We tend to think that the issues and the conflict with Islam has been going on since WWII but that would be a huge mistake. Already in Luther’s time the “Turk” as the Muslim enemies were called were a terrifying and galvanizing influence among the fractious political and religions antagonists during the time of the Reformation. The Islamists had invaded Europe through Spain and later came up through what is now Turkey through the “soft underbelly of Europe” and made it to the gates of Vienna before they were defeated.
Luther believed that they were an end time scourge upon Christians meant to bring Christians to repentance and a stronger faith. The siege of Vienna in 1529 caused Luther to say that Christians should ‘Thus be assured, that the Turk is the devil’s most evil fury against Christianity we see how he acts as cruelly as he were the wrathful devil incarnate.’ The picture above supposedly shows the vile and inhumane treatment of men, women and children during the Muslim invasion.
Luther went on to say that “The sword and kingdom of Muhammad is in and of itself set directly against Christ as though it had nothing else to do and could have no better use for its sword than blaspheming and fighting against Christ. Its Qur’an and actions attest to that as well. Thus the Turk had a special place in Christian history because of the uniqueness of its institutionalized and unceasing hostility. Christians were moved and exhorted to live a life of repentance and mercy toward their neighbor to show their opposition to the Muslim invader.