Martin Luther and Hate Speech

“Always preach in such a way
that if the people do not come to hate their sin,
they will instead hate you.”

This quote is attributed to Martin Luther giving advice to Philip Melanchthon.

How does it strike you? I imagine many would think it’s a bit harsh. Certainly Joel Osteen wouldn’t buy it. Speaking of which, I saw Osteen on tv accidentally yesterday affirming that faith in God is just as much faith in yourself that you can overcome.

Yeesh. Has the guy ever read the Book? And by “the Book” I don’t mean Osteen’s book but God’s Book.

Anyway, should a pastor be preaching to bring about hate? Isn’t the whole point love?

The whole point is love, part of which means pointing out sin and danger. Humble people respond to warnings; proud people hate the messenger.

To be honest, I don’t think it’s possible to preach God’s Word without being hated, His Words seem to have that effect. It took me a while to figure that one out and it still surprises me from time to time. But “marvel not when the world hates you.”

Today we marvel that we should preach such words that create hate. Oh, how far we’ve come.

2 thoughts on “Martin Luther and Hate Speech”

  1. Because of the large, popular churches that are named after the reformers, we tend to forget how hated they actually were. To take your stand for truth in those days meant to put your earthly life in danger.

    I was recently considering Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.” It’s a real war song. Every phrase in that song was a “red rag at the bull,” in dealing with the issues of that day…we just can’t appreciate it today because the circumstances are different:

    In verse 1 he sets up God as their defender and more than a match for Satan’s power (which was being exercised through the Catholic church and the state to destroy them).

    In verse 2 he makes it clear that Jesus is on their side (and therefore not on the side of the Catholics).

    In verse 3 he proclaims that the truth of God is on their side (the Protestants) and that all the devils (ie. persecuting Catholics and statesmen) were not able to overthrow one single word of God.

    And finally in verse 4 he states that “we” (Protestants) have the Spirit and the gifts, and gives “no thanks” to the earthly powers who opposed the translation and distribution of the Bible.

    Whew! We are so tame in our day…no wonder God can’t use us much.

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