Many Christians and most Protestants look up to Martin Luther as a “great theologian,” a “great reformer,” and a “hero of the faith” whose writings should be read and quoted. Yet, is he really someone who should be looked up to in such a way? Not according to what I have studied.
Sure, Luther did some good things and had some good things to say. I don’t deny that. Yet, Benny Hinn and the Pope might have good things to say at times as well. Should I then respect them in the same way that many respect Martin Luther? I don’t think so.
Do the good things he said and did automatically do away with the bad? Do we just sweep all of the bad under the rug and consider him some kind of “great Saint,” in spite of all the bad? Well, I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Maybe you’ve never read the below quotes or are ignorant of the bad things he said. Below is a collection of quotes that I have compiled from Luther’s writings. The quotes comes from his books, letters and sermons. You tell me if he should be looked up to in such a way.
Personally, I can’t in good conscience, look up to such a person. Those of you who are reading this who aren’t Calvinists, you really need to reconsider looking up to such a man. I expect this from Calvinists, because it is consistent with their theology, but not from you! Please reconsider promoting such a man or recommending people to read his writings!
“For although you think and write concerning ‘Free-will,’ yet no small thanks are due unto you from me, in that you have rendered my own sentiments far more strongly confirmed, from my seeing the cause of ‘Free-will’ handled by all the powers of such and so great talents, and so far from being bettered, left worse than it was before which leaves an evident proof, that ‘Free-will’ is a downright lie;” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, p.7
“’Who will believe (you say) that he is loved of God?’ – I answer, no man will believe it! No man can! But the Elect shall believe it; the rest shall perish without believing it, filled with indignation and blaspheming…” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, p.29
“This is the highest degree of faith – to believe that He is merciful, who saves so few and damns so many; to believe Him just, who according to His own will, makes us necessarily damnable, that He may seem, as Erasmus says, ‘to delight in the torments of the miserable, and to be an object of hatred rather than of love.’” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, p.30
“Thus the human will is, as it were, a beast between the two. If God sit thereon, it wills and goes where God will…If Satan sit thereon, it wills and goes as Satan will. Nor is it in the power of its own will to choose, to which rider it will run, nor which it will seek; but the riders themselves contend, which shall have and hold it.” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, p.31
“…in things which pertain unto salvation or damnation, he has no ‘Free-will,’ but is a captive, slave, and servant, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan.” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, p.33
“And yet, if we should not suffer ourselves to be thus tormented, we should be held as guilty of unheard-of pride, for disregarding so many fathers of so many ages, who has asserted ‘Free-will.’ Whereas, the truth is, as you see from what has been said, they never defined any thing what ever concerning ‘Free-will’: but the doctrine of ‘Free-will’ is erected under the covering, and upon the basis of their name: of which, nevertheless, they can shew no form, and for which they can fix no term: and thus they delude the world with a term, that is a lie!” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, p.38
“…you say—‘that it is not to be believed, that God would overlook an error in His Church for so many ages, and not reveal to any one of His saints that, which we contend for as being the grand essential of the Christian doctrine.’” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, p.39
“Since, therefore, God moves and does all in all, He necessarily moves and does all in Satan and the wicked man. But He does all in them, as they themselves are, and as He finds them: that is, as they are themselves averse and evil, being carried along by that motion of the Divine Omnipotence, they cannot but do what is averse and evil. Just as it is with a man driving a horse lame on one foot, or lame on two feet; he drives him just so as the horse himself is; that is, the horse moves badly. But what can the man do? He is driving along this kind of horse together with sound horses; he, indeed, goes badly, and the rest well; but it cannot be otherwise, unless the horse be made sound.
Here then you see, that, when God works in and by, evil men, the evils themselves are inwrought, but yet, God cannot do evil, although He thus works the evils by the evil men; because, being good Himself He cannot do evil; but He uses evil instruments, which cannot escape the sway and motion of His Omnipotence. The fault, therefore, is in the instruments, which God allows not to remain action-less; seeing that, the evils are done as God Himself moves. Just in the same manner as a carpenter would cut badly with a saw-edged or broken-edged axe. Hence it is, that the wicked man cannot but always err and sin; because, being carried along by the motion of the Divine Omnipotence, he is not permitted to remain motionless, but must will, desire and act according to his nature. All this is fixed certainty, if we believe that God is Omnipotent!” Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, pp.86-87
“But some man will say, ‘It is very absurd and slanderous to call the Son of God a cursed sinner.’ I answer, ‘If thou wilt deny Him to be a sinner and to be accursed, deny also that He was crucified and died…But if it be not absurd to confess and believe, that Christ was crucified between two thieves, then it is not absurd to say also that He was accursed, and of all sinners the greatest.” Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther, pp.244-245
“All the prophets of old said that Christ should be the greatest transgressor, murderer, adulterer, thief, blasphemer that ever was or ever could be on earth. When He took the sins of the whole world upon Himself, Christ was no longer an innocent person. He was a sinner burdened with the sins of a Paul who was a blasphemer; burdened with the sins of a Peter who denied Christ; burdened with the sins of a David who committed adultery and murder” Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther, Galatians 3:13, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/galatians.vi.html
“I am told that it is preposterous and wicked to call the Son of God a cursed sinner. I answer: If you deny that He is a condemned sinner, you are forced to deny that Christ died. It is not less preposterous to say, the Son of God died, than to say, the Son of God was a sinner.” Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther, Galatians 3:13, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/galatians.vi.html
“But because He took the sins of the world, His sinlessness was defiled with the sinfulness of the world. Whatever sins I, you, all of us have committed or shall commit, they are Christ’s sins as if He had committed them Himself.” Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther, Galatians 3:13, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/galatians.vi.html
“He therefore sent His only Son into the world and said to Him: ‘You are now Peter, the liar; Paul, the persecutor; David, the adulterer; Adam, the disobedient; the thief on the cross. You, My Son, must pay the world’s iniquity.’ The Law growls: ‘All right. If Your Son is taking the sin of the world, I see no sins anywhere else but in Him. He shall die on the Cross.’” Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther, Galatians 3:13, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/galatians.vi.html
“If I examine myself, I find enough unholiness to shock me. But when I look at Christ in me, I find that I am altogether holy. And so it is with the Church.” Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther, Galatians 3:13, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/galatians.vi.html
“Whenever the devil harasses you thus, 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, aye, 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.’ One must always do what Satan forbids. What other cause do you think that I have for drinking so much strong drink, talking so freely and making merry so often, except that I wish to mock and harass the devil who is wont to mock and harass me. Would that I could contrive some great sin to spite the devil, that he might understand that I would not even then acknowledge it and that I was conscious of no sin whatever.” The Life and Letters of Martin Luther, pp.324-325, http://books.google.com/books?id=uRJFAAAAIAAJ&lpg=PA324
“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, 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. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.” Letter #99 From Luther to Melanchthon, August 1, 1521
“…when we proceeded to have it translated, we were shocked and amazed at the interference we encountered from a wide variety of sources. Two different translators were made the victims of intimidation, and only after a rather dramatic experience were we able to complete its translation inspite of its brevity. In effecting the translation of this work we became increasingly convinced that a well organize plot to keep this book hidden exists.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. p. 3
“We find among sincere Christian people a deep resentment over the fact that the work of one as prominent as Martin Luther has been kept so scientifically and so deliberately away from the eyes of his millions of admirers….this is the first English translation to be published in the United States – so far as we are able to ascertain. Note: This published work by Luther was among the last of his writings. Luther, it will be recalled, died in the prime of life, having lived only to the age of 63.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. pp. 4-5
“Much less do I intend to convert the Jews. For that is impossible.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. p. 9
“Therefore know, my dear Christian, that next to the Devil you have no more bitter, more poisonous, more vehement an enemy than a real Jew who earnestly desires to be a Jew.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. p. 27
“…we do not know to this day which Devil brought them into our country. We did not fetch them from Jerusalem! We would like to add a present in order to get rid of them. They are a heavy burden to us in our county, like a plague, pestilence and nothing but misfortune.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. pp. 34-35
“…this it is our fault that we do not avenge the innocent blood which they shed on our Lord, and the Christians, for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and from that time on children (which still shines from their eyes and skin). That we do not slay them, but for all their murder, cursing, blaspheming, and disgracing, permit them to dwell among us without charge, protect their schools, houses, body and goods, by which we make them lazy and secure and help them confidently to squeeze from us our money and goods, and in addition to mock us and spit on us, hoping finally to overcome us and slay all of us for such great sin and take away all of our goods, as they daily pray.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. pp. 36-37
“Moses writes in Deuteronomy that where a city practiced idolatry, it should be entirely destroyed with fire and leave nothing. If he were living today he would be the first to put fire to the Jew schools and houses.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. p. 38
“…that you also refuse to let them own houses among us. Instead, you might place them under a roof, or stable, like the Gypsies” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. p. 38
“Fourthly, that you prohibit their Rabbis to teach. For they have forfeited the right to such an office, because they keep the poor Jews captive with the passage of Moses 7:11, 12, who there commands them to obey their teachers under threat of losing body and soul.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. pp. 38-39
“Fifthly, that protection for Jews on highways be revoked…you will learn from this book what the Jews are and how they are to be treated and their activities are
not to be protected.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. p. 39
“…that we refuse them the right to have synagogues…That all of their books be taken away; prayer books, Talmuds, and not one page of it be left; That among us and in our possessions they be forbidden openly to praise and thank God, to pray and to teach. Let them do that in their own country or wherever we Christians do not hear or know about it.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. pp. 53-54
“That they be forbidden to mention the Name of God before our ears, for we cannot suffer that with a clear conscience…whosoever hear it mentioned by the Jews should Report it to the rules, etc. And let no one be merciful and kind, in this respect;” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. pp. 54-55
“In my opinion it will have to come to this: if we are to stay clean of the Jew’s blapheming and not become partakers of it, we must separate and they must leave our country…they are also possessed of all the Devils.” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. p. 57
“As soon as my principal business has been accomplished, I shall have to devote myself to the explusion of the Jews. Count Albrecht is hostile towards them and he has already abandoned them, but as yet they are being molested by none. With the help of God I shall, in the sermons I hold from the pulpit, assist Count Albrecht and shall also abandon them.” (Extract from one of Luther’s letters
to his wife, shortly before his death) The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. pp. 59-60
“…should not tolerate but expel them. If they could kill us all, they would gladly do so; in fact, many of them murder Christians, especially those professing to be surgeons and doctors…who gave people poison which brought about their death in one hour or in a month…I cannot have patience nor carry on an intercourse with these deliberate blasphemers and violators of our Beloved Savior.” Luther’s last Sermon: “Wanting Against the Jews” The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther. p. 60
Well…there you have it. There’s more that could be shared, but I think that these quotes should suffice. These quotes were enough for me to want nothing to do with Marin Luther, as a “brother in Christ,” let alone some hero of the faith to be looked up to. I hope that you can say the same. This video may also be of interest to you: