Archive Nota Bene Steven Wedgeworth

Things Luther Didn’t Say

Fake Luther quotes are not as numerous as fake Augustine ones, but they are pretty close. Justin Taylor summarizes 6 quotes that Martin Luther never said:

1. If I believed the world were to end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today.

2. The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays—not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.

3.If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

4. I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian.

5. Justification is the article by which the church stands and falls.

6. Here I stand; I can do no other.

Some of these are close to something Luther said but not quite. Others are sheer fable. I would love to know more about the last one, of course, since it does appear to have a very early origin. I suspect there’s more to the story there.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the Rector of Christ Church Anglican in South Bend, Indiana. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a founding member of the Davenant Institute.

2 replies on “Things Luther Didn’t Say”

Regarding the last: something I came across while googling (

(at Diet of Worms, 1521) “[Luther] spelled out to the emperor that without a conviction from ‘scripture or plain reason (for I believe neither in Pope nor councils alone),’ he could recant nothing. It was such a momentous ending to his words that not long after his death, the first editor of his collected works, George Rörer, felt compelled to construct two tiny sentences in German, which have become the most memorable thing Luther never said: ‘Here I stand; I can do no other.'” (Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation, p. 127)

You could find the last one on front door/gate in the Church in Legnica, in Poland, which was a main Lutheran Cathedral in town before II WW.

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