How Well do you Know what Martin Luther Taught?

Alrighty, here’s the deal. I was reading a book by Martin Luther, Three Treatises, and came across this passage. I doubt many Lutherans are in agreement, but it gives an intriguing insight into the man.

It is my theory that every pastor/spiritual teacher should have at least one totally off the wall belief, just to keep people from building a church around them. Oh wait, I guess Luther needed some more zaniness. Anyway, here’s the passage. Enjoy!

“Consider the following case: A woman, wed to an impotent man, is unable to prover her husband’s impotence in court, or perhaps she is unwilling to do so with the mass of evidence and all the notoriety which the law demands; yet she is desirous of having children or is unable to remain continent.

“I would counsel her, with the consent of the man, to have intercourse with another, say her husband’s brother, but to keep this marriage secret and ascribe the children to the so-called putative father.

“Moreover, if the man will not give his consent, or agree to this separation–rather than allow the woman to burn or to commit adultery–I would counsel her to contract a marriage with another and flee to a distant unknown place.”

Yeah, so, anyway. There ya go. Good old Martin Luther. You can look it up in “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” the name of the treatise I quote from. I skip a sentence here or there for emphasis of his point, but I assure you, I did not change the context.

6 thoughts on “How Well do you Know what Martin Luther Taught?”

  1. I think I’ve decided recently that I’m done with judging with “absolute certainty” what is right and wrong. You know, like actually telling somebody “you’re wrong” or whatever. Our Sunday school teacher said something yesterday that somebody thought was wrong and the objector actually got up and said, out loud, “you’re completely wrong” or something like that. He just ended making himself look like a complete jerk; to me anyways. I don’t know. Part of it might have been the fact that the guy’s kind of a jerk anyway.

    It just seems like knowledge has puffed up so many people who would be good people if they didn’t “know” so much.

    Know what I mean?

  2. Yup, i agree with n8 about those who make a stand for something that is not worth standing for. You have to choose wisely the hill you’re willing to die for. But… there are some truths inherent to the Christian faith that you must agree with or else you’re really not a Christian. Other than those few, there’s lots of stuff that people get so bent out of shape about and it’s really just vanity. Oooh, if everyone could just be as smart as me… :)

  3. I guess one good thing about artificial insemination now-a-days is you don’t have let your brother be a stand in, or have your wife run off to a distant land with another man to become pregnant. Viagra would help the fellow out, and keep the woman from burning, to quote Luther. Oh the miracle of modern medicine, it would have made life easier in the sixteenth century.

  4. So let’s draw a spiritual analogy. The woman is the church, and the husband is Christ. The church, for reasons that are perhaps a bit selfish, wants the power of the Holy Spirit, but for some reason best known to Him, Jesus is not giving it. Should the church:

    a. Go to the state to get the power she wants, or
    b. Leave Christ and join the world and have fun?

    Seriously though, we must take into account the times Luther lived in, and also the many other burdens he had on him. It may not have seemed so strange in that time period.

    If someone came to me with the same problem, I think I would counsel them to pray to God for a solution, and if He did not provide the solution she was looking for, to be content with her lot, count her blessings instead of the things she doesn’t have, and ask for grace to overcome her disappointments. Maybe she could adopt a child? God will always give us what we need, but not always what we want. In that case, our desires need to change.

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