“I am still praying daily and I duck under the shelter of the Son of God. I hold him and honor him as my Lord, to whom I must run and flee when the devil, sin, or other misfortune threatens me, for he is my shelter, as wide as heaven and earth, and my mother hen under whom I crawl from God’s wrath. Therefore I cannot have any fellowship or patience with obstinate blasphemers and those who defame this dear
Back in Luther’s day, as in ours, an interesting reaction takes place in public discourse and political struggles. People can do outrageous things and be caught in outrageous acts, and yet public out cry seems greater against people who speak outrageous words than those who do outrageous things. There is more outrage over things that certain politicians say than over what other politicians actually do. There were real people burned alive for confessing that Jesus Christ and His mercy alone gets people into life everlasting, and there was real anger at Luther for calling the people who did the burning nasty names. HIs own friends and colleagues often got red faced when they heard what he said and read what he had written. It was unbecoming to the Lord Jesus for His servant to speak such language. They of course forgot Christ’s word to the Pharisees and others who rejected God’s grace just as much as Luther’s opponents were doing.
There was and is a certain “gravitas” and “decorum” to be observed for folks like that. Luther would have none of it. His ferocity could seem to be unhinged at times and even his best friends often approached him and told to cool it a bit. You can get more fly’s with honey, as they say, but Luther would sooner list all the other stuff that attracted fly’s, and then kill the fly’s.
Trying to get into Luther’s head on his furious responses to so many things has to begin with a basic understanding that sin is, at it’s heart, a refusal to let God be God, or to give God glory. When offered grace and mercy and unending love and to respond to it with blasphemy was for Luther understandable because of the wretched condition of humanity. But to see that in the light of continuous calls by the Holy Spirit, in spite of the rejection and then attempt to lead others away from Christ was more than Luther could stand.
In our day and age when religiously we go along to get along; when we compromise with lies and refuse the polemics that call sin, sin; when we reject the grace that claims us and deny the blood that cleans us: we might want to read Luther’s little explanation on how he cannot have patience with “obstinate blasphemers”, and then go and do likewise. Or better yet – confess that we are in their camp, repent and flee to Jesus.