The Dark Side of Luther – by Steve Wood

by Steve Ray on March 25, 2020

The Dark Side of Luther  (View online version at Steve Woods site here)

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This is the last of my newsletters responding to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I’m sending you some of the overlooked statements of Luther revealing his thoughts on Catholics, his claim to infallibility, and his hatred of the Jews.

All quotations are from Luther’s Own Statements Concerning His Teaching and Its Results by Henry O’Connor, Benzinger, 1884. Google Books offers a free digital copy. A copy is also available by clicking here.

What Luther Said about Catholics
“The Pope, the Cardinals, and the whole Romish Court and mob, are nothing else but a stable full of big, coarse, stupid, disgraceful donkeys.”

“The Pope, the Cardinals…ought to be taken and (as they are blasphemers) their tongue ought to be torn out through the back of their neck and nailed to the gallows…”

[Bishops under the Pope are] “Wolves, tyrants, murderers of souls, and the Apostles of the Antichrist…”

“…why do we not still more attack with every kind of weapon these teachers of perdition, these Cardinals, these Popes, and that whole abomination of the Romish Sodom, which, without ceasing, corrupts the Church of God, and why do we not wash our hands in their blood?”

“It is clear enough that they (the Papists) are the Christians of the Devil.”

Luther’s Claim to Infallibility
“I am certain that I have my teaching from heaven.”

“Whoever teaches differently from what I have taught herein, or condemns me for it, he condemns God, and must be a child of Hell.”

“…so that whoever does not accept my teaching, cannot be saved…Therefore, my judgment is at the same time God’s and not mine.”

downloadWhy Luther Inserted the Word “Alone” in Romans 3:28
“You tell me what great fuss the Papists make, because the word Sola (“alone”) is not in the text of Paul.”

“…If your Papist makes much unnecessary fuss about the word (Sola, alone), say straight out to him, Doctor Martinus Luther will have it so, and says, Papists and donkeys are one and the same thing…(thus I will have it, thus I order it, my will is reason enough). For we will not be the scholars or the disciples of the Papists, but their masters and judges. We must once in a way act a little haughtily and noisily with these jack-asses.”

“…and as to their unnecessary noise about the word Sola, I beg of you not to give those donkeys any other further answer, but simply this much: D. Luther will have it so, and he is a Doctor above all Doctors in the whole of popery.”

“…I knew very well that here, Rom. III, the word (Sola) is not in the Latin and Greek text, and it was not necessary for the Papists to teach me that. It is true, these four letters, S.O.L.A. are not in it, which letter the jack-asses look at as a cow looks at a new gate; but they do not see that nevertheless, it expresses the meaning of the text, and if our German translation is to be clear and powerful; it ought to be put in…”

Editor’s note: To their credit, not a single Protestant English translation of Romans 3:28 inserts the word “alone” as Luther did. This includes the KJV, RSV, NIV, NASB, ESV and several others.

Luther’s Hatred towards the Jews
Luther writes, “Now what are we Christians to do with this rejected, damned people of the Jews? … I will give my honest advice.”

“First, their synagogues or schools are to be set on fire, and whatever will not burn, is to be covered and heaped over with earth, so that never again shall one find stone or cinder of them left. And this is to be done in order to honor the Lord and Christianity, so that God may see that we are Christians…”

“Secondly, their houses are likewise to be broken down and destroyed…”

Editor’s note: No wonder Hitler in “Mein Kampf” names Luther as one of history’s greatest reformers. A copy of Luther’s “On the Jews and Their Lies” was prominently displayed during the Nazi’s Nuremberg rallies.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg Hogan November 23, 2017 at 1:09 AM

“The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops.”
…Saint Athanasius

‘The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops’.
…Saint John Eudes

Bill 912 November 24, 2017 at 7:20 AM

Your point, Greg?

Peter K March 26, 2020 at 7:09 AM

Since about 1900, not even the Bibles used by LUTHERANS themselves put Luther’s extraneous word “alone” in this sentence.

Lee V March 26, 2020 at 10:44 AM

— Wow !! What a Hateful Christian !!!
— I will read more of his Hateful Criticisms ….
— My Proud Protestant Grandchildren walk around with T Shirts proclaiming ” SOLO This and SOLO That” in front of Me and My Wife ….. Their Catholic Grandparents … So Sad …

Fr William Bauer PhD March 26, 2020 at 9:32 PM

Jesus not come to us to publish a book. He established the Church and inspired its continuation throughout time. There are many books and other writings by the Church Fathers. Recently I read THE SPIRIT OF THOUGHTS OF EARLY CHRISTIANS by Rober Louis Wilkins. It is good stuff.

Gerard March 29, 2020 at 8:52 AM

Steve, I like your lucid writings and talks.

But it would be a great help if you would quote original documents on what Martin Luther said.

Thank you!

STEVE RAY HERE: Thank you Girard. I appreciate your kind words. About to Luther quotes, I did not put this list together. It was done by a good friend of my named Steve Wood and I just relayed it on my blog for the good of many. If you need any of the citations I’m sure Steve Wood would have them readily.

Clay March 31, 2020 at 11:45 AM

I think it’s important to know the above, to avoid the triumphalist Whig/Marxist view of history, wherein Luther is this proto-enlightenment figure, paving the way for a beneficent individualism and an end to the Bad-Old-Days.

I would say to any Catholic reader though, never straw-man Luther; in fact, steel-man Luther whenever possible. Make his case as strong as you can, and respond to that.

Donald Link March 31, 2020 at 11:50 AM

Very interesting article that many Lutherans themselves would probably not relate to. Over the centuries, the church has made strong efforts to clean up their image. In fact this cleansing actually began with Luther’s biographer, Phillip Malanthon, who tried to organize Luther’s comments and writings into some sort of meaningful order. Unfortunately, as time passed, Lutheranism split into various independent churches, latest of which is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, a decidedly liberal church that makes little claim to Luther’s original theology. My own father was so upset by the move that he refused to join it and remained a Missouri Synod Lutheran until his death and regarded himself as an original even in the Catholic tradition of Bach, though not in union with Rome. Today, like a number of Anglicans, we see conservative Lutherans also returning to Rome.

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