The Memorable Martin Luther

The Friday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is an opportunity for blogging about anything. Unlike the other days of prescribed themes, this day is for blogging about an issue that I couldn’t fit anywhere else or couldn’t wait until next week to write.


About 498 years ago, a young German monk nailed a document to the church door in Wittenberg entitled “The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences.”

The act of nailing such a document to the front of a church is not unique, since church doors were much like we use bulletin boards today.

95 Theses

The content of the Theses was unique in that it addressed a number of abuses in the Catholic Church of that time in regards to simony, usury, pluralism, and the selling of indulgences.

As you know, God used this gesture to launch the Protestant Reformation. And God uses this young monk named Martin Luther to lead the break from Roman Catholicism and helped launch Protestantism.

In honor of this devoted man, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite quotes from Luther. Some might be sarcastic; some could be funny; others will be convicting.

On His Love for Music

“Anyone who doesn’t view music as a gift from God must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.”

On Life Before Marriage

“Before I was married, the bed was made for a whole year and became foul with sweat.”

On Being Alone

“Eve got into trouble when she walked in the garden alone. I have my worst temptations when I am by myself.”

On Humility

“God creates out of nothing. Therefore, until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.”

On the Role the Word of God Played in the Reformation

“I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. While I slept … the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a Prince or Emperor inflicted such damage upon it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”

On Spiritual Warfare

“I was born to war with fanatics and devils. Thus my books are very stormy and bellicose. I must root out the stumps and trunks, hew away the thorns and briar, fill in the puddles. I am the rough woodsman, who must pioneer and hew a path.”

On the Power of the Word of God

“The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

On Resisting Temptation

“We cannot keep birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from nesting in our hair.”

On the Use of Biblical Languages

“Without languages we could not have received the gospel. Languages are the scabbard that contains the sword of the Spirit; they are the [case] which contains the priceless jewels of antique thought; they are the vessel that holds the wine; and as the gospel says, they are the baskets in which the loaves and fishes are kept to feed the multitude. If we neglect the literature we shall eventually lose the gospel. … No sooner did men cease to cultivate the languages than Christendom declined, even until it fell under the undisputed dominion of the pope. But no sooner was the torch relighted, than this papal owl fled with a shriek into congenial gloom. … In former times the fathers were frequently mistaken, because they were ignorant of the languages and in our days there are some who, like the Waldenses, do not think the languages of any use; but although their doctrine is good, they have often erred in the real meaning of the sacred text; they are without arms against error, and I fear much that their faith will not remain pure.”

On Defining Idolatry

“You are to have no other gods. That is, you are to regard me alone as your God. What does this mean, and how is it to be understood? What does “to have a god” mean, or what is God? Answer: A “god” is the term for that to which we are to look for all good and in which we are to find refuge in all need. Therefore, to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one with your whole heart. As I have often said, it is the trust and faith of the heart alone that make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true one. Conversely, where your trust is false and wrong, there you do not have the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God. Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God.”



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