RSS

A Letter of Martin Luther During a Plague

25 Mar

In a letter to Rev. Dr. John Hess, found in Luther’s Works, Volume 43 p. 132, as “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague,” Luther writes:

“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 as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 25, 2020 in plagues

 

Tags: , ,

5 responses to “A Letter of Martin Luther During a Plague

  1. Fred Zwick

    May 18, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Seems like MANY Christian denominations are quoting this passage definitely taken out of context. There is an entirely different point that was made IF you read the WHOLE letter and Luther’s prologue follow-up. Shame on you for fooling your followers by EXCLUDING the most pertinent parts of this landmark letter. Be a real Christian witness and post the link to the complete response.

     
  2. Dr. Larry Dixon

    May 19, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Fred:

    You wrote: “Seems like MANY Christian denominations are quoting this passage definitely taken out of context. There is an entirely different point that was made IF you read the WHOLE letter and Luther’s prologue follow-up. Shame on you for fooling your followers by EXCLUDING the most pertinent parts of this landmark letter. Be a real Christian witness and post the link to the complete response.”

    A couple of questions:
    1. I’m all for context, Fred. I tried to access Luther’s whole letter. Can you provide it to me — or a link?
    2. I’m not looking to fool my readers, so can you help me do a better job with that post?
    3. Have we have contact with each other before? Your words “be a real Christian” are pretty harsh, don’t you think? Help me understand why you’re so upset about this?

    Thanks.
    Blessings in Christ.
    Larry

     
    • FZwick

      May 21, 2020 at 11:34 am

      Granted, this letter is difficult to access because of copyright reasons, but the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod was given permission for it’s readers to access it at the following link: https://blogs.lcms.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Plague-blogLW.pdf. ; If you cannot access it, be certain that it is available by Googling it. 

      It is a rather lengthy reply in typical Martin Luther style but leaves no doubt whatsoever his thoughts regarding faith. 

      Thoroughly resourcing your public opinions is a MUST before throwing them out upon the masses who, especially on these trying times, are searching for stability.  We Christians have THE answer for the lost in this world and people look up to us for truth, and we can compassionately provide them with the Truth. 

      It was obvious, just by you asking me, that you did not resource Martin Luther’s letter before you wrote your blog. Instead, am I to assume that you just copied what many other Christian denominations did and just assume that part of his letter reflected the whole?  Those quoting this one part include Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church…many more. 

      What you quoted is the portion that recently many Christians think is critical in Martin Luther’s opinion; to simply do what is common sense, wash and sterilize, seek healthcare, and leave the rest up to God.  But please pay attention to a previous section where he discusses not just corporate faith, but INDIVIDUAL faith, which is not meted out with equality from our sovereign and almighty God.

      The harshness by which I addressed you is because you have an awesome responsibility as a leader and teacher…a responsibility resulting in special, dire consequences if you use your knowledge and position to mislead, whether purposefully or inadvertantly. By leaving out Luther’s address regarding individual faith, you have overlooked the feats of Scripture’s “mighty men of faith” and possibly dampened those called of God during this pandemic to rise up in their faith (whether newfound or acknowledged) and enter life threatening situations to fill a void, to encourage, to give direction to individuals lost and searching for the Presence of God. 

      Christian leaders in this fallen and ever-failing world need to encourage those with ample faith to rise up and be poured out…to encourage those with new found faith to step out in that faith.  Not to test God…but in “God-fearing faith” to be exceptional for God. 

      When an opportunity like Luther’s letter comes about, ask His Spirit to lead you to the exceptional conclusions instead of limiting God to the often mundane and worldly methods of medicine and cleanliness.  It is your calling and responsibility. 

      Fred Zwick

       
  3. Dr. Larry Dixon

    May 28, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Mr. Zwick: Thank you again for reading my blog and for your concern. I believe I understand your concern. And I was certainly not suggesting that all we have to do is follow good hygiene and so on. Personal faith in Christ is essential! Please be assured of my desire to share the gospel. Again, thank you for your comments. Blessings. Dr. D.

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: