The Wisdom of Luther

Sep 29, 2021    Don Willeman

Hello, this is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to the Kingdom Perspective.

I love the simplicity and wisdom of Martin Luther’s faith. In 1527 as the plague hit Wittenberg, the German pastor and professor offered some advice to a fellow pastor. Of course, Luther wrote without knowledge of modern science and medicine. Nonetheless, carefully note his courageous faith tempered with practical wisdom. Luther writes:

…by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then, I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed, in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death, as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me; and so, I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” (Martin Luther to Johann Hess, pastor at Breslau)

I think Luther strikes the right balance. True faith in Jesus always mingles prudence with courage. It always seeks to find the intersection between the wisdom of science and the wisdom of religion. God is a god of faith, but never a god of foolishness.

Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective.

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.’”

~ Proverbs 1:20-33 (ESV)