Blaming the Reformation

I’ve been reading various cultural critiques of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, and several put the blame on the Reformation.  The Reformation gave us radical individualism!  The Reformation gave us the notion that truth is whatever we interpret it to be!  The Reformation drained the physical world of its spiritual significance!  The Reformation drained the social world of its spiritual significance!  The Reformation shattered the Church!  The Reformation shattered Christendom!

Luther gets blamed for all of this, even though most of the critics assume that he believed the same things that Calvin did and so confuse the two.  Scholars who know better than that still often differ in the way they portray Luther.  Some present him as the first modern man. Others, more recently, present him more as the last medieval man. [Read more...]

Luther rap

For Reformation week. . .

Luther on changing a baby’s diaper (rerun)

[Mollie Hemingway's quotation from Luther's "The Estate of Marriage" (1522) reminded me that I blogged on that sermon in 2007, several platforms ago.  So I thought I would rerun it.]

In working on an article about vocation, I was looking for the source of Luther’s famous saying about the holiness of changing diapers. I found his sermon “The Estate of Marriage” (1522) posted online here. A priceless excerpt:

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason (which the pagans followed in trying to be most clever), takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, “Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? 0 you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful. carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.” [Read more...]

The father of modern journalism: Martin Luther

World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky writes about how an independent press has its roots in the Reformation.   Modern journalism began, he says, with an unusually skillful writer named Martin Luther. [Read more...]

Luther quotes that Luther didn’t say

Justin Taylor has a useful post entitled 6 Quotes that Luther Didn’t Actually Say.  After the jump, see what they are.  (To be fair, some of them are close to what he said, as loose translations or summaries.  And what he attributes to me on the “wise Turk” quote actually comes from the regular  commenter here Carl Vehse, who has done quite a bit of work in tracing such apocryphal quotations.) [Read more...]

Luther and bowling?

Martin Luther’s influence goes far beyond the theology of the Lutheran Church.  His putting the Gospel and the Word of God at the center was the catalyst for all Protestantism.  But even his theological opponents have accepted his ideas like worship in the vernacular, congregational singing, and vernacular translations of the Bible.  Then there are his cultural contributions:  universal education, standardizing the German language, vocation.  But there are also things he is credited for that are questionable or uncertain, like inventing the Christmas tree.  And there are things that that he is credited for that are just wrong, like writing “Away in the Manger” and being the source of German anti-semitism.  Being a master of language, he is supremely quotable on all kinds of subjects.  But he is also cited as the source of things that he never really said (such as the “Wise Turk” quote).  I have recently learned that Luther is considered one of the inventors of bowling!  [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X