Luther wrote this in 1523.  He had some issues with temporal authority at that time as you can imagine.  They wanted to kill him and if not at least shut him up.  Civil and religious authorities were the same.  There really was no separation of church and state.  It is an interesting read and this is just the beginning.  The concept of God making our rulers mad is fascinating.  I have just been studying Psalm 2.  Why do the nations rage?  The picture is of a seething beehive of anti-God activity that bangs it’s head against the will of God and eventually destroys itself.

“God the Almighty has made our rulers mad; they actually think they can do—and order their subjects to do—whatever they please. And the subjects make the mistake of believing that they, in turn, are bound to obey their rulers in everything. It has gone so far that the rulers have begun ordering the people to get rid of certain books, and to believe and conform to what the rulers prescribe. They are thereby presumptuously setting themselves in God’s place, lording it over men’s consciences and faith, and schooling the Holy Spirit according to their own crackbrained ideas. Nevertheless, they let it be known that they are not to be contradicted, and are to be called gracious lords all the same. Because the raging of such fools tends toward the suppression of the Christian faith, the denying of the divine word, and the blaspheming of the Divine Majesty, I can and will no longer just look at my ungracious lords and angry nobles; I shall have to resist them, at least with words.”

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