Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today's Chunk o' Luther

I think what I will do is on occasion post a chunk of Luther and comment on it. Today's quote comes from the introduction to "Freedom of a Christian" which can be found in it's entirety here (I'll probably just live in Freedom for a while with this). This is the third paragraph.

I have indeed inveighed sharply against impious doctrines, and I have not been slack to censure my adversaries on account, not of their bad morals, but of their impiety. And for this I am so far from being sorry, that I have brought my mind to despise the judgments of men, and to persevere in this vehement zeal, according to the example of Christ, who, in his zeal, calls his adversaries a generation of vipers, blind, hypocrites, and children of the devil. Paul too charges the sorcerer with being a child of the devil, full of all subtlety and all malice; and defames certain persons as evil workers, dogs, and deceivers. In the opinion of those delicate-eared persons, nothing could be more bitter or intemperate than Paul's language. What can be more bitter than the words of the prophets? The ears of our generation have been made so delicate by the senseless multitude of flatterers, that, go soon as we perceive that anything of ours is not approved of, we cry out that we are being bitterly assailed; and when we can repel the truth by no other pretence, we escape by attributing bitterness, impatience, intemperance, to our adversaries. What would be the use of salt, if it were not pungent? or of the edge of the sword, if it did not slay? Accursed is the man, who does the work of the Lord deceitfully.

My thoughts upon reading this part this morning is as follows - the more things change, the more they stay the same. Blunt and honest language is always derided. So - how ought we react to this? I think we ought to remember it - and use it wisely. If you thunk people's sacred cows, if you call them to the carpet, chances are they will think you are mean. There are times you need to be mean - but they have to know you aren't being mean just because you are a jerk, but because you love them and want what is good for them. Luther spends the first 2 paragraphs of the Freedom professing his love for Pope Leo - and then and only then does he bring this forth. Even as Paul raps people over the head - see, he writes in his own hand to them words of love as well. You must have both - otherwise the mean words will not be heard.

We have the phrase "speak the truth in love." Maybe it should be "speak the truth along with love" - speak words of love as well - that way they can perhaps bear the truth better.

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