Martin Luther King day fb Status Facebook FB dp Images profile pic timeline status

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Luther held controversial views on marriage.

Note his words,

“As to divorce, it is still a debatable question whether it is allowable. For my part I prefer bigamy to it.” [29]

“The word and work of God is quite clear, viz., that women are made to be either wives or prostitutes.” [30]

“I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter.” [31]

Two closing historical notes for those who are interested in the origins of modern church practices.

These aren’t “shocking” beliefs, just interesting points of history.

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(1) Luther didn’t use the word “priest” to refer to the new clergy of the Reformation, but the ministry was essentially the same.

He wrote, “We neither can nor ought to give the name priest to those who are in charge of the Word and sacrament among the people. The reason they have been called priests is either because of the custom of the heathen people or as a vestige of the Jewish nation. The result is greatly injurious to the church.” [32]

However, not much changed between the Catholic priest and the Protestant pastor during the Reformation. The “priest” was transformed into the “preacher,” “the minister,” and finally “the pastor.”

Catholic priests had seven duties at the time of the Reformation: preaching; the sacraments; prayers for the flock; a disciplined, godly life; church rites; supporting the poor; and visiting the sick. The Protestant pastor took upon himself all of these responsibilities—plus he sometimes blessed civic events.

The famed poet John Milton summed the idea up by saying, “New presbyter is but old priest writ large.” Milton was saying that the Protestant pastor under Luther was little more than a Reformed Catholic priest.

(2) Luther detested the word “church” as a translation for ekklesia. Emil Brunner writes about this saying,

“Of all the great teachers of Christianity, Martin Luther perceived most clearly the difference between the Ecclesia of the New Testament and the institutional church, and reacted most sharply against the quid pro quo which would identify them. Therefore he refused to tolerate the mere word ‘church’: he called it an obscure ambiguous term. In his translation of the Bible, he rendered ecclesia by ‘congregation’ . . . He realized that the New Testament ecclesia is just not an ‘it,’ ‘a thing,’ an ‘institution,’ but rather a unity of persons, a people, a communion. . . . Strong as was Luther’s aversion to the word ‘church,’ the facts of history prove stronger. The linguistic usage of both the Reformation and the post-Reformation era had to come to terms with the so powerfully developed idea of the church, and consequently all the confusion dependent upon the use of this ‘obscure ambiguous’ word penetrated Reformation theology. It was impossible to put the clock back one millennium and a half. The conception ‘church’ remained irrevocably moulded by this historical process of 1500 years.” [33]

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