April 1990 Print

Martin Luther Speaks for Himself

Fr. James Doran

"Not every one that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

(Matt. 7;21)

The object of this article on Martin Luther is not to give his history, which is easily researched, but rather to give direct quotes of a man called a "great religious reformer of deep spiritual insight" and to whom many non-Catholics trace back their churches. None of the following statements were ever recanted, and they may be considered as part of his religious thought. This should show to many the aspect of Martin Luther so "conveniently" overlooked in these days of false ecumenism.




"If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matt. 19;17)

"Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled." (Mat. 5;17)

"This is the charity of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not heavy." (I John 5;2)



"If Moses should attempt to intimidate you with his stupid Ten Commandments, tell him right out—chase yourself to the Jews." (Lecture at Wittenberg)

"'Thou shalt not covet,' is a commandment which proves us all to be sinners; since it is not in man's power not to covet, and the same is the drift of all the commandments, for they are all equally impossible to us." (De Lib. Chris. tom. 4:2)




"Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock." (Matt.7;24)


"No good work happens as the result of one's own wisdom; but everything must happen in a stupor... Reason must be left behind, for it is the enemy of faith." (Tischreden, Weimer VI, 143, 25-35)

"Reason is the devil's handmaid and does nothing but blaspheme and dishonor all that God says or does." (Against the Heavenly Prophets, On Images and the Sacrament)


"Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man. (James 1;13)

"The son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed: it were better for him, if that man had not been born." (Matt. 26;24)


"His (Judas') will was the work of God; God by His almighty power moved his will as He does all that is in this world."(De Servo Arbitrio, against man's free will)




"He that committeth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (I John 3;8)


"A person that is baptized cannot, though he would, lose his salvation by any sins however grievous, unless he refuses to believe. For no sins can damn him but unbelief alone." (The Babylonian Captivity)




"What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?" (James 2;14) "So faith also, if it have not works is dead in itself." (James 2;17)

"If I have faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." (I Cor. l3;2)

"Labour the more, that by goods works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time." (II Peter 1;10-11)

"And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith. " (Gal. 6;9-10)


"For we account a man to be justified by faith alone, without the works of the law." (Epistle of Martin Luther on Translation and on the Intercession of the Saints)

"It is more important to guard against good works than against sin." (Tischreden, Wittenberg Edition, Vol. VI, p.l60)

"This is Christian liberty... that we stand in need of no works for the attainment of piety and salvation." (On Christian Liberty)

"'The very best good work is a venial sin according to God's merciful judgment, and a mortal sin according to His strict judgment." (The 32nd Article-Argument in Defense of Articles of Martin Luther)

"He that says the Gospel requires works for salvation, I say, flat and plain, is a liar." (Tischreden, p. 137)




"Thou shalt do no murder." (Matt. 19;18)

"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself." (I John 3;15)

"Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (Matt. 26;52)

"Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good." (Romans 12;21)

"God is not a tempter of evils, and he tempteth no man." (James 1;13)


"I, Martin Luther, have during the rebellion slain all the peasants, for it was I who ordered them to be struck dead. All their blood is upon my head. But I put it all on our Lord God: for He commanded me to speak thus." (Tischreden; Erlanger Ed., Vol.59 p.284)

The German princes during the peasant uprising (1524-25) asked Luther for his moral approbation before launching their attack; to which he replied: "Whosoever is able, should dash them, and stab them, secretly or openly, just as one is compelled to kill a mad dog."

"A prince may gain heaven by bloodshed better than by prayer." (Pamphlet entitled: "Against the Murderous and Rapacious Hordes of the Peasants")

"God has given the law, and nobody observes it. He has in addition instituted rod-masters, drivers and urgers; so then are rulers to drive, beat, choke, hang, burn, behead, and break upon the wheel the vulgar masses." (transcript of a sermon delivered by Luther in 1526. Ref. Erlanger, Vol. XV, 2, p. 276)




"For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.... Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery." (Matt. 19;4-9)


"If the husband is unwilling, there is another who is; if the wife is unwilling, then let the maid come." (Of Married Life)

"Suppose I should counsel the wife of an impotent man, with his consent, to give herself to another, say her husband's brother, but to keep this marriage secret and to ascribe the children to the so-called putative father. The question is: Is such a woman in a saved state? I answer, Certainly." (On Marriage)


"Let marriage be held in honor with all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled. For God will judge the immoral and adulterers." (Heb. 13;4)


"It is not in opposition to the Holy Scriptures for a man to have several wives." (De Wette, Vol. 2, p. 459)

"As to divorce, it is still a debatable question whether it is allowable. For my part I prefer bigamy to it." (On Marriage)




"And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit." (I Cor. 7;34)

"Fly fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body." (I Cor. 6;18)


"The word and work of God is quite clear, viz., that women are made to be either wives or prostitutes." (Of Married Life)


"Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." (I Peter 2;22)

"For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." (Heb. 7;26)

"'Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do not believe Me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God." (John 8;46-47)


We finish with what must be one of the greatest blasphemies ever uttered by the mouth of man.

"Christ committed adultery first of all with the woman at the well about whom St. John tell us. Was not everybody about Him saying: 'Whatever has He been doing with her?' Secondly, with Mary Magdalen, and thirdly with the woman taken in adultery whom He dismissed so lightly. Thus even Christ, who was so righteous, must have been guilty of fornication before He died." (Tishreden, Weimer Edition, ii,107)




"Now I beseech you, brethren, to mark them who make dissensions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. For they that are such, serve not Christ our Lord, but their own belly; and by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent." (Romans 16;17)

Luther was formally excommunicated by the Bull, Exsurge Domine, drawn up in July 1520. It also condemned forty-one propositions taken from his writings.


"As for me, the die is cast: I despise alike the favour and fury of Rome; I do not wish to be reconciled with her, or ever to hold any communion with her. Let her condemn and burn my books; I, in turn, unless I can find no fire, will condemn and publicly burn the whole pontifical law, that swamp of heresies." (De Wette, I, 466)


"Among you there will be lying teachers who will bring in destructive sects.... And many will follow their wanton conduct, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned." (II Peter 2;1-2)