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Luther decade opened
The Telegram ^ | 10/16/2008 | HANS ROLLMANN

Posted on 10/18/2008 8:20:43 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

A few weeks ago, in the historic Castle Church of Wittenberg in Saxony, Lutherans from all over the world opened the “Luther Decade,” celebrations that coincide with Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) arrival in Wittenberg 500 years ago in 1508 and commemorate the achievement and global significance of the German reformer. Nine years later, on 31 October 1517, Luther not only castigated the abuses of indulgence sellers with his “95 theses” but also offered a new understanding of what it meant to be a Christian. Ushering in the modern age, Luther held that the individual, not the institutional church, stood at the center of God’s relationship with humankind.

According to his friend Philipp Melanchthon, Luther posted his sharply profiled theological arguments on the door of that same Castle Church. This signal event in Luther’s life took place while he lectured as a brilliant interpreter of the Bible in Wittenberg University, living together with other monks in the local Augustinian monastery and serving as pastor and father confessor in local churches.

Wittenberg and its university were places of pride for the leader of Electoral Saxony, Prince Frederick the Wise. This Saxon ruler also protected Luther and kept him alive during the early and uncertain years of the Reformation, enabling the movement for reform to gain momentum.

New Religious Insight

I visited Wittenberg shortly after the reunification of Germany and saw the monastery in which the reformer lived together with his wife Katharina von Bora, a former nun, and their family. The city still exhibited the drab grey colour into which all East German cities and villages appeared to be dipped during the Communist period. Earlier, in that monastery, Luther had experienced his so-called “breakthrough,” the insight that individuals could not be saved by their own merits but only by the grace of God.

Meditating on a passage in the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, “The righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith,” Luther finally made the connection between faith, grace, and justification and found an answer to his troubling question: How could he, a sinner, ever be accepted by God? Up to that point, Luther had seen God’s righteousness as a punishing judgment of sinners. Now he read the text of Paul in an entirely different light as a hopeful answer to a very personal problem, that righteousness was a gift of God “by which the merciful God justifies us through faith.”

This new understanding of God’s acceptance of the sinner through the gift of his grace changed for Luther the whole face of Scripture and set the Reformation in motion. Luther would remain in Wittenberg even after his defiant stand before emperor and nobles at the Diet of Worms and subsequent seclusion in the Wartburg castle, where he also translated the New Testament into German.

Fallible Individual

Although Luther became a global icon of Protestantism and in recent years has once more won recognition as the “most famous German,” his work and persona are not without dark shadows. Luther remained a thoroughly fallible individual, whose advice to princes and lords was not always without guile. His intemperate, even hateful language against Jews provided some of the building blocks of 19th- and 20th-century anti-Semitism. Any appreciation of Luther has to recognize these limitations and failures. That there remains enough worth celebrating is demonstrated by the recent commemorative events.

Newfoundland Lutherans

In Newfoundland, Lutherans have never been a strong presence. An organized Lutheran congregation existed in St. John’s from 1956 to 1976, composed primarily of Latvians and Germans, most of whom had followed Joey Smallwood’s beckoning call to save the province economically through industrialization. The controversial figure of Alfred Valdmanis, Smallwood’s director general of economic development, was a driving force behind the early Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saint John’s. The congregation erected a modern A-frame church building on Logy Bay Road that closed its doors in 1976 and is now the home of the Vera Perlin Society.

TOPICS: Apologetics; History; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: europeanchristians; luther; lutheran; lutherans; martinluther
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1 posted on 10/18/2008 8:20:43 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...
Steve E. Ozment. Luther on Family Life.
Luther personally preferred secret bigamy to divorce and remarriage, when a marriage had irretrievably broken down. He sanctioned such an arrangement for women with impotent husbands as early as 1521. If a woman in such a situation could not take her case to the divorce court out of fear of notoriety, he advised that she enter with her husband's consent a secret marriage with his brother or another male mutually agreed upon, and raise any children of this second union as if they were those of the impotent husband. Luther preferred such an arrangement to outright divorce because he believed it ensured continuing companionship and support for each spouse (in this case, psychological for the husband and financial for the wife), while at the same time it prevented whoring and adultery on the part of the healthy spouse (in this case, the wife), who gained from it a regular sexual outlet.
And more:
The document sanctioning the bigamy of the landgrave was signed by Martin Bucer, Luther and Melanchthon, and is a humiliating paper. It may be thus summarized. According to the original commandment of God, marriage is between one man and one woman, and this original precept has been confirmed by our Lord; but sin brought it about that first Lamech, then the heathen, and then Abraham, took more than one wife, and this was permitted under the law. We are now living under the Gospel, which does not give prescribed rules for the external life and has not expressly prohibited bigamy. The law of the land expresses the original commandment of God, and the plain duty of the pastorate is to denounce bigamy. Nevertheless, the pastorate, in single cases of the direst need and to prevent worse, may sanction bigamy in a purely exceptional way. Such a bigamous marriage is a true marriage in the sight of God (the necessity being proved), but it is not a true marriage in the eye of public law and custom. Such a marriage and the dispensation for it ought to be kept secret; if it is made known, the dispensation becomes eo ipso invalid and the marriage is mere concubinage. The principle which underlies this extraordinary paper is probably the conception that the Protestant church has the same dispensing power which the medieval church claimed, but that it was to be exercised altogether apart from fees of any kind.

2 posted on 10/18/2008 8:25:44 AM PDT by narses (
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To: Alex Murphy
Here is a 'great' Lutherism:
Intercourse is never without Sin; but God excuses it by his grace because the estate of marriage is his work, and he preserves in and through the sin all that good which he has implanted and blessed in marriage.

3 posted on 10/18/2008 8:29:03 AM PDT by narses (
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To: Alex Murphy


The peasants of Germany revolted in 1525 because of their miserable living conditions and were slaughtered at the behest of Martin Luther!

Here is a quote from Luther that will send chills up your spine:

“They should be knocked to pieces, strangled and stabbed, secretly and openly, by everybody who can do it, just as one must kill a mad dog!”

Are these the words of a Christian and a great reformer? I think not! Luther was an evil man who urged the slaughter of the poor who had revolted. He told people to knock the peasants to pieces and strangle and stab them. 100,000 German peasants were horribly slaughtered in the revolt!

(From - an Anabaprtist point of view.)

4 posted on 10/18/2008 8:31:08 AM PDT by narses (
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To: Alex Murphy

When are you guys going to start burning down Lutheran churches?

5 posted on 10/18/2008 8:35:52 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Alex Murphy
How can we forget the loving kindness of Luther? Martin Luther's Seven-Point Plan
Martin Luther's Seven-Point Plan. Can you see the similarity with Hitler's plans for the Jews and Luther's seven plans for the Jews as listed below?

  • synagogues should be set on fire
  • Jewish homes should be burned to the ground, the people kept in stables like horses
  • they should be deprived of prayer books and Scriptures in which is found lies, curses and blasphemy
  • the rabbis must be forbidden under the threat of death to engage in teaching
  • Jews should be forbidden passports and not allowed to travel
  • all their money and valuables of silver and gold should be confiscated and kept by the government
  • let the young and strong, male and female alike, be given garden implements to work the land for food

6 posted on 10/18/2008 8:36:08 AM PDT by narses (
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To: narses
Luther's plan for a “final solution” to the “Jewish problem”.

First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly ­ and I myself was unaware of it ­ will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.

Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people's obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16 {:18], “You are Peter,” etc, inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.

Fifth, I advise that safe­conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home. (...remainder omitted).

Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God's blessing in a good and worthy cause.

Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.

7 posted on 10/18/2008 8:36:55 AM PDT by allmendream (White Dog Democrat: A Democrat who will not vote for 0bama because he's black.)
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To: Alex Murphy
Luther on sin and the devil:
"Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to."

8 posted on 10/18/2008 8:37:22 AM PDT by narses (
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To: allmendream

See post 6, :)

9 posted on 10/18/2008 8:37:53 AM PDT by narses (
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To: allmendream

“God does not work salvation for fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin vigorously.... Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice; sin must be committed.”

“Sin cannot tear you away from him [Christ], even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders.”

10 posted on 10/18/2008 8:38:58 AM PDT by narses (
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To: narses

You have underscored the unreliability of a single man or a single monstrous organization as deserving our unthinking devotion. Our allegiance should be Jesus Christ not Rome, not Martin Luther. That he identified a large number of outrageous, demonic doctrines and practices by the aberrant Roman Church clearly did not make him without fault.

11 posted on 10/18/2008 8:44:37 AM PDT by Dutchboy88
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To: Dutchboy88

LOL, truly. Thanks for the funny.

12 posted on 10/18/2008 8:45:55 AM PDT by narses (
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To: Dutchboy88

LOL, truly. Thanks for the funny.

13 posted on 10/18/2008 8:45:55 AM PDT by narses (
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To: narses
“For did you not know that a Jew is so beloved of God, that every time one farts, a thousand Angels dance?” Martin Luther
14 posted on 10/18/2008 8:46:26 AM PDT by allmendream (White Dog Democrat: A Democrat who will not vote for 0bama because he's black.)
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To: allmendream

“As to the common people, ... one has to be hard with them and see that they do their work and that under the threat of the sword and the law they comply with the observance of piety, just as you chain up wild beasts.”

15 posted on 10/18/2008 8:57:08 AM PDT by narses (
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To: lightman

lightman, here’s one for your Lutheran Ping List...

16 posted on 10/18/2008 8:58:44 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (What can I say? It's a gift. And I didn't get a receipt, so I can't exchange it.)
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To: Alex Murphy
As a Lutheran, I can tell you that we all know Martin Luther's views and deeds, good and bad. He was a sinful man, just like us all. What does this have to do with anything?

The Catechism of the Lutheran Church is a deeply spiritual book. And the Augsburg Confessions are the cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation, and they are incredibly valuable to all Protestants, and the truth contained within them is also very deep and profound. Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura.

We are saved by grace through faith. That is the heart of the Protestant Faith - and that includes all Evangelicals, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and a myriad of independent evangelical congregations.

Paul was a murderer who killed many Christians before he was converted. Even after he was converted he wrote Romans 7:13-7:28. He was a sinful man and he knew it. Just because he was an apostle did not remove his sinful nature. The same can be said of Luther. Just because he did and said sinful things does not destroy the Biblical truths he restored to mankind. Luther's 95 theses were a direct challenge to the Church and its wickedness at the time.

Luther helped (not solely by himself, but he started it) to cast off all of the manufactured ideas of men that had crept into the Church and were enforced on an ignorant population through the concept of "magesterium". He confronted the evils of the Church, especially the selling of indulgences to fill the coffers of the Vatican, the untrue teaching of things like "purgatory" (which was a money making scheme from the beginning), the worship of relics, and so many other teachings the church "made up" (ultimately this led to jettisoning things like Mariolotry too).

Luther's "Here I Stand" speech contains some of the most honest and profound truth, and is one of the greatest pieces of oratory, ever.

17 posted on 10/18/2008 9:12:26 AM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: Alex Murphy
"Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay, and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel ... For baptism does not make men free in body and property, but in soul; and the gospel does not make goods common, except in the case of those who, of their own free will, do what the apostles and disciples did in Acts 4 [:32–37]. They did not demand, as do our insane peasants in their raging, that the goods of others—of Pilate and Herod—should be common, but only their own goods. Our peasants, however, want to make the goods of other men common, and keep their own for themselves. Fine Christians they are! I think there is not a devil left in hell; they have all gone into the peasants. Their raving has gone beyond all measure."

That's Luther's full quote. He would be considered "Anti-Communist" today.

18 posted on 10/18/2008 9:17:31 AM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: Boagenes

“He was a sinful man, just like us all. What does this have to do with anything?”

He set himself up as the arbiter of the Christian faith, rejecting that which he had been given and creating a new structure. In his role as the head of that new structure he called for attacks on Jews, he approved bigamy for the powerful and he exhorted people to sin. That he was rtight about many things won’t change the reality of the damage he did and still does to all of Christendom. Ask “Bishop” Vicky Eugene Robinson.

19 posted on 10/18/2008 11:09:08 AM PDT by narses (
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To: narses
.....He set himself up as the arbiter of the Christian faith, rejecting that which he had been given and creating a new structure.

Hmmmm then he certainly is not without a long list of accompanying flesh man now is he? You gain NO elevation of any other flesh man by ridiculing Luther. God certainly allowed him to lead his charge.

20 posted on 10/18/2008 11:24:35 AM PDT by Just mythoughts (Isa.3:4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.)
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