13 August 2009

"Free, Happy, and Secure Christians"

"For wherever they become certain that they do not need to be bothered whether they have been taught rightly or wrongly, they sleep and snore quire securely, naturally asking no more questions concerning preaching or teaching. Once they have learned that it is enough that they know and believe that Christ believes for them, why should they want to have more than this? What more could they ask for, these free, happy, and secure Christians? Unless, of course, one wanted to learn in addition that it is not necessary to do good works and suffer wrong, that it is enough that Christ does and suffers. Let Him also be pious for you and do it all. Then you will have no need to believe or do what is good. And for whatever is bad you would consequently have to let the devil be an unbeliever and do evil, for then he would have to go to hell for you just as Christ must go to heaven for you. We good fellows, however, would remain here on earth to eat and drink, confident that we need go neither to heaven nor hell. Now there's a church fir to be praised - built in a pig sty!

"I hope, however, that such Christians and preachers do not boast or pretend that it was Luther who first advised and taught this. For where I could see and be certain that they suck such a poison from my books and lay all the blame on me, would have to spare no pains to scrub each one a little around the eyes and set their spectacles on their noses and bid them not to read my books through colored glass. For I know well enough to give the devil and his apostles credit, that wherever they turn my words upside down and afterwards are able to lead the people astray with my name, there they do not let it lack persuasion. This is something these same sectarians have often done to me, pulling my words into their own meaning."

- Blessed Martin Luther

"An Open Letter to Those in Frankfort on Main" (1533) Trans. Jon D. Vieker, CTS Press, Ft. Wayne, 1991, paragraphs 16-17, pp 8-9.

A hat tip to the Rev. Br. Latif Gaba, deacon of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, for passing this document on to me.

--- Rev. Larry Beane

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