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Quotes About Martin Luther

These quotes in Martin Luther are in order by date.

Of course, I just started collecting these on October 19, 2009.


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Philip Schaff, 1882

His herculean labor in translating the Bible forced him into a closer familiarity with the original languages, though he never attained to mastery. As a scholar he remained inferior to Reuchlin or Erasmus or Melanchthon, but as a genius he was their superior, and as a master of his native German he had no equal in all Germany. … He studied with all his might and often neglected eating and sleeping. (History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII, ch. 2, sec. 27)

There are various types of mysticism, orthodox and heretical, speculative and practical. Luther came in contact with the practical and catholic type through Staupitz and the writings of St. Augustin, St. Bernard, and Tauler. It deepened and spiritualized his piety and left permanent traces on his theology. The Lutheran church, like the Catholic, always had room for mystic tendencies. But mysticism alone could not satisfy him, especially after the Reformation began in earnest. It was too passive and sentimental and shrunk from conflict. It was a theology of feeling rather than of action. Luther was a born fighter, and waxed stronger and stronger in battle. His theology is biblical, with such mystic elements as the Bible itself contains. (History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII, ch. 2, sec. 28)

Luther … considered himself a good Catholic even in 1517, and was so in fact. He still devoutly prayed to the Virgin Mary from the pulpit; he did not doubt the intercession of saints in heaven for the sinners on earth; he celebrated mass with full belief in the repetition of the sacrifice on the cross and the miracle of transubstantiation; he regarded the Hussites as "sinful heretics" for breaking away from the unity of the church and the papacy which offered a bulwark against sectarian division. But by the leading of Providence he became innocently and reluctantly a Reformer. … Had he foreseen the separation, he would have shrunk from it in horror.

   He was as much the child of his age as its father, and the times molded him before he molded the times. (History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII, ch. 2, sec. 28)

Stephen J. Cole, 2005

I was excited to find this article on It gives a solid reference, though it is a secondary source rather than a primary one, to the claim that Martin Luther offered the cap (hat) that he received when he graduated as a doctor to anyone who could reconcile James and Paul. I would make a claim for that cap, but Martin passed on almost 500 years ago. I pray that God will be merciful to him at the judgment, for despite his great and many failures, he played a large part in giving us the political and religious freedoms that we enjoy today. (Yes, I occasionally pray for the departed to be given mercy at the judgment. I never pray to them because they are not omnipresent and cannot hear me. Besides, I've been granted free access to the throne of grace by Jesus' blood (Heb. 6:14), so I find it lot better to direct my prayers there.)

But coming out of his struggles with trying to work his way to right standing with God, Luther stumbled over the Epistle of James. In his preface to the New Testament of 1522, he called James “an epistle of straw.” Although he did not reject James from the canon of Scripture, he once remarked “that he would give his doctor’s beret to anyone who could reconcile James and Paul” (Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther [Abingdon Press], p. 259).  ["Lesson 11: Are We Justified by Works? (James 2:20-26)." Retrieved March 8, 2017 from The reference to the Roland Bainton biography of Luther was provided in the article I am quoting.]

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