THEOLOGIAN
N° 3


So speaks Martin Luther,
so speaks Jesus of Nazareth

A comparison

Jesus lehrte: Nehmt euch in Acht vor den Wölfen im Schafspelz
The Protestant Lutheran Church bases itself on Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, as well as on Martin Luther. Is Luther's teaching christian? THE THEOLOGIAN No. 3 documents contradictions between Martin Luther and Jesus of Nazareth. In so doing, he compares Luther's words with those of Jesus in the Bible.

 


Illustration from the 16th century, showing pastors and monks devouring the sheep of the Christian flock instead of being an example for others.


 

1) Luther: Authority is the punishing servant of God

”Authority is a servant of God. Of itself it cannot keep any public order. It is like a net in water: The good Lord drives the fish to it. God guides the evildoers to the authority, so that they do not escape … God is a just judge on earth. For this reason, no one escapes who does not do penance, the just punishment by way of the authority. Even if you escape from me, you do not escape the hangman.”

(Tischreden, Luther Deutsch, [Luther German. The works of Martin Luther chosen anew for the present time. Published by Kurt Aland. Volume 9: Tabletalk] Third, completely newly reworked edition, Stuttgart 1960; Reclam Edition, Ditzingen 1987, p. 430)
 

Jesus: ”My kingship is not of this world”

a) ”My kingship is not of this world.”

b) ”Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

(a) John 18:36; b) Mark 12:17) (Bible used in this translation. The New Oxford Annotated Bible, revised , 1973, 1977; the quotes from Luther are translated without the use of English versions of the same.)
 

 

2) Luther calls on the princes to kill the rebellious peasants

”Such strange times are here that a people can earn heaven with bloodshed rather than others usually with praying … Stab, beat, throttle here, whoever can. If you remain dead in the process, happy you, you can never attain a more blessed death. For you die obedient to the divine word and command.”

(Wider die stürmenden Bauern [Against the storming peasants] Weimar Edition of Luther’s Writings (= WE) 18, pp. 357-361)  
 

Jesus points out the commandment ”You shall not kill.” He teaches reconciliation and non-violence

a) ”If you would enter life, keep the commandments ... You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery ...

b) ”Make friends quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court …”

c) ”But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

(a) Matthew 19:17;  b) Matthew 5:25;  c) Matthew 5:39)
 

 

3) Luther about preachers: God ordered an ”office of the word”

”God is wonderful, who commands us preachers to take up the office of his word, with which we shall govern the hearts of  the people …”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk] Luther German, ob. cit., p. 318)
 

Jesus says ”Follow me,” but he does not appoint anyone to an ”office of the word.” He warns about preachers

”… so practice and observe whatever they [the scribes] tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by men … they love the place of honor at feasts … and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.” 

(Matthew 23:3-8)
 

 

4) Luther: Preachers are the greatest killers of all, because God commands it

”Preachers are the greatest killers of all. For they admonish the authorities that they should administer their office with resolution and punish the pests. I have killed all the farmers in the rebellion; all their blood is on my neck. But I lay the blame on our good Lord; he ordered me to say such things …”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk], Weimar Edition of Luther’s Writings (= WE), p. 75)


Jesus: Do not use force, but serve 

”You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant …”

(Mark 10:42-43)

Jesus – sent by God not as judge, but as Savior

”For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

(John 3:17)
 

 

5) Luther: God kills through the soldier’s hand

”For the hand that guides the sword and kills is then no longer the hand of a human being, but the hand of God, and not of the person; instead, God hangs, breaks on the wheel, decapitates, kills and leads the war. For all things are his works and his court. Summarized: When a soldier, one may not see how one kills, burns, beats, takes prisoner, etc. This is what the inexperienced do, simple children’s eyes which do not continue to watch the doctor either as he amputates the hand or saws off the leg, and do not see or notice that it concerns saving the whole body. Likewise, one must also look at the office of the soldier or the sword with manly eyes, why it kills as it does and is cruel. Then it itself will prove that it is a divine office through and through and necessary for the world and as useful as eating and drinking. But that some abuse this office is not the fault of the office, but of the person … indeed, ultimately they cannot escape the judgement of God, that is, his sword. He finally finds and meets them indeed as it has also now gone for the peasants in [their] rebellion.”

(Luther, Concerning the question when as a soldier one lives in a state pleasing to God, Weimar Edition of Luther’s Writings (= WE), pp. 623-662)
 

Jesus: Love your enemies

”Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”

(Matthew 5:44-45)
 

 

6) Luther slanders the Jewish population and demands their persecution

a) ”… that one forbids them, with us … to publicly praise God, to thank, to pray, to teach, by loss of body and life …” 

b) ”If I could I would cut him [the Jewish fellow citizen] down and in my rage bore through him with the sword.”

c) The ”wicked Jew” will ”not cease,” ”sucking you dry and (when he can) killing you.” The Jews can administer medicine ”from which he [the patient] must die in an hour, in a month, in a year, even in ten or twenty years. They have the cunning.”

d) ”These good-for-nothings and pillagers are worthy of neither grace nor pity.”

a) Martin Luther, Von den Juden und ihren Lügen [About the Jews and their Lies], Wittenberg 1543, Tomos (= symbol of the Jena Edition of  the Luther Writings from the 16th C.) 8, p. 98 b; also in ”Volksausgabe” [People’s Edition], pub. Hans Ludolf Parisius, Munich, o. J., p. 46
b) 1543, Tischreden [Tabletalk], quoted from H.-J. Böhm, Die Lehre M. Luthers - ein Mythos zerbricht [The Teachings of Martin Luther - A Myth Breaks Apart], Self Edition, Post-Box 53, 91284 Neuhaus, Germany (available free of charge in German), 1994, p. 250

c) Luther, ”Letzte Kanzelabkündigung vom 15.
February 1546” [Last Announcement from the Pulpit …] 3 days before his death in Eisleben, cited from W. Bienert, Martin Luther und die Juden [Martin Luther and the Jews], Frankfurt 1982, pp. 174-177;
d) Tischrede [Tabletalk] from Dec. 18, 1536, cited from Böhm, ob. cit., p. 250


Jesus weeps over the Jewish people

”And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.’”

(Luke 19:41-42)
 

 

7) Luther calls for Jewish homes and gathering places to be destroyed

”… that one set their synagogues or schools afire … that one likewise break up and destroy their houses …”

(Martin Luther über die Juden - Weg mit ihnen! [Martin Luther about the Jews - Away with Them!] pub. Landesbischof Martin Sasse from  Eisenach, Sturmhut-Verlag, Freiburg 1938, p. 9)
 

 Jesus had the desire to gather the Jewish people

”How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings …”

(Luke 13:34)
 

  

8) Martin Luther calls for war and for the ”murder” of the Turkish enemies

”… because the Christians … each and every one by his authority, are urged and called to strife against the Turks, they shall act as loyal and obedient subjects (as they most certainly do if they are proper Christians) and raise their fist in joy and with confidence beat, murder, rob and do harm as much as they can, because they can get hot-blooded … they are killed for this, it is well, then they are not solely Christians, but were also obedient, loyal subjects, who put body and property to work for their superiors in obedience to God. They are blessed and holy eternally …”

(Eine Heerpredigt wider den Türken [An Army Sermon Against the Turk], D. Mar. Luther, Anno 1529; Tomos 4, pp. 494 b-496)
 

Jesus did not take part in war. Also in times of war, he called for spreading his message of peace

”And you will hear of wars and rumors of war; see that you are not alarmed, for this must take place … And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations …”

(Matthew 24:6 & 12-14)
 

   

9) Luther: ”Evil ones” are among us

”They came from Abraham and the patriarchs, those who nailed Christ to the cross, the Antichrist came forth from the Roman Church, Judas and the pseudo-apostles came from the apostles … from Constantinople the Turks, from the settlers of Arabia Mohammed, from the wench adultery, from the virgin the whore … the heretics come from the church. From food becomes excrement, from wine urine, from blood pus. From Luther comes Müntzer [the leader of the rebelling peasants] and the rebels - and so should we wonder when evil ones are among us and come forth from us?”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk], Luther German, ob. cit., p. 271)
 

Jesus: At first take the speck out of your own eye

”Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye, when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

(Matthew 7:3-5)
 

  

10) Luther: Christ confirmed the death penalty

”This law of the sword has existed since the beginning of the world … that one should kill the murderer. After the great flood, God expressly put it into practice again and confirmed it, by saying in the first book of Moses [Genesis], 9:6: ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.’ …‘…all who take the sword will perish by the sword.’ [Matthew 26:52] which can be understood like Genesis 9:6: ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man’ etc. Without doubt with this word Christ refers to this passage, thus wanting to bring in this term [anew] and confirm it.”

(Martin Luther, Die weltliche Obrigkeit und die Grenze des Gehorsams [Worldly Authority and the Limits to Obedience] in Martin Luther, Taschenausgabe [Pocket Edition] Vol. 5, Berlin 1982, p. 112)

Note: Luther took Matthew 26:52 out of context and cited it in a translation that falsified the meaning of the Bible text. He also cited Genesis 9:6 in a translation that falsified the meaning. In the end, Luther justified the twisting of the original meaning with the other. The specific facts: In the Hebrew original text of Genesis is not meant: ”Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.” The meaning of the Hebrew sentence says in the English translation: ”Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man will his blood be shed,” which indicates the spiritual law of sowing and reaping, or cause and effect. And in the Greek original text of the Gospel of Matthew the meaning is likewise ”will” and not ”shall” (see quote from Luther and from Jesus). Jesus also points out the law of cause and effect. Neither the first book of Moses nor Jesus give the authorities the right to the death penalty. (Concerning this, see: The Theologian No. 2; Chapter: How the Bible was adapted - available only in German an Spanish)
 

Jesus warned of retaliation. The law of sowing and reaping holds true

”Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”

(Matthew 26:52-53)
 

  

11) Luther demands the death of usurers

”… as one breaks on the wheel and beheads the street robbers, murderers … how much more shall one break on the wheel and bleed all usurers and chase away, curse and behead all skinflints …”

(An die Pfarrherren wider den Wucher zu predigen. [To the Pastors for Preaching Against the Usurers] Vermahnung [Admonishment] D. Martini Lutheri, Anno 1540, Tomos 7, p. 415)
 

Jesus stays at the homes of ”usurers” and deceivers

”Zacchaeus, make haste and come down [from the tree]; for I must stay at your house today.” So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, ”He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ”Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him: ”Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.”

(Luke 19:5-9)
 

   

12) Luther demands the death of unfaithful partners

”… it would be better: kill, kill him, in order to avoid more evil examples … It is the fault of the authorities: Why does one not kill the adulterer?”

(Martin Luther, Vom ehelichen Leben - Das ander[e] Teil (About Married Life - the Other Part] First Edition Wittenberg 1522, cited from Böhm, ob. cit. p. 153; there cited from Lorenz, Vom ehelichen Leben, Reclam Edition, Ditzingen 1978, p. 16 f.)
 

Jesus did not condemn an unfaithful partner

The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ”Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.” [Now in the law Moses] ”commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” Jesus said to them: ”Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” [To the woman]: ”Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

(John 8:3 & 5 & 7 & 11)
 

  

13) Death by torture for prostitutes

”If I were a judge, I would want to have such a French, poisonous whore broken on the wheel and bled.”

(”Ernste Vermahn- und Warnschrift Luthers an die Studenten zu Wittenberg, am 13.5.1543 öffentlich an der Kirche angeschlagen” [Serious Writing of Admonishment and Warning by Luther to the Students in Wittenberg, publicly nailed to the church on May 13, 1543], Tomos 8, pp. 172-172 b)
 

Jesus: Prostitutes are more likely to enter the Kingdom of God than theologians

[To the scribes:] ”Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”

(Matthew 21:31)
 

 

14) Luther: Torture and kill women with spiritual and magical abilities

a) ”You shall not let the sorceresses live … It is a just law that they are killed. They cause much harm … They can also cast a spell on a child so that it continuously screams and no longer eats or sleeps. If you look at such females, you will see that they have a devilish face. I have seen it on several … one can only kill them.”

b) ”Therefore, kill them, because they have dealings with the devil.”

c) ”When they do not confess, we will hand them over to the torturers.”

 (a) Sermon from 1526; WE 16, p. 551
 b) 1526, cited from the magazine Esotera, 3.3.1985, p. 245
 c) Cited from Hans-Jürgen Wolf, Sünden der Kirche [Sins of the Church], Erlensee/Switzerland 1995, p. 717 ff.)
 

A comrade of Luther:
Pray against the ”witches,” in order to detect them and kill them

About the Wittenberg Deacon G. Röhrer: ”On Sept. 12 [1529] … he [Röhrer] repeated the admonishment that one should pray against the witches, so that they are detected and so that the hangmen receive their pay.”

(cited from H.-J. Wolf, ob. cit., p. 720)
 

Jesus promises the full authority of the spirit

”If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

(Matthew 17:20)
 

Jesus threatened no one with torture and death. He affirmed the positive in people. He let his feet be anointed by a scorned woman

”Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.”

(Luke 7:47)
 

  

15) Luther: Some children are truly devils

”But when one tells of devil-like children, of whom I have seen several, then I think that they are either made by the devil, but not procreated by him, or that they are real devils.”

(Opera exegetica [Exegetical Works], Erlang Edition, II, p. 127)
 

Luther’s legacy: Kill handicapped children

a) ”The Lutheran belief in witches took shape dramatically, for it joined in the viewpoint that one should drown poor, feeble-minded and mentally disturbed children in whom one thought he could recognize children of the devil.”

b) ”This distortion of the human countenance …” is ”given back to the Creator”.

(a) Hans-Jürgen Wolf, ob cit., p. 719
b) The head doctor of the Lutheran facility for the handicapped in Neuendettelsau, Dr. Rudolph Boekh, on April 5, 1937, cited from: Ernst Klee, Die SA Jesus Christi [The SA of Jesus Christ], Frankfurt/Main 1989, p. 180)

Note: In 1940/41, based on Luther’s teaching (obedience to authority), the people entrusted to the Lutheran facility for the handicapped in Neuendettelsau in Bavaria, Germany, were finally handed over to state officials. That they would be killed was known to those responsible.
 

Jesus admonished to respect all children

”See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

(Matthew 18:10)
 

  

16) Luther and his colleague Melanchthon: Unbaptized babies are threatened with eternal damnation. Opponents of the baptizing of babies should be killed

”Baptism of children, original sin … meanwhile these articles are also important, because there is not much point in throwing the children out of Christendom and putting them in an uncertain state, yes, bringing them to damnation … Meanwhile, one indeed sees and comprehends that these are coarse, false articles [by those of other faith], in the end we conclude that in this case the obstinate ones should also be killed.”

(Melanchthon’s report: ”Ob christliche Fürsten schuldig sind, der Wiedertäufer unchristliche Sekte mit leiblicher Strafe und mit dem Schwert zu wehren” [Whether Christian princes are guilty of fighting against the Anabaptists unchristian sect with physical punishment and with the sword], 1536; Tomos 8, p. 383 ff; - Luther agreed with the report.)
 

Jesus did not teach the baptism of children. He says: Teach first, then baptize!

”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations; baptize them … teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

(Matthew 28:19-20)

Note: Jesus asked first to ”teach” or to ”inform” or to ”make disciples of” and later to baptize the informed, if they wanted this. Those baptized were also taught further after their baptism.
 

   

17) Luther persecuted Christians, for example, the so-called ”Baptists”

a) ”On the other hand, it is now important for us to damn these and to make them known as damned, so that those who follow, are freightened off by their heresy an the doubting and vacillating consciences will be helped.”

b) They are to be considered as ”rabble-rousers” and ”murderers”. (Note: …even though almost all of them live peaceably)

c) ”Therefore, without doubt the authority is obligated … and should … with physical violence and according to the circumstances also punish with the sword,” … ”hand over to the hangman” (= kill).

(a) Tischreden, Luther Deutsch [Tabletalk], Luther German, ob cit., p. 272
b) and c) The 82nd Psalm written and interpreted by D. M. L. Anno 1530; Tomos 5, p. 74 b-76 b)
 

Jesus comforted the persecuted Christians

”Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

(Matthew 5:11-12)
 

  

18) Luther: Faith alone is sufficient for salvation

”And so, in us we are sinners and nevertheless, as long as God sees us as righteous, righteous through the belief.”

(Scholien zum Römerbrief [Lectures on Letter to the Romans] WE 56, p. 271 ff.)
 

Jesus explained that the act of doing is decisive for salvation

a) ”Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

b) ”Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”

c) ”So whatever you wish that men would do to you, so do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”

d) And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying ”Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, ”What is written in the law? How do you read?” And he answered, ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him: ”You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

(a) Matthew 7:21;  b) Matthew 7:24;  c) Matthew 7:12;  d) Luke 10:25-28)
 

   

19) Luther taught freedom from the commandments. However, he announced that the followers of his teaching should nevertheless do good works in order to serve their neighbor

”So we see that a Christian person has enough faith; he does not need any works to be pious. If works are then no longer needed, then he is certainly released from all commandments and laws; if he is released, then he is certainly free. This is the Christian freedom, the sole faith, which does not cause that we can be idle or do evil, but that we need no works to gain piety and bliss …”

The works … ”are the first fruits of the Spirit.”

”For this reason this [the Christian´s] intention should be free und directed only to the goal that he may serve other people and be use to them; he should not imagine anything else than what is necessary for the others.”

(Martin Luther, Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen [About the Freedom of a Christian Person]; pub. by L. E. Schmitt, 1953, 3rd Edition, p. 37,1 - 79,21; WE 7, pp. 20,24 - 38,15)
 

Jesus taught how a life according to the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount leads to the life

”… If you would enter life, keep the commandments … You shall not kill; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself … If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

(Matthew 19:17-21)

Jesus explained: The one who only proclaims to do good, but does not do it does not fulfill the will of God

”What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said, ‘The first.’

(Matthew 21:28-31)
 

 

20) Luther indicated execution without court action for Christians who do not approve of the Lutheran teaching of justification

”Likewise the authority shall also punish or not even suffer those who teach that Christ did not die for our sins, but that each one do enough for this himself … Moses in his law also ordered that such blasphemers, yes, all false teachers, be stoned. And so, one should not dispute much here, but should damn, without a hearing and without taking the responsibility, such public blasphemy.”

(The 82nd Psalm written and interpreted by D. M. L., Anno 1530, Tomos 5, pp. 74 b-76 b)

Note: The commandment for the stoning of those of other faiths does not go back to Moses, but was merely attributed to him.
 

Jesus commanded those who refer back to him to love one another

”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By all this men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

(John 13:34-35)

Jesus to his followers: Do not fear!

”And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul …”

(Matthew 10:28)
 

  

21) Luther: About the wish to kill the pope and the bishops:

a) ”Just as we punish thieves with rope, murderers with sword, heretics with fire, why do we not much more attack these noxious teachers of corruption, like popes, cardinals, bishops and the entire ulceration of Roman sodomy, with all sorts of weapons and wash our hands in their blood ...? But God, who speaks here: The revenge is mine, will indeed find in good time these enemies, who are not worthy of temporal punishments, but must have their punishments eternally in the abyss of hell.”

b) ”The pope is the devil; if I could kill the pope, why do I not want to do it?”

c) ”Luther urged that one should tear out the tongues of the pope and the Curia all the way back to the throat and should nail them like seals on the papal bulls according to order of precedence on the gallows.”

(a & b) Martin Luther, Zwo harte ernstliche Schriften Doct. Martini an den Christlichen Leser [Two hard, earnest writings from Dr. Martin to the Christian readers], 1518, Tomos 1, Point II, pp. 24 & 24b
c) E. Erikson, Der junge Mann Luther [The Young Man Luther], 1958, p. 229, cited from Friedrich Heer, Gottes erste Liebe [God’s First Love], Esslingen 1967)
 

Jesus warned those who judge: You will get the measure you give

”Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”

(Matthew 7:1-2)
 

  

22) Luther raised his teaching to God’s teaching and declared himself to also be a judge of the angels

”I want my teaching to be unjudged by everyone, also by all angels. For since I am certain of it, I will be your judge and also that of the angels, as St. Paul says (Galatians 1:8), so that the one who does not accept my teachings may not become blessed. For it is God’s and not mine; therefore, my court is also God’s and not mine.”

(Wider den falsch genannten geistlichen Stand [Against the falsely named spiritual state], Index verborum, Martin Luther´s German Writings, 1516-1525, Boston College 1999, volume 10 / 2, p. 107)
 

Jesus encourages us to believe that his teaching is from God and points to his works

”Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.”

(John 14:11)
 

Jesus prophesied that the teaching of ”another” would be accepted

”I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”

(John 5:43)
 

  

23) Luther called for killing preachers who could not prove ordination by an official church, even if they are angels from heaven and teach the pure Gospel

”… even if they wanted to teach the pure Gospel, indeed, even if they were like angels and Gabriel from heaven … If he wants to preach, then he must prove the calling or order … If he does not want to, then the authorities should hand over such scoundrels to the proper master, who is called Master Hans (= the hangman).”

(The 82nd Psalm through D. M. L., written and interpreted Anno 1530, Tomos 5, pp. 74 b ff.)
 

Jesus let a man have his own way who did miracles in his name, but did not join the community of followers

John said to him, ”Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, ”Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us.”

(Mark 9:38-40)
 

  

24) Luther indirectly threatened with the death penalty citizens who do not betray the person who preaches without ordination by an official church

”And a citizen is guilty where such insidious scoundrels [preachers without ordination by an official church] when someone comes to him, before he has heard this person, that he tell his authority and also the pastor whose pastoral child he is. If he does not do this, then he shall know that he acts as one disobedient to his authority against his oath and as one who despises his pastor (to whom he owes honor) he acts against God, and thus is guilty himself and like the hypocrite [Who will be executed] becomes a thief and a rogue …”

(The 82nd Psalm through D. M. L., written and interpreted Anno 1530, Tomos 5, pp. 74 b ff.)
 

Jesus foresees many betrayals of his followers, also by family members

”You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death … By your endurance you will gain your lives.”

(Luke 21:16 & 19)
 

 

25) Luther attributes truth to himself and considers, for example, his Jewish and Christian opponents, whom he fought against, as ”enemies” of God

a) ”For along with Paul I dare to attribute to myself the knowledge and to confidently deny it to you [his conversation partner].”

b) ”My dear Creator and Father, you will graciously see it as good, that I … must talk so despicably against your accursed enemies, devils and Jews. You know that I do it out of the heat of my faith and to honor your divine majesty.”

(a) WE 18, p. 601 - Luther’s statement refers to an argument with the teacher Erasmus of Rotterdam.
 b) WE 53 (1920), p. 605)
 

Jesus warned of exalting oneself

a) ”The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men: extortionist, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector’ …”

b) ”For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 (Luke 18:11 & 14)
 

Jesus prophesied that those who murder Christians believe they are doing God a favor

”… indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.”

 (John 16:2)
 

Jesus prophesied that his followers would be called ”devils”

”… it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher … If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! So have no fear of them ... ”

(Matthew 10:25-26)
 

 

26) Luther: God wants the death of certain sinners and their eternal damnation

”… the receiving of salvation and of no salvation depends solely … which persons he [God] wants to let be lost, and which not … Luther … also stated it more precisely … what he [God] wants, namely the death of the sinners, whom he in no way mourns or is even willing to eliminate. And it is for the reason already said, that God is effective ‘omnia in omnibus’ (= everything in all things), also death.”

(The Lutheran theologian Dr. Wolfgang Behnk in: Contra Liberum Arbitrium Pro Gratia Dei, Frankfurt 1982, p. 362)
 

Jesus: The Son of Man seeks the lost ones and helps them to turn back

a) ”For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

b) ”Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

c) Parable of the lost son: ”… for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to make merry.”

(a) Luke 19:10  b) Luke 15:10  c) Luke 15:24)
 

  

27) Luther: He likes opponents who kill themselves

”I like the fanatical and angry zealots; they kill themselves.”

 (Tischreden [Tabletalk], Luther German, ob cit., p. 279)
 

Jesus: Unconditional love for all people

”If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them … But love your enemies …”

 (Luke 6:32 & 35)
 

  

28) Luther: The Holy Ghost makes use of death for punishment

”Christians could easily endure death if they did not know that God’s wrath is connected with death. This makes death unpleasant for us … The Holy Ghost makes use of death for punishment, so that he frighten us - not for fun.”

 (Tischreden [Tabletalk] Luther German, ob cit., pp. 814 & 816)
 

Jesus: The Holy Spirit comforts

a) ”But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.”

b) ”I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live ...”

(a) John 15:26;  b) John 11:25)
 

  

29) Luther: God must become the devil sometimes; what is believed conceals itself in the appearance of the opposite

a) ”God cannot be God; first He must become a devil … I must grant divinity to the devil for a brief hour, and let devilishness be attributed to our God. But it’s early days yet. In the end we can indeed say: His kindness and loyalty rule over us.”

b) What is believed ”conceals itself in the appearance of the opposite.”

(a) WE 31, p. 249 f.  
b) WE 18, cited from H. G. Pöhlmann, Abriss der Dogmatik [Outline of Dogmatism], Gütersloh 1980, 3rd Edition, p. 82)

 

Jesus: There was nothing devilish about his works. He brought about visible good

a) ”I have not a demon; but I honor my Father …”

b) Jesus to the question whether he is ”he who is to come”: ”The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”

(a) John 8:49   b) Matthew 11:3 & 5-6)
 

  

30) Luther: No free will in decisive questions of faith and life; no freedom to seek God

”In this way, the human will is put right between the two [God and Satan], just like a riding animal, when God sits upon it, it wants and goes where God wants to … When Satan sits upon it, it wants and goes where Satan wants to. And when it does not have the freedom to decide, to run to one of the riders or to seek him, but the riders themselves must fight to hold it firmly and to possess it.”

(WE 18, p. 635)
 

Jesus invited the people to follow him of their free will. He promised the seeking ones that they would find

a) ”Follow me!”

b) ”… seek, and you will find …”

(a) Luke 9:59 (also 18:22, among others)   b) Matthew 7:7)
 

 

31) Theologians are in heaven

”It is very questionable whether jurists become blessed, for it is indeed even hard for the theologians, even though the theologians are already righteous and in heaven.”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk], Luther German, ob cit., p. 361)
 

Jesus: Theologians do not go to heaven and also prevent others from doing so

”But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men. For you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.”

(Matthew 23:13)
 

  

32) Luther: The Church’s concern is heaven

”When the Church expresses anger, it is concerned about the soul and heaven.”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk], Luther German, ob cit., p. 512)
 

Jesus: Theologians and their adherents make ”children of hell” out of people

”Woe to you, scribes an Pharisees, hypocrites! For you traverse sea and land to make an single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”

 (Matthew 23:15)
 

  

33) Luther: About anger as the best medicine

”I have … no better medicine than anger. For if I want to write, pray and preach well, then I have to be angry; then all my blood refreshes itself, my mind becomes sharpened, and all temptations recede.”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk], Luther German, ob cit., p. 357)
 

Jesus concerning anger as a violation of the commandments

”You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ but I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment …”

(Matthew 5:21-22)

Note: With ”judgment” the law of sowing and reaping is meant, with which each one judges himself. For everything that one does to another comes back to him again.
 

  

34) Luther: God punishes

”God himself punishes, but secretly, either through poverty, a bad wife, through disobedient children an in many other ways. So, what kind of a punishment do you want?”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk] Luther German, ob cit., p. 655)
 

Jesus about the loving God

”What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.”

(Matthew 18:12-13)
 

  

35) Luther: The devil causes illness

”But they [the physicians] do not consider the devil as the originator of an otherwise natural cause of an illness … I think that with all severe illnesses, the devil is the originator and instigator.”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk] Luther German, ob cit., p. 678)
 

Jesus: In the end, it is a person’s sins that cause illness

a) To a paralytic: ”My son, your sins are forgiven.”

b) To a man who had been healed: ”See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.”

(a) Mark 2:5   b) John 5:14)
 

  

36) Luther: To ask ”why” concerning misfortune and well-being is the worse diabolical doubt

”The worst doubts are when the devil brings us to the point that we look for the causes of well-being and misfortune … The ‘why’ has tormented all saints.”

 (Tischreden [Tabletalk] Luther German, ob cit., p. 672)
 

Jesus: The one who recognizes sin and repents can prevent misfortune

”Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

(Luke 13:2-3  -   Note: In verse 4, Jesus spoke of the 18 people killed when the tower of Siloah collapsed.)
 

  

37) Luther said, reason is diabolic

”Reason is a whore of the devil.”

(WE 51, 126, 7 ff.; compare 10 I, 1, 326, 16; 18, 164 ,24 & 182,11)
 

The people are impressed by the mind of the young Jesus

”… and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”

(Luke 2:47)
 

Jesus takes man’s reason into account

For example: ”From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he [the day on which Jesus returns] is near, at the very gates.”

(Mark 13:28-29)
 

 

38) Luther against revelations from the mouths of prophets

”I clobber your spirit on the mouth.”

(1520, against the Zwickau prophets; cited from Walter Nigg, Prophetische Denker [Prophetic Thinkers], Rottweil 1986, p. 87)
 

Jesus on the examination of revelations through prophets

”You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?”

(Matthew 7:16)
 

  

39) Luther about passivity as a characteristic of Christians

”A Christian is passive before God, because here he merely receives, and before the person, for here he merely endures.”

(Tischreden [Tabletalk] Luther German, ob cit., p. 604)
 

Jesus about active faith, the doing, as the distinguishing feature of Christians

a) ”Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock … And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand.”

b) ”… as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

(a) Matthew 7:24 & 26   b) Matthew 25:40)
 

  

40) Sin bravely, but believe even more bravely!

”Sin bravely, but believe [even] more bravely and rejoice in Christ, who is the victor over sin, death and the world!”

(Letter to Philipp Melanchthon on August 1, 1521; WE, Letters 2, No. 424)
 

Jesus: Your faith has made you well. Sin no more!

a) ”Rise and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

b) ”See, you are well! Sin no more …”

(a) Luke 17:19   b) John 5:14)
 

 

41) Luther wished death to ”his opponents”

One should let them die like ”dogs and sows.”

(In: Vermahnung zum Sakrament [Admonishment to the Sacrament], 1530, by Hans-Joachim Neumann, Luthers Leiden [Luther’s Suffering], Berlin 1995, p. 173)
 

 Jesus: Forgiveness for his murderers

 ”Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

 (Luke 23:34)
 

 

 

42) The scholar Luther: The most important thing is speech

”Even though I may be found guilty of being haughty, miserly, as an adulterer, murderer, enemy of the pope and of all blasphemies, may I just not be accused of godless silence.”

(Letter to von Staupitz, WE Letters 2, pp. 264, 24-27)

Note: Luther’s biographer and admirer, Hans-Joachim Neumann has put together much circumstantial evidence, which indicates, that Luther (who was named ”Luder” until 1520) killed his friend Hieronimus Buntz in a duel in 1505 and entered a monastery to escape punishment. In addition, Luder had a relationship with a married woman since 1503. (Luthers Leiden [Luther’s Suffering] ob cit., p. 15 ff.)
 

Jesus warned of the scribes who talk, but do not do. To his family belongs the one who also does his teachings

a) Concerning the scribes: ”… but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.”

b) ”My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

 (a)  Matthew 23:3   b) Luke 8:21)

 Note: Compare the passages cited in No. 18 showing that the deed is what counted with Jesus
 

 

43) Luther, the prophet of the Germans

”Eternity and Germaness come together in his figure. In this connection to eternity, concerning his mission on earth, he grew to be the prophet of the Germans, as he described himself, even though hesitatingly … Luther must be prophet and forerunner (path-breaker) for the new time in the world history of the Third German Reich … Lutheran Christendom is and remains the highest revelation of God in the German language.”

(Theodore Knolle in: Quarterly Magazine of the Luther Society, 1933, pp. 121 & 123)
 

Jesus: Beware of false prophets

”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits …”

(Matthew 7:15-16)
 

  

44) Luther is honored by many

For example, by Adolf Hitler: ”Luther was a great man, a giant. He broke through the twilight with one blow; he saw the Jew as we are first beginning to see him today.”

(Adolf Hitler in: Dietrich Eckart, Der Bolschewismus von Moses bis Lenin, Zwiegespräche zwischen Adolf Hitler und mir [Dialog between Adolf Hitler and Me], Munich 1924, p. 35)

After 1945 in East and West:


Luther is continued to be praised and celebrated, for example, in ”Luther Year” 1983 on the occasion of his 500th birthday or with the Luther Celebrations in 1966, 500 years after his death.


Jesus: Woe to you when all speak well of you!

”Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”

(Luke 6:26)
 

  

45) Luther’s legacy

”We have been admonishes by Martin Luther´s legacy for centuries: ´Such strange times are here that a people can earn heaven with bloodshed rather than others usually with praying` ... Heil Hitler!”

(Call to support the German army in war in New Year’s message for 1944 in: Thüringen Church Newspaper No. 1/1944)
 

Jesus: Each one must account for his words

”I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

(Matthew 12:36-37)
 

  

46) Luther and his adherents: Kill valiantly in war when necessary!

”‘Be a strong sinner, but believe even more strongly and rejoice in Christ,’ Luther wrote to Philip Melanchthon, when the latter saw violence as the only means against iconoclasm, but recoiled from the sinful character of violence. The field chaplains in the Balkan should comfort the soldiers with this redeeming sentence every morning.”

(The Lutheran theologian and journalist Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto in April 1999, in: idea-spektrum N° 14/1999)


Jesus: Make peace and do not hit back!

a) ”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

b) ”… if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

 (a) Matthew 5:9   b) Matthew 5:39)
 

  
Links:
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Christ yes - church no - Why?

Citation:
Theologian, Editor Dieter Potzel, Edition N°3: So speaks Martin Luther, so speaks Jesus of Nazareth, Wertheim 1999, English Translation: Wertheim 2001, http://www.theologe.de/theologian3.htm, version from 10 th May 2016

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