Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just a Few Luther Quotes

The greatest and principal purpose of every service is to preach and teach God's Word. - Introduction to the German Mass

Although praying is also a great service rendered to God, it is not equal to preaching; for when we pray, we perform a work that rises from earth to heaven and is properly called our work. But when we preach and hear the Word, we are hearing and witnessing the performance of a divine work; for the Word is not ours but our Lord God's. Now insofar as God is greater and more glorious than we, preaching excels every other work. Unfortunately, however, it is considered a relatively unimportant matter by both preachers and hearers. - 9-12-1533, concerning Luke 10:23

Your Grace may comfort yourself with the thought with which I comfort myself: ceremonies are not articles of faith. And yet they have always created more and greater fuss in the church than the Word and the Sacraments, and the common folk easily come to make an unalterable matter of them. Therefore I take no other course than this: Where the ceremonies are observed, I also observe them (if they are not godless); where they are discontinued, I also discontinue them. in a letter to George Buchholzer, a prelate of Berlin.

We pastors must see to it that ceremonies are made and observed in such a manner that people become neither too disorderly nor too sanctimonious. from a Table Talk.

We must use moderation so that in the end there are not too many ceremonies. First of all, however, we must see to it that they are by no means considered necessary to salvation but that they merely serve outward discipline and order. They are to be looked upon as something that may be changed at any time and not as something that is commanded as a perpetual law in the church, as that jackass of a pope does - 1539

And finally, an adominishment written by Luther to the folks assembled at Augsburg as they were crafting the Augsburg Confession....

For old fools to strut about in miters and finery of clerical vestments and to make it a serious matter, nay, not only a serious matter but an article of faith, so that he who does not adore this child's play must have committed a sin and have a tortured conscience - this is the very devil!... Unfortunately, we have hitherto experienced that this child's and fool's play has been given more, and more serious, attention (and this is still the case) than the matters that are of real and primary importance. This, then, is our opinion: If for the sake of the young we are able to retain such of these childish amusements as are tolerable and without injury to the really serious matters of prime importance, we shall gladly do it."

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