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Luther: I’ve heard it all before


 

Martin Luther, author of the text of Christ la...

What folly, they say, that I should let myself be baptized with water poured on my head, supposedly to be saved thereby; or that some poor parish preacher, barely able to put a coat on his back, should pronounce forgiveness and absolve me from my sins; or that by receiving bread and wine in the Sacrament I should be saved.  On that basis they despise a Christ-preacher.  For it goes with the territory to be despised by reason of Christ’s poverty.  As a result, when a man becomes a preacher he is more despised than some lowly knave of no reputation. There is no station in life quite as scorned and humble as that of a preacher.  That happens not because of us or the preacher, but because Christ is despised on all sides in the world.  No wonder that the aristocrats and plutocrats say, Why should we believe some tramp-like, beggarly cleric?  Why doesn’t our Lord God send us a fine pulpit-prince to preach to us?  Him we would believe.  However, just as Christ’s preachers are despised, so people also despise his baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar.  Virtually no peasant retains respect for them, let alone burghers or nobles.  Under the papacy people mocked at indulgences and pilgrimages, and yet they were highly regarded.  Now, however, the prevailing word is, Huh, if all you can do is preach about Christ and faith, I’m fed up with that already, I’ve heard it all many times before.

 

Martin Luther, Sermon on the First Sunday in Advent, 1534, Church Postil

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