Thanks to Steve Bauer, who, in commenting on our earlier post on the connection Luther saw between receiving Holy Communion and loving our neighbor, quoted this remarkable passage from A Sermon on Confession and the Lord’s Supper, in which Luther says that after we hear Christ’s words, “Take, eat, this is my body. . ..this is my blood,” we should turn to our neighbor and offer him our body and blood. Read the passage, which is more eloquent than I can paraphrase, after the jump. [Read more…]
Martin Luther, quoted from Bible Studies on Mercy – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod:
There your heart must go out in love and devotion and learn that this sacrament is a sacrament of love, and that love and service are given you and you again must render love and service to Christ and His needy ones. You must feel with sorrow all the dishonor done to Christ in His holy Word, all the misery of Christendom, all the unjust suffering of the innocent, with which the world is everywhere filled to overflowing: You must fight, work, pray and, if you cannot do more, have heartfelt sympathy. That is bearing in your turn the misfortune and adversity of Christ and His saints. . . . [Read more…]
British religion reporter Christopher Howse tells about a sermon from Pope Benedict XVI ‘s preacher, Fr. Raniero Cantalamesa, that basically concedes that Luther was right on justification. Well, sort of.
This was in the context of the Joint Declaration on Justification between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation. We confessional Lutherans deny that this accord was a true agreement, but this sermon–published in the book Remember Jesus Christ–faults Catholics for neglecting justification. Howse’s discussion, however, also shows the differences that remain.
The younger generation, as has been said, always thinks that it has invented sex. And those who “don’t know much about history” seem to think that sex and sexual issues are contemporary phenomena. So the editors at Salon are giddy to learn what Martin Luther wrote about sex.
Reading from a new book about Luther that discusses the reformer’s critique of mandatory celibacy for those in religious orders, his criticism of canon laws restricting and regulating marriage, and his defense of marriage as a vocation–which has to include a defense of its defining action–Salon reprints an excerpt under the headline “Martin Luther’s pro-sex shocker” and the deck “Centuries ago, Martin Luther’s ideas were way ahead of their time.”
Well, Luther was advocating marriage and criticizing the sex outside of marriage that was rampant in his time, particularly among those forced into celibacy who lacked that gift. (Some priests rationalized their use of prostitutes by thinking “at least I’m not married,” so I am merely fornicating and not forsaking my vow.)
True, Luther believed that regulating marriage was the business of the state, not the church, which would put him against those who think we should just leave marriage to the church and keep the state out of it. And he was rethinking what the parameters about divorce, etc., should be in the absence of canon law. But his frank talk about sex is not “ahead of his time,” as anyone who reads old books can attest. People weren’t squeamish about talking about the subject until the Victorian era of the 19th century.
Anyway, his views are interesting, so I link to and quote from Salon’s sampling from James Reston’s new book.
A first edition of Luther’s classic treatise “The Freedom of a Christian,” dated 1520, has been discovered in a library in France. It contains annotations in red ink in Luther’s hand, indicating the changes he wanted to make in future editions. As far as I can tell, those annotations have not yet been published, but we should watch for them.
Thanks to Anthony Sacramone for drawing this to my attention. Read his discussion of this find and of the book itself. If you only read one book by Luther, read this one. It is Luther at his very best, unpacking the Gospel, the freedom we have in Christ, his neighbor-centered ethic, and vocation. [Read more…]