What Does the World Want?

The world doesn’t want to be punished. It wants to remain in darkness. It doesn’t want to be told that what it believes is false. If you also don’t want to be corrected, then you might as well leave the church and spend your time at the bar and brothel. But if you want to be saved-and remember that there’s another life after this one-you must accept correction.

MARTIN LUTHER

If you would like to read more Martin Luther quotes, see these posts:

A Quote from Martin Luther

A Thought From Martin Luther

What Martin Luther Said About Women

Martin Luther on Love

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A Book of Questions — Luther’s Catechism

“The common person, especially in the villages, has no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine. And unfortunately, many pastors are completely unable and unqualified to teach… Yet, everyone says they are Christians, have been baptized, and receive the holy Sacraments, even though they cannot even recite the Lord’s Prayer or the Creed or the Ten Commandments. They live like dumb brutes and irrational hogs… O bishops! What answer will you ever give to Christ for having so shamefully neglected the people and never for a moment fulfilled your office [James 3:1]?”

So says Martin Luther in the preface to his small catechism published in 1529.         Luther was appalled at the ignorance of most people about the faith they claimed to profess.  In response, he wrote the Large and Small Lutheran catechisms which are still used today (although additions have been made).  The idea of a catechism was not new, so Luther was building on an existing heritage.

The Large Catechism was designed to be used by pastors for study; it reads like a series of sermons.  The Small Catechism was meant for fathers to use in instructing their families.  It is in the form of a set of questions and answers, and was meant to be memorized. Both cover the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed, basics of the faith.  If you were confirmed in the Lutheran Church, you probably own a copy of the Small Catechism, which you used during your confirmation classes.

Luther believed strongly that all Christians should know and understand these fundamentals of the church.  He led by example, saying:

“But for myself I say this: I am also a doctor and preacher; yes, as learned and experienced as all the people. ..Yet I act as a child who is being taught the catechism. Every morning—and whenever I have time—I read and say, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, and such. I must still read and study them daily. Yet I cannot master the catechism as I wish. But I must remain a child and pupil of the catechism, and am glad to remain so.”

Martin Luther on the Psalms

In case you don’t know, Psalms was one of Martin Luther’s favorite books of the Bible …. possibly because he was a musician.  I gave my husband a copy of The New International Commentary on the Book of Psalms for his birthday.  The preface included this quote by Martin Luther:

” (the Psalter) …. might well be called a little Bible.  In it is comprehended most beautifully and briefly everything that is in the entire Bible.  It is a really fine enchiridion or handbook.  In fact, I have a notion that the Holy Spirit wanted to take the trouble himself to compile a short Bible and book of examples of all Christendom or all saints, so that anyone who could not read the whole Bible would have anyway almost an entire summary of it, comprised in one little book.”

It is comforting to me to think that as I age and become less able to read and comprehend some portions of the Scripture, I will still have the Psalms — short bursts of insight and emotion to pray and meditate with every day.

For more quotes from Martin Luther on the Psalms, refer to these previous posts:

Martin Luther and the Book of Psalms

Martin Luther Quote on the Psalms #2

Martin Luther on How to Begin When Busy

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

Martin Luther

 

 

Living Amid Beginnings & Endings by Martin Luther

Often when things are beginning or ending, we feel anxious, unsure of what the future holds.  This quote by Martin Luther explains how the Christian approaches such times:

“He who believes in God is not careful for the morrow, but labors joyfully and with a great heart.  ‘For He giveth His beloved, as in sleep.’  They must work and watch, yet never be careful or anxious, but commit all to Him and live in tranquility;  with a quiet heart, as one who sleeps safely and quietly.”

In other words, remember that  God is in control!

 

Martin Luther on Death and a New Beginning

What is our death but a night’s sleep? For as through sleep all weariness and faintness pass away and cease, and the powers of the spirit come back again, so that in the morning we arise fresh and strong and joyous; so at the Last Day we shall rise again as if we had only slept a night, and shall be fresh and strong.

Martin Luther

A Quote from Martin Luther

” ‘REST IN THE LORD;  WAIT PATIENTLY FOR HIM.’  In Hebrew, ‘be silent to God, and let Him mould thee.’  Keep still, and He will mould thee to the right shape.”

Martin Luther