What Did Martin Luther Know that We Have Forgotten?

Friday is for Family

Martin Luther with HeadphonesThe current cultural assault on the sanctity of marriage and the duties of husbands and wives is not a new thing. Whenever knowledge of the Bible grows faint and pride in human achievement grows bold, marriage and the family are denigrated.

It has been so in the past. It is now and shall be until the King arrives in glory at the consummation of the age. Five hundred seventy years ago, Martin Luther knew it and fought against it. Faithfulness in our time requires us to do the same in our time. It won’t be popular. It will be pleasing to God. The following is from Kairos Journal

Though Natural Reason Turns Up Her Nose
at Marriage and Parenting
.                                                                 —Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)
Although the great Reformer, Martin Luther had “debated with the best technical minds on equal terms,” he searched for the “common voice” in the pulpit.1 One of his popular communication techniques was the use of “imagined dialogue, often with both parties represented in the first person.”2 Here, he uses that stylistic method to give natural reason its say regarding the trials of marriage and parenting. But then he provides the response of Christian faith, which sees wedlock and child raising as treasured privileges, pleasing to God.

[When Natural Reason] takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, “Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involve? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself?’ . . .

And what does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all insignificant, distasteful and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.3


Andrew Pettigree, Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 19.   2 Ibid.   3 Martin Luther, “The Estate of Marriage,” trans. Walther I. Brandt, quoted in, Ibid.

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