Luther’s “wise Turk” quote that he didn’t say

Now that a Mormon is running for president and tends to be favored by Christian conservatives over his Christian liberal opponent, we are hearing more and more that famous quotation from Martin Luther:  “I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian.”  The problem is, no one has been able to find that famous quotation in any of the voluminous works of Luther.  It appears that the quotation is apocryphal.  I suspect it may have originated as an attempt to explain the implications of Luther’s doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, as in, “Luther would have rather been ruled by a wise Turk. . .” which then was recalled as “Luther said he would rather have been. . . .”  At any rate, I would love to identify the earliest occurrence of that quotation in print.  (If any of you could help with that, I would be very grateful.)

Anyway, despite his reputation as a political fatalist, Luther had quite a bit to say about foolish Christian rulers (just ask Henry VIII).  And he had a lot to say about the threat of being ruled by Turks, wise or otherwise, as the Ottoman Empire was then engaged in a major invasion of Europe, an Islamic jihad of conquest that had taken over much of Europe and that was finally turned back at the gates of Viennain 1529.

Anyway, the frequent commenter on this blog with the nom de plume of Carl Vehse has researched these issues.  Back in 2007 I posted what he put together on this blog, which, unfortunately, was when it was a sub-blog with World Magazine and so is no longer accessible.  So I think it’s time to post it again.  Carl has updated and tweaked the original article, which I post with his permission:

The Wise Turk quote

An August 26, 2012, updated version of an article located at http://web.archive.org/web/20071231154836/http://cranach.worldmagblog.com/cranach/archives/2007/02/draftthe_wise_t.html

In his January, 1997 editorial in First Things, “Under the Shadow,” Richard Neuhaus pointed out that despite the efforts he and others have made to show that Martin Luther never said, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian” or anything like it (even in German), the alleged quote seems to crop up in articles, sermons, blogs, interviews, and even in testimony before a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The year 2012 is an election year and there are non-Christians on the presidential ballot. Thus political editorials in Christian magazines and websites, as well as the fifth-column media, are bound to repeatedly trot out this hackneyed phrase, misattributed to Martin Luther. Let’s be clear. The “wise Turk” quote is an urban legend, an old wives’ tale, just like the oft-repeated fairy tales that Luther threw an inkwell at the devil (or vice versa), or invented the Christmas tree, or that Billy Graham referred to Lutherans (or the Lutheran Church, or the Missouri Synod) as “a sleeping giant.”

This article is yet another Sisyphean attempt to drive a spike through this urban legend non-quote, and specifically to address the erroneous claim that the alleged quote is a loose paraphrase of the following excerpt from Martin Luther’s “An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation“:

“It is said that there is no better temporal rule anywhere than among the Turks, who have neither spiritual nor temporal law, but only their Koran; and we must confess that there is no more shameful rule than among us, with our spiritual and temporal law, so that there is no estate which lives according to the light of nature, still less according to Holy Scripture.”

As will be shown below the urban legend quote has absolutely nothing to do with this quoted excerpt from “An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility” and any such claimed paraphrase is quite unlikely to have been even loosely uttered (in German or Latin) by Dr. Luther elsewhere. The key points, as they should be for all phrases bandied about as being uttered by (or paraphrased from) Luther, are context, context, context.
First, some historical context – since posting his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, Luther’s simpatico with the pope had gone noticeably downhill. The year 1520 was a busy watershed. In June, Luther attacked the papacy in his “On the Papacy in Rome,” a reply to the Franciscan Augustin von Alveld, who advocated papal supremacy. Luther then nails the pope as the Antichrist in his three famous letters later that year:

An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation”
The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and
On Christian Liberty

In the meantime, a papal bull, “Exsurge Domine” was issued on June 15 and announced by Johann Eck in Meissen during September, giving Luther 4 months to recant or face excommunication. Luther responded by burning the papal bull in a bonfire on December 10. Pope Leo X then excommunicated Luther on January 3, 1521, in the bull, “Decet Romanum Pontificem.”

Second, “An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility” was written in June, 1520, to describe what Luther saw as the distressing conditions of the German nation under the pope and the reforms needed for correction. It has nothing to do with whether the Turks were preferable rulers to Romanist politicians. Here’s a brief outline of “An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility”:

I. THE THREE WALLS OF THE ROMANISTS

Romanists claim they are above the temporal law
Romanists claim only they may interpret Scripture
Romanists claim only the pope can call a council (to decide controversies)

II. ABUSES TO BE DISCUSSED IN COUNCILS

Romanists taxed the Germans under the guise of raising money to defend against the Turks (Islamists), but they spend it on themselves
Romanists use their canon laws to steal from the German people as much as possible.
Romanists are draining German churches and the German people of all the wealth and resources German princes and nobles need to defend the people and support the churches.

III. PROPOSALS FOR REFORM

German princes, nobles, and cities should stop giving money to Romanists and resist them.
The Germans should reform all the evils coming from the pope (the Antichrist) and Rome

1. In the practices within the German churches

2. In education and the German universities concerning

dropping the use of certain books of Aristotle
the teaching of languages, mathematics, and history (Luther gives that over to the specialists)
the teaching of medicine (Luther leaves that to the physicians)
the teaching of law (jurists)
the teaching of theology
The princes and nobles should recognize that God has given the Roman Empire to the Germans

1. Throughout history God has tossed empires to and fro

2. The pope had taken over the Roman Empire dishonestly for his own evil purpose

3. Using the wiles of the papal tyrant, God has now given the German nation control of the Roman Empire

4. This Empire should now be ruled by the Christian princes of Germany to rescue liberty, and to show the Romans, for once, what it is that German nation has received from God.

5. There is still many sinful and corrupt practices in Germany that the Christian leaders in Germany need to correct

Luther concludes his Letter: “God give us all a Christian mind, and especially to the Christian nobility of the German nation a right spiritual courage to do the best that can be done for the poor Church. Amen.”

Third, the irrelevance of the urban legend to the quoted excerpt from the “Open Letter to the Christian Nobility” can be seen by looking at the entire paragraph from the section of the Letter that appears in the section III.B.ii.d according to the Letter’s outline above.

“Since, then, the pope and his followers have suspended the whole canon law, and since they pay no heed to it, but regard their own wanton will as a law exalting them above all the world, we should follow their example and for our part also reject these books. Why should we waste our time studying them? We could never discover the whole arbitrary will of the pope, which has now become the canon law. The canon law has arisen in the devil’s name, let it fall in the name of God, and let there be no more doctores decretorum [doctors of canon law] in the world, but only doctores scrinii papalis, that is, “hypocrites of the pope”! It is said that there is no better temporal rule anywhere than among the Turks, who have neither spiritual nor temporal law, but only their Koran; and we must confess that there is no more shameful rule than among us, with our spiritual and temporal law, so that there is no estate which lives according to the light of nature, still less according to Holy Scripture.” [Emphasis added]

In this paragraph Luther charges that it is a waste of time to study canon law in the German university, since the Romanists make up their own laws as they go along. At the end of the paragraph Luther brings up in the quoted excerpt (“It is said…”) the form of Turkish (Islamist) rule, which depends only on the Koran, and compares it to the absolutely shameful mess of Romanist made-up canon laws (“spiritual laws”) and imperial laws (“temporal laws”) under which the poor Germans are now subjected.

Here Luther does not confirm he agreed with “it is said,” or that the Turks should rule in place of the pope. Luther doesn’t mean that the nobles and princes should consider appointing a Muslim or two to govern Germany. The statement serves to direct attention to the points Luther wanted to make in his subsequent paragraphs and in what he had been alluding to in the many previous paragraphs.

If I say, “It is said that Luther threw an inkwell at the devil,” or “It is said that, as a child, George Washington chopped down a cherry tree,” or “It is said that a cat has nine lives”, no one should assume (like some mistakenly have with Luther’s “It is said…”) that such a statement is true, or I believe it to be true, or I’m actually promoting it as the truth… or at least one should suspend judgment on what they think is meant until the context of what is said in any such statement is heard and understood.

The last phrase, “so that there is no estate which lives according to the light of nature, still less according to Holy Scripture,” must include both the Turkish government as well as the Romish rule Luther has castigated throughout his Letter. No one can seriously think Luther is claiming here that estates ruled by Turks according to the Koran are living according to the Holy Scriptures.

Rather than indicating a preference for rule by “wise Turks”, Luther mocks being ruled under the pope and his Romanist followers. Luther’s statement is analogous to cynically claiming, “It is said that there would be no better President than Benedict Arnold, rather than, we must confess, the shameful mess of the current politician in the Oval Office.” That Luther here was only being sarcastic is further confirmed by reading the paragraphs that follow, in which Luther indicates his real preference that “Holy Scriptures and good rulers would be law enough.”

“It seems just to me that territorial laws and territorial customs should take precedence of the general imperial laws, and the imperial laws be used only in case of necessity. Would to God that as every land has its own peculiar character, so it were ruled by its own brief laws, as the lands were ruled before these imperial laws were invented, and many lands are still ruled without them!”

And later in his Letter Luther states:
“…it [is] His will that this empire be ruled by the Christian princes of Germany, regardless whether the pope stole it, or got it by robbery, or made it anew. It is all God’s ordering, which came to pass before we knew of it.”

Not much room for (Islamic) Turkish rule (wise or other) here!!

It is therefore foolishness to rip this single sentence of Luther from its true context, isolate it from any of points Luther was actually discussing in his “Open Letter to the Christian Nobility”, and attempt to dress it up as a fabled quote or disguise it as even a very loose paraphrase”. Luther’s Two Kingdom theology certainly doesn’t need any assistance from such vaudevillian antics.

Fourth – Does the fabled quote still seem somehow Luther-esque?! Is one still claiming that Luther would not object to letting Turks take over and rule?!? So were some in Luther’s time, as he wrote at the beginning of his “On War Against the Turk” (1528):

“Certain persons have been begging me for the past five years to write about war against the Turks, and encourage our people and stir them up to it, and now that the Turk is actually approaching, my friends are compelling me to do this duty, especially since there are some stupid preachers among us Germans (as I am sorry to hear) who are making the people believe that we ought not and must not fight against the Turks. Some are even so crazy as to say that it is not proper for Christians to bear the temporal sword or to be rulers; also because our German people are such a wild and uncivilized folk that there are some who want the Turk to come and rule. All the blame for this wicked error among the people is laid on Luther and must be called ‘the fruit of my Gospel,’ just as I must bear the blame for the rebellion, and for everything bad that happens anywhere in the world.”
“For the popes had never seriously intended to make war on the Turk, but used the Turkish war as a conjurer’s hat, playing around in it, and robbing Germany of money by means of indulgences, whenever they took the notion. All the world knew it, but now it is forgotten. Thus they condemned my article not because it prevented the Turkish war, but because it tore off this conjurer’s hat and blocked the path along which the money went to Rome… If there had been a general opinion that a serious war was at hand, I could have dressed my article up better and made some distinctions….

“But what moved me most of all was this. They undertook to fight against the Turk under the name of Christ, and taught men and stirred them up to do this, as though our people were an army of Christians against the Turks, who were enemies of Christ; and this is straight against Christ’s doctrine and name. It is against His doctrine, because He says that Christians shall not resist evil, shall not fight or quarrel, not take revenge or insist on rights. It is against His name, because in such an army there are scarcely five Christians, and perhaps worse people in the eyes of God than are the Turks; and yet they would all bear the name of Christ….

“I say this not because I would teach that worldly rulers ought not be Christians, or that a Christian cannot bear the sword and serve God in temporal government. Would God they were all Christians, or that no one could be a prince unless he were a Christian! Things would be better than they now are and the Turk would not be so powerful. But what I would do is keep the callings and offices distinct and apart, so that everyone can see to what he is called, and fulfill the duties of his office faithfully and with the heart, in the service of God.”

Luther also points out the danger of a Turkish (Islamist) government to Christians and the Church, bluntly compares such dangers to those of the pope (the Antichrist), and urges the Church to pray for God’s protection against both evils:

“For although some praise his [the Turk's] government because he allows everyone to believe what he will so long as he remains the temporal lord, yet this praise is not true, for he does not allow Christians to come together in public, and no one can openly confess Christ or preach or teach against Mohammed.

“How can one injure Christ more than with these two things; namely, force and wiles? With force, they prevent preaching and suppress the Word. With wiles, they daily put wicked and dangerous examples before men’s eyes and draw men to them. If we then would not lose our Lord Jesus Christ, His Word and faith, we must pray against the Turks as against other enemies of our salvation and of all good. Nay, as we pray against the devil himself….”

“But as the pope is Antichrist, so the Turk is the very devil. The prayer of Christendom is against both. Both shall go down to hell, even though it may take the Last Day to send them there; and I hope it will not be long.”

Regarding those Christians who would foolishly claim they “would rather be ruled by a wise Turk,” Luther chastises them and warns their pastors to show them their sin:

“Moreover, I hear it said that there are those in Germany who desire the coming of the Turk and his government, because they would rather be under the Turk than under the emperor or princes. It would be hard to fight against the Turk with such people. Against them I have no better advice to give than that pastors and preachers be exhorted to be diligent in their preaching and faithful in instructing such people, pointing out to them the danger they are in and the wrong that they are doing, how they are making themselves partakers of great and numberless sins and loading themselves down with them in the sight of God, if they are found in this opinion. For it is misery enough to be compelled to suffer the Turk as overlord and to endure his government; but willingly to put oneself under it, or to desire it, when one need not and is not compelled – the man who does that ought to be shown the sin he is committing and how terribly he is going on.”

Thus, in his “On War Against the Turk” Luther most clearly states his view on the evils of any government under the Turks (Islamists) and the sin of desiring Turkish rule. Such a view completely opposes the idea that Luther was any more than being sarcastic with the notion “there is no better temporal rule anywhere than among the Turks.” There are indeed many, many more statements of Luther in “On War Against the Turk” that are just as valuable today, both for Europe and the U.S., and those who may think about electing Islamists to public office.

Fifth, as for the part of the urban legend dealing with a “foolish Christian” ruler, Luther also commented elsewhere on having a Christian who lacks wisdom as a ruler. One can look at his “Temporal Authority: To What Extent it Should Be Obeyed,” which Luther wrote in 1523 (before the Peasant War):

“What, then, is a prince to do if he lacks the requisite wisdom and has to be guided by the jurists and the lawbooks? Answer: This is why I said that the princely estate is a perilous one. If he be not wise enough himself to master both his laws and his advisers, then the maxim of Solomon applies, “Woe to the land whose prince is a child” [Eccles. 10:16]. Solomon recognized this too. This is why he despaired of all law-even of that which Moses through God had prescribed for him-and of all his princes and counselors. He turned to God himself and besought him for an understanding heart to govern the people [I Kings 3:9]. A prince must follow this example and proceed in fear; he must depend neither upon the dead books nor living heads, but cling solely to God, and be at him constantly, praying for a right understanding, beyond that of all books and teachers, to rule his subjects wisely. For this reason I know of no law to prescribe for a prince; instead, I will simply instruct his heart and mind on what his attitude should be toward all laws, counsels, judgments, and actions. If he governs himself accordingly, God will surely grant him the ability to carry out all laws, counsels, and actions in a proper and godly way.”

Nowhere in this excerpt has Luther suggested bringing in or preferring a Turk to replace a prince lacking requisite wisdom to govern by himself.

Sixth, regarding suggestions that Luther’s later writings, including his Catechisms, differ in viewpoint from his earlier 1520 writing on the issue of Turkish rule. Such suggestions are without warrant because Luther’s condemnation of the Turks was also in his “On War Against the Turk”, which Luther started on October 9, 1528, and published in January, 1529. His anti-Turkish statements were prophetic in that later, in May 1529, Sultan Suleiman I left Constantinople and reached the Vienna in late September, but the Turks failed in their attempts to conquer the city and left on October 14, after killing all their prisoners. Luther’s Large Catechism had as its basis three series of sermons Luther preached in May, September, and November, 1528 and in March, 1529. He began writing the Catechism in September 1528 and the Large Catechism was published in mid-April, 1529.

That these two documents, written essentially simultaneously, are congruent in their opposition to Turkish rule is evident in Luther’s view of the Turks in “On War Against the Turk” and Luther’s explanation of the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer:

“76] Let this be a very brief explanation and sketch, showing how far this petition extends through all conditions on earth. Of this any one might indeed make a long prayer, and with many words enumerate all the things that are included therein, as that we pray God… 77] Likewise, that He give to emperors, kings, and all estates, and especially to the rulers of our country and to all counselors, magistrates, and officers, wisdom, strength, and success that they may govern well and vanquish the Turks and all enemies…” [Emphasis added]

Following the Turks’ retreat in 1529, Luther published his “Militant Sermon against the Turk,” exhorting the Germans to resist Turkish aggression and to pray against the spread of Islam. Luther also instructs the Christian reader to remain steadfast in the faith in case of capture by the Turk.

In 1541, following the fall of what is now Budapest, Hungary, to the Turks, Luther wrote his “Exhortation to Prayer against the Turk”, which again expressed similar concern about the Islamic menace as he had written previously. Other Lutheran theologians also wrote against the Turks, and, as indicated in Luther’s Large Catechism, prayers to God for protection against the Turks were offered in worship services.

These statements by Martin Luther and their context within the various documents he wrote are more than sufficient to convince reasonable readers that Luther would never have uttered the falsely attributed quote and would never regard as a preferable desire or choice to be ruled by a Turk. The false quote, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a stupid Christian,” is not “Luther-esque” and in fact, it is diametrically opposed to the position on which we know from his writings Luther firmly stood.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Whether Luther said it, or not, it’s still a good and valid example of the Two Kingdoms Doctrine.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Whether Luther said it, or not, it’s still a good and valid example of the Two Kingdoms Doctrine.

  • helen

    Well, we going to spend the next couple of months listening to why we should elect a non Christian over a doubtful one. That should be as much example of the Two Kingdoms as anyone needs, and right under their noses, too.

  • helen

    Well, we going to spend the next couple of months listening to why we should elect a non Christian over a doubtful one. That should be as much example of the Two Kingdoms as anyone needs, and right under their noses, too.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Amen, Helen.

    This time in the history of our country is Two Kingdoms on steroids.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Amen, Helen.

    This time in the history of our country is Two Kingdoms on steroids.

  • Tom Hering

    Whether Luther said it, or not, it’s still a good and valid example of the Two Kingdoms Doctrine. (@ 1)

    So, you disagree with the article’s conclusion:

    The false quote, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a stupid Christian,” is not “Luther-esque” and in fact, it is diametrically opposed to the position on which we know from his writings Luther firmly stood.

  • Tom Hering

    Whether Luther said it, or not, it’s still a good and valid example of the Two Kingdoms Doctrine. (@ 1)

    So, you disagree with the article’s conclusion:

    The false quote, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a stupid Christian,” is not “Luther-esque” and in fact, it is diametrically opposed to the position on which we know from his writings Luther firmly stood.

  • Paul in MN

    Author! Author! Thank you for this. But may I cite someone besides the nom de plume of Carl Vehse?

  • Paul in MN

    Author! Author! Thank you for this. But may I cite someone besides the nom de plume of Carl Vehse?

  • Carl Vehse

    Tom Hering @4:“So, you disagree with the article’s conclusion”

    Well, Martin Luther agreed with the conclusion:

    “For it is misery enough to be compelled to suffer the Turk as overlord and to endure his government; but willingly to put oneself under it, or to desire it, when one need not and is not compelled – the man who does that ought to be shown the sin he is committing and how terribly he is going on.”

    Of course, in the U.S. form of government (or at least what’s left of it), the President is not the ruler, the people are. The President, Congress and other elected and appointed officials have only limited powers according to the Constitution, which we the people ordained and established for the United States of America, that is, we the people.

  • Carl Vehse

    Tom Hering @4:“So, you disagree with the article’s conclusion”

    Well, Martin Luther agreed with the conclusion:

    “For it is misery enough to be compelled to suffer the Turk as overlord and to endure his government; but willingly to put oneself under it, or to desire it, when one need not and is not compelled – the man who does that ought to be shown the sin he is committing and how terribly he is going on.”

    Of course, in the U.S. form of government (or at least what’s left of it), the President is not the ruler, the people are. The President, Congress and other elected and appointed officials have only limited powers according to the Constitution, which we the people ordained and established for the United States of America, that is, we the people.

  • Jim

    The closest that I have found to the alleged quote is in “What Luther Says” under government: “The reasonable question has been put whether it is better to have a good but imprudent ruler (princeps) or a prudent but personally bad one. Moses here certainly calls for both: a good and prudent ruler. However, if both qualifications cannot be had, a prudent ruler who is not personally good is better than a good one who is not prudent, because a good one who rules nothing but is only ruled–only by the worst of people.” (Vol. II, p. 583; quote #1774)

  • Jim

    The closest that I have found to the alleged quote is in “What Luther Says” under government: “The reasonable question has been put whether it is better to have a good but imprudent ruler (princeps) or a prudent but personally bad one. Moses here certainly calls for both: a good and prudent ruler. However, if both qualifications cannot be had, a prudent ruler who is not personally good is better than a good one who is not prudent, because a good one who rules nothing but is only ruled–only by the worst of people.” (Vol. II, p. 583; quote #1774)

  • WebMonk

    Jim, that certainly sounds like Luther’s sentiment was pretty firmly on the side of “Better a wise Turk,” even though he never said those exact words.

    The quotes in the article certainly talk about other things, but those are beyond the directly applicable quote you have. In the article’s quotes, Luther is dealing with a lot of different issues, and given all those issues he apparently came down on the side that it was better to specifically have the Roman Catholic Church as rulers than it was to have Muslims as rulers.

    But, in the more abstract, as you wrote, it seems that his view was that it was generally better to have a prudent ruler who is outside Christianity than a foolish ruler who is a Christian.

  • WebMonk

    Jim, that certainly sounds like Luther’s sentiment was pretty firmly on the side of “Better a wise Turk,” even though he never said those exact words.

    The quotes in the article certainly talk about other things, but those are beyond the directly applicable quote you have. In the article’s quotes, Luther is dealing with a lot of different issues, and given all those issues he apparently came down on the side that it was better to specifically have the Roman Catholic Church as rulers than it was to have Muslims as rulers.

    But, in the more abstract, as you wrote, it seems that his view was that it was generally better to have a prudent ruler who is outside Christianity than a foolish ruler who is a Christian.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m just glad to see the “fifth-column media” bon mot move out of the comments and take its rightful place in the post itself. Unlike the “wise Turk” quote, one never tires of the inherent ingenuity of “fifth-column media”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m just glad to see the “fifth-column media” bon mot move out of the comments and take its rightful place in the post itself. Unlike the “wise Turk” quote, one never tires of the inherent ingenuity of “fifth-column media”.

  • Carl Vehse

    Gene Veith: “At any rate, I would love to identify the earliest occurrence of that quotation in print.”

    Gene, have you talked recently with John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com, and Communications Director, Institute On The Constitution. In an interview, Lofton did with you back around 2010 and he played a segment from an October 31, 2009, interview he did with Chuck Colson, “Church Colson’s New Christian Worldview Site, Part 2.” In that interview in which Colson had promoted the Luther “quote” (at 5:56 into the audio) Lofton told Chuck that 20 years ago he had checked with top Lutheran scholars in the country and they said the quote was not from Luther. Lofton even noted, “Luther would never have believed there was such a thing as a wise Turk.” (BTW Colson also claimed he believed it was a sin not to vote.)

    So if around 1990 Lutheran scholars Lofton had checked with knew it was a bogus quote, one of them might know where the nonquote came from.

  • Carl Vehse

    Gene Veith: “At any rate, I would love to identify the earliest occurrence of that quotation in print.”

    Gene, have you talked recently with John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com, and Communications Director, Institute On The Constitution. In an interview, Lofton did with you back around 2010 and he played a segment from an October 31, 2009, interview he did with Chuck Colson, “Church Colson’s New Christian Worldview Site, Part 2.” In that interview in which Colson had promoted the Luther “quote” (at 5:56 into the audio) Lofton told Chuck that 20 years ago he had checked with top Lutheran scholars in the country and they said the quote was not from Luther. Lofton even noted, “Luther would never have believed there was such a thing as a wise Turk.” (BTW Colson also claimed he believed it was a sin not to vote.)

    So if around 1990 Lutheran scholars Lofton had checked with knew it was a bogus quote, one of them might know where the nonquote came from.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here are some older references I found to the “wise Turk” non-quote (there are a number of others in the 1990-2010 time frame). None of these references provides a source for the quote. More seemed to be devoted to creative writing.

    1. Robert Benne wrote in his Ordinary Saints (Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis, 2003, p. 65): “Luther recognized this when he announced in typical robust style that he would rather be governed by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.”

    2. William Henry Lazareth’s Christians in Society: Luther, the Bible, and Social Ethics (Augsburg Fortress, 2001, p. 17): “Recent Luther research would suggest that this approach owes more to the later ethos of Pietism than to the public theology of the classical Lutheran Reformation epitomized in Luther’s alleged axiom: “Better a wise Turk than a foolish Christian for mayor.”

    3. Dean C. Curry and Marvin Olasky wrote in their book, A world without Tyranny: Christian Faith and International Politics (Crossway Books, Westchester, 1990, p. 85): “Martin Luther once quipped, in his own unique way, that it is better to be wooed by a wise Turk than a dumb Christian.”

    4. Institute for Educational Affairs’ This world, Issues 13-15, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1986, p. 57: “It is with this understanding of a theology of politics that Luther could say he would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian.”

    4. The Lutheran Church in America’s The Lutheran (Vol. 16, 1978, p. 157) stated: “Luther once said concerning the conduct of human affairs: “Better a wise Turk than a foolish, bungling Christian.”

    5. The American Lutheran Church’s The Lutheran Standard (Vol. 4, 1964, p. 391) printed: “Better a wise Turk,” said the Great Reformer, “than a foolish Christian for prince.”

  • Carl Vehse

    Here are some older references I found to the “wise Turk” non-quote (there are a number of others in the 1990-2010 time frame). None of these references provides a source for the quote. More seemed to be devoted to creative writing.

    1. Robert Benne wrote in his Ordinary Saints (Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis, 2003, p. 65): “Luther recognized this when he announced in typical robust style that he would rather be governed by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.”

    2. William Henry Lazareth’s Christians in Society: Luther, the Bible, and Social Ethics (Augsburg Fortress, 2001, p. 17): “Recent Luther research would suggest that this approach owes more to the later ethos of Pietism than to the public theology of the classical Lutheran Reformation epitomized in Luther’s alleged axiom: “Better a wise Turk than a foolish Christian for mayor.”

    3. Dean C. Curry and Marvin Olasky wrote in their book, A world without Tyranny: Christian Faith and International Politics (Crossway Books, Westchester, 1990, p. 85): “Martin Luther once quipped, in his own unique way, that it is better to be wooed by a wise Turk than a dumb Christian.”

    4. Institute for Educational Affairs’ This world, Issues 13-15, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1986, p. 57: “It is with this understanding of a theology of politics that Luther could say he would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian.”

    4. The Lutheran Church in America’s The Lutheran (Vol. 16, 1978, p. 157) stated: “Luther once said concerning the conduct of human affairs: “Better a wise Turk than a foolish, bungling Christian.”

    5. The American Lutheran Church’s The Lutheran Standard (Vol. 4, 1964, p. 391) printed: “Better a wise Turk,” said the Great Reformer, “than a foolish Christian for prince.”

  • Joe

    Carl — can you give us the context of what the quote you cite in 6 above. I am not sure from that quote alone that we can draw the inference that Luther would not prefer a wise Turk over a moron of a Christian.

    That quote you provide could be from a discussion of whether we should fight the Turkish invasion at all or simply surrender on some sort of quasi-pacifist grounds or it could, as you suggest, support you position that Luther would prefer a stupid Christian over a wise Turk. I can’t tell from the quote alone.

  • Joe

    Carl — can you give us the context of what the quote you cite in 6 above. I am not sure from that quote alone that we can draw the inference that Luther would not prefer a wise Turk over a moron of a Christian.

    That quote you provide could be from a discussion of whether we should fight the Turkish invasion at all or simply surrender on some sort of quasi-pacifist grounds or it could, as you suggest, support you position that Luther would prefer a stupid Christian over a wise Turk. I can’t tell from the quote alone.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Tom H.,

    I think the quote is very Luther-esque.

    If he didn’t say it, he should have.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Tom H.,

    I think the quote is very Luther-esque.

    If he didn’t say it, he should have.

  • Carl Vehse

    Joe @12,

    In looking for early versions of the nonquote, I used the keywords, “Luther” and “wise Turk,” on Google or books.google.com. Some of links provided only snippets containing little more than the quote, along with the source, date, and page.

  • Carl Vehse

    Joe @12,

    In looking for early versions of the nonquote, I used the keywords, “Luther” and “wise Turk,” on Google or books.google.com. Some of links provided only snippets containing little more than the quote, along with the source, date, and page.

  • larry

    Its actually very non -lutheranesque and the exemlpar of the confusion of the two kingdoms. Because to be ruled by such would be to actually BE ruled by that which by its very definition and ruling power and implementation confuses the two kingdoms. I.e. it fails at what it wishes to implement. And Mormonism precisely like Islam by design confounds the two kingdoms.

    The problem with MR is he is seducing Christianity.

  • larry

    Its actually very non -lutheranesque and the exemlpar of the confusion of the two kingdoms. Because to be ruled by such would be to actually BE ruled by that which by its very definition and ruling power and implementation confuses the two kingdoms. I.e. it fails at what it wishes to implement. And Mormonism precisely like Islam by design confounds the two kingdoms.

    The problem with MR is he is seducing Christianity.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Being “ruled” suggests the early kingdom wherein God grants government power in the everyday events of our lives.It is a law issue. There is nothing, nor does there necessarily have to be anything ‘Christian’ about that.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Being “ruled” suggests the early kingdom wherein God grants government power in the everyday events of our lives.It is a law issue. There is nothing, nor does there necessarily have to be anything ‘Christian’ about that.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    “Christian life in this world is a holding operation. The task: To restrain evil that life may endure. Common reason and the sword are the proper tools for restraining evil.

    For the sake of both kingdoms, the church serves the secular realm by disavowing all religiously- infused politics and politically- infused religion.”

    From CrossAlone Lutheran Network

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    “Christian life in this world is a holding operation. The task: To restrain evil that life may endure. Common reason and the sword are the proper tools for restraining evil.

    For the sake of both kingdoms, the church serves the secular realm by disavowing all religiously- infused politics and politically- infused religion.”

    From CrossAlone Lutheran Network

  • Karen Janssen

    Only one person noted that the USA is a unique form of government. Luther would certainly have been writing from the perspective of a government in which the ruler’s religion was an integral part of his rule. That SHOULD not be the case here. Our “ruler” should be judged on competence and character since he is forbidden to interfere with the citizen’s religious activity or belief.

  • Karen Janssen

    Only one person noted that the USA is a unique form of government. Luther would certainly have been writing from the perspective of a government in which the ruler’s religion was an integral part of his rule. That SHOULD not be the case here. Our “ruler” should be judged on competence and character since he is forbidden to interfere with the citizen’s religious activity or belief.

  • Carl Vehse

    During Luther’s time, the State was part of the Church. Several of the Lutheran confessional documents were officially signed by State officials, along with church theologians.

    Some of Luther’s writings indicated he saw the difficulties such an existing Church/State overlap had for his writing about the Two Kingdom doctrine.

    Later, in the 19th century, this Church/State overlap resulted in the Prussian Union, in attacks on confessional Lutherans, and in the emigration of many of those Lutherans to the U.S. and elsewhere. So what was evil, God used for good.

  • Carl Vehse

    During Luther’s time, the State was part of the Church. Several of the Lutheran confessional documents were officially signed by State officials, along with church theologians.

    Some of Luther’s writings indicated he saw the difficulties such an existing Church/State overlap had for his writing about the Two Kingdom doctrine.

    Later, in the 19th century, this Church/State overlap resulted in the Prussian Union, in attacks on confessional Lutherans, and in the emigration of many of those Lutherans to the U.S. and elsewhere. So what was evil, God used for good.

  • larry

    American politics and religious structure is the very definition of the confusion of the two kingdoms, consisting precisely of politically infused religion and religiously infused politics. It is precisely why conservativism is largely identified with “christianity” and Mormonism as quasi Christian. In fact there is hardly a greater example of a complete saturated confusion of the two kingdoms than the American / religious complex. The reason its not recognized shows the depths of its complete saturation. In fact for some time now, and I’m conservative, conservatives are more guilty of this confusion of the two kingdoms than liberal politics.

    As poorly as Obama has governed, Romney is far more dangerous long term to true Christian faith and church. In fact if elected MR will succeed better in skill of governing, but a far greater deception of souls sill, as already has been occurring

  • larry

    American politics and religious structure is the very definition of the confusion of the two kingdoms, consisting precisely of politically infused religion and religiously infused politics. It is precisely why conservativism is largely identified with “christianity” and Mormonism as quasi Christian. In fact there is hardly a greater example of a complete saturated confusion of the two kingdoms than the American / religious complex. The reason its not recognized shows the depths of its complete saturation. In fact for some time now, and I’m conservative, conservatives are more guilty of this confusion of the two kingdoms than liberal politics.

    As poorly as Obama has governed, Romney is far more dangerous long term to true Christian faith and church. In fact if elected MR will succeed better in skill of governing, but a far greater deception of souls sill, as already has been occurring

  • larry

    In fact Romney has already silenced and blurred the lines between Christian and Mormon to the point now that no one dare bring this up for fear of repercussion from conservative party rule. By making BO the “great ” enemy who must be beat at all cost anything. Dogmatic has been silenced under.the false dilemma. In he has perfected the deadly combination of pragmatism and realativism as the American religion, to be fair it started before him. One might say under the miss use of the Constitution America at length has perfected an utter confusion of the two kingdoms to the point that even a hypothetical line in the sand no longer exists.

    In fact the proof is in the pudding. Ask most conservatives who identify themselves as Christian if Romney is, and they’ll say yes. And ask someone who does not live in the isolated towers of a seminary.

    What is being so easily missed WITH MR is not that he cannot lead unless hes a CHRISTIAN, but that that demarcation is no longer allowed. And that is the danger and surreptitious confusion of the two kingdoms.

  • larry

    In fact Romney has already silenced and blurred the lines between Christian and Mormon to the point now that no one dare bring this up for fear of repercussion from conservative party rule. By making BO the “great ” enemy who must be beat at all cost anything. Dogmatic has been silenced under.the false dilemma. In he has perfected the deadly combination of pragmatism and realativism as the American religion, to be fair it started before him. One might say under the miss use of the Constitution America at length has perfected an utter confusion of the two kingdoms to the point that even a hypothetical line in the sand no longer exists.

    In fact the proof is in the pudding. Ask most conservatives who identify themselves as Christian if Romney is, and they’ll say yes. And ask someone who does not live in the isolated towers of a seminary.

    What is being so easily missed WITH MR is not that he cannot lead unless hes a CHRISTIAN, but that that demarcation is no longer allowed. And that is the danger and surreptitious confusion of the two kingdoms.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Why can’t he lead if he is not a Christian?

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Why can’t he lead if he is not a Christian?

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Sorry, Larry. I misread your comment.

    I still believe that it matters not what they say they are, or what they do or do not do (as far as the Christian faith is concerned)…but whether or not they can make constructive decisions for the good of this country.

    I would vote for a professed atheist who has conservative political views, over the likes of …say…Jimmy Carter…who is an Evangelical. Christian.

    Politics is in the realm of law.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Sorry, Larry. I misread your comment.

    I still believe that it matters not what they say they are, or what they do or do not do (as far as the Christian faith is concerned)…but whether or not they can make constructive decisions for the good of this country.

    I would vote for a professed atheist who has conservative political views, over the likes of …say…Jimmy Carter…who is an Evangelical. Christian.

    Politics is in the realm of law.

  • larry

    All things being equal I would too but they are not equal in this case and the greater danger exist. Thus I will not vote for that which smiles and has a Lilly white good quasiconservative story for the sake of my pocket book which by itscontinued promotion of deception murders souls. Its very tempting to do I admit, in fact I have to fight against myself on this quite a bit. What’s telling to me on this is how fellow conservatives (locally) who have been so far less longer than I ever have been, get upset at me over it – surprisingly evangelicals at that. Which shows me that there pocket book is really their god.

    If the deception over ‘what is a christian ‘ in this case versus mormon were not occurring, then I could vote for the better of the two, as you said no problem at all.

    Who can better run the country in this case is a false dilemma, the surreptitious deception selling Mormonism as christian IS the real issue and the evidence that the confusion of the two kingdoms is well established. For I did not say I would not vote for the capable atheist versus the incapable Christian, I said I specifically will note vote for that deception that mingles, rather overtly christianity with Mormonism and has de facto through politics no less the two kingdoms. Whereby christian equals American and anything thatspeaks clarity on that is de facto silenced as “against the cause “.

    Here ironically the cons are guilty of what they accuse libs, using a crisis to ram down a “do or die ” agenda. Voting wisely does not vote that way, ghats voting enthusiastically

  • larry

    All things being equal I would too but they are not equal in this case and the greater danger exist. Thus I will not vote for that which smiles and has a Lilly white good quasiconservative story for the sake of my pocket book which by itscontinued promotion of deception murders souls. Its very tempting to do I admit, in fact I have to fight against myself on this quite a bit. What’s telling to me on this is how fellow conservatives (locally) who have been so far less longer than I ever have been, get upset at me over it – surprisingly evangelicals at that. Which shows me that there pocket book is really their god.

    If the deception over ‘what is a christian ‘ in this case versus mormon were not occurring, then I could vote for the better of the two, as you said no problem at all.

    Who can better run the country in this case is a false dilemma, the surreptitious deception selling Mormonism as christian IS the real issue and the evidence that the confusion of the two kingdoms is well established. For I did not say I would not vote for the capable atheist versus the incapable Christian, I said I specifically will note vote for that deception that mingles, rather overtly christianity with Mormonism and has de facto through politics no less the two kingdoms. Whereby christian equals American and anything thatspeaks clarity on that is de facto silenced as “against the cause “.

    Here ironically the cons are guilty of what they accuse libs, using a crisis to ram down a “do or die ” agenda. Voting wisely does not vote that way, ghats voting enthusiastically

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    If a Mormon becomes President, the left media (redundant) will run all sorts of hit pieces against Mormonism.

    It may help people better discern the truth of Mormonism.

    The Lord works in mysterious ways.

    In fact, it’s the only way He works.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    If a Mormon becomes President, the left media (redundant) will run all sorts of hit pieces against Mormonism.

    It may help people better discern the truth of Mormonism.

    The Lord works in mysterious ways.

    In fact, it’s the only way He works.

  • larry

    The hypothesis of “a liberal media revelation of Mormonism” is not going to happen. The liberal media will ever hardly distinguish between law and gospel so as to say, “this is the Christian faith and that is Mormonism”. No what they will do is what they’ve always done, report Mormonism as “this set of right morals and virtues” equivalent to “Christian” right morals and virtues in opposition to left morals and virtues, i.e. the very confusion of the two kingdoms and continuation of it. The right will be ever more steeled at opposition to this as it identifies its right virtues as Christian and now Mormonism concurs. At length the ignorant but right leaning laity will slowly “discover”, “hey we are not that different from Mormons” (which has already been occurring).

    In fact only a few months ago a liberal mormon wrote an article being blunt and bold about Mormonism NOT being Christian, not Nicene confessing as he stated, and he had not problem point blank about it being called altogether a different religion. Now whether his effort in this was honest or politically motivated to detract from Christian votes for MR is utterly irrelevant. What was very relevant was the who hit back against him with that very punch, the right. Thus, a clear fact revealed! Even if the liberal media was so bold as this writer wrote on the issue by making the crystal clear demarcation between Mormonism and Christianity, the “christianesque” right immediately pounced on him, declared it a political tactic and quickly sequestered ANY mention of ANY demarcation between the true faith and another false religion by even one of their own (a mormon himself). Hence the right silences the truth under the guise of political expediency.

    All said and done the right has been, is and shall continue to be the more dangerous to the true church and true confessional faith, for this very reason, than the left ever was, is or ever will be.

    Presently this mingling of Mormonism with Christianity via the political way (a rather gross and obvious confusion of the two kingdoms) is more or less in phase one, tolerance for. It is quickly moving to “equal time” and stepping into intolerance for the truth under the pressure of the “common left enemy needs beat at all cost” and hence the sequestering of ANY demarcation of the difference between Mormonism and Christianity (and this too is increasingly obvious).

    Anyone who has studied and trained in order to deal with elder missionaries out of the LDS already recognizes that MR’s campaign technique is basically their proselytizing technique at a much larger scale and level, and “friendly/common goal” is basically step one for “foot in the door”. Its very convincing, especially to conservative minded folks, and very tempting when one’s alternative is a politically diametric opposite.

    Again this is not about a Mormon or other non-christian being able or fit for the office of president or other leadership. If that were the only issue, then indeed, it would be EASY to vote for MR. E.g. if an atheist said point blank, “Hey I’m an atheist but here is my skill set proving my abilities to do X, then it sure it’s a no brainer, hire/elect that person”. It’s when the religious doctrines are Trojan horsed in on the political in a complete confusion of the two kingdoms that it becomes a different issue.

    It will work for good for the church, the church that remains faithful to the true doctrines, yet it will suffer the cross for doing so and be increasingly marginalized and tempted away from the truth. Whether this brings the persecution of the sword with it or the persecution of scoffing only is at the end of the day still to be seen. But with it, many will be seduced away from the faith, due to the worries of this world (one of the great temptations we find) and dragged into the broad road that leads to eternal destruction.

  • larry

    The hypothesis of “a liberal media revelation of Mormonism” is not going to happen. The liberal media will ever hardly distinguish between law and gospel so as to say, “this is the Christian faith and that is Mormonism”. No what they will do is what they’ve always done, report Mormonism as “this set of right morals and virtues” equivalent to “Christian” right morals and virtues in opposition to left morals and virtues, i.e. the very confusion of the two kingdoms and continuation of it. The right will be ever more steeled at opposition to this as it identifies its right virtues as Christian and now Mormonism concurs. At length the ignorant but right leaning laity will slowly “discover”, “hey we are not that different from Mormons” (which has already been occurring).

    In fact only a few months ago a liberal mormon wrote an article being blunt and bold about Mormonism NOT being Christian, not Nicene confessing as he stated, and he had not problem point blank about it being called altogether a different religion. Now whether his effort in this was honest or politically motivated to detract from Christian votes for MR is utterly irrelevant. What was very relevant was the who hit back against him with that very punch, the right. Thus, a clear fact revealed! Even if the liberal media was so bold as this writer wrote on the issue by making the crystal clear demarcation between Mormonism and Christianity, the “christianesque” right immediately pounced on him, declared it a political tactic and quickly sequestered ANY mention of ANY demarcation between the true faith and another false religion by even one of their own (a mormon himself). Hence the right silences the truth under the guise of political expediency.

    All said and done the right has been, is and shall continue to be the more dangerous to the true church and true confessional faith, for this very reason, than the left ever was, is or ever will be.

    Presently this mingling of Mormonism with Christianity via the political way (a rather gross and obvious confusion of the two kingdoms) is more or less in phase one, tolerance for. It is quickly moving to “equal time” and stepping into intolerance for the truth under the pressure of the “common left enemy needs beat at all cost” and hence the sequestering of ANY demarcation of the difference between Mormonism and Christianity (and this too is increasingly obvious).

    Anyone who has studied and trained in order to deal with elder missionaries out of the LDS already recognizes that MR’s campaign technique is basically their proselytizing technique at a much larger scale and level, and “friendly/common goal” is basically step one for “foot in the door”. Its very convincing, especially to conservative minded folks, and very tempting when one’s alternative is a politically diametric opposite.

    Again this is not about a Mormon or other non-christian being able or fit for the office of president or other leadership. If that were the only issue, then indeed, it would be EASY to vote for MR. E.g. if an atheist said point blank, “Hey I’m an atheist but here is my skill set proving my abilities to do X, then it sure it’s a no brainer, hire/elect that person”. It’s when the religious doctrines are Trojan horsed in on the political in a complete confusion of the two kingdoms that it becomes a different issue.

    It will work for good for the church, the church that remains faithful to the true doctrines, yet it will suffer the cross for doing so and be increasingly marginalized and tempted away from the truth. Whether this brings the persecution of the sword with it or the persecution of scoffing only is at the end of the day still to be seen. But with it, many will be seduced away from the faith, due to the worries of this world (one of the great temptations we find) and dragged into the broad road that leads to eternal destruction.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Larry,

    I’ve already seen some things coming out of the media on Mormonism, highlighting some of the wackier beliefs of Mormonism.

    Look for much more to come.

    I think it’s great that a lot of people will find out these things about Mormonism before many of them would get sucked into it.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Larry,

    I’ve already seen some things coming out of the media on Mormonism, highlighting some of the wackier beliefs of Mormonism.

    Look for much more to come.

    I think it’s great that a lot of people will find out these things about Mormonism before many of them would get sucked into it.

  • larry

    Those things are irrelevant because the issue or danger is not that there will be this en mass conversion to Mormonism. That’s utterly irrelavent. That’s not the confusing of the two kingdoms nor Mormonism with christianity going on in the Rep. party. The confusion is the moral /virtue identity. This is why talking head / Christians speak of Mormonism as a variant christianity, and they don’t mean false, they mean a more or less now acceptable variation but in the realm of “mere Christianity ” to borrow a phrase.

    But again that actually makes the point. The left may indeed do this, but what will the right do? They’ll do precisely what they’ve been doing, sequester any demarcation as political FOR political expediency. The exact point and issue of the matter of the confounding of doctrine via a confounding of the two kingdoms. It makes the point all the more that it is in fact the right who are more deadly to the christian faith rather than the left.

  • larry

    Those things are irrelevant because the issue or danger is not that there will be this en mass conversion to Mormonism. That’s utterly irrelavent. That’s not the confusing of the two kingdoms nor Mormonism with christianity going on in the Rep. party. The confusion is the moral /virtue identity. This is why talking head / Christians speak of Mormonism as a variant christianity, and they don’t mean false, they mean a more or less now acceptable variation but in the realm of “mere Christianity ” to borrow a phrase.

    But again that actually makes the point. The left may indeed do this, but what will the right do? They’ll do precisely what they’ve been doing, sequester any demarcation as political FOR political expediency. The exact point and issue of the matter of the confounding of doctrine via a confounding of the two kingdoms. It makes the point all the more that it is in fact the right who are more deadly to the christian faith rather than the left.

  • larry

    Also note how the question is different concerning obama versus Romney. For obama the question comes in the form of “is BO a Christian? ” For MR it is, “Is Mormonism CHRISTIAN? ” One asks a subjective question of a man, the other concerning the objective nature of a body of doctrine.

  • larry

    Also note how the question is different concerning obama versus Romney. For obama the question comes in the form of “is BO a Christian? ” For MR it is, “Is Mormonism CHRISTIAN? ” One asks a subjective question of a man, the other concerning the objective nature of a body of doctrine.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Ok, Larry.

    God is much bigger than the left or right in this country, and His purposes will be carried out no matter who wins.

    He uses pagan kings and ragtag peoples and lowly sinners and ordinary earthly elements to carry out His infinite will.

    Fear not.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Ok, Larry.

    God is much bigger than the left or right in this country, and His purposes will be carried out no matter who wins.

    He uses pagan kings and ragtag peoples and lowly sinners and ordinary earthly elements to carry out His infinite will.

    Fear not.

  • fws

    its interesting to me that the main reason conservative christians dont want gay marriage is that it will legitimize homosexuality.

    but isnt it a greater danger to legitimize mormonism as being, somehow, christian with a mormon president. doesnt that really legitimize mormonism in a way that it is not now? and wouldnt that be alot scarier than legitimizing even lesbianism or homosexuality?

  • fws

    its interesting to me that the main reason conservative christians dont want gay marriage is that it will legitimize homosexuality.

    but isnt it a greater danger to legitimize mormonism as being, somehow, christian with a mormon president. doesnt that really legitimize mormonism in a way that it is not now? and wouldnt that be alot scarier than legitimizing even lesbianism or homosexuality?

  • larry

    Steve you don’t understand at all, I don’t fear in the least. That’s precisely why I don’t feel bound to vote for MR even if BO is the worst president to ever have been elected. God is INDEED my God. The fear and fear mongering is coming from those who are preaching fear over Obama and he must be unelected at all cost. Ive already made this point several times above. In fact it is the exact fear and fear mongering the left used and the right accusers them of.

    I thought I was clear about that.

  • larry

    Steve you don’t understand at all, I don’t fear in the least. That’s precisely why I don’t feel bound to vote for MR even if BO is the worst president to ever have been elected. God is INDEED my God. The fear and fear mongering is coming from those who are preaching fear over Obama and he must be unelected at all cost. Ive already made this point several times above. In fact it is the exact fear and fear mongering the left used and the right accusers them of.

    I thought I was clear about that.

  • Carl Vehse

    The attempt to associate something Luther said with the “wise Turk” nonquote can be done by ignoring the word “Turk” (i.e. Islamist), but then what Luther said is not really associated with the nonquote. And given what Luther actually did say opposing the Turk and being ruled by a Turk, any claims that Luther said something equivalent to the nonquote carries the implication that Luther was duplicitous.

    The alleged danger that a mormon president would legitimize mormonism as Christian (which it is not) is not an issue on this thread.

    The main reason conservative christians are opposed to same sex marriages is not an issue on this thread or other Cranach threads that have nothing to do with homosexuality.

  • Carl Vehse

    The attempt to associate something Luther said with the “wise Turk” nonquote can be done by ignoring the word “Turk” (i.e. Islamist), but then what Luther said is not really associated with the nonquote. And given what Luther actually did say opposing the Turk and being ruled by a Turk, any claims that Luther said something equivalent to the nonquote carries the implication that Luther was duplicitous.

    The alleged danger that a mormon president would legitimize mormonism as Christian (which it is not) is not an issue on this thread.

    The main reason conservative christians are opposed to same sex marriages is not an issue on this thread or other Cranach threads that have nothing to do with homosexuality.

  • larry

    Furthermore Steve I already pointed out that Gods will would be done even if it brings persecution via MR or BO in some form or another or sets the stage for it later down the road. In the christian should expect this lot in life. The fear is fear of temptation and to put ones trust in MR OR BO as ones god, due to the “worries of this Life ” over trust in God alone “in the darkness of faith “.

    Thus I feel entirely free and fearless to vote or not vote for MR or write whomever I please, because come what may MR or four more years of BO neither are my God…the last verse of “A Mighty Fortress ” is most apropos.

  • larry

    Furthermore Steve I already pointed out that Gods will would be done even if it brings persecution via MR or BO in some form or another or sets the stage for it later down the road. In the christian should expect this lot in life. The fear is fear of temptation and to put ones trust in MR OR BO as ones god, due to the “worries of this Life ” over trust in God alone “in the darkness of faith “.

    Thus I feel entirely free and fearless to vote or not vote for MR or write whomever I please, because come what may MR or four more years of BO neither are my God…the last verse of “A Mighty Fortress ” is most apropos.

  • fws

    suggestion

    Luther often used the word “turk” as a standin for unbelievers. why? in his culture, unlike our own, everyone was baptized. he would not call catholics unchristian.

    so I suggest that he really only means he would rather have a wise unbeliever.

    to narrow the subject the way you want is absurd “carl”. We are talking really about the second table relationships of a believer to those in society who are not.

    certainly this includes all the issues that are called , after buchanans famouse republican party convention speech, culture war issues.

    having a mormon president WOULD legitimize mormonism in a way it is not. and it is clear that Mormons are quite intent on trying to be included in the word “christian” . they teach, as a matter of doctrine, dishonesty and dissembling Carl. ANd yes, this is a far greater threat to christians than the legitimization of gays with gay marriage and this topic is germaine here.

  • fws

    suggestion

    Luther often used the word “turk” as a standin for unbelievers. why? in his culture, unlike our own, everyone was baptized. he would not call catholics unchristian.

    so I suggest that he really only means he would rather have a wise unbeliever.

    to narrow the subject the way you want is absurd “carl”. We are talking really about the second table relationships of a believer to those in society who are not.

    certainly this includes all the issues that are called , after buchanans famouse republican party convention speech, culture war issues.

    having a mormon president WOULD legitimize mormonism in a way it is not. and it is clear that Mormons are quite intent on trying to be included in the word “christian” . they teach, as a matter of doctrine, dishonesty and dissembling Carl. ANd yes, this is a far greater threat to christians than the legitimization of gays with gay marriage and this topic is germaine here.

  • larry

    Actually it is “Carl”. Because the use of the non -quote is being specifically used as an example of the doctrine of the two kingdoms and has been elsewhere which it patently is not. In fact its being used to support that which is precisely a confusion of the two kingdoms as not being a confusion of the two kingdoms. In fact the quote actually dies on its own epistemological sword concerning two kingdoms. It is in reality saying, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk whose rule would explicitly confuse the two kingdoms, than a dumb Christian whose rule should not if he remain Christian confuse the two kingdoms “.

    To ignore this is to ignore the substance of the use of the quote and just to trifle with whether or not Luther said it. The quote and its use is either valid or not in and of itself and not “because Luther said so or not “…the logical fallicy of ‘appeal to authority ‘.

  • larry

    Actually it is “Carl”. Because the use of the non -quote is being specifically used as an example of the doctrine of the two kingdoms and has been elsewhere which it patently is not. In fact its being used to support that which is precisely a confusion of the two kingdoms as not being a confusion of the two kingdoms. In fact the quote actually dies on its own epistemological sword concerning two kingdoms. It is in reality saying, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk whose rule would explicitly confuse the two kingdoms, than a dumb Christian whose rule should not if he remain Christian confuse the two kingdoms “.

    To ignore this is to ignore the substance of the use of the quote and just to trifle with whether or not Luther said it. The quote and its use is either valid or not in and of itself and not “because Luther said so or not “…the logical fallicy of ‘appeal to authority ‘.

  • fws

    Larry +1

    “carl”, always using jewish exegetical techniques to make every text serve some Law or establish some Authority for some policy, somewhere, ….

    has us erroneously focussing on the Authority of Martin Luther to establish whether some Lutheran Letter-of-the-law would permit us to vote for a Mormon or
    not.

    And by doing that he misses the very thing itself that Luther wants to discuss with the text. And that is the proper distinction of Law and Gospel in the form of Two Kingdoms.

    Just as the jews would discuss the story of Onan for rules on masturbation, and miss the entire point of that story. Which is Christ.

    Or someone reads Galatians to hear a rule that Christians must not be circumcized to follow Jewish Law (and t0 say that would be wrong) and so miss the entire point of the text.

  • fws

    Larry +1

    “carl”, always using jewish exegetical techniques to make every text serve some Law or establish some Authority for some policy, somewhere, ….

    has us erroneously focussing on the Authority of Martin Luther to establish whether some Lutheran Letter-of-the-law would permit us to vote for a Mormon or
    not.

    And by doing that he misses the very thing itself that Luther wants to discuss with the text. And that is the proper distinction of Law and Gospel in the form of Two Kingdoms.

    Just as the jews would discuss the story of Onan for rules on masturbation, and miss the entire point of that story. Which is Christ.

    Or someone reads Galatians to hear a rule that Christians must not be circumcized to follow Jewish Law (and t0 say that would be wrong) and so miss the entire point of the text.

  • Carl Vehse

    @35: “ Luther often used the word “turk” as a standin for unbelievers.

    Often? Where did Luther using “Turk” to mean some general “unbeliever” or nonChristian in the context of rulers over the German people. None of Luther’s references provided and discussed in the article on the nonquote use “Turk” to mean some average run-of-the-mill Teutonic unbeliever.

    We are talking really about the second table relationships of a believer to those in society who are not.”

    That may be what you are talking about, along with homosexuality and masturbation. The focus of the thread was that the quote allegedly from Luther is not, and is contradicted by what Luther actually said regarding the Turk and the Christian as rulers.

  • Carl Vehse

    @35: “ Luther often used the word “turk” as a standin for unbelievers.

    Often? Where did Luther using “Turk” to mean some general “unbeliever” or nonChristian in the context of rulers over the German people. None of Luther’s references provided and discussed in the article on the nonquote use “Turk” to mean some average run-of-the-mill Teutonic unbeliever.

    We are talking really about the second table relationships of a believer to those in society who are not.”

    That may be what you are talking about, along with homosexuality and masturbation. The focus of the thread was that the quote allegedly from Luther is not, and is contradicted by what Luther actually said regarding the Turk and the Christian as rulers.

  • fws

    “carl”

    sigh.

    There is not much point in a narrow discussion as to whether Luther said something or not.

    What IS the point if it does not pertain to a larger point about what Luther taught, which is Two Kingdoms AS Law and Gospel distinction, which in turn , is so NOT about the Law.

    Carl , you ONLY focus on the letter of the Law. Show me ONE post where the centrality of the Holy Gospel matters to you.

    Your focus on the Law is to the total exclusion of the Holy Gospel, which was Luther´s always central focus. Yes even when Luther was dealing with the Law.

    So you want this to narrowly be a discussion about Carl´s establishing whether Luther said something or not. What is the point of that? Your ego?

  • fws

    “carl”

    sigh.

    There is not much point in a narrow discussion as to whether Luther said something or not.

    What IS the point if it does not pertain to a larger point about what Luther taught, which is Two Kingdoms AS Law and Gospel distinction, which in turn , is so NOT about the Law.

    Carl , you ONLY focus on the letter of the Law. Show me ONE post where the centrality of the Holy Gospel matters to you.

    Your focus on the Law is to the total exclusion of the Holy Gospel, which was Luther´s always central focus. Yes even when Luther was dealing with the Law.

    So you want this to narrowly be a discussion about Carl´s establishing whether Luther said something or not. What is the point of that? Your ego?

  • Joe

    Larry — I am having the opposite response to this election than you are. I refuse to not vote for the person I believe most capable of being the executive of this country simply because poorly catechized, heterodox Christians are too stupid to realize that Mormonism is not Christianity. You are claiming that some how Romney being elected will cause this confusion, yet you support it with facts that demonstrate this confusion already exists. The confusion is here, defeating Romney will not make a single person stop and say, “oh, I guess Mormons aren’t Christians.”

    So while you affixiate waiting for a doctrinally sound presidential candidate, I’ll vote for Romney and pray that this false profit really does know a few things about how to get the government out of the way of letting the market do its job.

  • Joe

    Larry — I am having the opposite response to this election than you are. I refuse to not vote for the person I believe most capable of being the executive of this country simply because poorly catechized, heterodox Christians are too stupid to realize that Mormonism is not Christianity. You are claiming that some how Romney being elected will cause this confusion, yet you support it with facts that demonstrate this confusion already exists. The confusion is here, defeating Romney will not make a single person stop and say, “oh, I guess Mormons aren’t Christians.”

    So while you affixiate waiting for a doctrinally sound presidential candidate, I’ll vote for Romney and pray that this false profit really does know a few things about how to get the government out of the way of letting the market do its job.

  • fws

    Joe

    it would be great to hear from Bror and other Lutherans who live in Utah .

    This guy was the equivalent of a synod district president and before that the equivalent of a pastor. and before that the head missionary in france. not just a member of a church.

    the Mormon church trains its missionaries to lie, why would I vote for someone where lying is taught as something that is righteousness before God. That is crazy and pathological institutionalized.

  • fws

    Joe

    it would be great to hear from Bror and other Lutherans who live in Utah .

    This guy was the equivalent of a synod district president and before that the equivalent of a pastor. and before that the head missionary in france. not just a member of a church.

    the Mormon church trains its missionaries to lie, why would I vote for someone where lying is taught as something that is righteousness before God. That is crazy and pathological institutionalized.

  • Joe

    Frank — I am not planning to vote for Romney because he is my dream candidate; he isn’t. I am voting for him because I’d rather take the chance that he will disappoint me than settle for a man who has been disappointing me for 4 years.

    I have voted 3rd party in other elections and will probably do so in future elections, but this go around I just don’t see it as an option.

  • Joe

    Frank — I am not planning to vote for Romney because he is my dream candidate; he isn’t. I am voting for him because I’d rather take the chance that he will disappoint me than settle for a man who has been disappointing me for 4 years.

    I have voted 3rd party in other elections and will probably do so in future elections, but this go around I just don’t see it as an option.

  • larry

    Joe the difference between yourself and me is that I still fear for dear heterodox Christians who are so due to this very confusion rather than just ignorantly call the “too stupid ” to know the difference. I know they are real Christians and therefore don’t cast them summarily aside as “stupid ” as you do. In fact a Lutheran prayer is most apropos to such in which we pray for those who have fallen away from the faith “especially those who have due to the corruption of Your truth…”.

    The entire reason I argue for sound doctrine is never to exclude but to INCLUDE and draw fellow bretheran into this glorious faith that they may feast too. Of course I’m aware of “some like yourself who would rather take hour toys and go play alone.”

    You miss my point, vote as you wish, then hold out both hands see if I care in one and shit in the other and see which one gets filled up.

  • larry

    Joe the difference between yourself and me is that I still fear for dear heterodox Christians who are so due to this very confusion rather than just ignorantly call the “too stupid ” to know the difference. I know they are real Christians and therefore don’t cast them summarily aside as “stupid ” as you do. In fact a Lutheran prayer is most apropos to such in which we pray for those who have fallen away from the faith “especially those who have due to the corruption of Your truth…”.

    The entire reason I argue for sound doctrine is never to exclude but to INCLUDE and draw fellow bretheran into this glorious faith that they may feast too. Of course I’m aware of “some like yourself who would rather take hour toys and go play alone.”

    You miss my point, vote as you wish, then hold out both hands see if I care in one and shit in the other and see which one gets filled up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry, FWS, so are you trying to bind the consciences of those who would vote for Romney, telling them that it would be sinful to do so?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry, FWS, so are you trying to bind the consciences of those who would vote for Romney, telling them that it would be sinful to do so?

  • Jon

    MR has a sensible RC conservative running mate.

    Who is really not going to vote for MR, when the alternative is only going to support BO disaster from being re-elected?

    Suppose the guy were a Moonie. Would you not for him because of that?

    The issue is, BO needs to go.

  • Jon

    MR has a sensible RC conservative running mate.

    Who is really not going to vote for MR, when the alternative is only going to support BO disaster from being re-elected?

    Suppose the guy were a Moonie. Would you not for him because of that?

    The issue is, BO needs to go.

  • fws

    Todd

    “bind consciences”

    No more than I would be trying to bind consciences by arguing that clean needle exchange programs, something other than the war on drugs or for some social programs to be paid by the government would be desireable.

    In this case, I am arguing that a Mormon president would legitimize mormonism in exactly the SAME way gay marriage would legitimize homosexuality. Which would be more dangerous ? Discuss. Is that discussion to bind consciences?

  • fws

    Todd

    “bind consciences”

    No more than I would be trying to bind consciences by arguing that clean needle exchange programs, something other than the war on drugs or for some social programs to be paid by the government would be desireable.

    In this case, I am arguing that a Mormon president would legitimize mormonism in exactly the SAME way gay marriage would legitimize homosexuality. Which would be more dangerous ? Discuss. Is that discussion to bind consciences?

  • larry

    Todd,

    No, nothing could be further from the truth, just the opposite. That’s why I say I don’t care who you vote for. I was addressing the larger issue of confounding with “this is Christian”, a growing thing in cons. circles with then the now admixture of or morphing of not so much MR himself but mormonism to be “Christianity”.

    That’s why I said look at how the quetion comes to BO versus MR. The later its always “is HE a Christian”, with MR its “is mormonism Christian”.

    I’m divorcing the “can you vote for X” with the larger issue of “Christianity is now including Y such that it can be called Christianity”. It’s not MR the man the mormon, its the larger issue of Christianity becoming redefined even at the most gross level of a “mere christianity”.

    Not at all binding consceinces, I thought I was crystal clear on that.

  • larry

    Todd,

    No, nothing could be further from the truth, just the opposite. That’s why I say I don’t care who you vote for. I was addressing the larger issue of confounding with “this is Christian”, a growing thing in cons. circles with then the now admixture of or morphing of not so much MR himself but mormonism to be “Christianity”.

    That’s why I said look at how the quetion comes to BO versus MR. The later its always “is HE a Christian”, with MR its “is mormonism Christian”.

    I’m divorcing the “can you vote for X” with the larger issue of “Christianity is now including Y such that it can be called Christianity”. It’s not MR the man the mormon, its the larger issue of Christianity becoming redefined even at the most gross level of a “mere christianity”.

    Not at all binding consceinces, I thought I was crystal clear on that.

  • fws

    larry

    +1

  • fws

    larry

    +1

  • larry

    Todd,

    That’s what everyone is confusing. As are the replies revealing. “Would you vote for a moonie, mormon, atheist, stick worshipper”. If capable to run the country, yes hands down. The argument is not “Can X a non-Christian capable of running the country be president”. Sure they can. That’s creating a battle hill where there is no battle to be had or “constructing a straw man and knocking him down” if you will. Same thing with the assinine straw man “while you wait for a doctrinally pure candidate…”. Never said that, in fact I very clearly said the opposite numerous times above. I’ve been crystal clear on that issue. So now that they have crafted out of their imaginations and punched their straw man in the nose and gloated over their “victory” we can say, “that’s nice” and move on.

    The question is not whether one can vote for a Mormon or any other non-christian entity.

    The larger issue is the party and its line of confounding mormonism as christian so much so that no one dare demarcate publically otherwise. The church, large umbrella, sniffs out in great fear and quivering the left and its agenda when it feels threatened by it and the church, large umbrella, publically meets and speaks on it. Usually this is due to second table issues. But when a first table issue, a matter of REAL confession comes about from the side of the right, to whom morally the church more aligns concerning earthly matters, it does speak out against such and if it dares to it gets hammered by the political power, which by the way forms the government power structure. Here’s the problem, the church puts up its dukes publically when a second table issue arises and becomes, when it wishes, to be very visible, usually such issue are out of the left. But then it becomes conveniently silent and invisible and tucks its tail when a first table and confessional issue arises, usually out of the right. It’s similar to a point Luther once made. Battling where there is no battle is not contending for the faith but pretending to do so.

    I.e. It’s not a voting issue.

  • larry

    Todd,

    That’s what everyone is confusing. As are the replies revealing. “Would you vote for a moonie, mormon, atheist, stick worshipper”. If capable to run the country, yes hands down. The argument is not “Can X a non-Christian capable of running the country be president”. Sure they can. That’s creating a battle hill where there is no battle to be had or “constructing a straw man and knocking him down” if you will. Same thing with the assinine straw man “while you wait for a doctrinally pure candidate…”. Never said that, in fact I very clearly said the opposite numerous times above. I’ve been crystal clear on that issue. So now that they have crafted out of their imaginations and punched their straw man in the nose and gloated over their “victory” we can say, “that’s nice” and move on.

    The question is not whether one can vote for a Mormon or any other non-christian entity.

    The larger issue is the party and its line of confounding mormonism as christian so much so that no one dare demarcate publically otherwise. The church, large umbrella, sniffs out in great fear and quivering the left and its agenda when it feels threatened by it and the church, large umbrella, publically meets and speaks on it. Usually this is due to second table issues. But when a first table issue, a matter of REAL confession comes about from the side of the right, to whom morally the church more aligns concerning earthly matters, it does speak out against such and if it dares to it gets hammered by the political power, which by the way forms the government power structure. Here’s the problem, the church puts up its dukes publically when a second table issue arises and becomes, when it wishes, to be very visible, usually such issue are out of the left. But then it becomes conveniently silent and invisible and tucks its tail when a first table and confessional issue arises, usually out of the right. It’s similar to a point Luther once made. Battling where there is no battle is not contending for the faith but pretending to do so.

    I.e. It’s not a voting issue.

  • larry

    “it does speak out against such and if it dares to it gets hammered by the political power”

    Should read:

    “it does not speak out against such and if it dares to it gets hammered by the political power”

  • larry

    “it does speak out against such and if it dares to it gets hammered by the political power”

    Should read:

    “it does not speak out against such and if it dares to it gets hammered by the political power”

  • larry

    The problem with the “wise Turk” quote is that it actually fails at what it seeks to say. It seeks to say, or rather its use, to say “keep the two kingdoms apart”. But to be actually ruled by a Turk as in a king or similar is to be under their governance and thus by definition a confounding of the two kingdoms point blank. I.e. there can be no such thing as a “wise Turk” ruling (like a king) because he would mingle the two kingdoms by definition of his religion and thus be unwise.

    Presidents don’t “rule” as in the way kings do rule. The closest we come to the “ruling” thing in our form of government is the Constitution that constitutes the country and its rule. The “Constitution” is in this sense “the king” or “the rule” as it were. The president is not a king or even a “ruler” but more the administrator of the constitution constituting the country whom place in him/her temporarily in the seat of governing. I.e. as to rule presidents and kings are apples and oranges.

    If one wish to appropriately comprehend the apocryphal quote in context, anyway, here’s the way one would state it: “I would rather be ruled by a wise sharia law, than a stupid Christian constitution”. That puts the quote in its proper context translated over to our form of government. Then one could ask one’s self, “is that what I wish to be saying”. This is why Luther’s actual quotes are against the apocryphal quote.

  • larry

    The problem with the “wise Turk” quote is that it actually fails at what it seeks to say. It seeks to say, or rather its use, to say “keep the two kingdoms apart”. But to be actually ruled by a Turk as in a king or similar is to be under their governance and thus by definition a confounding of the two kingdoms point blank. I.e. there can be no such thing as a “wise Turk” ruling (like a king) because he would mingle the two kingdoms by definition of his religion and thus be unwise.

    Presidents don’t “rule” as in the way kings do rule. The closest we come to the “ruling” thing in our form of government is the Constitution that constitutes the country and its rule. The “Constitution” is in this sense “the king” or “the rule” as it were. The president is not a king or even a “ruler” but more the administrator of the constitution constituting the country whom place in him/her temporarily in the seat of governing. I.e. as to rule presidents and kings are apples and oranges.

    If one wish to appropriately comprehend the apocryphal quote in context, anyway, here’s the way one would state it: “I would rather be ruled by a wise sharia law, than a stupid Christian constitution”. That puts the quote in its proper context translated over to our form of government. Then one could ask one’s self, “is that what I wish to be saying”. This is why Luther’s actual quotes are against the apocryphal quote.

  • http://readingscripture.org Ron Henzel

    Here’s another quote I have not been able to find in Luther’s Works: “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me, it has feet, it runs after me, it has hands, it lays hold on me.” And yet I’ve seen it attributed to him dozens of times—once even on the back of a popular edition of Table Talk, but, so far, never in anything printed prior to the 20th century. It’s a wonderful quote; I only wish I could find it in Luther’s writings.

  • http://readingscripture.org Ron Henzel

    Here’s another quote I have not been able to find in Luther’s Works: “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me, it has feet, it runs after me, it has hands, it lays hold on me.” And yet I’ve seen it attributed to him dozens of times—once even on the back of a popular edition of Table Talk, but, so far, never in anything printed prior to the 20th century. It’s a wonderful quote; I only wish I could find it in Luther’s writings.

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  • morth

    Hmm, interesting that my first response was rejected. My point was, that the choice politically, is not between a liberal christian and a non christian, but a man whose lives a life with Christian values and one who proclaimed “his Muslim faith and wants a America to be ruled by a socialist government, rather than America, a country “of the people, by the people,for the people.

  • morth

    Hmm, interesting that my first response was rejected. My point was, that the choice politically, is not between a liberal christian and a non christian, but a man whose lives a life with Christian values and one who proclaimed “his Muslim faith and wants a America to be ruled by a socialist government, rather than America, a country “of the people, by the people,for the people.

  • http://freedomoutpost.com Tim Brown

    How about we cite someone who actually has something to say with regards to elections and honoring God with our vote? Here’s Calvin:

    (The following is an excerpt from John Calvin’s Sermons on Deuteronomy, updated into modern English.)[1]

    Now we must also observe this saying of Moses: Choose ye men of wisdom and of good skill, men well-tried, that they may be set over you according to your tribes, even over thousands, over hundreds, and over fifties, as we shall see afterward. Hereby it is shown to us that when we have to elect men to hold public office, we must chose them with discretion and not take on the fly those who thrust themselves in first. Neither must they be taken for favor or for some vanity that appears good, but that God presides over the election and that such men may be selected as are known to be appropriate to exercise the estate to which they are called. And we must especially observe that which is rehearsed in Exodus 18 (as already mentioned): for there Jethro says that we must take men that are virtuous, fearing God, lovers of the truth, and haters of avarice. Who is he that speaks this? A poor pagan man, as I have said already. Yet God governs his tongue in such a way that we cannot have a better teacher than him when we are about to choose men to govern a people. First of all he requires men that are virtuous,[2] such as are not effeminate, but have the capacity to be provided with such a charge, and have good zeal, courage, and magnanimity.
    Albeit, for as much as without the fear of God all the virtues in man turn to evil, behold Jethro, who never heard one word of the Holy Scripture, nevertheless perceives full well that it is impossible for a man to perform his duty in governing a people unless he fears God. If a pagan man could speak this way, what a shame is it for us today that we should have less discretion than him? And yet a man may see with his eyes how the world goes. Do we consider it, when it comes to electing men who govern, that this must go in the first place, to wit, that the fear of God is there? True it is that men will profess so, and even nature compels us to say that we must have prudent men and virtuous men, as if there were any prudence or virtue if the fear of God does not reign. Again, to express the fruits of the fear of God even better, Jethro adds that there must be uprightness and truth, as if he should say that a man shall never be appropriate to govern unless he have soundness in him so the he is not doubting but proceeds with a good conscience.

    And because that bribes do blind the eyes of the wise, and make good men swerve from uprightness, he says that if we will have men fit to bear authority, they must hate covetousness and despise the goods of this world, so that they can find in their hearts to forbear them. Seeing then that such a lesson is told to us by a heathen man, I pray you what a shame shall it be that we which profess ourselves to be brought up in the law of God and in his Gospel, and have our ears so much beaten with it, should still be novices in the doctrine, or at least practice it so poorly among us? And yet for all that, if we do not use it to our profit, it is written to be kept to our great confusion and to make us inexcusable.

    So then, let us weigh well this saying where Moses exhorts the people to choose men of understanding and wisdom, and proven men. For if we put a man in office upon nothing but hope, without good knowledge and experience of him, is it not a defiling of the seat of God and of justice? Indeed, God reserves to himself principality over all men, as he is also worthy to have, and yet notwithstanding he will be served by mortal men as by his ministers and officers. Therefore, the seat of justice is (as you might say) consecrated or hallowed to him, as shall be showed in the next lesson. Now, there is taking of men at a venture, and they know not what they ought to do, nor how to behave themselves. Well, such a one needs to test what he can do, and when he is once set in his seat, he will have regard for himself. Shall he that would not take a cowherd or a shepherd into his house upon bare hope, without knowledge or understanding of him what he is, shall he, I ask, go set a man in God’s seat, of whom he has no knowledge, and of whom he has no experience to judge what that man is? Now then, let us be well advised, when God gives this grace, or rather privilege, of electing men who govern (which is not common to all people), let us not abuse that gift of God in any way, or else we shall be amazed to see ourselves bereft thereof. And behold the reason why so many tyrannies have come into the world that the liberty was lost in all nations, that there is no more election, for which reason princes sell the offices of justice, and things are in confusion and it is a horror. And why has this come about but that when the people had the election in their hands, they abused it, and so were worthy that God should deprive them of the honor he had done them. For is it not as good as willfully provoking God’s wrath, and spiting him, when people having free election, who should choose men to serve God and to be his officers, instead make corrupt bargains in taverns, and even as it were in scorn and mockery of God, choose such as are most dissolute and out of bounds? Do you not see this is to pervert all order?

    To be short, it should seem that we wish to expel God out of his seat when we set his enemies in it after that sort, and such as despise him, and such as seek nothing else but to tread his name and majesty under their feet. When this is how it is, is it any wonder that God sends such disorder into the world as we see? Now then, we could all the more stand to note well this doctrine, where it is said that when God gives a people liberty to elect officers, they must not abuse it, but must use discretion in choosing them. Yes, and for as much as we may often times be deceived, we must resort to God that he may give us prudence and govern us with his Holy Spirit, as though he had pointed out with his finger whom we ought to choose. And that is the cause why I said that elections shall never be well ordered except God preside over them by his Holy Spirit.

    Calvin in his sermons on Deuteronomy was anything but 2KT.

  • http://freedomoutpost.com Tim Brown

    How about we cite someone who actually has something to say with regards to elections and honoring God with our vote? Here’s Calvin:

    (The following is an excerpt from John Calvin’s Sermons on Deuteronomy, updated into modern English.)[1]

    Now we must also observe this saying of Moses: Choose ye men of wisdom and of good skill, men well-tried, that they may be set over you according to your tribes, even over thousands, over hundreds, and over fifties, as we shall see afterward. Hereby it is shown to us that when we have to elect men to hold public office, we must chose them with discretion and not take on the fly those who thrust themselves in first. Neither must they be taken for favor or for some vanity that appears good, but that God presides over the election and that such men may be selected as are known to be appropriate to exercise the estate to which they are called. And we must especially observe that which is rehearsed in Exodus 18 (as already mentioned): for there Jethro says that we must take men that are virtuous, fearing God, lovers of the truth, and haters of avarice. Who is he that speaks this? A poor pagan man, as I have said already. Yet God governs his tongue in such a way that we cannot have a better teacher than him when we are about to choose men to govern a people. First of all he requires men that are virtuous,[2] such as are not effeminate, but have the capacity to be provided with such a charge, and have good zeal, courage, and magnanimity.
    Albeit, for as much as without the fear of God all the virtues in man turn to evil, behold Jethro, who never heard one word of the Holy Scripture, nevertheless perceives full well that it is impossible for a man to perform his duty in governing a people unless he fears God. If a pagan man could speak this way, what a shame is it for us today that we should have less discretion than him? And yet a man may see with his eyes how the world goes. Do we consider it, when it comes to electing men who govern, that this must go in the first place, to wit, that the fear of God is there? True it is that men will profess so, and even nature compels us to say that we must have prudent men and virtuous men, as if there were any prudence or virtue if the fear of God does not reign. Again, to express the fruits of the fear of God even better, Jethro adds that there must be uprightness and truth, as if he should say that a man shall never be appropriate to govern unless he have soundness in him so the he is not doubting but proceeds with a good conscience.

    And because that bribes do blind the eyes of the wise, and make good men swerve from uprightness, he says that if we will have men fit to bear authority, they must hate covetousness and despise the goods of this world, so that they can find in their hearts to forbear them. Seeing then that such a lesson is told to us by a heathen man, I pray you what a shame shall it be that we which profess ourselves to be brought up in the law of God and in his Gospel, and have our ears so much beaten with it, should still be novices in the doctrine, or at least practice it so poorly among us? And yet for all that, if we do not use it to our profit, it is written to be kept to our great confusion and to make us inexcusable.

    So then, let us weigh well this saying where Moses exhorts the people to choose men of understanding and wisdom, and proven men. For if we put a man in office upon nothing but hope, without good knowledge and experience of him, is it not a defiling of the seat of God and of justice? Indeed, God reserves to himself principality over all men, as he is also worthy to have, and yet notwithstanding he will be served by mortal men as by his ministers and officers. Therefore, the seat of justice is (as you might say) consecrated or hallowed to him, as shall be showed in the next lesson. Now, there is taking of men at a venture, and they know not what they ought to do, nor how to behave themselves. Well, such a one needs to test what he can do, and when he is once set in his seat, he will have regard for himself. Shall he that would not take a cowherd or a shepherd into his house upon bare hope, without knowledge or understanding of him what he is, shall he, I ask, go set a man in God’s seat, of whom he has no knowledge, and of whom he has no experience to judge what that man is? Now then, let us be well advised, when God gives this grace, or rather privilege, of electing men who govern (which is not common to all people), let us not abuse that gift of God in any way, or else we shall be amazed to see ourselves bereft thereof. And behold the reason why so many tyrannies have come into the world that the liberty was lost in all nations, that there is no more election, for which reason princes sell the offices of justice, and things are in confusion and it is a horror. And why has this come about but that when the people had the election in their hands, they abused it, and so were worthy that God should deprive them of the honor he had done them. For is it not as good as willfully provoking God’s wrath, and spiting him, when people having free election, who should choose men to serve God and to be his officers, instead make corrupt bargains in taverns, and even as it were in scorn and mockery of God, choose such as are most dissolute and out of bounds? Do you not see this is to pervert all order?

    To be short, it should seem that we wish to expel God out of his seat when we set his enemies in it after that sort, and such as despise him, and such as seek nothing else but to tread his name and majesty under their feet. When this is how it is, is it any wonder that God sends such disorder into the world as we see? Now then, we could all the more stand to note well this doctrine, where it is said that when God gives a people liberty to elect officers, they must not abuse it, but must use discretion in choosing them. Yes, and for as much as we may often times be deceived, we must resort to God that he may give us prudence and govern us with his Holy Spirit, as though he had pointed out with his finger whom we ought to choose. And that is the cause why I said that elections shall never be well ordered except God preside over them by his Holy Spirit.

    Calvin in his sermons on Deuteronomy was anything but 2KT.

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  • Pingback: Can You Vote for a Mormon? by Rev. Gifford Grobien | Grace Lutheran Church of Dyer, Indiana

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