This] adoration, too, was not the same as the worship of God. In my opinion they did not yet recognize him as God, but they acted in keeping with the custom mentioned in Scripture, according to which Kings and important people were worshiped; this did not mean more than falling down before them at their feet and honoring them.
  • Religion is not 'doctrinal knowledge,' but wisdom born of personal experience.
    • Holborn, Hajo; A HISTORY OF MODERN GERMANY: The Reformation; 1959/1982 Princeton university Press.
  • And I myself, in Rome, heard it said openly in the streets, “If there is a hell, then Rome is built on it.” That is, “After the devil himself, there is no worse folk than the pope and his followers.”
    • Against the Roman Papacy, An Institution of the Devil ( Wider das Papstum zu Rom vom Teuffel Gestifft, A. D. 1545)[17]
  • Luther’s Works, Church and Ministry III, American Ed., Helmut T. Lehman, Eric W. Gritsch, eds., Augsburg Fortress Press, 1966, Vol. 41:279. ISBN 0800603419 ISBN 9780800603410.
  • Tell your master that if there were as many devils at Worms as tiles on its roofs, I would enter.
    • Psalm. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (translated by Frederic H. Hedge), Reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). "On the 16th of April, 1521, Luther entered the imperial city [of Worms]... On his approach… the Elector's chancellor entreated him, in the name of his master, not to enter a town where his death was decided. The answer which Luther returned was simply this". Bunsen, Life of Luther.
  • Here I stand; I can do no otherwise. God help me. Amen!
    • Speech at the Diet of Worms (1521), reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 186; and in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Dear rulers … I maintain that the civil authorities are under obligation to compel the people to send their children to school. … If the government can compel such citizens as are fit for military service to bear spear and rifle, to mount ramparts, and perform other martial duties in time of war, how much more has it a right to compel the people to send their children to school, because in this case we are warring with the devil, whose object it is secretly to exhaust our cities and principalities of their strong men.
    • Martin Luther, 1524, letter to the German rulers quoted in The History of Compulsory Education in New England, John William Perrin, 1896.
  • A penny saved is of more value than a penny paid out (Der Sparpfennig ist reicher denn der Zinspfenning).
    • What Luther Says, Section on “Life, Human,” No. 2438. Rules for a Thrifty Life. 2, p. 784.
  • Heretics cannot themselves appear good unless they depict the Church as evil, false, and mendacious. They alone wish to be esteemed as the good, but the Church must be made to appear evil in every respect.
    • Dictata super Psalterium (Dictations on the Psalter). This is Luther's first major work from the years 1513 to 1515. (See What Luther Says, Ewald Martin Plass, ed., vol. 3, p. 1590. [18])
    • Denifle, Heinrich, Luther and Lutherdom, p. 15. Primary source: D. Martin Luthers Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe, Weimar, Herman Bohlau, 1883, volume 3, p. 445. [19]
  • Wer anders lehret, denn ich hierinn gelehret hab, oder mich darinn verdammt, der verdamt Gott, und muß ein Kind der Höllen bleiben.
    • Whoever teaches differently from what I have taught, or whoever condemns me therein, he condemns God and must remain a child of hell.
    • Deutsche Antwort Luthers auf König Heinrichs von England Buch. German answer of Martin Luther to the Book of King Henry of England, 1522.
    • Dr. Martin Luther's Sämtliche Werke, Polemische Deutsche Schriften, Johann Konrad Irmischer, Erlangen, 1833, vol. 28, p. 347. [20]
  • I shall not have it judged by any man, not even by any angel. For since I am certain of it, I shall be your judge and even the angels’ judge through this teaching (as St. Paul says [1 Cor. 6:3]) so that whoever does not accept my teaching may not be saved - for it is God’s teaching and not mine.
    • Against the Spiritual Estate of the Pope and the Bishops Falsely So Called, July 1522.
    • Luther’s Works, Church and Ministry I, Eric W. Gritsch, Helmut T. Lehman eds., Concordia Publishing House, 1986, ISBN 0800603397, ISBN 9780800603397, vol. 39, p. 249. [21]
  • Of all the fathers, as many as you can name, not one has ever spoken about the sacrament as these fanatics do. None of them uses such an expression as, 'It is simply bread and wine,' or, 'Christ’s body and blood are not present.' Yet since this subject is so frequently discussed by them, it is impossible that they should not at some time have let slip such an expression as, 'It is simply bread,' or, 'Not that the body of Christ is physically present,' or the like, since they are greatly concerned not to mislead the people; actually, they simply proceed to speak as if no one doubted that Christ’s body and blood are present. Certainly among so many fathers and so many writings a negative argument should have turned up at least once, as happens in other articles; but actually they all stand uniformly and consistently on the affirmative side.
    • That These Words of Christ, 'This is My Body' Still Stand Firm Against the Fanatics, 1527, in Luther's Works, Word and Sacrament III, 1961, Fortress Press, ISBN 0800603370 ISBN 9780800603373, volume 37, p. 54. [22] This work appeared in vol. 2 of the Wittenberg ed. of Luther's Works (in German) and was later translated into Latin by Matthew Judex (Matthaeum Iudicem) under the title: Defensio τοῦ ρητοῦ Verborum Cenae: Accipite, Comedite: Hoc est Corpus Meum: Contra Phanaticos Sacramentariorum Spiritus. [23]
      Luther's Latin: “Nullus ex patribus, quorum infinitus est numerus, de Sacramento sic loquutus est, ut Sacramentarii. Nam nemo ex iis talibus verbis utitur Tantum panis & vinum est: Vel Corpus & Sanguis Christi non adestProfecto non est credibile, nec possibile cum toties ab iis res ista agatur & repetatur, quod non aliquando, vel semel tantum excidissent haec verba. Est merus Panis, aut, non quod Christi corpus corporaliter adsit, aut his similia, cum tamen multum referat ne homines seducantur, Sed omnes praecise ita loquuntur, quasi nullus dubitet, quin ibi praesto sit corpus & sanguis Christi. Sane ex tot patribus, & tot scriptis, ab aliquibus, vel saltem ab uno potuisset negativa sententia proferri, ut in aliis articulis usitatum & frequens est, si non sensissent, corpus & sanguinem Christi vere inesse. Verum omnes concordes & constantes uno ore affirmatium proferunt.” See Luther's Opera Omnia, Wittenberg ed., (1558), vol., 7, p. 391. [24]
  • Die heilige christliche Kirche ist das fürnehmeste Weil Gottes, umb welches willen Alles geschaffen ist; darinnen täglich die großen Wunder geschehen, als Sunde vergeben, Tod wegnehmen, Gerechtigkeit und ewiges Leben geben.
    • The Holy Christian Church is the principal work of God, for the sake of which all things were made. In the Church, great wonders daily occur, such as the forgiveness of sins, triumph over death . . . the gift of righteousness and eternal life. (Commentary on Psalm 143:5)
    • In The Lord's Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship, 2003, Jeffrey J. Meyers, Canon, Pr., ISBN 1591280087 ISBN 9781591280088, p. 285. [25]
    • Auslegung vieler schöner Sprüche aus göttlicher Schrift (Exposition of Many Beautiful Verses from Divine Scripture (selection) (1547)), [26]
    • Dr. Martin Luther's Sämmtliche Werke, 1853, Frankfurt-on-the-Main, Erlangen, Heyder & Zimmer, vol. 52, p. 324. [27]
  • It is an unsufferable blasphemy to reject the public ministry or to say that people can become holy without sermons and Church. This involves a destruction of the Church and rebellion against ecclesiastical order; such upheavals must be warded off and punished like all other revolts.
  • Wie David sagt: An dir allein Hab ich gesündigt, auf daß du gerecht seiest in deinen Worten; und zwar rechte Christen Hörens gern, daß man sie schilt und straft mit Göltes Wort. Aber diese, so ungestraft sein wöllen, bekennen damit frei, daß sie die rechten verzweifelten Buben sind, die hiemit auch in den heiligen Geist fündigen, als die nicht leiden wollen, daß er sie durch sein Predigtamt strafe.
    • As David said, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, so that thou art justified in thy sentence” [Ps. 51:4]. As a matter of fact, true Christians willingly accept the rebuke and judgment that is in the preaching of God’s word. But those who won’t receive this judgment show plainly that they are really damnable knaves. They are sinning against the Holy Spirit when they refuse to accept the rebuke of the preachers through whom he speaks. Or they are so far gone that they regard our preaching as nothing more than man’s word and so won’t tolerate it.
    • Appeal For Prayer Against the Turks, 1541 (Vermannung zum Gebet wider den Türken), Luther’s Works, 1968, volume 43, ISBN 0800603435 ISBN 9780800603434 p. 228.
    • Dr. Martin Luther's Sämmtliche Werke, 1842, Erlangen, Johann Konrad Irmischer, ed., vol. 32, p. 84. [31]
  • We do not become righteous by doing righteous deed but, having been made righteous, we do righteous deeds.
    • “Disputation against Scholastic Theology” (1517), Thesis 40, in The Freedom of a Christian, M. Tranvik, trans. (2008), p. 74

The Freedom of a Christian (1520)Edit

M. Tranvik, trans. (Minneapolis: 2008)

  • When speaking of the spiritual nature or the soul, we are referring to that which is “inner” or “new.” When speaking of the bodily nature, or that which is flesh and blood, we are referring to that which is called “sensual,” “outward,” or “old.” Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:16: “Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.”
    • p. 51
  • Christ ought to be preached with this goal in mind—that we might be moved to faith in him so that he is not just a distant historical figure but actually Christ for you and me.
    • p. 69
  • Faith is born and preserved in us by preaching why Christ came, what be brought and gave to us, and the benefits we obtain when we receive him. This happens when Christian liberty—which he gives to us—is rightly taught and we are told in what way as Christians we are all kings and priests and therefore lords of all.
    • p. 70
  • One ought to fast, watch, and labor to the extent that such activities are needed to harness the body’s desires and longings; however, those who presume that they are justified by works pay no attention to the need for self-discipline but see the works themselves as the way to righteousness. They believe that if they do a great number of impressive works all will be well and righteousness will be the result. Sometimes this is pursued with such zeal that they become mentally unstable and their bodies are sapped of all strength. Such disastrous consequences demonstrate that the belief that we are justified and saved by works without faith is extremely foolish.
    • p. 73
  • Adam was created righteous, acceptable, and without sin. He had no need from his labor in the garden to be made righteous and acceptable to God. Rather, the Lord gave Adam work in order to cultivate and protect the garden. This would have been the freest of all works because they were done simply to please God and not to obtain righteousness. … The works of the person who trusts God are to be understood in a similar manner. Through faith we are restored to paradise and created anew. We have no need of works in order to be righteous; however, in order to avoid idleness and so that the body might be cared for an disciplined, works are done freely to please God.
    • pp. 73-74
  • Through faith we are restored to paradise and created anew.
    • p. 74
  • It is always necessary that the substance or essence of a person be good before there can be any good works and that good works follow and proceed from a person who is already good. Christ says in Matthew 7:18: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” ... The fruit does not make the tree good or bad but the tree itself is what determines the nature of the fruit. In the same way, a person first must be good or bad before doing a good or bad work.
    • pp. 74-75
  • A Christian has no need of any law in order to be saved, since through faith we are free from every law. Thus all the acts of a Christian are done spontaneously, out of a sense of pure liberty. As Christians we do not seek our own advantage or salvation because we are already fully satisfied and saved by God’s grace through faith. Now our only motive is to do that which is pleasing to God.
    • pp. 75-76
  • In Matthew 12:23 Christ says: “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad and its fruit bad,” as if to say: “Let the one who wishes to have good fruit begin by planting a good tree.” Therefore, let the person who wishes to do good works being not with the works but with the believing, for this alone makes a person good.
    • p. 76
  • Many have been deceived by outward appearances and have proceeded to write and teach about good works and how they justify without even mentioning faith. … Wearying themselves with many works, they never come to righteousness.
    • p. 75
  • Our preaching does not stop with the law. That would lead to wounding without binding up, striking down and not healing, killing and not making alive, driving down to hell and not bringing back up, humbling and not exalting. Therefore, we must also preach grace and the promise of forgiveness—this is the means by which faith is awakened and properly taught. Without this word of grace, the law, contrition, penitence, and everything else are done and taught in vain.
    • pp. 78-79
  • The Apostle Paul wants us to work with our hands in order to share with the needy (Ephesians 5:28). Notice that he could have said that we should work to support ourselves. But Paul says that we work to give to those in need. This is why caring for our body is also a Christian work. If the body is healthy and fit, we are able to work and save money that can be used to help those in need.
    • p. 80

Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (1535)Edit

  • We refuse to have our conscience bound by any work or law, so that by doing this or that we should be righteous, or leaving this or that undone we should be damned.
    • Chapter 2
  • Our stubbornness is right, because we want to preserve the liberty which we have in Christ. Only by preserving our liberty shall we be able to retain the truth of the Gospel inviolate.
    • Chapter 2
  • Some will object that the Law is divine and holy. Let it be divine and holy. The Law has no right to tell me that I must be justified by it.
    • Chapter 2
  • Leave the ass burdened with laws behind in the valley. But your conscience, let it ascend with Isaac into the mountain.
    • Chapter 2, Verse 14
  • The Law continues to exist and to function. But it no longer exists for me.
    • Chapter 2, Verse 19
  • When you see a person squirming in the clutches of the Law, say to him: “Brother, get things straight. You let the Law talk to your conscience. Make it talk to your flesh.
    • Chapter 2, Verse 19
  • I know that a Christian should be humble, but against the Pope I am going to be proud and say to him: “You, Pope, I will not have you for my boss, for I am sure that my doctrine is divine.”
    • Chapter 2, Verse 6
  • The true Gospel has it that we are justified by faith alone, without the deeds of the Law.
    • Chapter 2
  • To turn one's eyes away from Jesus means to turn them to the Law.
    • Chapter 2

Table Talk (1569)Edit

Tischreden (1569)
  • ... a penny saved is better than a penny earned.
    • The Duty of a Husband and Wife (17 March 1539), No. 4408. LW 54:337.
  • Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging.
    • 53.
  • The Clergy is the greatest hindrance to faith.
    • 58.
  • For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel...Thus is the Devil ever God's ape.
    • 67. Compare "Where God hath a temple, the Devil will have a chapel", Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, part III, section 4, member 1, subsection 1.
  • so it is with human reason, which strives not against faith, when enlightened, but rather furthers and advances it.
    • On Justification CCXCIV
  • A faithful and good servant is a real godsend; but truly 'tis a rare bird in the land.
    • 156.
  • The Mass is the greatest blasphemy of God, and the highest idolatry upon earth, an abomination the like of which has never been in Christendom since the time of the Apostles.
    • 171.
  • There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
    • 292.
  • I am entirely of the opinion that the papacy is the Antichrist. But if anyone wants to add the Turk, then the Pope is the spirit of the Antichrist, and the Turk is the flesh of the Antichrist. They help each other in their murderous work. The latter slaughters bodily and by the sword, the former spiritually and by doctrine.
    • 330.
  • A theologian is born by living, nay dying and being damned, not by thinking, reading, or speculating.
    • 352.
  • Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but--more frequently than not--struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.
    • 353.
  • But the Jews are so hardened that they listen to nothing; though overcome by testimonies they yield not an inch. It is a pernicious race, oppressing all men by their usury and rapine. If they give a prince or magistrate a thousand florins, they extort twenty thousand from the subjects in payment. We must ever keep on guard against them.
    • 863.
  • When the devil comes at night to worry me, this is what I say to him: “Devil, I have to sleep now. That is God’s commandment, for us to work by day and sleep at night.” If he keeps on nagging me and trots out my sins, then I answer: “Sweet devil, I know the whole list. But I have done even more sin which is not on your list. Write there also that I have shit in my breeches. Hang it around your neck and wipe your mouth on it.” Then, if he won’t cease to accuse me of sins, I say in contempt: “Holy Satan, pray for me.” ("Sancte Satane, ora pro me").
    • In, I Am a Christian: The Nun, the Devil, and Martin Luther, Carolyn M. Schneider, Fortress Press 2010, ISBN 0800697324 ISBN 978-0800697327 p. 49. (citing in Notes (p. 148), WA, Tr 2:131–32). [32]
    • Expurgated version in, What Luther Says, Ewald M. Plass, vol. 1, pp. 403-404, (citing WA, Tr 2, No. 1557). 1191 How Luther Handled the Devil, May 20, 1532. "When the devil comes during the night to plague me..." [33]
    • German & Latin text, Erlangen-Frankfurt ed. (1854), vol. 60, p. 101, No. 1574. "Wenn der Teufel des Nachts an mich kömpt mich zu plagen, gebe ich ihm diese Antwort..." [34]
  • I think these things [firearms] were invented by Satan himself, for they can’t be defended against with (ordinary) weapons and fists. All human strength vanishes when confronted with firearms. A man is dead before he sees what’s coming.
    • 3552.
  • They are splendidly built [Italian Hospitals], the best food and drink are at hand, the attendants are very diligent, the physicians are learned, the beds and coverings are very clean, and the bedsteads are painted. As soon as a sick man is brought in, all his clothes are taken off in the presence of a notary and are faithfully kept for him. He is then laid in a handsomely painted bed with clean sheets. Two physicians are fetched at once. Attendants come with food and drink, served in immaculate glass vessels; these are not touched with as much as a finger but are brought on a tray.
    • 3930.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)Edit

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Faith, like light, should ever be simple and unbending; while love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, and bend to every necessity of our brethren.
    • P. 220.
  • Faith looks to the word and the promise; that is, to the truth. But hope looks to that which the word has promised, to the gift .
    • P. 221.
  • We believe that the very beginning and end of salvation, and the sum of Christianity, consists of faith in Christ, who by His blood alone, and not by any works of ours, has put away sin, and destroyed the power of death.
    • P. 224.
  • Faith ever says, "If Thou wilt," not "If Thou canst."
    • P. 241.
  • We may search long to find where God is, but we shall find Him in those who keep the words of Christ. For the Lord Christ saith, " If any man love me, he will keep my words; and we will make our abode with him."
    • P. 278.
  • The believing man hath the Holy Ghost; and where the Holy Ghost dwelleth, He will not suffer a man to be idle, butstirreth him up to all exercises of piety and godliness, and of true religion, to the love of God, to the patient suffering of afflictions, to prayer, to thanksgiving, and the exercise of charity towards all men.
    • P. 320.
  • Let us keep to Christ, and cling to Him, and hang on Him, so that no power can remove us.
    • P. 433.

Quotes about LutherEdit

  • No. 4638: Luther Rejects the Copernican Cosmology June 4, 1539 There was mention of a certain new astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked,] “So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Josh. 10:12].” Luther, M. (1999, c1967). Vol. 54: Luther's works, vol. 54 : Table Talk (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald and H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (54:358). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
  • Rousseau, though holding views diametrically opposed to Luther's as to the character of man, finally strengthened his hand by his estimate of man's mind. Luther believed in the utter moral wretchedness of man, but Rousseau believed not only in man's goodness on the plane of character but he also was convinced (like Luther) that man is by nature intelligent. The "democrats" of the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries deducted from Luther's and Rousseau's joint declaration that man is intelligent (either by nature or by an inner light) the further conclusion that the sum total of all minds must be perfection itself.
    • Francis Stuart Campbell, pen name of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1943), Menace of the Herd, or, Procrustes at Large, Milwaukee, WI: The Bruce Publishing Company, p. 41
  • When [Luther] says: "I do not admit that my doctrine can be judged by anyone, not by the angels," one could almost imagine hearing Hitler speak.
    • Francis Stuart Campbell, pen name of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1943), Menace of the Herd, or, Procrustes at Large, Milwaukee, WI: The Bruce Publishing Company, p. 170-171
  • From the day on which Luther denied the authority of the Pope, and publicly declared in the Diet "that his teachings must be controverted through the words of the Bible itself, or with sensible reasons," there begins a new era in Germany. The fetters with which Saint Boniface had chained the German Church to Rome are broken. This Church, which has hitherto formed an integral part of the great hierarchy, now splits into religious democracies. The character of the religion itself is essentially changed: the Hindoo-Gnostic element disappears from it, and the Judaic-theistic element again becomes prominent. We behold the rise of evangelical Christianity. By recognising and legitimising the most importunate claims of the senses, religion becomes once more a reality. The priest becomes man, takes to himself a wife, and begets children, as God desires.
  • Luther was not the first theologian to criticize the powers of the papacy... John Wyclif at the end of the fourteenth century and John Hus at the beginning of the fifteenth century had attacked the excessive power of papacy. Luther was certainly well aware of John Hus's fate at the Council of Constance, where he was burned at the stake on charges of heresy.
    • Jackson Spielvogel (2014). Western Civilization. Cengage Learning, p. 372
  • Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, chief among the formative minds of Christendom, although separated by the centuries and antagonistic in many of their views, are united in their belief that war is legitimate when used in a righteous cause.
  • By a strange inconsistency, Luther justified all wars of self-defense except those waged by subjects against tyrannical rulers. He unconditionally condemned rebellion and revolution. In referring to the peasants' revolt... To the soldiers who took the field against the peasants, he said: "If you die in battle against them, you could never have a more blessed end, for you die obedient to God's Word in Romans 13, and in the service of love to free your neighbor from the bands of hell and the devil."
    • Kirby Page, ibid., p. 102-103, from Preserved Smith, The Age of the Reformation p. 98.
  • In later years Luther showed no regret for his attitude toward this rebellion. Indeed, he went so far as to say: "Preachers are the biggest murderers about, for they admonish the authorities to fulfill their duty and punish the wicked. I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said they should be slain; all their blood is on my head. But I cast it on our Lord God, who commanded me to speak in this way."
    • Kirby Page, ibid., p. 103, from R. H. Murray, Erasmus and Luther, p. 251
  • Freedom was the watchword of Martin Luther in his early days. His theology rested upon the foundation of the right of private judgment, and he boldly proclaimed the "universal priesthood of all Christians." …His own conduct, however, often departed widely from his abstract teaching. ...In practice he was often bitterly intolerant of his opponents. ...He favored banishment for Catholics who remained steadfast to their faith, and in 1530 signed a memorandum drafted by Melanchthon which justified the setting up of a regular system of coercion and the use of the death penalty for the most dangerous heretics or blasphemers. Concerning this point a Protestant theologian [Walther Kohler] says: "The death-penalty for heresy rested on the highest Lutheran authority."
    • Kirby Page, ibid., p. 128-130, quote by Walther Kohler from Hartmann Grisar's Luther, Vol. 6, p. 266
  • Luther went so far as to rejoice over the death of Zwingli: "God knows the thoughts of the heart. It is well that Zwingli, Carlstadt, and Pellicanus lie dead on the battle field... Oh, what a triumph is this, that they have perished! God indeed knows His business well."
    • Kirby Page, ibid., p. 131-132, from Hartmann Grisar, Luther, Vol.3, p. 384
  • Luther exclaimed: "I would have no compassion on these witches. I would burn them all."
    • Kirby Page, ibid., p. 141, from Andrew Dickson White, The Warfare of Science with Theology, Vol.1, p. 363
  • Luther now had too much reason to complain of the impiety and cruelty of the Pope, who he openly declared to be the Man of Sin, and the great Antichrist.
    • John Wesley. The Arminian Magazine (1797). J. Fry & Company in Queen-Street. p. 502
  • The wish of Luther, that all his books of devotion were burnt, raises him greatly in my opinion; because he discovered, that the immoderate esteem and veneration attatched to them, caused the Scriptures to be neglected.
    • Robert Boyle, Treatises on the high veneration man's intellect owes to God (1835), p. 182
  • Religion may be purified. This great work was begun two hundred years ago: but men can only bear light to come in upon them by degrees.
    • Voltaire, The critical review, or annals of literature, Volume XXVI, by A Society of Gentlemen, (1768). p. 450
  • Galileo's doctrine seemed to such colossal minds as Bellarmin, and Luther, and Bossuet, "evidently contrary to Scripture."
    • White, ibid., 1877, p. 149


DisputedEdit

  • Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders.
    • Translation: Here I stand; I can do no other.
    • Often quoted as part of Luther's statement before the Diet of Worms, but not in eyewitness accounts. Diarmaid MacCulloch in 'Reformation: Europe's House Divided' (2003), attributes the origins of the quotation to Georg Rörer, the editor of Luther's collected works, who wanted to add a summary of Luther's statement.
  • I’d rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian.
    • The earliest published source for such a statement yet located is in Pat Robertson — Where He Stands (1988) by Hubert Morken, p. 42, where such a comment is attributed to Luther without citation.


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