Luther on Just War Against the Turks

In the early sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire had become the dominant power in the Middle East.  When Suleiman the Magnificent (r.1520-66) became Sultan in 1520 the empire included modern Turkey, Syria, Northern Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, the west coast … Continue reading

“God Crowns His Own Gifts” Commemoration of St. Augustine of Hippo

One day someone asked Martin Luther whether godly persons should expect merit for their good works that result from their justification.  Luther answered that even the justified were still sinners, who pray for forgiveness and live under grace.  While God … Continue reading

Steadfast Dying

Elector John of Saxony died on August 15, 1532.  While he was the fifth of seven children born to Elisabeth of Bavaria and Ernest of Saxony, he inherited the title of Elector in 1525 when his older brother, Frederick the … Continue reading

God Makes Rulers Mad

“For God the Almighty has made our rulers mad; they actually think they can do–and order their subjects to do–whatever they please.  And the subjects made the mistake of believing that they, in turn, are bound to obey their rulers … Continue reading

Becoming Steadfast: Politics and the Lutheran Reformation (Part 2)

For part one of this series, click here. When Martin Luther departed Worms in May 1521 his earthly future seemed bleak.  According to the edict of Worms Luther was a heretical outlaw.   In order to protect Luther and his own … Continue reading

Martin Luther and the Enthusiasts-Part III

This third post on this topic will focus on Dr. Luther’s response to the Enthusiasts and how this response shaped the Lutheran Confessions. Martin Luther responded initially to both men’s teachings with letters.  In July 1524 he published an open … Continue reading

Martin Luther and the Enthusiasts-Part II

In this second post on this topic we will examine the basic teachings of Andreas Karlstadt and Thomas Müntzer in the early 1520s (part 1 can be found here).  Both men challenged Luther’s teachings on the Word and Sacraments. These … Continue reading

God’s Little Puppet Show

“Now the blind world, because it does not know God and his work, concludes that it is owing to its own cleverness, reason, and strength that a community or dominion endures and thrives.  Accordingly, they gather together great treasures, stuff … Continue reading

Luther on Rulers and History

“A prince must also be very wise and not always try to impose his will, even if he has the right and the best of all reasons to do so.  For it is a far nobler virtue to put up … Continue reading

Martin Luther and the Enthusiasts-Part I

“Christ finds not only Caiaphas among his enemies, but also Judas among his friends.” (Martin Luther, LW 40:66) Martin Luther wrote this sentence in an open letter to Christians in Strasbourg to warn them against Dr. Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt’s … Continue reading

Should Lutheran Pastors Chant the Words of Institution?

The English verb, ‘to chant’ derives from the Latin word, ‘cantare,’ which simply means to sing.  Some form of singing or chanting existed in the Christian Church since its inception.  Various forms of chanting in Christian worship evolved during the … Continue reading

Martin Luther, Augustine and the Languages

Originally posted on my blog at wp.cune.edu:   “And, further, if I could bring it to pass among you, I should like to ask that you do not neglect the languages but, since it would not be difficult for you, … Continue reading

Distinguishing Between Doctrine and Life

“Doctrine and life must be distinguished. Life is bad among us, as it is among the papists, but we don’t fight about life and condemn the papists on that account.” (LW 54:110) Dr. Luther spoke these words at his table … Continue reading

Martin Luther on Studying Theology and Reading Scripture

“Moreover, I want to point out to you a correct way of studying theology, for I have had practice in that.  If you keep to it, you will become so learned that you yourself could (if it were necessary) write … Continue reading