Lutherīs Works Volume 40 Church And Ministry II
IN THE MATTER OF
IMAGES AND SACRAMENTS
Part I Translated by Bemhard Erling
Part II Translated by Conrad Bergendof
This treatise is Luther's reply to a former colleague who had
disagreed with him and gone in a direction which threatened the
doctrines of the Lutheran Reformation. While there is occasionally
a glimpse of the former friendship between the two men, the
earnestness of Luther in defending his position leads him to speak
sharply of Karlstadt and his companions, "the heavenly prophets."
It is, however, not a personal attack, but a thorough attempt to
show how subjective and unbiblical the "spiritualists" are.
Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt was probably a couple of
years older than Luther (born ca. 1480). After studies at Erfurt and
Cologne he came to Wittenberg, where he was made a doctor in
1510. A student of Thomas Aquinas, he had at first opposed Luther,
but later, through his interest in Augustine, he became his advocate,
and debated against Eck at Leipzig. In 1520 he broke with the
papal church, and in 1521 aided Christian II in reforming the
Danish church. While Luther was at the Wartburg, Karlstadt
became a leader of the movement in Wittenberg to demolish
everything connected with the Roman mass, and to do away with
all traditional forms, images, vestments, and the like. This provoked
excesses and Luther returned to preach against the destructive
Karlstadt became pastor at Orlamiinde, in the neighborhood of
Wittenberg, in 1523. He was not in sympathy with the revolutionary
tendencies of Thomas Miinzer, but he and his followers were
associated in the minds of many with the mysticism and agitations
of the "Allstedtians" (Miinzer was pastor at Allstedt). Luther sought
to win Karlstadt back at a conference in Jena, August 22, 1524. The
effort was fruitless, and because of the incendiary character of his
preaching Karlstadt was expelled from Saxony, in 1524. He went to
southern Germany, and eventually became a professor in Basel.
At Jena Luther had challenged Karlstadt to state his views
publicly and in writing, and as a token of this invitation Luther
* Cf . Luther's Eight Wittenberg Sermons, PE 2, 387ff.
CHURCH AND MINIS1HY
gave him a gold coin. Karlstadt accepted the challenge and began
a series of treatises on the Lord's Supper, t After his expulsion his
tone became sharper toward Luther. In all, eight tracts were
prepared five on the Lord's Supper, one on consideration for weak
consciences, one on the nature of faith and unbelief, one in opposi-
tion to infant baptism.
Thus it was largely on the question of the sacraments that
Karlstadt opposed Luther and found himself in Zwingli's camp.
For a disciple of Karlstadt brought the tracts to Zurich where they
were read by the Anabaptist leaders, and to Basel where they were
secretly printed. Late in 1524, the tract on baptism was confiscated,
and the printer imprisoned. The remaining tracts were circulated,
along with a statement of Karlstadt on his expulsion, and led to
Zwingli's statement on the Lord's Supper and the consequent
controversy between Zwingli and Luther on this issue.
Concern was felt in Strassburg over the controversy between
Luther and Karlstadt even before the appearance of the tracts.
When these appeared seven Strassburg preachers, Wolfgang Capito
and Martin Bucer among them, addressed a letter to Luther
(November 23, 1524) asking for his counsel. | Not many liked
Karlstadt's manner but there was sympathy for his interpretation
of the sacament. Luther answered with a ''Letter to the Christians
at Strassburg in Opposition to the Fanatic Spirit" in December,
1524. When the printed tracts came to Luther's attention he real-
ized how widespread the opinions of Karlstadt were, and how
related they were to those of Zwingli and other antagonists. He
felt the necessity of a comprehensive refutation, and began his
Against the Heavenly Prophets. The work expanded and Luther
decided to divide it into two parts. The first was ready by the end
of December, 1524, the second a month later in January, 1525.
Even Melanchthon complained over the violence of Luther's
style. The book only hardened the opponents in their stand, but it
was probably an effective bar to the further spread of Zwinglian
doctrine among Luther's own followers. Its composition also
t Cf, St. L. 20, 92ff.; 2306E; 2312E, et. dL
t WA Br 3, 381ff.
WA 15, 391ff. Preserved Smith and C, M. Jacobs, Luther s Correspondence
and Other Contemporary Letters (Philadelphia: 1918), II, 274ff. Cf. LW 31, 61.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
clarified in Luther's own thinking some of the fundamental doctrines
with which he was struggling. The primacy of the Word of God
as a basis for all doctrines caused him to repel the mysticism which
underlay Karlstadt's subjective notions. He saw distinctly the role
of faith and reason in the matter of authority, and foresaw that
Karlstadt's ideas would end in denial of Christian faith altogether,
We may regret the tone of the treatise and its blunt language, but
we may not forget that the contest concerned crucial issues of the
Reformation. It was not a question of Luther's or Karlstadt's
opinions of each other, but a question of the unshalceable basis on
which the Reformation could withstand attacks from both Rome
and Zurich and thus hope to provide for future generations a firm
foundation of faith.
The translation follows that of a German Wittenberg text of
1525 as given in WA 18:62-125, 134-214.
IN THE MATTER OF
IMAGES AND SACRAMENTS
In the name of God and our dear Lord Jesus Christ. There has
been a change in the weather. I had almost relaxed and thought
the matter was finished; 1 but then it suddenly arises anew and it is
for me as the wise man says: "When man finishes, he must begin
again" [Sirach 18:6],
Doctor Andreas Karlstadt has deserted us, and on top of that
has become our worst enemy. May Christ grant that we be not
alarmed, and give us his mind and courage, that we may not err
and despair before the Satan who here pretends to vindicate the
sacrament, but has much else in mind. For since he has not thus
far been able to suppress with violence the whole doctrine of the
gospel, he seeks to destroy it with cunning interpretation of
Now I have foretold it, and my prophesying will become
true (I*m afraid), that God will visit our ingratitude and permit the
truth to be cast down, as Daniel says (Dan. 8: ). Because we
persecute and do not accept the truth, we must again have vain
error and false spirits and prophets. These have already been with
us to some extent for three years, 2 though thus far hindered by his
grace. Otherwise they would long ago have wrought havoc in our
ranks. Whether he will keep this disturbance in check any longer,
1 Cf. p. 75, par. 2.
' An allusion to the disturbance caused by the Zwickau prophets in 1521.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
I do not know, since no one cares, no one prays for it, and all are
without fear, as though the devil were sleeping who, however, goes
about as a furious lion [I Pet. 5:8]. Although I hope restraint will
not be lacking as long as I live. Therefore I personally, as long as
I live, will resist insofar as God helps me, and help wherever
possible. And this is my earnest, sincere warning and admonition:
First, that each one with complete earnestness pray God for a
right understanding and for his holy, pure Word. In view of the
fact that under such a mighty prince and god of this world the
devil it is not within our power to preserve either the faith or God's
Word, there must be divine power which protects it, as Psalm 12
well prays and says [Ps. 12:6-8], "The promises of the Lord are
promises that are pure, purified seven times. Do thou, O Lord,
protect us, guard us ever from this generation. On every side the
wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the sons of men." If we
boast that we have God's word and do not take care as to how
we are to keep it, it is soon lost.
Second, we, too, ought to do our part and not close our eyes,
but be on our guard. For God nonetheless always holds his grace
firmly over the world, so that he permits no false prophets to
attempt anything except something external, such as works and
subtle minute discoveries about external things. No one concerns
himself with faith and a good conscience before God, but only with
what glitters and shines before reason and the world. Just as the
Arians 3 apparently put up a good case in the court of reason,
when they alleged that God was only one person, the Father, while
the Son and the Holy Spirit were not true God.
Likewise, it was easy and pleasant for the Jews and Pelagians 4
to believe that works without grace made one pious; and under the
papacy it was said in an attractive way that the free will also
contributes something toward grace. So, since it is in accord with
reason, it sounds altogether pleasant to say that there is simply
bread and wine in the sacrament Who cannot believe that? If one
1 Arians derived their name from Arius (d. 336) whose views were condemned
by the Council of Nicaea in 325.
* Pelagians derived their name from Pelagius (ca. 360-418) whose views were
attacked by St. Jerome and St. Augustine and condemned by the Council of
Ephesus in 431.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
only today would grant to the Jews that Christ was simply a man, I
think it would be easy to convert them.
So our concern here should now be that we keep these two
teachings far apart from each other: the one that teaches of the
main articles, to govern the conscience in the spirit before God;
the other, which teaches of things external or works. For more
depends on the teaching of faith and a good conscience than on
the teaching of good works. When works are lacking, help and
counsel are at hand so that one can produce them if the teaching
of faith remains firm and pure. But if the teaching of faith is placed
in the background and works are put forward, then nothing can be
good and there is neither counsel nor help. Then works lead to
vain glory and seem to people to be something great, while God's
So it is with these honor-seeking prophets who do nothing but
break images, destroy churches, manhandle the sacrament, and
seek a new kind of mortification, that is, a self -chosen putting to
death of the flesh. Thus far they have not set aright the conscience,
which is nonetheless most important and most necessary in the
Christian teaching, as has been said.
And if they had now altogether succeeded so that there were
no more images, no churches remained, no one in the whole world
held that the flesh and blood of Christ were in the sacrament and
all went about in gray peasant garb, 5 what would be accomplished
thereby? What did they expect to achieve by pressing, straining,
and pursuing this course of action? Would they therewith have
become Christian? Where would faith and love be? Should they
come later? Why should they not have precedence? Fame, vain
glory and a new monkery would well thereby be achieved, as
happens in all works, but the conscience would in no way be
helped. Thus such false spirits do not care where faith or love
are to be found, just as the pope does not care but presses on if
only he can make sure of the works belonging to his obedience
and laws. And when they do occur, still nothing has occurred.
Since Dr. Karlstadt pursues the same way and in so many books
In answer to Luther's reproach, Karlstadt said: "Of what harm is my common
dress since I do not give occasion with my gray garb for suspecting a false kind
of holiness as Doctor Luther does with his monk s cowl." WA 18, &L
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
does not even teach what faith and love are 6 (yes, they speak
derisively and disdainfully of us on this account, as though it were
a minor doctrine), but stresses and emphasizes external works, let
everyone be warned of him. Everyone should know that he has a
perverted spirit that thinks only of murdering the conscience with
laws, sin, and works, so that thereby nothing is set aright, even if
everything happened that he professes in all his books, and with
mouth and heart. Even rascals are able to do and teach all that he
urges. Therefore something higher must be there to absolve and
comfort the conscience. This is the Holy Spirit, who is not acquired
through breaking images or any other works, but only through the
gospel and faith.
Now in order that we do not open our mouths too wide and
marvel at the skill of these false spirits, and thereby abandon the
main articles, and thus deceitfully be led off the track (for thereby
the devil succeeds through these prophets), I will here briefly
recount these articles of the Christian faith to which everyone is
above all things to pay attention and hold fast
The first is the law of God, which is to be preached so that
one thereby reveals and teaches how to recognize sin (Rom. 3 [:20]
and 7 [:7]), as we have often shown in our writings. However, these
prophets do not understand this correctly, for this means a truly
spiritual preaching of the law, as Paul says in Rom. 7 [:14], and a
right use of the law, as he says in I Tim. 1 [:8],
Secondly, when now sin is recognized and the law is so
preached that the conscience is alarmed and humbled before God's
wrath, we are then to preach the comforting word of the gospel
and the forgiveness of sins, so that the conscience again may be
comforted and established in the grace of God, etc.
Christ himself teaches these two articles in such an order
(Luke 24 [:47]). One must preach repentance and the forgiveness of
sins in his name. "And the Spirit (he says in John [16:8]) will
convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment."
You do not find either of these two articles in this one or any other
of the false prophets. They also do not understand them, and yet
these are the most important and necessary articles.
*Karlstadt had written a treatise on the subject (on the two great command-
ments of love to God and to ones neighbor) hut Luther seems not to have seen it.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
Now the third is judgment, the work of putting to death the
old man, as in Romans 5, 6, and 7. Here works are concerned, and
also suffering and affliction, as we through our own discipline and
fasting, watching, labor, etc., or through other persecution and dis-
grace put to death our flesh. This putting to death is also not handled
correctly by these false prophets. For they do not accept what
God gives them, but what they themselves choose. They wear gray
garb, would be as peasants, and carry on with similar foolish
In the fourth place, such works of love toward the neighbor
should flow forth in meekness, patience, kindness, teaching, aid,
and counsel, spiritually and bodily, free and for nothing, as Christ
has dealt with us.
In the fifth and last place, we ought to proclaim the law and its
works, not for the Christians, but for the crude and unbelieving.
For among Christians we must use the law spiritually, as is said
above, to reveal sin. But among the crude masses, on Mr. Everyman,
we must use it bodily and roughly, so that they know what works
of the law they are to do and what works ought to be left undone.
Thus they are compelled by sword and law to be outwardly pious,
much in the manner in which we control wild animals with chains
and pens, so that external peace will exist among the people. To
this end temporal authority is ordained, which God would have us
honor and fear (Rom. 13 [:!]; I Pet. 3) [I Pet. 2:13, 17].
However, we must see to it that we retain Christian freedom
and do not force such laws and works on the Christian conscience,
as if one through them were upright or a sinner. Here questions
are in order concerning the place which images, foods, clothing,
places, persons, and all such external things, etc., ought to have.
Whoever does not teach according to this order certainly does not
teach correctly. From which you now see that Dr. Karlstadt and
his spirits replace the highest with the lowest, the best with the
least, the first with the last Yet he would be considered the greatest
spirit of all, he who has devoured the Holy Spirit feathers and alL 8
Therefore I beg every Christian who observes how we bicker
in this matter to remember that we are not dealing with important
8 An allusion to the dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
things, but with the most trivial ones. Bear in mind that the devil
is eager to spruce up such minor matters, thereby drawing the
attention of the people so that the truly important matters are
neglected, as long as they gape in his direction. From this each one
should recognize how false and evil the spirit of Dr. Karlstadt is,
who, not content to ignore and be silent concerning the great and
significant articles, so inflates the least significant ones as if the
salvation of the world depended more on them than on Christ
himself. Also, he compels us to turn from the great important
articles to minor ones, so that we with him lose time and are in
danger of forgetting the main articles. Let this be the first fruit by
which one is able to know this tree [Matt. 7:16-20].
So that the books, however, will not become too many, I will
answer all of his with this one book. And since I have not yet
written anything especially about images, 9 this shall be the first.
For while it pleases him to begin this work recklessly, he sought
afterwards to mend himself and cover the shame with fig leaves.
On the Destruction of Images
I approached the task of destroying images by first tearing them
out of the heart through God's Word and making them worthless
and despised. This indeed took place before Dr. Karlstadt ever
dreamed of destroying images. For when they are no longer in
the heart, they can do no harm when seen with the eyes. But
Dr. Karlstadt, who pays no attention to matters of the heart, has
reversed the order by removing them from sight and leaving them
in the heart. For he does not preach faith, nor can he preach it;
unfortunately, only now do I see that. Which of these two forms
of destroying images is best, I will let each man judge for himself.
For where the heart is instructed that one pleases God alone
through faith, and that in the matter of images nothing that is
pleasing to him takes place, but is a fruitless service and effort, the
people themselves willingly drop it, despise images, and have none
made. But where one neglects such instruction and forces the
' Cf., however, the third of Luther's Eight Wittenberg Sermons, PE 2, p. 401ff.,
and his Letter to the Christians in Strassburg in Opposition to the Fanatic Spirit.
Cf. especially Luther's explanation of the first commandment in his Large
Catechism (1529) in H. E. Jacobs' Book of Concord (Philadelphia: 1911),
p. 391ff.; WA 301, 132ff.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
issue, it follows that those blaspheme who do not understand and
who act only because of the coercion of the law and not with a
free conscience. Their idea that they can please God with works
becomes a real idol and a false assurance in the heart. Such legalism
results in putting away outward images while filling the heart with
I say this so that every one may see the kind of a spirit that is
lodged in Karlstadt. He blames me for protecting images contrary
to God's Word, though he knows that I seek to tear them out of the
hearts of all and want them despised and destroyed. It is only that
I do not approve of his wanton violence and impetuosity. If the
Holy Spirit were here, he would not lie as knowingly and unasham-
edly as that, but would say, "Yes, dear Luther, I am well pleased
that you so utterly destroy images in the heart. Thereby it will be
all the easier for me to destroy them before the eyes, and I accept
your service as necessary to this end." Now I am supposed to be
acting contrary to God's Word, and protecting images, I who do
destroy images outwardly and inwardly. And I am not to say that
he acts contrary to God's Word, he who only smashes them in pieces
outwardly, while he permits idols to remain in the heart and sets up
others alongside them, namely false confidence and pride in works.
Furthermore, I have allowed and not forbidden the outward
removal of images, so long as this takes place without rioting and
uproar and is done by the proper authorities. In the world it is
considered foolish to conceal the true reason for a good venture 10
out of fear that it may fail. However, when Karlstadt disregards my
spiritual and orderly putting away of images and makes me out to
be only a "protector of images," this is an example of his holy and
prophetic art, though I only resisted his factious, violent, and
fanatical jspirit. Now since the evil spirit sits so firmly in his mind
I am less inclined than ever to yield to obstinacy and wrong. I will
first discuss images according to the law of Moses, and then
according to the gospel. And I say at the outset that according to
the law of Moses no other images are forbidden than an image of
God which one worships. A crucifix, on the other hand, or any
30 Karlstadt had taunted Luther as to his reason for going slowly in the matter of
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
other holy image is not forbidden. Heigh now! you breakers of
images, I defy you to prove the oppositel
In proof of this I cite the first commandment (Exod. 20 [:3]):
"You shall have no other gods before me." Immediately, following
this text, the meaning of having other gods is made plain in the
words: "You shall not make yourself a graven image, or any
likeness . . ." [Exod. 20:4]. This is said of the same gods, etc. And
although these spirits cling to the little word "make" and stubbornly
insist, "Make, make is something else than to worship/* yet they
must admit that this commandment basically speaks of nothing else
than of the glory of God. It must certainly be "made" if it is to be
worshiped, and unmade if it is not to be worshiped. It is not valid,
however, to pick out one word and keep repeating it. One must
consider the meaning of the whole text in its context. Then one
sees that it speaks of images of God which are not to be worshiped.
No one will be able to prove anything else. From subsequent words
in the same chapter [Exod. 20:23], "You shall not make gods of
silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of
gold," it follows that "make" certainly refers to such gods.
For this saying, "You shall have no other gods," is the central
thought, the standard, and the end in accordance with which all
the words which follow are to be interpreted, connected, and judged.
For this passage points out and expresses the meaning of this
commandment, namely, that there are to be no other gods. There-
fore the words "make," "images," "serve," etc., and whatever else
follows, are to be understood in no other sense than that neither
gods nor idolatry are to develop therefrom. Even as the words,
"I am your God" [Exod. 20:2], are the standard and end for all
that may be said about the worship and service of God. And it
would be foolish if I sought to conclude from this something that
had nothing to do with the divine or the service of God, such as
building houses, plowing, etc. No conclusion can be drawn from
the words, "You shall have no other gods," other than that which
refers to idolatry. Where however images or statues are made
without idolatry, then such making of them is not forbidden, for
the central saying, "You shall have no other gods," remains intact.
If they do not want to apply "make" to images of God, as the
text requires, then I will also say that worship is not forbidden
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
(since we are clinging so strictly to the letter). For in the first
commandment nothing is said about worship. I might say, "Don't
make images yourself. Let others make them. But you are not
forbidden to worship them." If they, however, from other passages
connect "make" with "worship," which is not done in this text, then
in all fairness I may connect in the same text "make" with the gods,
as the text clearly states. Thus we have no example of punishment
being inflicted on account of images and altars, but it has followed
on account of worship. We read thus that Moses' brazen serpent
remained [Num. 21:8] until Hezekiah destroyed it solely because
it had been worshiped [II Kings 18:4].
Concerning this I have a powerful passage in Lev. 26 [:1],
"I am the Lord your God. You shall make for yourselves no idols
and erect no graven image or pillar, and you shall not set up a
figured stone in your land, to bow down to them." How is this?
Here I think the interpretation is sufficiently clear. It is because
of worship that idols and figured stones are forbidden. It is without
doubt so that they will not be worshiped, and where they are not
worshiped they might well be set up and made. What would be the
need otherwise of referring to bowing down? Therefore the
"making" in the first commandment must refer to worshiping and
to no more. So also in Deut. 4 [:15f.], where he forbids the making
of images, the passage speaks clearly of worship.
We have also an example of this in the Old Testament For
Joshua (Josh. 24 [:26]) set up a cairn at Shechem under an oak as a
testimony, etc., even though above in Lev. 26 [:1] the setting up of
such cairns was as strictly forbidden as the images. However,
because it was a stone of testimony, and not for worship, he did
not do this against the commandment Thereafter also Samuel
(I Sam. 7 [:12] ) set up a stone and called it Stone of Help. This
was also forbidden, as has been said, but because no worship but
only remembrance was intended, he did not sin.
However, above all this, Joshua (Josh. 22:21f.), according to
which the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh built a large altar
by the Jordan, so that all Israel became alarmed and with deep
concern sent messengers to them, as though the altar had been
set up contrary to God's command, which indeed was forbidden at
that time. But see how they excused themselves. The altar remained
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
when they heard that it was not for worship or sacrifice, but to be
a witness. If, however, it had been incorrect to make an altar, and
God's commandment had been strictly applied to making, they
would have reduced the altar to ashes. Otherwise they would not
have escaped sin, as they said they would. Now the making of
altars is as strictly forbidden as the making of images. If one then
can make and set up altars and special stones, so that God's com-
mandment is not trespassed because worship is absent, then my
image breakers must also let me keep, wear, and look at a crucifix
or a Madonna, yes, even an idol's image, in full accord with the
strictest Mosaic law, as long as I do not worship them, but only
have them as memorials.
Now I wonder what these Jewish saints, who Hold so strictly to
the law of Moses and rage against images, do about the images on
coins and Jewelry? For I hear they have much money and jewelry.
In Joachimsthal 11 St. Joachim 12 is minted on coins. It would be my
advice that one should rescue these great saints from sin, taking
from them the guilders and the silver coins and goblets. For though
they may be opposed to images, it is to be feared that they have not
"put away all selfish desire" nor advanced in their "concentration,"
"adoration," and "sprinkling" 13 to the point where they are of
themselves able to cast away these treasures. 14 Human nature is
probably still so weak that even the living voice from heaven is not
strong enough for the task. To accomplish it, good strong apprentices
are needed, who otherwise wouldn't have much to fritter away.
This breaking of images has also another weakness in that they
themselves do it in a disorderly way, and do not proceed with
proper authority. As when their prophets stand, crying and arousing
the masses, saying: heigh, hew, rip, rend, smash, dash, stab, strike,
run, throw, hit the idols in the mouth! If you see a crucifix, spit in
^ A city, well Icnown for its silver mines, located in northwestern Bohemia.
Karlstadt spent some time in Joachimsthal and gained support for, his ideas
among its leading citizens. Cf. Hermann Barge, Andreas Bodentfein von
Karlstadt (Leipzig, 1905), I, 200ff.
M The husband of St. Anne, father of Jesus' mother, according to later tradition.
M Terms employed by the Karlstadt group akin to medieval mysticism. Karlstadt
spoke of a sevenfold "sprinkling," analogous to the sprinkling in the tabernacle.
"Karlstadt was accused of having too strong a desire for money, a suspicion
which proved to be true when he sought by various tactics to retain his income
from the cathedral church in Wittenberg and the parish in Orlamiinde.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
its face, etc. This is to do away with images in a Karlstadtian
manner, to make the masses mad and foolish, and secretly to
accustom them to revolution. Those who rush into this thing think
they are now great saints, and become proud and impudent beyond
all measure. When one looks at the matter more closely, one finds
it is a work of the law which has taken place without the Spirit and
faith. Yet it makes for pride of heart, as though they by such works
had gained a special status before God. Actually this means teach-
ing works and the free will all over again.
We read however in Moses (Exod. 18 [:20flF.]) that he appointed
chiefs, magistrates, and temporal authority before he gave the law,
and in many places he teaches: One is to try, judge, and punish in
all cases with justice, witnesses, and in an orderly way. Otherwise,
why have judges and sovereigns in the land? Karlstadt always skips
over this matter altogether too easily. What Moses commands
Karlstadt applies to the disordely masses and teaches them to break
into this field in disorder like pigs. This certainly is and must be
called a seditious and rebellious spirit, which despises authority and
itself behaves wantonly as though it were lord in the land and above
the law. Where one permits the masses without authority to break
images, one must also permit anyone to proceed to kill adulterers,
murderers, the disobedient, etc. For God commanded the people of
Israel to kill these just as much as to put away images. Oh, what
sort of business and government that would turn out to be! There-
fore, though I have not said that Dr. Karlstadt is a murderous
prophet, 15 yet he has a rebellious, murderous, seditious spirit in him,
which, if given an opportunity, would assert itself.
For this reason we always read in the Old Testament, where
images or idols were put away, that this was done not by the
masses but by the authorities, just as Jacob buried the idols of
his household [Gen. 35:4]. Thus Gideon pulled down the altar of
Baal when he was called by God to be a chief [Judg. 6:27]. Thus
Jehu the king (not the masses) demolished Ahab's Baal [II Kings
"In conversation with Luther in the Black Bear Inn at Jena, Karlstadt com-
plained that Luther had called hi "a murderous prophet" from the pulpit in
Jena and so lumped him together with Thomas Munzer of Allstedt. For a report
of the conversation between Luther and Karlstadt at Jena, cf. WA J5, 335ff.
For a detailed discussion of the legal aspects of Karlstadt's relation to his
government, cf . MA a 4, 366ff.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
10:26ff.]. So did Hezekiali also with the bronze serpent [II Kings
18:4]. Josiah did the same with the altars at Bethel [II Kings 23:15].
From this one sees clearly, that where God tells the community to
do something and speaks to the people, he does not want it done
by the masses without the authorities, but through the authorities
with the people. Moreover, he requires this so that the dog does
not learn to eat leather on the leash, that is, lest accustomed to
rebellion in connection with the images, the people also rebel
against the authorities. Talk of the devil and his imps appear.
Now that we are under our princes, lords, and emperors, we
must outwardly obey their laws instead of the laws of Moses. We
should therefore be calm and humbly petition them to put away
such images. Where they will not do so we nonetheless have God's
word meanwhile, whereby they may be put out of the heart, until
they are forcibly put away outwardly by those properly authorized.
However, when these prophets hear this, they call it papistic and
fawning 16 before princes. That they, on the other hand, arouse the
disorderly masses and make them rebellious, that is not to fawn.
Thus we will not be cleared of fawning until we teach the masses
to kill the princes and the lords. However, if I am a papist or one
who fawns before princes, of that the pope and the princes them-
selves should be more honest witnesses than this lying spirit, who
here speaks. For he well knows that the contrary is known to the
Let this be said about images strictly according to the law of
Moses. The meaning is not that I wish to defend images, as has
been sufficiently indicated. Rather murderous spirits are not to be
permitted to create sins and problems of conscience where none
exist, and murder souls without necessity. For although the matter
of images is a minor, external thing, when one seeks to burden the
conscience with sin through it, as through the law of God, it becomes
the most important of all. For it destroys faith, profanes the blood
of Christ, blasphemes the gospel, and sets all that Christ has won
for us at nought, so that this Karlstadtian abomination is no less
effective in destroying the kingdom of Christ and a good conscience,
than the papacy has become with its prohibitions regarding food
1 Miinzer, not Karlstadt, originated this taunt
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
and marriage, and all else that was free and without sin. For eating
and drinking are also minor, external things. Yet to ensnare the
conscience with laws in these matters is death for the soul.
From this let every man note which of us two is the more
Christian. I would release and free consciences and the souls from
sin, which is a truly spiritual and evangelical pastoral function,
while Karlstadt seeks to capture them with laws and burden them
with sin without good cause. And yet he does this not with the law
of God, but with his own conceit and mischief, so that he is not
only far from the gospel, but also not even a Mosaic teacher. And
yet he continually praises the "Word of God, the Word of God/' just
as if it were therefore to become God's Word as soon as one could
say the Word of God. Usually those who make great ado in praising
God's Word do not have much to back them up, as unfortunately we
have previously experienced under our papistic tyrants.
However to speak evangelically of images, I say and declare
that no one is obligated to break violently images even of God,
but everything is free, and one does not sin if he does not break
them with violence. One is obligated, however, to destroy them
with the Word of God, that is, not with the law in a Karlstadtian
manner, but with the gospel. This means to instruct and enlighten
the conscience that it is idolatry to worship them, or to trust in
them, since one is to trust alone in Christ. Beyond this let the
external matters take their course. God grant that they may be
destroyed, become dilapidated, or that they remain. It is all the
same and makes no difference, just as when the poison has been
removed from a snake.
Now I say this to keep the conscience free from mischievous
laws and fictitious sins, and not because I would defend images.
Nor would I condemn those who have destroyed them, especially
those who destroy divine and idolatrous images. But images for
memorial and witness, such as crucifixes and images of saints, are
to be tolerated. This is shown above to be the case even in the
Mosaic law. And they are not only to be tolerated, but for the
sake of the memorial and the witness they are praiseworthy and
honorable, as the witness stones of Joshua [Josh. 24:26] and of
Samuel (I Sam. 7 [:12]).
The destruction and demolishing of images at Eichen, in
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
Grimmetal, and Bimbaum, 17 or places to which pilgrimages are
made for the adoration of images (for such are truly idolatrous
images and the devil's hospices), is praiseworthy and good. How-
ever to teach that those who do not demolish them are therefore
sinners is to go too far and to require more than is necessary of
Christians who do enough when they fight and struggle against
images with God's Word.
If you say, however: Yes, but while they remain, some will be
offended by them and attracted to them, I answer: What can I do
about that, I who as a Christian have no power on earth? Appoint
a preacher who will instruct the people against them, or arrange to
have them removed in an orderly way, not with tumult and riots.
Now then, let us get to the bottom of it all and say that these
teachers of sin and Mosaic prophets are not to confuse us with
Moses. We don't want to see or hear Moses. How do you like that,
my dear rebels? We say further, that all such Mosaic teachers deny
the gospel, banish Christ, and annul the whole New Testament. I
now speak as a Christian for Christians. For Moses is given to the
Jewish people alone, and does not concern us Gentiles and Chris-
tians. We have our gospel and New Testament. If they can prove
from them that images must be put away, we will gladly follow
them. If they, however, through Moses would make us Jews, we
will not endure it.
What do you think? What will become of this? It will become
evident that these factious spirits understand nothing in the Scrip-
tures, neither Moses nor Christ, and neither seek nor find anything
therein but their own dreams. And our basis for this assertion is
from St. Paul (I Tim. 1 [:9]), The law is not laid down for the just"
(which a Christian is). And Peter (Acts 15 [:10-11]), "Now therefore
why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck
of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to
bear? But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of
the Lord Jesus, just as they will." With this saying (as Paul with
his) Peter abrogates for the Christian the whole of Moses with all
Yes, you say, that is perhaps true with respect to the ceremonial
17 Three towns in tne vicinity of Leipzig.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
and the judicial law, that is, what Moses teaches about the external
order of worship or of government. But the decalogue, that is, the
Ten Commandments, are not abrogated. There is nothing of
ceremonial and judicial law in them. I answer: I know very well
that this is an old and common distinction, but it is not an intelligent
one. For out of the Ten Commandments flow and depend all the
other commandments and the whole of Moses.
Because he would be God alone and have no other gods, etc.,
he has instituted so many different ceremonies or acts of worship.
Through these he has interpreted the first commandment and taught
how it is to be kept. To promote obedience to parents, and unwill-
ing to tolerate adultery, murder, stealing, or false witness, he has
given the judicial law or external government so that such com-
mandments will be understood and carried out.
Thus it is not true that there is no ceremonial or judicial law
in the Ten Commandments. Such laws are in the decalogue,
depend on it, and belong there. And to indicate this God himself
has expressly introduced two ceremonial laws, namely, concerning
images and the sabbath. We can show that these two parts are
ceremonial laws which are also each in its way abrogated in the
New Testament, so that one may see how Dr. Karlstadt deals about
as wisely in his book with the sabbath as with images. For St. Paul
(Col. 2 [:16-17]), speaks frankly and clearly, "Therefore let no one
pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard
to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow
of what is to come." Here Paul expressly abrogates tie sabbath
and calls it a shadow now past since the body, which is Christ
himself, is come.
Also, Gal. 4 [:10-11], "You observe days, and months, and
seasons, and years! I am afraid I have labored over you in vain."
Here Paul calls it lost labor to observe days and seasons, among
which is also the sabbath. Isaiah has also prophesied this (Isa. 66
[:23]), "From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath,"
that is, there shall be a daily sabbath in the New Testament, with
no difference as to time.
We must be grateful to Paul and Isaiah, that they so long ago
freed us from the factious spirits. Otherwise we should have to sit
through the sabbath day with "head in hand" awaiting the heavenly
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
voice, as they would delude us. Yes, if Karlstadt were to write
more about the sabbath, even Sunday would have to give way, and
the sabbath, that is, Saturday, would be celebrated. He would truly
make us Jews in all things, so that we also would have to be
For it is true, and no one can deny it, diat whoever keeps the
law of Moses as a law of Moses, or deems it necessary to keep it,
must regard the keeping of all laws as necessary, as St. Paul (Gal. 5
[:3]) concludes and says, "Every man who receives circumcision he
is bound to keep the whole law." Therefore also, whoever destroys
images, or observes the sabbath (that is, whoever teaches that it
must be kept), he also must let himself be circumcised and keep the
whole Mosaic law. In time (where one leaves room for these spirits )
they would surely be compelled to do, teach, and observe this.
However, by God's grace they now do even as St. Paul says (Gal.
6 [:13]), "For even those who receive circumcision do not them-
selves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that
they may glory in your flesh/' Thus the image breakers themselves
do not keep the law. For just as they fail to keep all the other laws,
so also they destroy images unspiritually, as a work, so that they
lose Christ, the fulfilment of the law, and seek only that they may
attain a glory in us, as if they had taught something excellent and
The reference to images in the first commandment is also a
temporal ceremony. St. Paul concludes and says among other things
(I Cor. 7 [I Cor. 8:4]): "We know that *an idol has no real existence.' *
Just as he says of circumcision (I Cor. 7 [:19]), "Circumcision is
nothing/' that is, it is a matter of freedom and does not bind the
conscience, just as he himself throughout that section speaks of
freedom. However, let St. Paul and all the angels be defied, in that
they call something nothing or a matter of freedom, which God so
strictly commands. So the fanatics allege. But one is not to consider
God's commandment as useless or as nothing, as Moses says in
Deuteronomy, for it does concern life.
He points out especially that "an idol is nothing in the world"
[I Con 8:4] in relation to external matters. In relation to God idols
are no joke. Such idols in the heart are false righteousness, glory in
works, unbelief, and anything else that takes the place of Christ
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
in the heart in the form of unbelief. As if he were to say, the Jews
avoid the external idols in the world, but before God their hearts
are full of idols. He also says of them (Rom. 2 [:22]), "You who
abhor idols, do you rob temples?" With these words he interprets
in fine fashion the first commandment, which states: "You shall have
no other gods before me" [Exod. 20:3], as if saying, "In relation to
yourself or the world idols are nothing, but in relation to me, that is,
in the heart, you may not worship or trust in them."
Since St. Paul declares that in all these three points the
Corinthians have freedom, and would have these regarded as
nothing, namely, idols, idol's temples and food offered to idols, all
three of which are strictly prohibited in the first commandment and
those following from it, it is indeed clear and proven forcefully
enough that the reference to images in the first commandment is
to a temporal ceremony, which has been abrogated in the New
Testament. For just as I may with good conscience eat and drink
that which has been offered to idols, and sit and dwell in an idol's
temple [I Cor. 8:7-10], as St. Paul teaches, so I may also put up
with idols and let them be, as things which neither make any
difference nor hinder my conscience and faith.
Not only a teaching of St. Paul, the prophet Elisha (II Kings 5
[:18-19]) has also proven its truth with an admirable example in
the Old Testament. According to Moses and also against Moses
(as our rebellious spirits would understand Moses) he permitted
Naaman, the Syrian commander, to worship the true God in the
temple of Rimmon, the idol of Syria. Now if the first commandment
were to be kept with Karlstadtian strictness, Naaman should not
have done such a thing, nor should the prophet have permitted it
For it is, of course, strictly forbidden to go into an idol's temple
and worship before an idol while at the same time worshiping the
true God. God strictly forbids the Jews to construct altars, images,
or holy places for the purpose of serving and worshiping him
without his command. Even more strictly does he forbid them to
serve and worship him in the presence of other gods. From this
example one can see again that in the Old Testament also, true
idols can do no harm as long as one worships while they are around,
and only the true God is worshiped from the heart. Yet our
enthusiasts would ensnare us who are free Christians and tie us
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
down so rigidly that we should not be able to put up with any
idols without committing sin.
If, however, these destroyers of images will not show us any
mercy, we beg them at least to be merciful to our Lord Jesus Christ
and not to spit on him and say, as they do to us, "Phooey on you,
you servant of idols!" For the three evangelists, Matthew [22:19ff.],
Mark [12:15], and Luke [20:24ff.] write that he took a coin from
the Pharisees upon which was a likeness of Caesar, and asked whose
likeness it was and said it should be given to Caesar. If all kinds
of images had been forbidden, the Jews should not have given any
to him, nor possessed any, much less should Christ have accepted it
and allowed this to be unrebuked, especially since it was the image
of a heathen. He must also have sinned when, according to Matt. 17
[:27], he asked Peter to take a tax shekel out of the fish's mouth and
pay tie tax for him. For he must have had to create the same
image and the shekel in that very place and placed it in the fish's
mouth. I presume also that the gold which the three holy kings
offered to Christ [Matt. 2:11] was also coined with images, as is the
custom in all lands. The same thing is true of the two hundred
denarii (John 6 [:17]) with which the disciples wanted to buy
bread. Yes, also all the fathers and the saints are guilty insofar as
they have used money.
Now we do not request more than that one permit us to regard
a crucifix or a saint's image as a witness, for remembrance, as a
sign as that image of Caesar was. Should it not be as possible for
us without sin to have a crucifix or an image of Mary, as it was for
the Jews and Christ himself to have an image of Caesar who, pagan
and now dead, belonged to the devil? 18 Indeed the Caesar had
coined his image to glorify himself. However, we seek neither to
receive nor give honor in this matter, and are yet so strongly
condemned, while Christ's possession of such an abominable and
shameful image remains uncondemned.
Would you here say, "You don't mean that the first command-
ment has been abrogated, for, after all, one ought to have a God?
Furthermore, one ought not commit adultery, kill, steal?" Answer:
I have spoken of the Mosaic law as laws of Moses. For to have a
u Roman Caesars belonged to the devil because they made themselves gods and
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
God is not alone a Mosaic law, but also a natural law, as St. Paul
says (Rom. 1 [:20]), that the heathen know of the deity, that there
is a God. This is also evidenced by the fact that they have set up
gods and arranged forms of divine service, which would have been
impossible if they had neither known or thought about God. For
God has shown it to them in the things that have been made, etc.
(Rom. 1 [: 19-20]). Is it therefore surprising to find that the heathen
have missed the true God and worshiped idols in the place of God?
The Jews also erred and worshiped idols instead of God, even
though they had the law of Moses. And they who have the gospel
of Christ still misapprehend the Lord Christ.
Thus, "Thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, steal, etc.," are not
Mosaic laws only, but also the natural law written in each man's
heart, as St. Paul teaches (Rom. 2 [:15]). Also Christ himself (Matt.
7 [:12]) includes all of the law and the prophets in this natural kw,
"So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them;
for this is the kw and the prophets/' Paul does the same thing in
Rom. 13 [:9], where he sums up all the commandments of Moses in
the love which also the natural kw teaches in the words, "Love
your neighbor as yourself.** Otherwise, were it not naturally written
in the heart, one would have to teach and preach the law for a long
time before it became the concern of conscience. The heart must
also find and feel the law in itself. Otherwise it would become a
matter of conscience for no one. However, the devil so blinds and
possesses hearts, that they do not always feel this law. Therefore
one must preach the law and impress it on the minds of people till
God assists and enlightens them, so that they feel in their hearts
what the Word says.
Where then the Mosaic law and the natural kw are one, there
the kw remains and is not abrogated externally, but only through
faith spiritually, which is nothing else than the fulfilling of the law
(Rom. 3 [:31]). This is not the place to speak about that, and
elsewhere enough has been said about it 19 Therefore Moses*
legislation about images and the sabbath, and what else goes
beyond the natural law, since it is not supported by the natural law,
is free, null and void, and is specifically given to the Jewish people
1 Cf . De votis monasticis (Concerning Monastic Vows) WA 8, 573ff .
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
alone. It is as when an emperor or a king makes special kws and
ordinances in his territory, as the Sachsenspiegel in Saxony, and
yet common natural laws such as to honor parents, not to kill, not
to commit adultery, to serve God, etc., prevail and remain in all
lands. Therefore one is to let Moses be the Sachsenspiegel of the
Jews and not to confuse us gentiles with it, just as the Sachsenspiegel
is not observed in France, though the natural law there is in
agreement with it.
Why does one then keep and teach the Ten Commandments?
Answer: Because the natural laws were never so orderly and well
written as by Moses. Therefore it is reasonable to follow the example
of Moses. And I wish that we would accept even more of Moses
in worldly matters, such as the laws about the bill of divorce [Deut.
24:1], the sabbath year [Lev. 25:2-7], the year of jubilee, 21 tithes,
and the like. Through such laws the world would be better
governed than now with its practices in usury, trade, and marriage.
This occurs whenever a land follows examples from laws of other
lands, as the Romans took the Twelve Tables from the Greeks. 22
It is not necessary to observe the sabbath or Sunday because
of Moses' commandment. Nature also shows and teaches that one
must now and then rest a day, so that man and beast may be
refreshed. This natural reason Moses also recognized in his sabbath
law, for he places the sabbath under man, as also Christ does
(Matt, 12 [:lff.] and Mark 3 [:]). For where it is kept for the
sake of rest alone, it is clear that he who does not need rest may
break the sabbath and rest on some other day, as nature allows.
The sabbath is also to be kept for the purpose of preaching and
hearing the Word of God.
There are, besides this, much better things in Moses, 28 namely
39 Written by Eike von Repgow, knight and juryman, the Sachsewpiegel (early
thirteenth century) contains economic and social laws obtaining in and around
Magdeburg and Halberstadt. Although fourteen of its articles were condemned
by Gregory XI in 1374 the book remained influential in the codification of
German law until the middle of the nineteenth century,
*Cf. Lev. 25:8ff. The year of jubilee did not become established practice
among the Jews.
M According to I4w iii. 31, the Romans sent three legates to Athens prior to
their formulation of laws to copy the laws of Solon and to acquaint themselves
with the kws and customs of other Greek city states. Cf. WA 18, 81.
* Luther has in mind the first five books of the Bible which are referred to in
his German Bible as books of Moses.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
the prophecy and promise of the coming o Christ, as St. Paul says
(Rom. 3 [:21]). Also, Moses tells us about the creation of the world,
the origin of marriage, and many precious examples of faith, love,
and all virtues. In the writings of Moses we also find examples of
unbelief and vice, from which one can learn to know God's grace
and wrath. All are written not only for the sake of the Jews, but
for the gentiles as well. Much in these writings speaks of unbelievers
and gentiles, so that all such parts serve as examples to teach the
whole world. However, the law of Moses concerns only the Jews,
and such gentiles as have willingly submitted to it and accepted it.
They are called proselytes. So St. Paul says in Rom. 9 [:4] that the
Jews have been given the law, the covenant, and the promise.
Psalm 147 [;19-20] says, "He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes
and ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other
nation; they do not know his ordinances," etc.
I have myself seen and heard the iconoclasts read out of my
German Bible. I know that they have it and read out of it, as one
can easily determine from the words they use. Now there are a
great many pictures in those books, both of God, the angels, men
and animals, especially in the Revelation of John and in Moses
and Joshua. So now we would kindly beg them to permit us to do
what they themselves do. Pictures contained in these books we
would paint on walls for the sake of remembrance and better
understanding, since they do no more harm on walls than in books.
It is to be sure better to paint pictures on walls of how God
created the world, how Noah built the ark, and whatever other
good stories there may be, than to paint shameless worldly things.
Yes, would to God that I could persuade the rich and the mighty
that they would permit the whole Bible to be painted on houses, on
the inside and outside, so that all can see it. That would be a
Of this I am certain, that God desires to have his works heard
and read, especially the passion of our Lord. But it is impossible
for me to hear and bear it in mind without fanning mental images
of it in my heart For whether I will or not, when I hear of Christ,
an image of a man hanging on a cross takes form in my heart, just
as the reflection of my face naturally appears in the water
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
look into it. If it is not a sin but good to have the image of Christ in
my heart, why should it be a sin to have it in my eyes? This is
especially true since the heart is more important than the eyes, and
should be less stained by sin because it is the true abode and
dwelling place of God.
However, I must cease lest I hereby give occasion to the
image-breakers never to read the Bible, or to burn it, and after
that to tear the heart out of the body, because they are so opposed
to images. I only referred to the use of the Bible to show what
happens when reason wants to be wise and gain the upper hand in
understanding God's Word and works. Also I wanted to show
what lies behind Dr. Karlstadt's brash boast that he has God's Word
and must suffer so much on its account. Indeed, the devil, too,
must suffer on account of it not that he uses it rightly, but rather
perverts it and thereby increases his wickedness and lies, as Dr.
Karlstadt also does due to the same vexation.
And if I had time, I would like to satisfy my desire against
Satan and before the whole world stuff down his throat again the
saying which he wrings out of the Scripture in such nonsensical
fashion in Karlstadt's little book, so that he would have to be
ashamed. For I have really caught Karlstadt at so vulnerable a
point, it seems like a miracle of God to me that he can make a fool
of the devil. However, I have other things to do. Whoever will not
be instructed by this argument, let him go and break images his
whole life longl I cannot be blamed.
In conclusion I must give an example of what I am saying to
see whether Dr. Karlstadt might learn a bit himself and be
ashamed that he teaches his disciples so well. When I was in
Qrlamiinde and discussed images with the good people there, and
showed from the text that all the sayings from Moses that were
brought forward dealt with idolatrous images which one worshiped,
a man stepped forward who wanted to be the most wise among
them and said to me, "Do you hear? I would like to address you as
'you/ 24 Are you a Christian?* I said, "Address me as you will."
He would just as soon have struck me. He was so full of Karlstadt's
"The reference is to the distinction in German between the polite ihr (them)
and the familiar du (you).
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
spirit that the others could not make him keep silent. So he
continued and said, "If you will not follow Moses, you must
nevertheless endure the gospel. You have shoved the gospel under
the bench. No, no! It must come forth and not remain under the
I said, "What then does the gospel say?" He said, "J esus Sa 7 s
in the gospel (I don't know where, though my brethren know it) that
the bride must take off her nightgown and be naked, if she is to
sleep with the bridegroom. Therefore one must break all the
images, so that we are free and cleansed of what is created.*' So far
the words of our conversation.
What was I to do? I had come among Karlstadt's followers
and then I learned that breaking images meant that a bride should
take off her nightgown, and that this was to be found in the gospel.
Such words, and words about shoving the gospel under the bench,
he had heard from his master. Perhaps Karlstadt had blamed me
with hiding the gospel under the bench, while he was the man who
was to draw it forth. Such idle pride had brought the man into all
misfortune, and had pushed him out of the light into such darkness,
that he gave as a reason for breaking images, that a bride should
take off her nightgown. Just as if they thereby were rid of created
things in the heart, in that they madly destroy images. What though,
if the bride and bridegroom were so chaste that they kept nightgown
and robe on? It would certainly not hinder them much if they
otherwise had desire for each other.
But so it goes, when one brings the disorderly masses into the
picture. Due to great fulness of the spirit they forget civil discipline
and manners, and no longer fear and respect anyone but them-
selves alone. This appeals to Dr. Karlstadt These are all pretty
preliminaries to riot and rebellion, so that one fears neither order
nor authority. Let this be enough about images. I think it has been
adequately proven that Dr. Karlstadt does not understand Moses
at all. He peddles his own dreams as the Word of God and thinks
less of orderly authority than he does of the disorderly masses.
Whether this be conducive to obedience or to rebellion, I leave to
each one to determine for himself.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
With Respect to the Complaint of Dr. Karlstadt,
That He Has Been Expelled from Saxony**
Thus far we have seen what kind of a Word of God Dr.
Karlstadt has, for the sake of which he exalts himself and makes
himself a holy martyr. Now let us see the work of God, for the
sake of which, as he boasts, he suffers such great persecution.
Although I would rather that he had kept silent and not compelled
me to deal with his aversion. However, since he has also attacked
the princes of Saxony, in that he has not even refrained from
inveighing against the motto which they in all honor wear upon
their sleeves, (so meanly does the bitter resentment in his heart
seek occasion to bring infamy on people), I must, insofar as I have
knowledge of the matter, defend the honor of my gracious lords.
For the princes of Saxony have certainly deserved better of Dr.
Karlstadt than that he should leave with such thanks, as he well
knows. Well now, on with it and we shall see.
First, may I say this, that I have had no dealings with the
elector of Saxony about Karlstadt. For that matter I have in my
whole life never spoken one word with this prince, nor heard him
speak, nor have I even seen his face, except once in Worms before
the emperor [April 18, 1521] when I was being examined for the
second time. It is to be sure true that I have often communicated
with him in writing through Master Spalatin and especially
insisted that the AUstedtian spirit be suppressed. 26 However I
accomplished nothing, so that I was also much annoyed with the
elector, until this spirit voluntarily fled, unexpelled. For this reason
Karlstadt should rightly have spared such princes and become
better acquainted with the matter before he cried out to the world
in his slanderous booklet 27 Also it is not right, much l$s$ Christian,
even if it were true that he was driven out by the elector, to gain
revenge in this way with libel. One should first humbly have asked
the reason and set forth what was right, and thereafter suffered in
*In his little book, Von dem alien und neven Testament (March 16, 1525),
Karlstadt maintained he had been expelled from Saxony contrary to imperial law
and was being persecuted without having been given a hearing, St. L. 20, 288,
* Cf . Luther's Correspondence and other Contemporary Letters. Trans, and ed.
by Preserved Smith and C. M. Jacobs (Philadelphia, 1918), H, 223; and
Ernst Ludwig Enders, Dr. Martin Luther's Briefwechsel (Stuttgart, 1893), V, 23.
97 A reference to Karlstadt' s pamphlet on his expulsion from Saxony.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
silence. It could not be expected of me, who am made out to be
simply flesh, 28 which unfortunately I also am. But the high spirit
of Karlstadt cannot do wrong nor err. He is the right itself.
I have spoken about it with my young lord, Duke John
Frederick 29 (that I admit) and pointed out Dr. Karlstadt's wantonness
and arrogance. However since "the spirit" burns with such blinding
intensity, I will here recount the reasons, some of which, indeed,
are not known to the princes of Saxony, why I am happy that Dr.
Karlstadt is out of the country. And insofar as my entreaties are
effectual, he shall not again return, and would again have to leave
were he to be found here, unless he become another Andrew, 30
which God grant If God wills, I will fawn before no princes. 31 But
much less will I suffer that the rebellious and the disobedient among
the masses are to be led to despise temporal authority.
And my humble admonition and request to all princes, lords,
and authorities is first, as I previously have also written against the
AUstedtian spirit, 32 that they will assiduously see to it that preachers
who do not teach peacefully, but attract to themselves the mobs
and on their own responsibility wantonly break images and destroy
churches behind the backs of the authorities, forthwith be exiled. Or
they should deal with them so that they refrain from such action.
Not that I thereby would hinder God's Word, but I would put a
limit- and bounds to the wantonness of mischievous enthusiasts and
factious spirits, which the temporal authority is obligated to do.
Above all, however, Dr. Karlstadt with his gang must be stopped,
for he is obdurate and will not be instructed, but goes on justifying
and defending his factiousness.
And this is my basis and reason: We have noted above how
Dr. Karlstadt and image-breakers of his kind do not interpret
Moses* commandment as referring to the constituted authority, as
*An allusion to Thomas Mtinzer's polemical writing, Hoch verufs&chte
Schuterede . , , toider das sanft lebende Fleisch zu Wittenberg.
"Duke John Frederick, son of John the Constant (1503-1554), later became
elector of Saxony (1532-1S47).
"A play On Karlstadt's name, Andreas. In the German "another Andrew" Is
"ein ander Andres"
*Cf. p. 90.
"Of. Luther's letter to the Elector Frederick and Duke John of Saxony
(Wittenberg, July, 1524). Luther's Correspondence, op. c&> II, 245; WA Br
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
is proper, but to the disorderly populace. That is certainly not the
right spirit and attitude. For, as I have said, where the populace
has the right and power to carry out a divine commandment, then
one must thereafter give in and permit them to carry out all the
commandments. 33 Consequently, whoever arrives on the scene first
must put to death murderers, adulterers, thieves, and punish rogues.
And thereby justice, jurisdiction, dominion, and all authority would
fall apart. Matters would take their course in accordance with the
proverb: Give a rogue an inch and he takes a mile. For why do we
have sovereigns? Why do they carry the sword, if the masses are
to rush in blindly and straighten things out themselves?
After that, such disorder will gain in momentum, and the masses
will have to kill all of the wicked. For Moses, when he commands
the people to destroy images (Deut. 7 [:16]), also commands them
to destroy without mercy those who had such images in the land
of Canaan. For this killing is just as strictly commanded as the
destruction of images, which commandment these factious spirits
so obstinately introduce and emphasize. Moses, however, com-
manded this of a people that had Joshua as chief and many
magistrates and, besides, was a law-abiding people. Moreover the
commandment did not apply to all of the wicked, but only to the
heathen Canaanites, who through God's judgment were given over
to death because of their wickedness, as the text clearly indicates.
For he exempted the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, though
they also were wicked. Thus this work of God took place through
regular governmental authority, and affected those whom God
himself, not men, had publicly judged and condemned to death.
Since our murderous spirits apply Moses* commandment to
the masses, and do not have God's judgment over the wicked, but
themselves judge that those who have images are wicked and
worthy of death, they will be compelled by such a commandment
to engage in rebellion, in murdering and killing, as works which God
has commanded them to do- Let the AUstedtian spirit be an example,
who already had progressed from images to people, and who
publicly called for rebellion and murder contrary to all authority.
How could he act otherwise? For so he must teach. Since he had
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
invited the devil to be his sponsor up to this point so that the masses
without due process were to destroy images, as enjoined by God's
commandment, then he had to continue and press the auxiliary
commandment, which follows from it, and commands the people to
murder. If I were to destroy images in the same sense as they, I,
too, would be compelled to follow through and command people
to be murdered. For the commandment stands there pressing its
claim. Dear lords, the devil does not care about image breaking.
He only wants to get his foot in the door so that he can cause
shedding of blood and murder in the world.
But, you say, Dr. Karlstadt does not want to kill. That one can
see from the letters which those of Orlamiinde wrote to the
Allstedtians. 34 Answer: I also believed it! But I believe it no
longer. I no longer ask what Dr. Karlstadt says or does. He has not
hit the truth for the first time. Of the spirit which they have and
which impels them, I say that it is not good and is bent on murder
and rebellion. Although he bows and scrapes because he sees that
he is in a tight spot, I shall clearly show that what I have said is so.
God forbid, but suppose Dr. Karlstadt won a large following, which
he thought he could assemble on the Saale, 35 and the German Bible
alone was read, and Mr. Everybody began to hold this command-
ment (about killing the wicked) under his own nose, in what
direction would Dr. Karlstadt go? How would he control the
situation? Even if he had never intended to consent to something
like that, he would have to follow through. The crowds would
mutiny and cry and shout as obstinately, "God's Word, God's Word,
God's Word is there. We must do it!" As he now cries against
images, "God's Word, God's Word!" My dear lords, Mr. Everybody
is not to be toyed with. Therefore God would have authorities so
that there might be order in the world.
If it were really true, and I could believe, that Dr. Karlstadt
does not intend murder or rebellion, I would still have to say that
he has a rebellious and murderous spirit, like the one at Allstedt,
as long as he continues with wanton image breaking and draws the
unruly rabble to himself. I well see that he neither strikes nor stabs,
** Luther refers to the letter of those in Orlamiinde in which they renounced the
spirit and actions of Thomas Munzer and his followers in Allstedt
* The Saale River flows through Orlamiinde.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
but since he carries the murderous weapon and does not put it
aside, I do not trust him. He could be waiting for time and place,
and then do what I fear. By the murderous weapon I mean the
false interpretation and understanding of the law of Moses. Through
it tiie devil comes and the masses are aroused to boldness and
You say, however, Oh, he won't be that obstinate. He is willing
to be instructed and desist from such things. Who? Dr. Karlstadt?
To be sure, he can say the words very well, and blare forth in
writings that he wants to be instructed and would listen to a
superior. If he's in earnest, I'm happy. But when has he ever
yielded or listened? How often has not Philip [Melanchthon] 36
admonished him at Wittenberg that he should not rave so about
Moses, images, the mass, and confession? And when I came back
and preached 37 against his image breaking and celebration of the
mass, why did he not then desist and listen? Also, when Dr. Justus
Jonas and Master Dietrich of Bila mediated between us, 38 how
politely did he yield and permit himself to be instructed? He even
summoned the Last Judgment upon me on account of the fanatic
mass, which he at that time (Heaven help me! ) as if with the great
Holy Spirit had arranged, yet which he now himself condemns and
Also, at Jena in the inn, 39 when we talked of the matter, and
he sought to defend his cause most strongly, he turned to me,
snapped his fingers and said, "You are nothing to me," If he doesn't
respect me, whom among us will he then respect? Or why should
I then continue to admonish? I think he nevertheless considers me
one of the most learned at Wittenberg. And yet he tells me to my
18 On February 5, 1522, Melanchthon stated in a letter to Hugold von Einsiedeln,
"I have appealed also to Dr. Karlstadt to be more moderate, but I cannot stem
the tide. ... A reformation is in progress. May it redound to the glory of
God. . . ." CR 1, 546.
"The eight sermons preached during Lent, 1522, in Wittenberg. Cf.
88 Justus Jonas was professor and dean of the cathedral at Wittenberg and one
of Luther's staunchest friends. Dietrich of Bila was a friend of Karlstadt, to
whom Karlstadt dedicated one of his treatises of 1523, indicating he was then in
JoacnimsthaL WA 18, 89, note 4.
80 Gf * p. 75. The incident reported here is not included in the source referred
to in footnote f , p. 76.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
face that I am nothing to him, and then pretends that he seeks to be
Also, he freely writes back and forth across the land and
considers us at poor Wittenberg as nothing at all compared to him.
And now most recently we are called papists and cousins of the
Antichrist Also, at Orlamiinde, when Master Wolfgang Stein, 40
the court preacher, bade Dr. Karlstadt most kindly and gently to
yield, he screwed up his mouth and gave him such an answer as
though he were prince in the land. Yet Master Wolfgang was there
as a representative of the prince, whom he should have obeyed as
soon as he was asked. This is the way he thinks one is to honor
authority, indeed as if it were the rabble. Many more are the tricks
of his nimble mind.
This I am recounting in order to show that Dr. Karlstadt's offer
to be instructed is pure falsehood. Thereby he would only use
forbearance and a good appearance as a smoke screen for his
obdurate mind, and so dishonor both princes and myself. Also it is
not proper to preach and teach in divine things and then immedi-
ately thereafter want to ask whether it is right. Then either the
teaching must be wrong or the question hypocritical. But if he is
really in earnest, well then, let him desist from his fanaticism. I
have previously dealt quite extensively with the matter of images,
so that he may understand how he is in error. Let him be instructed
and separate himself from the heavenly prophets. 41 All will simply
be forgotten and I will do for him and grant him all that I am able.
I will gladly have him as friend if he will. If he will not, then I
must leave it in God's hands. 42
In much the same manner he has offered to dispute 48 but
complains he has not been permitted to do so. Dear God, how can
a man so publicly speak against his conscience! Should he hp.ve
been refused permission to dispute by me or anyone else? Yet both
* Stein was court preacher at Weimar and had been sent by his prince to
accompany Luther to Jena and Orlamunde on Luther's visit there in 1524.
WA 15, 326.
tt Luther has Thomas Munzer and his followers in mind.
41 In a letter dated December 23, 1524, the text of which has been lost, Lutker
offered to meet Karlstadt in order to effect a reconciliation. Cf . WA 18, 49.
* Karlstadt had expressed his willingness to engage in a disputation in letters to
Duke John (August 14, and September, 1524) and in the discussion with
Luther at Jena.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
princes and the university, with so much writing and issuing of
summons, have not been able to get him to come back to Wittenberg,
where he should attend to his preaching, lectures, and disputations,
as he was obligated and bound to do. He added the stipulation
that he must have safe conduct. Just as if he would be insecure
at Wittenberg, where he held office and position, and where he was
welcome. Who would hurt him? These are nothing but empty
words to put up a good front It may be that his conscience had
made him afraid, as the wicked are wont to be afraid where there
is no cause for fear, in that he at Orlamunde had fallen upon and
seized what was the prerogative and right of the reigning prince.
That, too, was not necessary.
If I were a prince, and paid a salary to a professor to lecture
and to preach in my city or territory, and he without my knowledge
and consent went elsewhere and wantonly took possession of what
was rightfully due me and I meanwhile ordered him officially and
through the university to resume his duties, but he, nevertheless,
did what he pleased on my salary and my property, and later wrote
me a letter and asked for safe conduct to dispute in my city,
whereto I had already ordered him and he was obligated to come,
what should I answer, since he so completely took me for a fool?
And if I now did not answer, and he subsequently circulated an
insulting letter against me, as though I had not been willing to
permit him to dispute or be heard, what should I think? I would
secretly think: He is a rascal. Not that I thereby call Dr. Karlstadt
a rascal. But I indicate what in such a case might occur to a
reigning prince as an individual.
However this man lacked nothing except that his princes were
too indulgent. One could well have found princes, who, had he
undertaken such tricks in their territories with such mischief and
arrogance would have put him and his gang to the sword, and
probably that would not have been just. Therefore I would advise
Dr. Karlstadt not to insult the princes and to thank them that they
have so graciously let him off, so that they be not compelled at last
to deal with him more severely according to his merits.
Nor is this the least of all reasons why he trails along with the
heavenly prophets from which, as is known, comes the AUstedtian
spirit. From them he learns, to them he cleaves. They secretly
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
smuggle error into the land and gather stealthily on the Saale, 44
where they plan to nest. The feeble devil will go nowhere but to
our place, where already through the gospel we have created
opportunity and security, and seeks only to defile and destroy our
nest, as the cuckoo does with the hedge sparrow. These same
prophets claim that they speak with God, and God with them, and
are called to preach, and yet none of them dares come forth and
appear openly, but they lay their eggs secretly and pour their poison
into Dr. Karlstadt. He then promotes it with tongue and pen. But
when he could not do this at Wittenberg, he began on the Saale.
These prophets teach and hold also that they are going to
reform Christendom and establish it anew in this manner. They
must slaughter all princes and the wicked, so that they become lords
on earth and live only among saints. Such and much else I myself
have heard from them. Dr. Karlstadt knows also that these are
fanatics and murderous spirits and that such calamity has originated
with them, which should be warning enough. Yet he does not avoid
them. And I am to believe that he would not bring about murder
and rebellion? Also when I reproached him about this in Jena, 45
he himself admitted it and moreover defended it, saying, why
should he not hold to them in that which they say rightly? Why
then does he not also hold to us or to the papists, where we are
in the right. Or is nothing right with us, or with the papists?
No, against these prophets he can neither preach nor write, but
against us there must be preaching, writing, and raging.
Supposing there were in Dr. Karlstadt such a spirit and he
were an honorable man by ordinary standards, if he found such
people in his prince's territory, he should be the first to shun them
and separate himself from them and bluntly renounce them, that
they desist from such prophesying, otherwise he would have to write
against them, as I have done against the Allstedtian spirit. 46 For
since they are prepared and bent upon slaughter and murder, they
can come from nowhere else than from the devil himself, even
tt Cf. p. 40, n. 2.
B Cf. WA15, 339.
"Wider den neuen Abgott und alten Teufel, der zu Meihsen soU erhdben
tcerden. WA 15, 199F.
CHtmCH AND MINISTRY
though they knew all arts and letters. For the devil also well
knows the Bible and letters together with other arts.
Isn't it annoying that the masses now and again are made so
arrogant and restless by such spirits, before it becomes known to
the princes, so that as soon as they hear a preacher who teaches
them to be peaceful and obedient to government, they immediately
call him a toad eater and a fawner before princes 47 and point their
fingers at him? Who, however, says: "Strike dead, give no one
anything, and be free Christians, you are the true people, etc.," he
is a true evangelical preacher. These take the nightgown off the
bride at Orlamiinde 48 and the trousers off the bridegroom at
Naschhausen. 49 They do not hide the gospel under the bench, and
yet they teach not at all who Christ is, or what should be known
If then a prince found Dr. Karlstadt of such a kind that he
held to the factious and murderous spirits, thereby making the
subjects arrogant and restless, and if he furthermore sought to
justify and defend himself, would it not be time that the prince
said to him: "If you're the trouble maker, get out of here before I
have to speak to you in some other way?" For what good can be
expected when such prophets remain in the land, in which the seed
already shows itself so powerful? He dare not here object that he
has not been admonished before this, and that he has not known,
tiiat there has been no love for him. Who could admonish, when
they deal so secretly, until they have spread the poison all around
so that no one could know what they were doing. Have they not
been admonished sufficiently and publicly through my writing
against the AUstedt spirit? How graciously have they allowed them-
selves to be instructed? Also, have they not known that I have
judged the spirit of these prophets as the devil's spirit? How has it
helped, other than that they are more hardened than ever, with
secret cunning have planned to resist me?
Yes, why have they themselves shown so little love, and so
busily worked against us behind our backs in their hiding place,
written against us in several territories, and in the pulpit pulled
* 7 Gf.p.90.
49 Suburb of Orlamiinde.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
no one to pieces but the Wittenbergers, and yet they have thus far
not shown us our error? Wittenberg has done it, on that the spirit
feasts. Otherwise all's well in the world. And this is done under
the protection of our princes, yes, under our name and sponsorship.
But take care, you evil and wrathful spirits. It is still true that
Wittenberg is too big a bite for you, and God may ordain that in
swallowing you may choke to death on it 50 We know Satan, and
if sometimes we doze off as men, it will do you no good, for he
does not slumber nor sleep, who protects and watches over us
[Ps. 121:4]. We commit ourselves to him.
Dr. Karlstadt has brought this trouble and misfortune upon
himself, in my opinion, inasmuch as he carries on his enterprise
without call 51 while wilfully leaving his own calling. For he has
forced himself upon Orlamiinde as a wolf. For this reason it was
impossible for him to do any good there. He was appointed to
Wittenberg qn a royally endowed income, as an archdeacon, to
preach God's Word, lecture and dispute. 52 God had sent him there,
and he agreed to discharge his responsibilities. He did serve for a
time, usefully and with honor, and was liked and cherished, He
cannot say it was otherwise. He received more advancement from
the elector than many others, until the murderous prophets came
and made the man wild and restless, so that he wanted to learn
something better and more unusual than God teaches in the Bible.
Then he wantonly left and went to Orlamiinde, without the
knowledge and consent of either the prince or the university. He
drove out the pastor who by order of the prince and university
privilege was placed there, and personally took over the parish. 63
What do you think of a stunt like that? Does it contribute to quiet
obedience to authority, or to insolent rebellion among the masses?
The spirit of which I speak peered forth, for the very same spirit
which swallows such a little strap would also very likely venture
80 Probably a reference to Koran's rebellion, Num. 16:32-33,
n I.e., without a call by the proper authorities in church and state.
"Karlstadt was appointed archdeacon of All Saints* Church, Wittenberg, in
1510, and as such enjoyed the income of the parish at Qrlaxnunde. His duties
included pre&ching in the Wittenberg church and teaching at the university.
* According to WA 18, 90, fpotnote 6, and 94, footnote 7, Luther's account is
not altogether factual, for Karlstadt seems to have received the parish by
arrangement with his superiors. Cf,, however, MA* 4, 360-370.
CHUKCH AND MINISTRY
to devour a whole harness, when opportunity came. He who is so
venturesome that he dares in full view of a reigning prince greedily
and wantonly to arrogate his property, jurisdiction, and statutes,
what would he do behind the back of a prince, if he found occasion?
This is the way to honor and fear the authorities and to teach the
masses both with word and example that the priest is like the
people, as Isaiah says [Isa. 24:2].
Even if the devil bursts, he will be unable to deny that the
princes of Saxony sit as governing authorities ordained by God.
The land and the people are subject to them. What kind of a spirit
then is this that despises such a divine order, proceeds with head-
strong violence, treats princely possessions and rights as though
they were his own, and doesn't even once recognize the prince or
confer with him about it, as though he were a blockhead, and he
himself were prince in the land? Should not a good spirit fear
God's order a little more, and since the estate, the pastorate, and
the land belong to the prince, first humbly beg permission to leave
and resign one position, and beg the favor of being installed in
Now, however, Dr. Karlstadt forsakes his duties at Wittenberg
behind the prince's back, robs the university of his preaching and
lectures and what he is obligated to do by reason of the prince's
endowment, and retains nevertheless the salary or revenue for
himself, and puts no one else in his place. At Orlamiinde he also
takes the pastorate belonging to the university, drives out him whom
he had not appointed, nor had the power to appoint, much less to
dismiss. Dear friends, why all this? Some suppose in order that
he might draw that much more income, and because he believed
the elector would be lenient and not quick to punish. But I believe
that a secondary reason was that the prophets sought a hide-out
on the Saale, where they could spread their spirit and poison,
creeping around in the darkness like mice something they would
not be able to do for long in Wittenberg.
He cannot pretend that he could not remain in Wittenberg on
account of heresy, for, thank God, the gospel itself is there, pure
and fine. And if it were not, he would not for that reason be driven
to godless behavior. Even if the devil and his members are around
us in the world, we dare not on that account be devils or members
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
of the devil. Dr. Karlstadt was unusually free to devote himself
alone to God's Word, letting the other priests do what they would. 34
And even if there had been nothing but devils in Wittenberg, he
should nevertheless not therefore, behind the prince's back, move
without leave or permission, meanwhile retaining his income, and
shamelessly appropriating the prince's possessions at another place.
Nor can he say that he moved out of pity for Orlamiinde, to
teach the erring sheep. For this pastorate was served through the
university by a Christian pastor, namely Master Konrad [Glitzsch] 55
who correctly understood and taught the gospel. And even if it
had been so, he should nevertheless have petitioned the authorities
about it. For one is not to do evil for the sake of the good (Rom. 3
[:8]). 56 It has been done only to give room and place for the evil
spirit to circulate its poison, as I have said, so that we might be
pictured as remarkable masters, with no one equal to us,
If he did not seek to gain money or to concentrate his poison,
but sought only the glory of God, why did he not request to preach
God's Word at other cities, where he would not have found such
income? Yet the preaching might well have been needed and the
cities could have been closer. Indeed it was because it wasn't
convenient for the spirit and the belly. However if such mischief is
to occur "out of the inner call of God," then it is necessary that it
be proved with miraculous signs. For God does not change his old
order for a new one unless the change is accompanied with great
signs. Therefore one can believe no one who relies on his own
spirit and inner feelings for authority and who outwardly storms
against God's accustomed order, unless he therewith performs
miraculous signs, as Moses indicates in Deut. 18 [:22],
When, however, he alleges, together with the Orlamiinders,
that he has been elected by them as their minister, and thus
externally called, I 'answer: To me it doesn't matter that they
afterward have elected him. I speak about his first coming. Let
54 Karlstadt was troubled by scruples of conscience because his office as arch-
deacon of the cathedral church required his presence at the celebration of the
mass according to Roman rite. Cf . MA* 4, 376.
65 Konrad Glitzsch, vicar in Orlamiinde, whom Karlstadt ousted in the spring
w The editor has followed the suggested reading of Otto Scheel: wen Guts tofilen,
in Luther's Werke, Erganzungsband 1 (Berlin, 1905), p. 188, rather than the
reading of the text umb Gotts toiHen in WA 18, 96.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
him produce letters to show that they at Orlamiinde have summoned
him from Wittenberg and that he did not himself run over there. 57
Dear friends, if heing called means that I, out of a sense of duty and
obedience, run to another city, and thereafter place myself in so
favorable a light and persuade the people to choose me and oust
another, then I say that no principality is so great, but that I would
be prince therein and drive out the incumbent. How easy is it not
to persuade a people? That is not the way to extend a call. It is
to promote faction and rebellion and to despise authority.
Nor did the Orlamiinders have a right to elect a pastor on
another's salary, for it belonged to the prince and his jurisdiction.
Nor is the prince or the university un-Christian, burdening them
with wicked pastors. And even if he had appointed a godless one
to Orlamiinde, which he had not done, they should nevertheless
not deprive their sovereign of his right, possession, and authority,
and behind his back elect a pastor and give away revenues (which
were not their own) to whomever they would. Much less should he
[Karlstadt] have accepted it without petitioning the prince. Rather,
as is becoming of subjects, they should humbly have made complaint
with the prince and the university, and requested that a Christian
pastor be given them. If then he had not been willing, they could
thereafter have planned as best they could.
Now however they plot without the knowledge of the prince,
elect pastors and appoint them as they themselves please. They
appear to regard their natural liege lord and reigning prince as so
much dirt, whose possessions and prerogatives they wantonly wrest
from him and take into their own hands. Indeed both Karlstadt
and the Orlamiinders have deserved a good strong jolt, as an
example to other such bands, so that they would know that they
have a sovereign and are not themselves lords in the land. However
I would pardon and excuse the good people of Orlamiinde on the
ground that they were too feeble in the face of Dr. Karlstadt's
overbearing spirit. Overcome by his humble bearing and high-
sounding words (as is his custom), they were unable to see how
they acted against their own lord. Possessed of a factious spirit,
Dr. Karlstadt has my answer on the basis of what is apparent from
w Luther seems unaware of a letter from the Orlamiinde parish asking Duke
John that Karlstadt might be sent to this place*
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
the manner in which he has carried on in fin's situation, for he will
not rest until he has tied the pitiable people to his person and set
at naught temporal authority.
Beyond this, all would have been forgiven in honor of the
gospel, if only he had not so stubbornly undertaken to defend
himself. For when the university, by order of the prince, wrote and
summoned him back to his duties and office in Wittenberg 58 yes
indeed, my Karlstadt, will you come? he aroused the poor people
to reply to the university in such proud and arrogant tones that it
was too much. 59 The university's summons was considered papistic
and I don't know what. Nothing was evangelical, only what Dr.
Karlstadt said and did with the Orlamiinders. Now may a pious
reader tell me, have not the princes of Saxony had enough patience
with this mad spirit? Yes, unfortunately all too much. Had they
been more diligent in wielding the sword, the rabble on the Saale
would today be more peaceable and disciplined, and the spirit
would not be domiciled there.
When no end to this game was in sight, but only rash action
with total disregard of both the prince and the university, I never-
theless came to the Saale by order of the prince, and preached
against such fanaticism as well as I could. Then the devil also
welcomed me, in a way which I have no doubt long deserved. How
he panted, rushed and writhed, just as if Christ had come to drive
him out. Dr. Karlstadt even caught me off guard at the table with
such a mild manner and gentle words that I instantly felt the "spirit"
speak from him. Thereupon I pointed out to my gracious young
lord, Duke John Frederick, 60 that his grace should not put up with
this, for what was being done [rather than said] was apparent. He
would be factious and make naught of the authorities. This is how
much I know about the matter, and no more.
And what should I say? There is no earnestness nor truth in
what this spirit proposes. They do not even themselves believe what
they say, nor keep what they promise, except this that the devil
* The summons was issued by letter, March, 1524.
* The reply was given in a letter, dated May 12, 1524.
80 Cf. p. 103, n. 29. Following his discussion with Karlstadt at Jena Luther
reported to the duke who subsequently banished Karlstadt from his territories.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
seeks only to cause trouble in the world. For when Dr. Karlstadt
was last in Wittenberg he willingly agreed to leave the pastorate, 61
since he saw that nothing else would do, and promised then that he
would return to Wittenberg. Had he then been certain that he had
been called to be pastor, he should not have given it up, but rather
have given up his life, as until then he had struggled and defended
himself. For one ought not to renounce a divine call when they
[with whom one is associated] boast of having pure fellowship
He seems to have been of the opinion that his poison was
already sufficiently spread abroad, and the trouble now was rooted
deeply and strongly enough, and that the populace would now stay
with him as unfortunately is all too true, so that he could probably
remain as pastor there, even though the prince and the university
wouldn't like it. Also an apparent surrender of the pastorate would
do no harm, since the populace was so prepared that no one who
succeeded him would prosper. Hence eventually the princes would
have to leave him there, as indeed has been publicly suggested.
Such devious and clever designs the spirit did not think that God
could see or prevent. Thus ha planned treacherously to secure his
advantage before anyone was aware of it. Now we men easily lose
in a gamble. The spirit surely lost, and God is found to be wiser
than he is.
I have had to make this extended explanation, although very
unwillingly, because the spiteful spirit is so prone to embellish
himself to the shame of the princes of Saxony, by whose favor he
receives honor and goods. I think also if he had not fled in such
misery and despondency, but had had the moral courage at that
time to request reasons [for his banishment] from the princes of
Saxony, these and others, of which I am perhaps unaware, might
have been indicated to him. Though more could be said about that,
I am of the opinion that the land belongs to the princes of Saxony
and not to Dr. Karlstadt, who is a guest therein and has nothing.
When they take from no one what belongs to him and at the same
time, for reasons of their own, no longer want someone in their
* April, 1524.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
land, I do not believe they are obligated to say to each one what
has actuated them, nor to take the matter to court. For princes
must conceal many things and keep them secret. If a landlord did
not have the right and the power to ask a guest or a servant to
move out, without first giving a reason and settling the matter in
court, he would be but a poor landlord imprisoned in his own
estate, and the guest would himself be landlord.
This spirit does not consider this, but presses on and attacks
the princes with public abuse, as though he were their equal lord
in the land of Saxony and defies them with the law in their own
possessions. How shall one answer such an arrogant and venture-
some head other than as the householder in the gospel says: "Friend,
I am doing you no wrong Take what belongs to you and go
Shall I not do what I choose with what belongs to me?" [Matt.
20:13-14]. This evil-eyed rogue also wanted to know the reason
and justification for the householder's dealing with his possessions
as he chose. Oh you fine spirit, to what extent are you able to
conceal what you have in mind? You would be lord, and that which
you affirm and do is to be considered right. That is the sum of it.
What think you now? Is it not a fine new spiritual humility?
Wearing a felt hat and a gray garb, 62 not wanting to be called
doctor, but Brother Andrew and dear neighbor, as another peasant,
subject to the magistrate of Orlamiinde and obedient as an ordinary
citizen. Thus with self-chosen humility and servility, which God
does not command, he wants to be seen and praised as a remarkable
Christian, as though Christian behavior consisted in such external
hocus-pocus. At the same time he strives and runs counter to duty,
honor, obedience, and the power and right of the reigning prince
and the governing authority, which God has instituted. This is
God's new sublime art, taught by the heavenly voice, which we
at Wittenberg, who teach faith and love, do not understand and
cannot know. This is the nice "turning from the material,** the
"concentration," the "adoration," the "self-abstraction," and similar
devil's nonsense. 63
w Cf. p. 81, n. 5. When Luther preached in Jena prior to his interview with
Karlstadt, the latter attended wearing a felt hat.
"Cf. p. 88, n. 13.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
Concerning the Mass
Herewith an answer has been given to several of Dr. Karlstadt's
books. 64 We shall now give our attention to the book which has to
do with the mass, 65 so that we may deal specifically with the
sacrament. For I do not know why he makes so many books, all
of which deal with the same subject. He could well put on one
page what he wastes on ten. Perhaps he likes to hear himself talk,
as the stork its own clattering. For his writing is neither clear nor
intelligible, and one would just as soon make one's way through
brambles and bushes as to read through his books. This is a sign
of the spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks well, clearly, in an orderly and
distinct fashion. Satan mumbles and chews the words in his mouth
and makes a hundred into a thousand. It is an effort to ascertain
what he means.
Dr. Karlstadt has observed that we at Wittenberg opposed
the mass as a sacrifice and a good work with great earnestness,
both with writings 66 and in action. Moreover, we were the first ones
to do so. He was probably concerned that we receive honor there-
from and thus through vainglory be led to sin. He reasoned with
himself how he might help us in the following way: What shall I do
to bring the Wittenbergers into such disrepute that all their writings
and deeds concerning the mass will mean nothing, and that they be
defamed in their holding the mass as a sacrifice and a good work,
and I alone be the hero that has brought into the world the aware-
ness that the mass is not a sacrifice? I will do this. I will not pay
attention to what they write, confess, or do. Then I could be no
knight, for all this is too evident I will inveigh against them
because they call it a mass, which means a sacrifice, and because
they elevate the sacrament as though they offered it Then I can
** Luther has the following "books of Karlstadt in mind: Ob man gemach fdhren
soft; Ursachen, der halben Andres Carolstadt vertrieben; and Von dent Sabbat
und geboten Feiertagen.
"In the following remarks Luther directs his attack against Karlstadt's Wider
die alien und neuen papistischen Messen (ca. September, 1524) in St.L. 20,
* Cf. A Treatise on the New Testament That Is the Holy Mass ( 1520), WA 6,
353ff.; PE 1, p. 28ff. The Babylonian Captivity of the Church ( 1520), WA 6,
484ff.; PE 2, p. 167ff.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
say: The Wittenbergers all grievously err, and with them the "poor
bishop at Zwickau." 6T
Well then, we must in turn be thankful for the good deed and
see to it that the high honor also does not deceive the rich vagabond
and "uncalled" preacher Karlstadt. In matters relating to the name
of the mass and the elevation of the sacrament, we shall make reply
in such manner that more shame than honor will come to him. Not
that it is necessary to refute such childish tomfoolery other than to
show that no good spark of true understanding is left in Dr.
Karlstadt. Therefore, let everyone be on guard against this mad
spirit, and not trust his splendid words. Lurking behind them are
false, murderous snares, confusing the conscience with utterly
First of all he takes us to task for calling the sacrament a mass,
and accuses us of being Christ's hangmen and murderers, using
other horrible words even worse than those used by the papists,
because mass is supposed to mean sacrifice in Hebrew. 68 Having
taken the risk of contending with such earnestness that the mass is
not a sacrifice is of no help to us. Even in the eyes of the world
it is disgraceful, childish, and effeminate to be in agreement in
substance and yet to quarrel about words. In forbidding this Paul
calls such people, logomaxous, "word warriors," and wranglers, etc,
[I Tim. 6:4; II Tim. 2:14]. However it is the devil, as I have said,
who would like to use Karlstadt's head, to burden conscience
grievously with sin and horrible danger in things which are in
themselves free and without sin* Therefore he has no peace
unless he destroys good consciences and kills souls, which should
live, as Ezekiel [13:19] says.
In the second place, if it really were true that mass means
sacrifice, and there were a fragment of good in Dr. Karlstadt, he
should have first informed and admonished us before publicly
attributing to us such great vices before the whole world. Since
we in fact deny and struggle against the mass as a sacrifice, it might
""Poor bishop at Zwickau" refers to Luther's friend, Nikolaus Hausmann,
pastor at Zwickau.
68 The derivation of the word "mass" from the Hebrew missah (Cf. Deut. 16:10)
is incorrect. Luther does not make the mistaken meaning central in his argument
Cf . below. The word "mass" is derived from the Latin missa as contained in the
liturgical form, Ite, mtesa est. . . .
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
have been expected that we would very gladly also drop the name,
were we instructed that by using the name we make the mass a
sacrifice. What has happened to brotherly love in the high spirit?
Is it no sin for these saints so grievously and shamefully to
calumniate the neighbor without any cause? Plagued with blind-
ness, Dr. Karlstadt pays no attention to nor does he recognize such
truly great sins, as is apparent from his desire to burden the whole
world with erroneous, imagined, and great sins. Acting in this
manner is, in my opinion, to have the log in one's own eye and to
want to take the speck out of another's eye [Matt. 7:5; Luke 6:42].
I have never known, also do not know now, that mass means
sacrifice. Dr. Karlstadt must excuse me. Although I do not know
much Hebrew, yet I am more competent to speak and to judge than
he. I have now also almost translated the whole Bible into German,
and I have not yet found that mass means a sacrifice. I think he
must have f ound it written in the vent of a chimney, or recently
invented his own Hebrew language, as he can invent sins and laws
and a bad conscience, or probably the heavenly voice speaks in
this way. It would be in order, when one does not understand a
language, not to make claims for oneself in the field, and to give
honor to those who are competent in it, so that no one might say:
See, what a presumptuous ass he is! And especially when one would
establish an article of faith, as Karlstadt here does, and hence raves:
"I have dreamt that mass in Hebrew means sacrifice. Therefore the
Wittenbergers seize, hang, murder, scourge Christ and are worse
than Caiaphas, Judas, Herod, because they call it mass." Take it
easy, factious spirit. If it were a carnival play, buffoonery would
be in place.
In my Hebrew language I find that mas means tribute or tax,
which one annually gives to the government, as in Gen. 49 [:15]:
"Issachar was tributary." 69 And the Books of Kings often tells how
land and people became tributary to the children of Israel. Hence
on one occasion Moses calls the mass (Deut. 16 [:10]) not the
sacrifice, as Dr. Karlstadt dreams, but the first fruits, which they
were willingly to bring to the priests on Pentecost, as an annual
tribute, and there before the Lord through offering confess and
*In the RSV the whole passage is: "Issacher . , . became a slave at forced
labor." "Forced labor" is the term Luther translates "tributary."
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
give thanks, that they had received such fruits and the land from
the Lord, as Moses very beautifully teaches (Deut 26 [:10, 13]).
Even as also each tenant confesses through his tribute that he has
received such money or goods from his liege lord. Sacrifice, however,
is no tribute. It was also not commanded in the same way as the
tribute. Thus one had to kill the sacrifice and burn it, so that mass
and sacrifice agree together like the fist and the eye, although I
have been compelled to translate Deut. 16 [:10], "freewill offering."
Of course, these spirits, who alone have the heavenly voice, do not
pay any attention to my interpretation.
When the Hebrew language was still common among them,
the apostles and the first Christians called the bread and wine,
which they had gathered for observance of the sacrament, "mass,"
in Hebrew in accordance with Jewish custom. A part of it was
consecrated for use in connection with the sacrament, the other was
distributed among the servants of the congregation and the poor.
For a long time afterwards this practice was also referred to as
"collections," as the Historia tripartita testifies. 70 Though the
practice was discontinued the word "collect" still remains in the
papist mass to indicate that collect and mass belong together, until
the abomination [Mark 13:14; Dan. 11:3112:11] came and made
a sacrifice out of it. Therefore the word mass does not refer to the
consecrated sacrament, which is an action involving God and man,
but only to the gathering of bread and wine, involving men. It was
not something given or offered to God, but distributed among men.
Where are you now, dear factious spirits and sin drovers, with
your Hebrew language? Tell me why I should not call the Christian
office a collect or mass, as the apostles and first Christians did?
Yes, tell me, where have you gotten the lie from to blame us with
calling the consecrated bread and wine a mass, even if mass means
sacrifice? One calls the whole office a mass and says, "during the
mass/* or "in the mass," one consecrates the bread and wine. Also,
in the mass one receives the sacrament. Who has ever heard it
said, "I will receive the mass," or "I have received the mass," when
70 The Histofia ecclesiastica tripartita, a compilation of extracts from Socrates,
Sozomenus, and Theodoret, was the principal handbook of church history used
in the Middle Ages. Its author and compiler, Cassiodorus (d. cfl. 570), wished
to augment the reworking of Eusebius* church history by Rufinus.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
one has received the sacrament? I do not know if I have even once
written or said it Be that as it may, I know for sure that we do not
teach or speak so at Wittenberg, although there would be no danger
if the sacrament were or were not called a mass. The lying spirit
has certainly invented this about us, just as he as the result of his
own dream calls mass a sacrifice, to demontsrate his wantonness.
What, however, if the apostles had also called the sacrament
itself a mass? I think they would defend themselves quite well
before the factious spirit and say: The Jews had to bring their mass,
that is, their first fruits, to the priests, by which they gave nothing
to God, but rather thereby confessed and thanked God, that they
received these and the whole land from his grace. We observe the
sacrament or our mass in a similar way. We do not celebrate it in
order to give or offer something to God, but only that we may
thereby confess and thank God, who has given us the same, together
with all the riches of the kingdom of heaven, as also the words of
Christ state: We should do this in his remembrance [I Cor. 11:24,
25]. With this I think they would have quite well stopped the
mouth of the spirit and instructed him, so that he might better learn
the Hebrew language and Moses, before he slanders and condemns
that which he neither knows nor understands.
This I say as though it were proven that mass is a Hebrew word,
which I would not depend on. Whether it is Hebrew or not makes
no difference, although it is much like the Hebrew. However what
one would make into an article of faith by which to rule conscience
must be something that is known much more definitely than one
knows that mass is from the Hebrew. There is nothing of this in the
Scripture. Besides, whatever occurs to or strikes the fancy of the
scatterbrained, factious spirit must be a definite article of faith.
After that speedily force it with fury and raging upon poor
consciences, create sin where none exists, as is the nature of all his
teaching and spirit. If a good spirit were moving him, he would
first be sure of the matter, and prove that "mass" is Hebrew, before
he interprets it in a Hebrew manner. Then he should also prove
that it means sacrifice. Finally he should also demontsrate that one
must not call it mass. He does none of this. He only slavers his
drivel about, and this we are all to accept as an article of faith.
However, to portray the devil better, and show that he has no
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
reason for lying in this way, but his whole undertaking is a pretense,
I'll even suppose that mass means a sacrifice, and that in addition
we expressly call not the office but the sacrament a sacrifice (neither
of which occurs, but the factious spirit lies about both). What
would that mean to him? Would we therefore be Christ's hangmen
and murderers, as the factious spirit spurts? Or does it follow
therefrom, that we consider the sacrament a sacrifice? Since he
himself confesses that we do not consider it a sacrifice, how is he
able to lie so brazenly and say we do at the same time consider it
a sacrifice? But we cannot simultaneously believe and confess two
contradictory things in one heart.
Yes, I will say further, that if we publicly confess with hearts,
tongues, pens, and actions that it is no sacrifice, and besides that
imprudently were to call it the mass, as do those who do not know
that a mass is a sacrifice, would God not judge us more according
to the heart and all other outward evidence rather than so on ac-
count of giving the appearance and using the name [mass] con-
demn us as the devil does through Dr. Karlstadt? For God himself
says that he sees and judges according to the heart, not according
to appearance (Isa. 11 [:S]). Dr. Karlstadt, however, because of
the external appearance of a name of whose meaning we are not
sure slanders us so shamefully, and will neither judge according
to the heart, nor take into account all of its fruits, which we show
forth with deeds.
How often does not a mother call her daughter a little whore,
both in anger and in love? How often does not a father call a son,
"you fool/* "you rogue"? Or they may call the daughter putana
and not know that putana means a whore, but think of a virgin. If
Dr. Karlstadt's spirit would hear of this, he would curl his lip and
rail: "Oh, the mother and the father are of the devil. They bring
infamy upon God's creatures. They murder, hang, strangle, and
mangle the precious virtue of virginity in their own child. They are
indeed more evil than any keeper of prostitutes or murderer. With
the heart and other outward evidence they show that the daughter
is a pious virgin, but in calling her a little whore or putana, they
do as much as a keeper of prostitutes who would take her to a
'"-Putana* derived from the mediaeval Latin putena and used in French as
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
brothel," Dear friend, what would the mother say to such a judge?
She would beg for God's sake that one bind him with chains as a
mad, raving man. By the same token, as Karlstadt well knows, we
are not in earnest, even should we call the sacrament a sacrifice,
although we do not do it. Yet in his judgment we consider it a
sacrifice and for that reason he continues to slander us so outrage-
ously. As is apparent, he only seeks occasion to slander us out of
So senseless and possessed have envy and vain ambition made
this man, that he no longer sees how the heart gives the name to
the deed, and not the deed the name to the heart. If the heart is
right and good, no matter what the name, it can do no harm. How
can there be good and proper understanding of dealing with the
Scripture or divine things in the head of one whose mind is so
perverted that he has lost even the common understanding of the
function of human reason? Does he not know that one must judge
everything according to the belief and the fruits of the heart, not
according to the name or appearance, as also all natural law teaches?
Let those who will believe that such a teacher who, seeing all
things through a colored glass and judging according to his
embittered and false heart, writes correctly and in a Christian way
about the sacrament. If he knows this and writes wantonly never-
theless, it's all the worse, as thereby one clearly perceives that he
must be possessed. For a man who is in his right mind does not
act so wantonly.
Now, what if in these days we went on and called the sacrament
not mass, but in plain German a sacrifice, just to spite the factious
spirit? Do you think we would be equal to the task? According to
our way of thinking, all we have done at Wittenberg, and yet
intend to do, will be so fashioned by God's grace that the devil with
all gates of hell and factious spirits may assault, but will gain
nothing, as is borne out by the past Come now, I shall call the
sacrament a sacrifice anew, not because I consider it a sacrifice but
because the god of this factious spirit, the devil, would prevent me
from calling it thus. I shall therefore do what he does not want me
to do, and not do what he wants me to do. Moreover, I shall set
forth the reason and basis for the action I propose.
I will call St. Peter a sinful fisherman, as he calls himself in the
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
gospel [Luke 5:8], and say: "St. Peter, the poor sinner, has converted
the world with his gospel" [Acts 2:41-42]. St. Paul, the persecutor
of Christendom, is teacher of the gentiles [Acts 9:4; I Cor. 15:9].
St. Mary Magdalene/ 2 the sinner, has been saved [Luke 7:48],
and the like. This I write in order to give Karlstadt's spirit occasion
to write still more books (although nothing is commanded him) and
thunder at me, saying: "The Wittenberg Tnghminded preacher' 73
defames the grace of God, the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit,
since he calls the saints sinners. With the heart he regards them as
holy, but 'shrieks* 74 (according to his German manner of speech)
otherwise with the pen. Since he calls them sinners, he also
regards them as such and turns them into sinners, murders and
hangs Christ, and sheds his blood, etc." In this manner the "depth-
minded" vagabond preacher is accustomed to carrying on.
Yes, I will even make it worse. I will call Jesus Christ, the
Son of God, the crucified and one who died. Let the factious spirit
demonstrate his skill and say: "Christ now sits in heaven and is no
longer crucified. Since you however still call him thus, well then,
to that extent you crucify him, and are worse than the Jews by
whom he was crucified, even though you say otherwise with the
heart and pen/' How does that strike you? This spirit would
eventually prevent us from using any names from previous history.
For if I may not say of the mass, that it has been a sacrifice, and
this is an abominable thing, in case I say: "Here is a sacrifice of the
papists, or we receive the sacrifice'* (note, that formerly was a
sacrifice), then also we can no longer in the gospel call Simon the
leper, Peter a sinner, nor Paul a persecutor, nor Christ the crucified.
For all this is past and due to the devil and now is no more.
How often does it not happen that the evil name of a thing
remains when the evil is gone? Should he who calls it by the evil
name thereby make the same evil by so doing? Nothing could be
worse than that someone now should crucify and kill God's Son.
78 Luke does not use this name. Luther is following an ancient Christian legend
in identifying Mary Magdalene with "a woman of the city, who was a sinner"
w Karlstadt had applied this epithet to Luther in one of his writings. Cf.
WA 18, 108.
7 * "Shrieks*" is a rendering of kirren, a word belonging to the peculiar German
dialect of Karlstadt as spoken in Wiirzburg. Cf . ibid.
CHUBCH AND MINISTRY
Yet since it occurred once the evil name remains forever; but no
harm is done, since our heart, disposition, and all our deeds are
turned in another direction than the name suggests. Should not
allowance be made for a charitable interpretation when from habit,
or the evil influence which the papists have exerted upon the
sacrament, it is called a sacrifice, although we do not do it? Might
I not call it a martyred, crucified, murdered sacrament, as Dr.
Karlstadt himself does? For all this is included in the word
"sacrifice." Can it be said that I martyr, crucify, and murder, and
am like him who does it in deed, when I only use the name?
Therefore I ask the factious spirit and stuff his own words
down his throat: "Say on, why do you call the bread and wine a
'martyred, crucified, murdered sacrament? Are you not also
executioners and murderers of Christ, even if you no doubt shriek
otherwise with the pen?" If you say, however, that you don't thereby
intend this, but only point out what others are doing ah, dear
squire, why can I not then also call it a sacrifice, with the meaning
others have developed, rendered, and given? Do you not see, what
all the world and even children see, that one is not to judge
according to names and appearance, but according to the heart
and the deed? I have said all this at greater length than necessary
(as though there were some among us who call it a sacrifice), in
order to show how unable the spirit is to accomplish anything. For
even if his dreams were true, he would still achieve nothing. It
stands to reason that a spirit who has lost the fundamental truth
and deals only with externals, should have a theology of semblance
To be sure, it is a sin and a shame, as has been said, to waste
so many words and so much time and paper over these trifles.
However it has been fruitful in that the mask has been pulled from
this spirit and he has been brought into the light. Being aware of
where Dr. Karlstadt has taken up his position, and what he has in
mind, everyone will beware of him as of the devil. For that could
be granted him as a person, if he taught something about names and
semblance, but left alone and did not touch the fundamental truth
in the heart and the deed. No one but the devil would stage such a
useless show and with high-sounding words pretend as though
everything depended on his contention. In addition, he outrageously
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
condemns and slanders the true internal basis [of our position]
which he himself admits we have and would eagerly have destroyed.
For no upright, pious man behaves this way. Were he able to
bring it about, he would do everything in his power to destroy
utterly the good light of truth and the grace of God which has been
given us at Wittenberg, and to persuade the people that through
him the true sun had arisen at Orlamunde.
How does it look to you now? He who depended on Dr.
Karlstadt's argument how well would he manage with his mass?
For he has not proved that the word "mass" is derived from the
Hebrew, that it is a sacrifice and that one should not so call it. And
even if he had proved all this, he would thereby have accom-
plished nothing except making himself and us the object of ridicule.
If the papists would only cease offering the mass, dear God, how
gladly would I not let them call it what they pleased. While the
name makes no difference to me, Dr. Karlstadt makes everything
depend on it, paying too little attention to the main argument, the
The other matter about the elevation 75 of the sacrament is
of the same kind. This must also be anti-Christian and papistic.
Oh if someone could advise this man to leave both preaching and
writing alone and do some other work! He is unfortunately not
suited for it He wants to make new laws and sins and set up new
articles of faith. Whether it pleases God or not, he can do noth-
Already, at an early date, 76 we have taught Christian liberty
from [the writings] of St. Paul. There is to be freedom of choice
in everything that God has not clearly taught in the New Testa-
ment, for example, in matters pertaining to various foods, beverages,
attire, places, persons and various forms of conduct [Rom. 14:2-6;
I Cor. 8:8-10]. We are obligated to do nothing at all for God, except
believe and love. Now tell me, where has Christ forbidden us to
76 Cf. Karlstadfs Wider die alien und neuen papistischen Messen, St.L. 20,
2809; "They elevate the host and similarly the cup. Through this act they
indicate that He, whom they elevate, is still a sacrifice and that their bread and
wine also is a sacrifice." dieser, jener; feminine, where we use die, diese,
jene; and neuter where we use das, dies, jenes. So we say der
Himmel (the heaven), der Mond (the moon), der Stem (the
star), der Mann (the man), der Knabe (the boy), der Hund (the
dog). So also die Sonne (the sun), die Erde (the earth), die Luft
(the air), die Stadt (the city), die Frau (the woman), die Magd
*Cf. pp. 81, 117.
m An allusion to the dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit
AGAINST THE EU&AVENLY PROPHETS
(the maid), die Kuh (the cow). Also, das Wasser (the water), das
Holz (the wood), das Feuer (the fire), das Licht (the light), das
Pferd (the horse), das Schwein (the pig). But the Hebrew lan-
guage does not have these genders, only the masculine and feminine
der and die.
Now Karlstadt contends thus. In the Greek and Latin lan-
guages bread is preceded by der, not das. For they say der artos,
der panis. We Germans, however, say das Brot. Body, however,
is das in Greek and Latin. For they say, das soma, das corpus. We
Germans say, der Leib. Since Christ here says, "Touto esti to soma
mou" "Das ist mein Leib" and does not say, "Der ist rnein Leib"
he cannot be referring to bread, which would be der in Greek, but
to his body, which is das in Greek. Do you now understand what
Dr. Karlstadt is after? It is his Greek touto, which in German is
das. As a modern Greek he wants to contend from the Greek lan-
guage that the body of Christ is not in the sacrament, for Christ
does not say, "Der ist mein Leib" but, "Das ist mein Leib" To
speak of bread as "Das ist mein Leib*' is not in keeping with Greek
Such skill no Greek ever witnessed, from Christ's time to ours,
even if he were a native in the language. But now they have dis-
covered this skill at Orlamiinde, perhaps in an ancient image when
they destroyed the images, or they have it from some heavenly voice.
And the man who has hardly seen "a-b-c" in Greek, gives no credit
to those born and bred in the language, or to those who now in
Germany and other lands have competent knowledge of Greek,
Since nothing is easier than to sense and observe a discrepancy of
this kind, surely they would have done so in all this time. For there
is no child reared in the German language, who would not laugh
if someone said to him about a woman, "Der Frau ist schon" (the
woman masculine is beautiful), "Das Mann ist fromm" (the man-
neuter is devout), and would say that you are a Tartar or a gypsy.
Would not all Greece and the whole world have sensed the same, if
Christ had said, "Touto is my body," though all the world knows
that touto has been and still is understood as referring to "bread"!
If a Greek child heard some one say, das artos (the neuter bread)
he too would soon laugh. Yet no one has laughed when all the
world has said of the bread, "Das ist mein Leib" (this is my body)*
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
Yet this stupid spirit presumes now to instruct the Greeks.
But as I have said, the man has lost head, eyes, brain, and heart,
since he knows neither shame nor fear, and dares wager all accord-
ing to his whims. He knows well enough that he is ignorant of
Greek, and proves it fully by translating the Greek, "Touto esti to
soma mou," into Latin "Istud panis est hoc corpus meum" and into
German, "Touto ist der Leib mem," making of the article to a pronoun
and inserting panis, etc. What German speaks thus: "This is the
body, mine?** Yet on such ignorance he consciously ventures to
build a faith for himself and all the world. If some one dares build
articles of faith on conscious and admitted ignorance and so to teach
the world, how much more he would dare do it on a vague illusion
or doubt? Indeed, what would such an impudent spirit not dare?
I am terror-stricken at the boldness and outrage of men in divine
things, while in their attitudes to men on earth they are weak,
unstable, and despairing.
Let me now explain why Christ said totdo or das of the bread
instead of der. In German we have a way of speaking which allows
us when we point to something before us to designate and call it
das, whether in itself it be der or die. So I say, "Das ist der Mann
(that is the man) of whom I speak," "Das ist die Jungfrau (that is
the young lady) whom I mean," "Das ist die Magd (that is the
maiden) who sang there," "Das ist der GeseUe (that is the fellow)
who told me," "Das ist die Stadt (that is the city) that did it," "Das
ist der Thurm (that is the tower) that lies there, 1 * "Das ist der Fisch
(that is the fish) which I brought" Here I call to witness all
Germans, if I am speaking German. After all, this is our mother
tongue, and we commonly speak so in German lands.
The Greeks do the same in their language in regard to touto
and the bread, when they point to it and say, That is my body,
given for you." I call to witness all those who know Greek But the
Latin language is different it has no [definite and indefinite] articles
as do the Greek and German. Especially is it so among my Saxons
who "tvtten" and "tatteri* 127 just like the Greeks, with whom they
phrase is a pky on the Greek words touto (neuter, singular) and tauta
(neuter, plural) which in their onomatopoeic effect bear a resemblance to
taten, the past tense of the German verb tun.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
are in complete agreement in saying, "Touto esti to soma mou? this
is your body, this is the woman, this is my body. Were Dr. Karl-
stadt's dream to prevail, one would have to claim that it would not
be German to say, "Das ist mein Leib" (this is my body) given for
you, since Leib (body) requires der in German. Though we say,
"der Leib (the body) is large," yet we say, "Das ist der Leib n (this
is the body) that pleases me. So also, "Das ist der Leib" (this is the
body) given for you. But Dr. Karlstadt thus reveals that he knows
no more German than Greek.
In the sacrament, thus, when I speak German and have a wafer
or host before me in my hand, though both would require "die," I
say, "Das ist die Speise" (this is the food), and not, "Die ist die
Speise." So also Christ said of the same wafer or host, "This is my
body," etc. You ask, why I cannot say das Man and yet say Das ist
der Mann. I cannot say: das Frau, das Magd, das Stadt, das Geselle
and yet I have to say; "Das ist die Frau" "Das ist die Magd" "Das
ist die Stadt" "Das ist der Geselle." I know no other reason than
that this is the genius of languages as God has created them. Thus
no Greek will say "das artos" and yet he will say "Das ist der artos."
So also he says, "This is my body, given for you."
Again, dear Peter Riiltz, Gemser 128 wants to try to open your
ears. You say touto refers to the body of Christ and not to the
bread, when Christ says touto, or, this is my body. Tell me, dear
Peter, to what then does the other touto which follows refer? Luke
22 [:20] and Paul in I Cor. 11 [:22] speak thus of the second part
of the sacrament: "In the same way he took the cup, after supper,
and said, tout o, or this cup is the new testament in my blood," etc.
Here the word touto is clearly expressed in the text and refers to
the cup, which he offered, and not to the blood of Christ contained
therein. For in Greek it reads, "Touto to poterion he kaine diatheke
estin en to haimati mou" (this cup is the new testament in my blood).
Tell me, if the tout o must refer to Christ and yet here in the text
it expressly refers to the cup, do you believe and call the blood of
Christ or Christ himself, the cup? Would it not be better if you
made all your ideas completely new and did not call his blood a cup,
but a dinner basket or a spoonbowl?
9 a. p. 155, n. 115.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
Do you hear, Peter? Why do you sweat so? It is winter and
freezing weather. Do you want a handkerchief? Won't a capital
letter or period help here? 129 Or will not the touto become a das
and the cup a der, so that grammar might come to your aid when
the spirit fails! For "cup" in Greek is also a das and not a der, touto
poterion. Are you not the man who loves the straight truth? And
who boasts that he is bold in the face of lies but yielding before
the truth? Well, yield now and listen. Acknowledge the truth and
confess that you have been mistaken about the touto, and that the
one who came and told you was not your heavenly Father, as you
lied and blasphemed, but the harassing devel or his mother, who
pointed you to the touto referring to the bread but said nothing
about the one referring to the cup.
What can you mumble against this, the whole bunch of you
Karlstadtians? You have nothing to say, but to condemn your
blasphemous treatise and lying tongue. As those who have been
publicly and irrefutably vanquished, 130 confess that just as the touto
in connection with the cup does not refer to the seated Christ but
to the cup and his blood, which Christ offered to the disciples,
bidding them drink and saying that this was a new testament in
his blood, so also you must confess that the touto in connection with
the bread referred not to the body of Christ but to the bread that
te gave them and told them to eat. Do you object to this? Let us
hear. Behold how God can catch the wise in their craftiness [Cf.
I Cor. 3:19; Job 5:13]. For these prophets thought they could
overturn the world with their touto in connection with the bread,
but overlooked that the touto with the cup immediately plunged
them into the mire so that they could not as much as give forth
Is this man not plagued by misfortune? The Evangelists have
placed touto at this point to make certain it would be understood to
refer to the bread and have spoken most simply to avoid the error
that Dr. Karlstadt pursues. But he grasps for it and arrogates it to
"* Karlstadt applied the same method of argument to the words, "This cup is the
new testament in my blood " Cf. WA 18, 156.
580 In the preface (March 16, 1525) to his treatise Von dem neuen und Alten
Testament, Karlstadt maintained he had been exiled by Luther, "unheard and
unvanquished." Cf. ibid., p. 85.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
himself to fortify his error. Tell me, now, Peter Riiltz, who has the
sword by its edge and who by its hilt? I think you have been struck
and your companion has thrust you with your own touto, with
which you thought you were doing valiantly. You ought clearly to
see which of us two has the spirit and the right skill. If I were to
repay you in slanderous words for the way you have blasphemed so
maliciously and terribly the exalted sacrament of the body and
blood of Christ, where would I find enough words? For your sins
and blasphemy are immeasurable.
Even if, in spite of everything, Dr. Karlstadt remained unshaken
with his touto, and it were as he fancies, yet I have already proved
that it would not help him, since he has not achieved and cannot
achieve that the phrase, "This is my body," is something new and
separated from the rest of the passage. When my poor factious spirit
finds himself in straits, he wants to get out. For if it is not an
independent passage, but dependent on the other part, everything
is swept away which Dr. Karlstadt "tovtos or tautas, clucks or
cackles/' Firmly and defiantly, the truth remains that the body of
Christ is in the sacrament. If that stands, the Holy Spirit also has
the power to say, der Magd and das Mann; it is of no consequence,
neither does it help or hurt if he says, der Brot or das Brot. Not that
He does so here, but even if He had done so, Dr. Karlstadt would
have gained nothing* Something higher than rules of grammar must
always be present when the grounding of faith is concerned. For
even John in Chapter 1 [:10] of his Gospel speaks of light and calls
it das, but shortly afterwards uses der and says, "The world knew
him not," rather than, "The world knew it not." So Dr. Karlstadt
fares ridiculously not only in his knowledge of Greek but in that
he tries to ground articles of faith on grammar. If my faith had to
rest on Donatus 131 or A-B-C books, I would be in a bad way.
How many new articles we would have to establish, if we were
to master the Bible in all passages according to grammatical rules?
How often it speaks contrary to custom in regard to number, gender,
person, etc. Indeed, what language does not do so? We Germans
use die before Nacht (night) and say die Nacht. Yet at times we
change the die to das and speak of des Nachts. "Es ist des Nachts
m Aelius Donatus (ca. 350 A.D.) is the author of an elementary Latin grammar
which was used as a textbook for a long time.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
still und gut schlajeri* ("It is still at night and good to sleep"). So
Dr. Karlstadt had better have stayed at home with his grammar. He
could have produced words and text more fittingly from Scripture
so as to win us over to his touto as a reference to the person of
Christ instead of the bread. He asks us to produce passages from
Scripture* So we require him to do the same. All right, tackle the
task briskly, Peter. Show us one syllable from Scripture that touto
applies to the person of Christ and not to the bread. Why not? We
don't believe your grammar, for its foundation is sandy and
So you see, my dear reader, how this touto matter stands. Dr.
Karlstadt obstinately denies that it refers to the bread, saying it is
not clearly and certainly proved. So he holds to his position, which
shows a purely malicious objection to the natural meaning and
order of the language. He has to be convinced that it refers to the
bread. Though the nature of speech supports us, yet we have for
good measure and overwhelmingly proved from the text that it
must refer to bread since in the following part it refers to the cup.
Consequently his mouth has been stopped.
So we, on our side, hold to our "no" and demand that he prove
how the touto refers to the body of Christ, as he says and affirms.
For whoever affirms must prove his assertion against him who
denies. Despite objection let him produce a text for his affirmation,
as we have done for ours. That he says "no" to what we affirm,
despite the nature of language, and affirms what we deny, means
nothing. He must refute our "no" with a clear biblical text and
prove his assertions, just as we have refuted with a clear text what
he denies and have established our assertion. If he overcomes our
objection, he will have won. We pray, however, for his mercy and
ask that he doesn't burn the marsh. 132
But it is as I said. The spirit does not take important matters
seriously. The devil merely finds an opportunity to pursue his game
and hold the whole business up to ridicule. All right, I will turn
over Dr. Karlstadt with his grovelling Greek to those competent in
it who can knock the nonsense out of his head and whip him
soundly, so that another time he does not presume to use Greek
1 That is, do the impossible.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
before he knows it. I will deal with him, using Scripture, and
demand that he use Scripture. If he will do that he will become a
knight with his touto. I hope, however, that we will at least be
spared from him this Shrovetide, by God's help. Let this be said of
the dear touto about which the heavenly prophets have made such
Let us now take the text and see how fine it would turn out if
this passage, "This is my body," were a separate phrase and referred
to the person of Christ, and not to the bread. For as Christ took
the bread in his hand, gave thanks, and broke it, giving to his
disciples and saying, "Take and eat," and immediately went on
without transition, "This is my body," the meaning and natural
order of the words compel us to conclude that he speaks of the
bread which he took in his hand and gave and told them to eat of it.
Otherwise the disciples could not have understood him nor could
any one else who heard him say it. For their eyes must have turned
to his hand as he took the bread, broke it, gave and distributed it,
and their ears must have heard the words which he spoke while he
offered and gave it to them. For in the administration he only spoke
the words, "This is my body."
Were it not his body which he offered and told them to eat, as
he said, "Eat, this is my body," he would have deceived them and
mocked them with words. How would it sound if I gave someone a
gray coat, saying, "Here, put this on, this is my white cape trimmed
with martin," etc., and applied the words to the garment I have on?
Would that not be deceit and mockery if after I had said, "Here,
put this on," I immediately went on without a break to say, "This
is my white cape trimmed with martin"? Of course, there must be
words of transition which would turn his attention from the gray
coat I offer him and tell him to put on my cape. Otherwise he would
not be able to understand. And how would it sound if I gave
someone a piece of bread and said, "Take and eat/* and as I offered
and asked him to eat it, I immediately went on to say, "This is a
pound of gold in my pocket"?
Truly it must not be a touto or tauta or period or capital that
comes between, to indicate the beginning of a different and new
meaning, for the words follow each other too closely. Clearly
expressed words must be interposed to separate the parts, as,
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
"Take, eat, for I have, or there is still, a pound of gold in my
pocket." Or, "Here, put this on, I still have, or there is still, another
white cape with martin trim." So here Christ would have had to
say, "Take, eat, for I tell you here my body is seated, which will be
given for you/' Otherwise it would be mocking and ridiculous. As
if one were to hand a drink to another and would say, "Take, drink,
here I sit, Hans in the red pants," or "Here, drink, the Turks have
slain the Sultan/' or otherwise bring in an alien notion that has
nothing to do with drinking. So it would be if Christ said "Take,
eat, this is my body, given for you," and were introducing a new
If he had not said these words just in the same moment as he
offered the bread, but a little before or after, there might have
seemed to be some argument. But now that he said, "This is my
body," just as he gave and offered to them the bread and bade them
eat, no one can draw any other conclusion from the meaning of
words than that it was his body which he offered and asked them
to eat Or else it must be admitted that no one can be sure about
what one says to another. If any one so tears apart these clear
and distinct words, let no one hereafter speak with me without
knowing I may interpret his words differently, or I must be
concerned that he will misinterpret my words. Why should Christ
have to say such a word in the moment that he offered them bread
and bade them eat, when he had plenty of other occasions to say it
and well knew that they would not apply it except to the bread
which he gave them and asked them to eat.
It is not true, therefore, as Dr. Karlstadt claims, that he spoke
so as to teach them wherein the remembrance should consist This
he said boldly from his own imagination and cannot prove it by
Scripture or otherwise. One does not teach by abruptly, suddenly,
and deceivingly breaking off a thought and, without warning and
notice going on to another matter, while offering something of
which he is not speaking. In so doing one obscures, deceives, and
deludes. In teaching one must proceed with simplicity, plainness,
and clarity, even showing what one teaches, and not giving or
showing one thing while teaching or referring to something else.
It is not good teaching to show you white while teaching you about
black, or to show you the devil while teaching you about God
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
Clowns and deceivers or scoffers and jesters do so either to mislead
or to ridicule. A devout man who is in earnest does not do so.
Or why was it necessary for Christ to point twice to himself
once toward his body, once toward his blood? Had it not been
enough if he had said, "I am he," or, "This is my body, of which the
prophets have said that it will be given for you/' as Dr. Karlstadt
wants it? Now, however, everything points toward eating and
drinking and both are expressed. He takes something hard, similar
to the bread, namely his body, and something liquid, similar to
what they drink, namely his blood. Why did he have to do that?
He could just as well have taken something else, not as similar to
bread and wine. As we said, he could simply have asserted, "I am
the man who is given for you," and there would have been no
reference to anything that could be eaten or drunk.
Now that he gives both, the one in the bread in the form that is
eaten, and the one in wine in a form that is drunk, and only does it
at the time they are at the table eating, and even in the moment
that he offers it and asks them to eat and drink, no conscience
denying this can ever be certain. And I am sure that even Dr.
Karlstadt's conscience is uneasy and uncertain so as to render it
unable to digest such blows, however hardened and blinded he
may be. For Christ could have taught this at some other time and
not saved it up until they ate and drank, and until he offered it to
them and told them to eat and drink.
What does it mean? When he had given the bread and said,
This is my body," etc., he begins anew with the cup and this time
gives the wine and says, 'This is my blood." If he begins something
new when he says, "This is my body," wanting thereby to teach on
what the remembrance was based, he would not have separated
and divided the one part from the other, but would have combined
body and blood closely with one another and said, "This is my
body and blood, which is given for you and shed for you," and
then the teaching could be considered clear and complete. But now
that he separates, and says one word about eating and another
about drinking, and inserts other words between the two, namely,
"Likewise lie took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying
drink ye all of this/* one certainly can conclude that the eating and
CHURCH ANI> MINISTRY
drinking is of concern to the Lord, as he says, 'This is my body,
this is my blood/*
See, indeed, how neatly this spirit soils himself with his
cleverness. He pretends that the passage, 'This is my body given
for you," does not belong to what immediately precedes, namely,
"Take, eat," but is to be considered a new, independent, sentence.
Yet he admits, and must admit, that this last passage, 'This do in
remembrance of me," belongs to the first words, 'Take, eat." Is it
not obstinate mischief, when in a passage three parts follow each
other and are related to each other, some one dares claim that the
first and last belong together, but that the second and middle part
is independent and belongs to neither, and does this on his own
initiative without any basis in Scripture? How can a mind tolerate
that the third or last should belong to the first, and the second or
middle part between the two belong to neither of them?
It would be the same as saying that in this passage, "Jesus said
to his disciples, beware of false prophets, who come to you in
sheep's clothing" [Matt. 7:15], the middle part, "Beware of false
prophets," did not belong to the first or last part, but was a new,
independent, sentence. The text then would read, "Jesus said to his
disciples, who come to you in sheep's clothing, for you should
beware of false prophets." A shameless obstinacy might say so, but
no one is so mad as to believe him. Just so is it with this shameless
spirit who raves in this place, when he sees that the passage, "This
is my body," follows immediately upon the first, without so much
as an "and" between them, and that the sense requires that the two
But Dr. Karlstadt patches things over with an interpolation,
saying, "It is as if Christ were to say, 'Dear disciples, you have
heard that the prophets speak of a body, which should be given
for sins. I say to you, I am that body/ " etc. My answer is, Who
has said so? Who has authorized him to make an interpolation
here? How do we know that this interpolation and addition are
correct? Where is the Scripture and basis for it? How does the text
require it? Indeed where is there a single syllable in support of it?
Karlstadt says so. If this is enough, then it is much more sufficient
that I say otherwise, for I have the clear text and natural meaning
of die words on my side. Was Christ inferior to Dr. Karlstadt in
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
wisdom, in that he did not add this himself, when it was so highly
necessary to have this meaning here? Where are now the lofty
prophets, who do not call the Lord's Supper a sacrament, but
wanted a name from the Bible? They will not even tolerate the
word #nfe. 133 Tell me, now, what sense does it make to decry the
addition of a little word or name (which imperils nothing), as the
greatest of all vices, while the addition of a lot of loose talk and an
interpolation which ruins everything is permissible? Don't you see
the devil in this again who makes that which is nothing and optional
a matter of necessity and makes nothing of the Word of God which
is of supreme importance? But that is his nature throughout.
Good God! though we have such clear and certain passages
of Scripture, it is still trouble and toil to remain ahead of the devil.
And this lying spirit would have us depend on his own word, so
that we would need have no other support than to say, Dr. Karlstadt
said so. What fine shape we would then be in? Is this to bring the
people to Christ? Indeed to the devil in the depths of hell* I think
I know what he had in mind. He imagined, forsooth, the rascal spirit,
"They will come at me with these clear Scripture passages, and
what shall I do? By anticipating their plans, I shall render their
verses weak and blunt their edges by my own interpolations." But
the mad fool did not realize that by weakening and making blunt
the edges of our clear passages of Scripture with his own interpola-
tions without Scripture would accomplish nothing, other than to
make the edges sharper. For when people see that he has no
scriptural basis and only comes with his own self -contrived inter-
polation, they sense that he himself must have felt the text was
too clear and overpowering for him. So his lying is on a par with
his doubtful confession, and his patchwork as poor as a double tear.
But, my lying spirit, you can't patch things that way. You must lead
with Scripture and text*
Secondly, I would very much like to hear a text from the
prophets which speaks of a body and blood which are to be given
for sins, as this lying spirit pretends. They say, of course, of the
whole person that he must suffer, but nothing of body and blood.
Since Christ here clearly names body and blood and refers to the
In Latin the words, **This is my body," read, "Hoc est entot corpus meum."
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
prophets, as this spirit says, the words "body and blood" should be
found somewhere in the prophets and should be identical with
Christ, who would be reminding the disciples of them and they
would understand him. Now, you lying spirit, who suffers not that
a word be added to God's Word, show us where the prophets speak
of a body or blood? Where in the prophets had the disciples heard
it? Again you see that with this spirit everything is forced and
feigned? The whole Christ must suffer, but at the table he makes
a division so as to give his body to be eaten, and his blood to be
drunk. Such a separation was not necessary nor could it take place
in his suffering. Consequently the prophets have spoken of suffering
and not of this division or of the Supper.
Thirdly, if we are to make so extensive an addition, how will
this fit in with what follows thereupon, "This do in remembrance
of me"? For it should connect with "eat" in his saying, "Take, eat."
Shall it jump back over so many words and so long a statement to
that with which it belongs? Where is the language whose nature
and character permits interposing so many other words and so long
a statement between two words that belong together. Quite
obviously we are dealing with mischievous wantonness. Still, as we
have said, Karlstadt must produce the proof for his contentions
which we shall await.
Let this be our answer to the arguments and reasons that
Dr. Karlstadt presents for his dream from Scripture. They were
threefold. First, a capital letter is found in some books, not all.
Second, there was a punctuation mark. Third, the dear touto. What
wonderful arguments, which no one would use except such heavenly
prophets, who hear the voice of God. A fourth now is, that he can-
not present a single verse of Scripture in his favor. This is the most
damaging argument and will forever remain so. I shall not over-
throw it but will rather strengthen it Furthermore he teaches us
what Frau Hulda, 134 natural reason, has to say in the matter, just
4 In Germanic mythology, Frau Hulda is the name of the leader of a group of
fin creatures who were looked upon as the instigators of good and evfl among
men. Like them Frau Hulda is of a capricious nature, now friendly, now
hostile especially in times when disorder arises among men. She may therefore
be regarded as a personification of order and clever reasoning. However, in
matters of faith Luther looked upon reason as seductive, hence as "the devil's
prostitute." Cf. MA*, p. 413.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
as if we did not know that reason is the devil's prostitute and can do
nothing else but slander and dishonor what God does and says.
But before we answer this arch-prostitute and devil's bride, we first
want to prove our faith, not by setting forth capitals or periods or
touto tauta but by clear, sober passages from Scripture which the
devil will not overthrow.
In the first place no one can deny that the three Evangelists,
Matthew [26:26], Mark [14:22], and Luke [22:19], and Paul in
I Cor. [11:24] agree in their descriptions of the first part of the
sacrament and use almost identical words. Christ took the bread,
gave thanks, broke it, and gave to his disciples, saying, 'Take and
eat, this is my body, given for you." Since they all speak of the
same thing, our understanding of the Evangelist Matthew's report
must agree with that of the Evangelists Mark and Luke, and that
of Paul. Is it not surely this, in spite of what else could be said?
It is certain that the meaning of aU four is that Christ did not here
bid the disciples to dance or pipe a tune, but to eat, according to
the words, "Take, eat, this is my body," etc.
So then it must be admitted, without danger of contradiction,
that the same four, in describing the second part of the sacrament,
also are in agreement and in their narrative all have sought to
speak of the same event. This despite of what else could be said
here also. So what Matthew [26:28] says, "This is the blood of the
new testament, which is poured out for many, for the forgiveness
of sins," must be the same and mean the same as when Mark [14:24]
says, "This is the blood of the new testament, which is poured 6ut
for many." So also, when Luke [22:20] and Paul [I Cor. 11:25] say,
"This is the cup of the new testament in my blood, which is poured
out for you," it is and means the same as Matthew and Mark seek
to say in these words, "This is my blood, poured out for many."
Who can still here say or think otherwise? With the words, "This
is the cup," Luke and Paul do not refer to the visible body or the
visible blood of Christ, but to the visible cup, as the word force-
fully requires since it clearly stands there and says, "This is the cup*"
Therefore the body or blood of Christ is neither cup nor jug, neither
dish nor plate. We must likewise conclude that Matthew and Mark
speak of the same visible cup and not of the visible blood of Christ
when they say, This is my blood.** Thus the word das in all the
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
gospels never does or can refer or point to anything else than what
Christ offered, namely, the cup or the drink, when he asked them
to drink. Or else we must say that the Evangelists were not in
agreement and were not writing of the same thing in the second
part of the sacrament,
So now enough for this time. As stated above, Karlstadt's
touto and tauta are lost. It is established that the Evangelists and
Paul do not speak of the visible blood of Christ but of the cup or
the wine, and it must be conceded that they say, "This is my blood
of the new testament/' Also, "This is the cup of the new testament
in my blood." If we have maintained that in the sacrament the
blood of Christ is truly present as these words require, then it is
likewise confirmed that also the body of Christ is truly present in
the other part of the sacrament Thus all of Dr. Karlstadt's
objections have fallen to the ground, and it is clear that they were
nothing but his own dream, which with utter carelessness he hoped
to inject into Scripture, but which now is excluded.
He reviles us with many scornful and jeering words, asking
how we get Christ into the bread and wine, whether He must strike
up the tune we demand and many similar words of shameful
blasphemy. We can plainly see that they are the words of a
thoughtless spirit or devil, which serve to excite the profligate mob
and charm those who are not much worried about faith and
conscience. But sincere hearts who are concerned about conscience
and faith are surely not satisfied with such jesting and words of
abuse and sacrilege. They want the Word of God and say, "Why
should I care for Karlstadt's dreams, sneers, and slanders? I see
the clear, distinct, and powerful words of God which compel me
to confess, that the body and blood of Christ are in the sacrament."
Such should be our answer, and ridicule we can meanwhile dis-
regard. How Christ is brought into the bread or strikes up the tune
we demand, I do not know. But I do know full well that the Word
of God cannot he, and it says that the body and blood of Christ
are in the sacrament.
Here I will not yet answer the sophistic and miserable inter-
polation with which Dr. Karlstadt mends and patches the words
about the cup. He must bite sharper who would make any dent
in this text Karlstadts words will not do it, they are only
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
Karlstadtian. Later I will show up his sophistry. For the present,
it is sufficient to have proven in powerful fashion that the
Evangelists and Paul refer the words, "This is my body," This is
my blood," "This is the cup," not to the visible body or blood of
Christ, as Karlstadt dreams, but to that which he offers the disciples,
bidding them eat and drink. This passage we have won and secured
beyond the power of Karlstadt and all devils with their sophistry,
of that I am sure. But, as I have said, it is the nature of this spirit
to pay no attention to the external Word and sign of God. This he
attacks boldly and does with it as he pleases. Then he devises
something sheerly out of his own imagination, without any basis in
Scripture, and this is supposed to be the true spirit
Furthermore beside these four strong passages we have yet
another. I Cor, 10 [:18] reads thus: The cup of blessing which we
bless, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" That is a verse
which is a thunderbolt on the head of Dr. Karlstadt and his whole
party. This verse has been also the life-giving medicine of my heart
in my trials concerning this sacrament Even if we had no other
passage than this we could sufficiently strengthen all consciences
and sufficiently overcome all adversaries, O, how Dr. Karlstadt
feared this verse and set out to build a great strong dome above
himself against this thunderbolt But when he sought for stone and
lime, he found only cobweb and chaff, as we will see when we
come to the fragile interpolation of his spiritual and scriptureless
But observe first that Paul says nothing about touto or tauta*
nor does he busy himself with small or capital letters. Clearly he
declares, "The bread that we break." Especially, he notes, "that we
break." Not only Christ broke it at the Supper. Thereby Dr.
Karlstadt* s lie is demolished, for he holds that even if Christ had
given his body and blood in the Supper as a food it would not
necessarily follow that Christians also or we should afterwards do
so. Our answer is this, The bread that we break," "we, we, we."
Who is "we"? I hope that Dr. Karlstadt will find yet another touto
in Greek, which will tell us that "we" means "Christ alone." His
Peter Riiltz will then boast that the Greek language does not permit
Observe, secondly, that Paul is speaking of bread in the
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
sacrament, which Christ broke, and afterwards also the apostles
broke it. "Breaking" is nothing but breaking into pieces and
distributing, in Hebrew fashion Isa. 58 [:7]: "Break 135 your bread
with the hungry"; Lam. 4 [:4]: "The children beg for bread, but no
one breaks it unto them." So the factious spirits have no reason to
charge us again as betraying Christ, because we do not break the
bread into crumbs with our fingers, but take the host in larger pieces.
For they insist on such breaking and are not satisfied if it is other-
wise broken into pieces, as by hand, knife, or other means as it was
broken among the Jews. Remember also that Paul does not call it
the form of bread as the papists do, 186 but calls it frankly and simply
bread. Thus we may know that we do not sin in this respect either
when we call it bread and use it in St. Paul's fashion, though the
papists call it heresy.
Observe, in the third place, that he clearly and distinctly asserts,
"The bread which we break is a participation in the body of Christ"
Do you hear, my dear brother? The bread which is broken or
distributed piece by piece is the participation in the body of Christ
It is, it is, it is, he says, the participation in the body of Christ
Wherein does the participation in the body of Christ consist? It
cannot be anything else than that as each takes a part of the
broken bread he takes therewith the body of Christ. This fellowship
is really a participation, so that in communion with each other they
receive the common body of Christ, as he himself said, "We who
are many are one body, for we all partake of the same loaf." On
this account it has from ancient times been called communio, that
is a fellowship [participation; koinonia].
At this point Dr. Karlstadt distorts meaning in masterful
fashion, and would gladly take the edge off this verse and make it
dull in advance, so that no one would see how badly he was hit.
Because of the perverted nature of his spirit, he makes everything
spiritual and inward which God has determined should be outward
and bodily; on the other hand he makes that outward and bodily
m In his German Bible Luther rendered the past tense of paras with "break."
The RSV has translated the word as "share"
Roman church distinguishes between the essence (substantia) and the
form (accidentia) of bread in the Lord's Supper, the former being changed
into the body of Christ while the latter remains bread.
AGAINST THE HEAVJENXY PROPHETS
which God wills should be inward and spiritual, as I have already
said. So here he turns his attention to the word "participation** and
wants to become spiritual and make of it a spiritual participation.
He holds that they have participation in the body of Christ who
with "desire" recall the suffering of Christ and suffer also with
him, etc., which is a new terminology they have invented to describe
their new understanding. 137
But if we ask for the reason and Scripture to prove this
interpretation or where is the text that requires frig meaning, he
points us to the vent of a chimney, 13R or to the man who came and
told him this. How could he do otherwise? He could not tolerate
the verse, yet could not defend himself. So, rather than thus read it,
he thought, I will twist it to suit myself. If Scripture will not help,
my big head will, for it is full of spirit. It is enough, it tells me
even more about it, namely that the participation in the suffering
of Christ is identical with participation in the body and blood of
Christ. Isn't that fine? Indeed, very fine. Only one letter is involved
here so that we change the *" and the C V to "d." So we get
the word for body [Leib] from the word for suffering [Leid], and
vice versa. There you have it, as an eel by the tail. For this you
need produce no Scripture.
Let the mad spirit go his way. We shall refute his interpretation
in the following manner. First, participation in the suffering o
Christ cannot be participation in the body and blood of Christ.
For whoever suffers with Christ or partakes in his sufferings, must
be devout, spiritual, and believing. A sinful, carnal person does not
do thus. But even the unworthy partake of the body of Christ,
according to Paul in I Cor. 11 [:29]: "Whoever eats the bread in
an unworthy manner eats judgment upon himself ." This happened
at the Supper to Judas the traitor who participated with the other
disciples in the body and blood of Christ and partook with them.
For he received it, ate, and drank just as the other disciples diet 1 * 9
Dr. Karlstadt makes a spiritual participation out of the par-
^Cf. p. 88.
"Cf. p. 120.
"In opposition to Thomas Aquinas and Luther, Karlstadt denied that the
unworthy receive the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper. Cf. WA
CHUKCH AND MINISTRY
taking of the body and blood of Christ and does not want to accept
the idea that it is a receiving of the body and blood in bread and
cup. I shall let St. Paul take care of this view, when he says, "The
bread that we break is the participation in the body of Christ"
[I Cor. 10:16]. Now no one can deny that the breaking of bread
is a bodily, outward, act. They themselves say that an outward
breaking or eating is nothing, but we must eat the body of Christ
in a spiritual manner, etc. How then can the outward breaking of
bread and eating be a spiritual participation, as Dr. Karlstadt
claims? Moreover, the unworthy and godless also break bread
and eat, as Judas Iscariot and certain Corinthians did (I Cor. 11
[:29])* They, thus, participate in the body of Christ and partake
of it, as an interpretation of this verse requires, since the breaking
of bread is a participation in the body of Christ. We must let this
verse stand as it is, so that, when one breaks this bread, there is a
participation in the body of Christ.
We are driven to the conclusion that Paul does not here speak
of the spiritual participation, which only the saints have, of which
Dr. Karlstadt dreams. But he speaks of a bodily participation, both
by the holy and unholy, just as both break bread. So we see that
the dream of Dr. Karlstadt is a lie. Probably he thought, "I will
seize on the word 'participation* alone and torture it and will not
notice the following words, 'the bread which we break/ etc. Other-
wise they will not put up with my participation. But if I do not
notice this, no one will observe it or have anything against the
word 'participation/ and I will have won. I need do no more than
I think: people are altogether blind."
Why then did St. Paul not simply say, "The bread, which we
break, is the body of Christ," instead of adding, "The participa-
tion in the body of the Lord"? I reply, why did he not also simply
say, **The bread is the body of the Lord," as the Evangelists did
and he himself said in I Cor. 11 [:24; 10:16], instead of adding,
"which we break"? He added this phrase undoubtedly because
he wanted to speak as clearly and distinctly as ever he could and
that he might forcefully guard against the error of Dr. Karlstadt.
He wanted to speak of the bread of the sacrament and this he
could not do better than by speaking of the broken bread. Also
he wanted to teach that each one in his piece received the body
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
of Christ. Therefore he did not want to call only the whole loaf
the body of Christ, but also that which was distributed in the
congregation and through the breaking of bread given to all in
common. Thus this breaking of bread was not the body of Christ
alone but participation in the body of Christ, that is, a body dis-
tributed to and received by all in the congregation. He could not
have spoken more clearly and strongly. For with these words
during the breaking, distributing, and receiving of the bread, he
can see what happens when we break and offer and receive the
bread. He says that such broken bread is participation in the
body of Christ, so that they all in common and as one receive the
one body of Christ and become partakers of it bodily.
So observe and mark well once again how this evasive devil
has no other recourse than, as is his custom, to spiritualize that
which God has made to be bodily, yet gives or cites no argument
or reason for doing so. He does it rather as one who had power
to establish articles of faith as he wishes. So here he says the
bodily participation in the body of Christ must be spiritual, just
as afterwards he does with the unworthy eating and drinking. As
we shall see, he proceeds in a similar manner in regard to the
discerning of the body of Christ [I Cor. 11:29]. I will give you a
good description of him only so that you may learn to know and
recognize the devil.
It is a very fine little discovery that I too could well employ if
a verse which spoke of a bodily act were too much for me and hit
me on the head so that my brain was dazed. I would go to it and
say, "I wasn't hit The verse speaks of spiritual things," and so I
would be free from providing any proof for such an interpretation.
Under such circumstances it would be easy to be a heavenly
prophet. If I were compelled to produce proof, I would withstand
all argument as butter does the sun. I would need a towel for my
sweat, and say, "My proof seemed to me to be so perfect and
So this verse of Paul stands like a rock and forcefully requires
the interpretation that all who break this bread, receive, and eat it,
receive die body of Christ and partake of it As we have said, it
cannot be spiritual, so it must be a bodily participation. For one
cannot partake of the body of Christ except in two ways, spiritually
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
or bodily. Again, this bodily participation cannot be visible or
perceived by the senses, else the bread would not remain. Nor
can it be merely natural bread, otherwise it would be a bodily
partaking not of the body of Christ, but of bread. Consequently,
where the broken bread is present, there the body of Christ is truly
and bodily present, though not of course visibly. Whoever boasts
that he can dent this verse, will, I promise, find hard chewing.
In the third place we have the verse in I Cor. 11 [:27], "Who-
ever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy
manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the
Lord." Here again the sectarian spirit goes off and makes into
spiritual that which St. Paul affirms is body, and attributes un-
worthy eating to those who do not have a right understanding of
Christ and remembrance of his body. If again you ask, where is
this written? What is the basis for it? Where is the text? He will
show his anger and give no other evidence than that he has been
burned by such verses, and would rather forestall them as im-
pertinent, just as if I would seek to persuade some one who waved
a naked sword over me to believe that it was a straw, so that he
would not strike me. But it doesn't help to tremble before death.
O helpless spirit, how long do you think you can evade the pro-
ducing of Scripture or text? Are you not ashamed to have been
active so long in injecting your anger, your lies, your dreams into
AH right, when Paul here says, "Whoever eats and drinks un-
worthily," etc., he made a mistake. He should have said thus, 'Who-
ever remembers the Lord unworthily or does not know him," etc.
The unworthy eating and drinking is the unworthy understanding
and remembrance of the Lord," unless perchance Dr. Karlstadt's
spirit fails him here. But who would believe that? You must im-
agine that SL Paul was drunk that evening, and when he spoke of
unworthy eating and drinking, he forgot and talked too much, for
he should have spoken about unworthy remembrance. But Dr.
Karlstadt has caught the right meaning on a sober morning and
has now put St. PauTs word straight in its right order. So he is
thanked by Peter Riiltz and the bride of Orlamunde. 1 *
9 a. pp. 101, no, 132.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
Now let us have our say, St Paul connects here the bread and
the body of Christ with each other, even as he did above, when he
said, "The bread that we break is the participation in the body of
Christ." He does not say, "The bread that we break is the par-
ticipation in the bread of the Lord," though this would have
sounded fine to Dr. Karlstadt. So here he does not say, "Whoever
is unworthy of this bread, he sins or is guilty of profaning the
bread of the Lord," as again Dr. Karlstadt would like to have it,
but, "is guilty of profaning the body of the Lord," so that in both
places he maintains that the bread of the Lord is the body of the
Lord. For if this is not what he meant, he would have had to say,
as above, "Whoever is unworthy of this bread, he is guilty of pro-
faning the bread of the Lord." How can you sin in eating the body
of the Lord, if he is not present in the eating or the bread? Or you
would have to say thus, "Whoever is unworthy of this bread, he is
guilty of profaning the Lord's Supper, or God, or the command-
ment, or the ordinance of the Lord."
Now the nature and character of the sentence requires us to
interpret it to mean that whoever eats unworthily is guilty in regard
to what he eats. Therefore, it is not enough for Dr. Karlstadt to
say "no" and insert an interpolation. Since the text here is clear,
and the nature and meaning of the language used affirm that
whoever eats this bread unworthily is guilty of profaning the body
of the Lord because the body of the Lord is eaten in the bread,
and sin is committed in the eating and drinking, therefore he would
have to bring forward convincing verses and text, if we were to
believe him- For the text forcefully compels the interpretation
that sin is committed in the eating and drinking, as it says, "Who-
ever eats and drinks unworthily," and yet claims that the same
sin has to do with the body and blood of the Lord. This strongly
indicates that it is in the eating of the body and drinking of the
blood of Christ that the unworthy one has offended and therein
For the unworthy remembrance of the Lord is a separate sin
otiher than the unworthy eating, and St. Paul says nothing of it in
this place. All the words in the entire chapter where he condemns
the unworthy eating indicate that the sin consists wholly in eating
and drinking. St Paul terrifies them lest they think it is merely
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
bread or wine which they eat and drink, thereby becoming un-
worthy, when it is the body and blood of Christ, which makes them
guilty of such unworthy eating. Such, I said, is the natural mean-
ing, and one can see that Dr. Karlstadt's mocking objections are
altogether artificial, forced and obstinate, on which no conscience
or faith can rely.
It is not sound reasoning arbitrarily to associate the sin which
St. Paul attributes to eating with remembrance of Christ, of which
Paul does not speak. For he does not say, "Who unworthily holds
the Lord in remembrance," but, "Who unworthily eats and drinks."
Now there would be no rhyme or reason in saying one becomes
guilty of profaning the body of Christ through unworthy eating
or the blood of Christ by unworthy drinking, if the body was not
in that which was eaten and the blood in that which was drunk.
Why too should it be necessary for him even to distinguish between
the two offenses, unworthy eating in regard to the body of the
Lord and unworthy drinking in regard to the blood of the Lord?
Why does he not put it thus: Whoever unworthily eats this
bread is guilty of profaning the blood of the Lord. Who unworthily
drinks of this cup is guilty of profaning the body of the Lord? If
Dr. Karlstadt's meaning were correct, one of the two would be
enough. Indeed it would be sufficient if he had said, "Who eats
and drinks unworthily is guilty of profaning Christ or the death of
Christ," since Dr. Karlstadt interprets the sin of unworthy eating
to be that one does not rightly honor and observe the suffering
and death of Christ But inasmuch as Paul makes the unworthy
drinking of the cup to mean the same as profaning the blood, and
the unworthy eating of the bread to mean the same as profaning
the body, the clear, natural sense of the words is that the body is
in the eating, and the blood is in the drinking. And no one can
produce an argument to the contrary which has any show of
In brief, this is the spirit of whom I have already said that he
makes inward whatever God makes outward. So he has to do here.
The guilt which Paul places in the bodily eating and drinking he
makes an inner one, in a spiritual eating and drinking. From the
fact that he fumes that those unworthily eat and drink who do not
inwardly acknowledge the body of Christ nor rightly hold fom in
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
remembrance, we can understand that he transfers the eating and
drinking into the spirit, though Paul considers it an outward act.
For spiritual eating is the right recognition and remembrance of
the body of Christ. Do you not again become aware of this devil
with all his spirituality, though he has no basis, Scripture, argu-
ment, or other evidence than what he spins from his own brain?
Fourthly, St. Paul writes in the same chapter, "Let a man ex-
amine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For
any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats
and drinks judgment upon himself* [I Cor. 11:28-29]. But here
comes Peter Riiltz again, blowing his own horn, posing as a Greek,
and says that the word diakrinon means "discerning." It also refers
to remembrance, meaning that we must in spirit sharply discern
the body of Christ and imitate the suffering of Christ with "calm
desire" 141 and fervor, etc. Everything that this spirit teaches must
be related to the spiritual remembrance of Christ. Riiltz knows
no other tune. Would that he knew it well and were not using it
as a cloak to spread his poison.
Dear Peter, I beg you put your glasses on your nose, or blow
your nose a bit, to make your head lighter and the brain clearer.
Look a little closer with us on the text. You say that the discerning
belongs to the remembrance. But Paul says it applies to the eating
and drinking. For he does not say, "Who unworthily holds the
Lord in remembrance merits judgment, since he does not discern
the body of the Lord." But he speaks thus, "Who eats and drinks
unworthily, he eats and drinks judgment to himself, for he does
not discern the body of the Lord." Do you hear that, Peter? In
an unworthy eating and drinking this discerning is lacking, there-
fore judgment is the penalty. Is that not clear enough? Does not
the text demand this?
I should like to give Dr. Karlstadt two gulden again 142 if only
once in all this discussion he would help, not me, but his own
cause by doing one of two things: either by producing passages
from Scripture, or by showing that a selected text demands an
interpretation proving his cause to be right Now, however, he does
nothing more than latch on to a small word and smears over with
L Cf.p. 88.
Cf.p. 144, n. 98.
CHUBCH AND MINISTRY
his spittle as he pleases, but meanwhile he does not take into ac-
count other texts which overthrow him who smears and spits, so
that he is up-ended with all four limbs in the air. So here, after
he has raved and smeared for a long time that the discerning be-
longs to the remembrance of the Lord, he does not see that the
text clearly states that it belongs to the unworthy eating and
drinking. So also, as above, 143 when he wanted to make the par-
ticipation of the body of Christ spiritual, he did not notice that
the bodily breaking of bread broke his neck
He is like the ostrich, the foolish bird which thinks it is wholly
concealed when it gets its neck under a branch. Or like small chil-
dren, who hold their hands in front of their eyes and seeing nobody
imagine that no one sees them either. This spirit acts in the same
way. He grabs at a small word, with which he covers himself,
but lets the whole text be, which leaves him uncovered and shames
him. I don't know if he imagines that there are no Bibles or people
left in the world. Against me he will accomplish nothing, though I
verily warned him at Jena he had better make sure of hitting his
mark, for I would not miss mine* But he interpreted my words as
he interprets the Bible, and calls it a hit when he calls me "mad
sophist," "bloody sow," "papist twice over," and epithets of similar
nature. But I want him to take the matter seriously and hit the
mark. I was about to say, the mass for the soul is invalid, for the
coin is a "copper" [instead of silver]. But it was the work of God
which hardened and blinded the heart of Pharaoh [Exod. 4:21ff.]
to the honor of his truth and word, bringing comfort to all believers
and terror to the arrogant.
So we conclude that this discerning is to take place in the
eating and drinking, as above; guilt and sin occurs in relation to
the body of the Lord. Who, thus, eats and drinks unworthily eats
unto his judgment Why? Because, Paul says, he does not discern
the body of Christ Now tell me, how does one discern the body
of the Lord in eating and drinking? The Greek word, diakrinein,
in Latin, discernere, means to make a distinction, and not to think
of one thing like the other, but to consider the one thing nobler,
better, more precious than the other, St. Paul means that whoever
eats and drinks unworthily, fittingly deserves judgment or severe
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
punishment, because with his unworthy eating and drinking he
does not distinguish, does not discern, the body of Christ, but thinks
of and treats the bread and wine of the Lord as if it were merely
bread and wine, though it is the body and blood of the Lord. For
if he seriously thought of it as the body of the Lord, he would not
act so carelessly, as if it were ordinary bread, but would eat with
fear, humility, and reverence. He ought of course have a sense of
awe before die body of the Lord.
If this is not the correct view, you give another and tell what
it means to discern the body of Christ. For the word has only this
meaning, that we should look on the body of Christ as something
better and more precious than any thing else having a significance
all its own. This is sufficiently required by these words. Since
St. Paul bears witness to and wants such discerning in the eating
and drinking of the Lord's bread and cup, it is sufficiently borne
out by the text that we should consider the body of Christ as better
and more important than the bread and the cup. So it must follow
that the body and blood of Christ are there in the bread and cup.
They eat to judgment who eat unworthily by not discerning the
body of Christ, and those who eat worthily do rightly discern it.
But one ought not blame Dr. Karlstadt As I have said,
since his spirit is bent on making spiritual what God wants to be
bodily, he has to treat the discernment in this way, making recogni-
tion and remembrance a spiritual discernment, inward in the spirit,
when God intends a bodily discernment, between bread and the
body of Christ. Should one require him to show the basis and
reason for his position, or to present a compelling argument on
the basis of the text? Brother, do not bewilder him with such a
request. Don t you see that he has other things to do? It is enough
that such a man says it If you don't believe him, believe his gray
peasant coat and felt hat, 144 in which, as you ought to know, the
Holy Spirit must be.
This high art of Dr. Karlstadt reminds me of that practiced
by those who $re fond of allegories, whom St. Jerome 145 in his
^Cf. pp. 81, 117, 162.
" Luther seems to have in mind the letter of St. Jerome (331-420) to Paulinus
in which he objects to seeing prophecies of Christ's coming in some of the
verses of Homer and VirgiL WA 18, 178.
CHUBCH AXD MINISTRY
Prologue compares to jugglers. I might make out of Dietrich of
Bern, 146 Christ; out of the giant with whom he fought, the devil;
out of the dwarf, humility; out of his prison, the death of Christ.
Or I might take any other tale or legend of knights to exercise my
imagination or toy with, as he did who applied Ovid's Meta-
morphoses entirely to Christ.
Or to anticipate the objection of my spirits that I compare
their ways to secular fables, let me take the legend of St. George
and say that St George was Christ, the maiden he saved was
Christendom, the dragon of the sea was the devil, the horse was
the human nature of Christ, the spear was the gospel, etc. Like-
wise, when St Peter sank in the sea [Matt. 14:27ff.] and Christ
helped him, I might say that the sea is the persecution and tribula-
tion in the world, Peter any Christian in doubt, and Christ the
grace of God, etc.
Such is the trifling art with which these prophets busy them-
selves. They have discovered many similar interpretations in the
Old Testament and daily find more. They teach much about the
sevenfold sprinkling, 147 and fill their books with this kind of skill,
as if it were such a priceless thing which nobody but themselves
knew about In general, their interpretation is so stupid that it
makes one feel like vomiting, especially their sevenfold .sprinkling-
They do not consider that such has to be proved from Scripture
and that it means nothing unless it is clearly expressed elsewhere,
as I have explained in the sermon on the ten lepers. 148 For them,
however, it is enough just to have contrived it, thereby it is proved.
So Dr. Karlstadt does here. Since he had learned these things
from his prophets, and by nature has a strange head which always
looks for that which is unusual and no one hitherto has known, he
launches out and tries to play dice with the words of St Paul, as
was his custom in treating the Old Testament, interpreting them
allegorically. Consequently he must make St Paul speak of spir-
itual, not bodily participation, of spiritual, not bodily discerning,
of spiritual, not bodily unworfhiness in eating, of spiritual, not
** Dietrich von Bern is that name of Theoderic the Great (454-526) which
became the center of a growing number of Germanic legends in medieval times.
"*Cf. p. 88,11.13.
AGAINST IKE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
bodily guilt in regard to the body of the Lord. And the silly, feeble
devil thinks no one sees him. No, my fellow, we see you well
enough. You haven't used enough make-up; you need more and
You may say that it is nonetheless true that the sea signifies
persecution, and Christ, the grace of God, and sinking, weakness
or despair. And it is true, that the grace of God helps in despair.
And it is not wrong or false that there is a spiritual participation,
a spiritual discerning of the body of Christ, a spiritual unworthy
eating, a spiritual guilt of the body of Christ. Generally, all such
allegories or interpretations are in fact true and very attractive and
fine. My answer to this is that I am not contending as to their
falsehood or truth. But I know well, that they often are amiss and
pure fancy, because they are brought forward without any scrip-
tural foundation, just as these prophetical sprinklings, with which
they toy, are pure nonsense.
What I do contend against is not only Dr. Karlstadt's attempt
to establish his views without basis in Scripture, but also his attempt
through such lofty spiritual semblance forcefully to suppress, deny,
and falsify the true, scriptural meaning, which naturally derives
from the text but which his mockery will not endure. If he lets
the natural meaning remain inviolate, I will let him interpret
allegorically and spiritually, juggle and play, until he tires. If
someone will permit me to retain the meaning that Peter, according
to the scriptural sense, did walk on the sea and sank, etc., it is no
longer my concern how he interprets it afterwards, provided no
harm is done to faith.
So if Dr. Karlstadt leaves untouched the bodily participation
of the body of Christ, the bodily discerning, the bodily unworthi-
ness in eating, the bodily guilt in unworthy eating, etc., I for my
part will let him do what he wants. For St. Paul also in Rom.
12 [:6] says, "Let prophecy be in proportion to our faith," so that
each one does not interpret what and how he pleases and thereby
lead the conscience astray. For it is real jugglery to make a thing
seem to have happened and to exist, when there is nothing to it
Just as Dr. Karlstadt's spiritual interpretation seems to him and
his followers to be a remarkably precious one. But when one
examines it under the light and according to the text, it is revealed
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
as pure jugglery. Devoid of foundation or truth, it is the product
of his own fancy, and forced upon the text.
If such spiritual juggling were to prevail, I would like to put
Dr. Karlstadt and all his prophets to school for another three years.
I was thoroughly drilled in this method when I first began to study
the Bible ten years ago, before I discovered the true method. I
too would carelessly say: a ln the beginning God created heaven
and earth," Gen. 1 [:!]: Heaven refers to the angels and the spir-
itual creatures; earth refers to the bodily creatures. Don't you
think this was splendidly and truly said? Yes, but meanwhile what
happened to the text? How could I prove, that in this verse heaven
and earth are not the natural heaven and earth, as the words say?
Brother, the natural meaning of the words is queen, transcending
all subtle, acute sophistical fancy. From it we may not deviate,
unless we are compelled by a clear article of the faith. Otherwise
the spiritual jugglers would not leave a single letter in Scripture.
In this manner even the great teacher Origen 149 played the
fool, and led St. Jerome and many others astray with him. In former
times his books were justly forbidden and condemned on account
of such spiritual tomfoolery. For it is dangerous so to play with
the Word of God by which conscience and faith are to be guided.
Therefore, interpretations of God's Word must be lucid and definite
having a firm, sure, and true foundation on which one may con-
These are the main points in this matter, by which, through
the grace of God, we satisfy every good conscience in order to
confirm their faith. If we do not thereby convert the hardened
Karlstadtians, we have nonetheless successfully contended against
them in these two matters. First, that they can neither prove their
assertions with Scripture nor wrest them from the text, but pro-
duce only their own notions and ideas, presuming thereby to
obscure clear passages but in vain. To our interpretation he said,
"Origen (ca. 182-251) is considered the author of the allegorical interpretation
of the Scriptures in Christendom, Corresponding to the trichotomy of man the
Scriptures must be interpreted in accordance with a threefold sense: the literal
(jfrnofifedr), the moral (pschychos), and spiritual (pneumatikos) . The
spiritual sense of Scripture, by means of which its hidden or concealed meaning
is brought to light, came particularly to be identified in the narrower sense
with, an allegorical method of interpreting the Scriptures.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
"No," for which we demanded no proof without giving our own,
which we then did. But he proposed another interpretation with-
out offering any foundation a scandalous thing of so lofty a spirit!
Secondly, everything they brought against us was unconvincing
and did not stand the test Finally, we defied them to do their
best. We are determined to stand up to them and their cleverness,
whether past, present, or future, with no other passages from Scrip-
ture [than those adduced by us]. They shall not thus deprive us
of them. For the only source of Dr. Karlstadt's strength lies in
applying arbitrarily and without proof everything attributed by
the evangelists and apostles in clear words to the eating and drink-
ing [in the sacrament] to the remembrance of the Lord. Let
another come, who can do better.
Suppose now, despite all, Dr. Karlstadt's bluster prevailed and
overcame our faith (though this is impossible). What would he then
have accomplished? Not on that account would his faith thereby
be right or certain. For he proves nothing, but only recites his
claims, as one might recite a fairy tale, giving no basis, or Scripture,
or reason. No conscience can rest or depend on such a foundation,
which would be nothing more than the word of Dr. Karlstadt
Thus, whoever follows Dr. Karlstadt's opinion must fall between
two chairs and be suspended between heaven and earth. Of the
sacrament he would retain nothing at all. For he who has neither
a basis nor a single passage of Scripture on his side, forsakes our
faith, and cannot comprehend it I have often asserted that the
ultimate goal of the devil is to do away with the entire sacrament
and all outward ordinances of God. Then as these prophets teach,
all that would count would be for the heart to stare inwardly at
Everyone now clearly sees, I think, that Dr. Karlstadf s spirit
is one that seeks to fool the people with the word "spiritual," and
undertakes to make everything spiritual which God has made bodily.
With this talent he manages to put on a good show and attract
attention. If only he would establish a basis for his view, not only
claiming, thus, thus it is, but prove that it is and must be so
because of what is in the text, then he would be a fine spirit But
since he speaks only on his own, we can say: You lie, dear spirit.
All men are liars [Ps. 116:11], The pope has lied in the same
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
manner. But his spirit has rather busied itself in making spiritual
things bodily, as he transforms a spiritual Christendom into an
outward, bodily community. This sectarian spirit, on the other
hand, is mostly concerned about making spiritual what God makes
bodily and outward. We therefore proceed between the two,
making nothing spiritual or bodily, but keeping spiritual what God
makes spiritual, and bodily what he makes bodily.
If now some still persist and remain in this error and view of
the Karlstadtian sacrament, or later fall into it, what would be
their lot? What indeed would be our attitude even if the whole
world rejected our interpretation? How are we to consider the
gospel, on which certainly more depends? Does not the whole
world reject and resist it? How few are they who rightly hold to it?
Don't let yourself be misled if only a few rightly treat and believe
the sacrament. Let him who will be gone, but make sure where you
stand. It is not surprising that many go astray. The wonder is that
there are some who do not go astray, few though they are. Christ
himself said, "Do you think when the Son of man comes, he will
find faith on earth?" [Luke 18:8], I am not to blame for any one
who now errs. I have surely warned and taught faithfully.
Concerning Frau Htdda Dr. KarUtadt's
Shrewd Reason, in this Sacrament
Now that we have shown our scriptural foundation and proven
our faith, while refuting Dr. Karlstadt's argument, let us see how
splendidly he speaks in this matter when he seeks counsel of his
reason, which first of all gives him his proper foundation. For Dr.
Karlstadt is now much madder than ever the papists were. The
papists at least have always been anxious to adduce evidence from
Scripture, though they have used it falsely. But Dr. Karlstadt has
only touto and taitfa, periods and capitals, and interpolations out of
his own head, with never a verse from Scripture. Thus, the papists
confess that in the matter of the sacrament we are to follow
Scripture, not reason. But Dr. Karlstadt scrapes and collects what-
ever reason can show, teach, or j'udge. Are they not merry prophets
and heavenly spirits?
Cf.p, 174, n. 134.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
The first sample of this highly praised reason is its conclusion
that if the body and blood of Christ were in the sacrament, it would
have to follow that the bread was crucified and given for us and
not Christ himself, since the text reads, "This is my body given for
you." This Frau Hulda interprets to mean the same as saying,
The bread is given for you." This again means, "My body is not
given for you before it has become bread," etc. How does this
cleverness appeal to you? Defy them and say that they are no
heavenly prophets. If you ask where they learned such grammar,
or by what reasoning they thus interpret the word of Christ, you
may probably hear the heavenly voice.
Let us proceed. This is pure knavery with which the devil
here deals. Tell me, Frau Hulda, you who are so pure and will not
tolerate our adding or taking away a syllable from the word of God,
why are you here so filthy? You add so many words and say, "My
body is not given for you before it has become bread"? Also, why
do you break up the sentence and say, "The bread which is given
for you"? Show me where it is written that we should understand
or explain the words, This is my body, which is given for you," to
mean, This bread is given for you," or "My body is not given for
you before it becomes bread." In any language this sentence
cannot be understood except in this sense, This is my body, given
for you," etc. There is no other body, given for you, than the one
which in death I give you to eat From this it does not follow that
it would at the same moment be eaten and crucified, but that which
was eaten in this moment, the same would afterwards, when it is
not eaten, be given for you.
Let me take John the Baptist as an example, when he pointed
to Christ and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the
sin of the world" [John 1:29]. Listen to this, sectarian spirit: John
said there that Christ bears or takes away the sin of the world, yet
he is not on the cross. My dear friend, continue and say from this
it follows that Christ is not crucified for us. For the words read
that Christ did not bear the sins of the world before John pointed
him out and called him the Lamb of God. For there is no other
Christ crucified for us, and he is not crucified at any other time or
place frhim when John pointed him out by the Jordan river. There
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
he bore our sins, before he was crucified, just as here he is given
for us in the bread
In John 10 [:11] Christ says, "I am the good shepherd and lay
down my life for my sheep." Ha, dear sectarian spirit, let us learn
from you that since Christ says of himself that he gives his life for
us, it must follow that this happens in the moment when in the
synagogue of the Jews he says this of and about himself, and not
on the cross, so that he is not afterwards crucified for us. For the
words say nothing else than, "I give my life" [John 10:15]. They
do not say, "I will give my life," just as here he says, "which is given
for you," and not, "which shall be given for you." So also one has
to understand him when he says, "I give them eternal life" [John
10:28], and not, "I will give them." So also in John 19 [17:19], he
says, "And for their sake I consecrate myself'; he does not say, "I
will consecrate myself." You ought to feel shame in your hearts,
you great gruff asses' heads, who pretend to such great skill in
interpreting the Scriptures that you let such stuff go out into the
world, from which it is clear that either on account of your great
wickedness you do not want to, or on account of your great
ignorance you cannot, either rightly speak or understand what is
If this devil insists so strongly on the words, "Which is given
for you/* as present in tense, and not to be understood as "Which
in the future shall be given for you," we throw his word back at
hi and say that if the words, "This is my body," refers to the body
of the seated Christ, then it must follow that Christ is not crucified
for us. For the word is attributed to Christ as he sits there, and
not to him on the cross. For he could not hang on the cross and
at the same time be at the supper table. So he could not be given
for us at any other time than when he sat there and said this of
himself. Is not this a case where cleverness becomes ridiculous?
If now you heavenly prophets can allow that Christ sits at the
table and his word, "Which is given for you," is to be so interpreted
that the "is given* means "Shall be given," or "It is so determined
and ordained that he shall be given," thus agreeing that his sitting
at the table and referring to his body takes place at one time and
his being crucified and giving "himself at another, then we ask that
you do not object to the statement that his body is in the bread
AGAINST THE HEAVEXLY PROPHETS
and afterwards on the cross when it is not in the bread. 131 Then
we may say concerning the bread, 'This is my body given for you,"
in the sense that it shall be given for us, or it is already determined
and ordained to be given, as if it were akeady given.
Where are you now, Frau Hulda, with your cleverness? Indeed,
where is your inner witness, since you do not need the outer
witness? This I tell you, my dear reader, so that you may get to
know the annoying devil who takes advantage of Dr. Karlstadt
For in this matter of reason Peter Riiltz boasts very loftily, and here
speaks aptly in the manner of the heavenly prophets, namely, as we
said, they do not come through the external Word to the spirit but
from the spirit they come to the external Word, They hold to the
word of Christ in John 12 [John 15:26-27]: "The Spirit of truth will
bear witness and you also will be witnesses," just as if the apostles
had received the Spirit without the external Word of Christ.
Satiated with the inner witness, Peter Riiltz boasts that he receives
the external in order to teach and correct others.
There you have their theology: Others are to learn outwardly
by their word, which they call an external witness* But they them-
selves are better and superior to the apostles, and pretend to learn
inwardly in their spirit without an external Word and without means,
though this possibility was not given to the apostles, but alone to
the only Son, Jesus Christ Thus you see how this devil, as I said
already, disregards the external Word and does not wish to have it
as a forerunner to the Spirit. Learn to shy away from such and be
assured that these prophets axe full of the deviL This is clear from
this first aspect of the way they employ reason, and will become
clearer. Such an exalted spirit which is above the apostles ought
also forsooth demonstrate his superiority by great signs. But in the
same manner as they prove their doctrine and external witness with
Scripture, so they prove their spirit and inward witness with signs.
The one devil is like the other.
If only Dr. Karlstadt and his gang could forego their sophistry
and rationalism, since the word of Christ spoken over the bread,
"This is my body," is a source of difficulty and anxiety for them. They
141 In his Dialogus Karlstadt maintained: If Christ had entered the sacrament
he would have left the pkce where he was seated, for Christ always left his
previous abode before he came to or entered another city or place," WA 18, 184.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
neither can nor want to understand how bread might still be the
body, and ought to do one of two things: Either give God honor
and let his Word remain right and true, even though they don't
understand how it can be that it is right and true, and be satisfied
with it and believe it when they hear that God so speaks and wants
it this way. Or, if they want to be really clever, let them follow the
customary meaning of Scripture and simple sense of its language,
setting aside their subtleties and craftiness.
For if we heed the simple sense of the language we can say of
a glowing piece of iron, "It is fire," or, "The iron lying there is pure
fire." If now a contentious sophist wanted to show off his smartness
and set himself up against the whole world, declaring iron and fire
were two different things and it could never be that iron was fire,
tell me, would he not be a senseless fool? He would be trying to
teach the people to exchange their simple way of speaking for his
keen and sharp sophistry, though the simple sense of the words,
"The iron is pure fire," is nothing more than saying that the iron
and fire are in each other, 152 so that where the iron is there the fire
is also. And no one is so stupid that he here needs some great and
clever sophistry to tell him that wood is not stone, fire is not iron,
water is not earth.
Since now iron is fire and fire is iron, according to the simple
sense of language, and the two are in each other and as one, though
each retains its own nature, they might well have exercised humility,
foregoing their cleverness and smartness, and following Christ and
all the world in the simple meaning of the word and say of the
bread, This is my body.*" This would mean the same as saying,
bread and body are as one or in each other, as fire and iron. No
one is so stupid as to deny that body and bread are two different
things. We use similar expressions about the human nature of
Christy when we say, u He is God," and, "God is man" Yet no one
stupidly avers that the divine and the human are not two different
natures, or that one can be transformed into the other. The simple
statement means that in Christ divinity and humanity are as one
homely illustration of "iron and fire," employed by Luther in this
connection to demonstrate the need for giving priority to "the simple sense of
language,** has led some to describe quite erroneously Luther's understanding
of the Lord's Supper with the word "consubstantaation/"
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
so that God is bodily present [Col. 2:9] where the human person is,
as Paul asserts.
So the simple meaning of the words could easily have given
them what they sought for in their cleverness and contrived sharp-
ness of reason at the expense of so much unnecessary toil and work
for themselves and others. And you will see, as they progress, that
they do not want to honor the Word of God in f aith nor receive it
according to the simple use of language. Instead, with their
sophisticated reason and refined subtlety they want to measure and
master it until they finally come to the point where they will deny
that Christ is God. For to reason it sounds just as foolish to say,
"Man is God/* as, "The bread is the body." And as they deny the
one they will soon also boldly deny the other. Such is also the aim
of the devil, who has led them away from Scripture into their own
reason, thereby bringing back again all the ancient heresies. 153 You
will be surprised how clever reason can be, especially in the mad
mob, when it shakes its head and says, yes, godhead and humanity
are two different things, separated infinitely from each other as the
eternal from the temporal. How then can the one be the other, or
any one say, "Man is God*? You must therefore reply: the temporal
is eternal, mortal is immortal and the like, as reason foolishly
imagines in Dr. Karlstadt's head against the sacrament, and it will
thus have come upon the truth in splendid fashion!
Or if this sort of speaking does not please them, they form
their judgment in accordance with the manner of speech employed
in Scripture which contains a common figure of speech called
synecdoche. This occurs when the name of a whole is given to
a part, as Scripture does when it calls the people of Israel a
"possession" and a peculiar people of God [Exod. 19:5], though a
majority always belonged to the devil and only a minority was
God's people. So also Paul, in his letters to the Galatians [Gal. 1:2]
and Corinthians [I Cor. 1:21] and elsewhere, called the congrega-
tion God's though only the smaller part consisted of true children
of God. Indeed in I Cor. 10 [:1] he calls them all one bread and
one body who drink of tihe one cup, though many of them drink
unworthily of the cup, as he himself says.
158 Arianism (fourth century) denied Jesus' complete divinity, while Sabeflianism
(fourth century) denied his complete humanity.
CHUBCH A>TD MINISTRY
These sophists and keen smart alecks in this place could have
applied the whole passage about bread and body, of which Jesus
spoke when he said, 'This is my body," solely to the body, regardless
of the bread. Not that the bread did not belong here, but in his
words he placed as much importance on the body as if only the
body were present and everything else, be it bread or color, was
nothing more than the body. Just as if a mother should point to a
cradle in which her child lay and should say, "That is my child,"
and a sophist should ridicule her, saying, "What? Is the cradle
your child?" Don't you think she would think him a fool or a crank?
In his obstinacy he did not want to understand her words, as she
pointed to both the cradle and the child, and yet meant especially
the child, as if the cradle were not there.
Thus St. Paul, in Rom. 1 [:16] calls the preached gospel a
power of God. Now let a clever sophist interrupt who knows that
the power of God (which is eternal) is to be distinguished from
utterance by word of mouth which immediately dies away. He
wants to prove his skill and bring forward a touto or tauta and
concludes, the bodily voice cannot be the power of God. So St. Paul
is lying when he speaks of a bodily vocal sound as the power of God.
St Peter, too, is subject to the same criticism, as he says (I Pet. 1
[:25], The Word of God remains forever. 7 * Isaiah [40;8] also speaks
thus, meaning the Word that is preached among us. How can this be
true, that an eternal thing can be transient?
A sophist cannot believe this, but whoever knows the common
use of Scripture is not misled by it, but rather easily understands.
It is well explained by the use of synecdoche which is much
employed not only in Scripture, but in all languages. So here you
see that this evil spirit cannot speak or understand even his mother
tongue. Dr. Karlstadt, who pretends to a great knowledge in Greek
and Hebrew would benefit if he and his prophets were led back to
their mothers or to a German school, so that they might first learn
how to speak and understand German.
A second aspect of such high-sounding reason is Dr. Karlstadt's
claim to have proved that nothing other than bread and wine are
in the sacrament, and that when Christ commanded us to receive
his body, he meant, take the bread and eat Therefore the decrepit
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
preachers 154 (Hutzelprediger, what beautiful German) should have
proclaimed how one eats worthily of the Lord's bread, as Paul said*
If now again I ask these lofty spirits, where is it written that Christ
said, "Take the bread and eat," they most likely will point to the
inward witness; let the Wizard of Oz 155 believe that, not I. I know
of no place where Christ told us to take the bread and eat He
did say, "Take, eat, this is my body/' Here he tells me to take his
body and eat, not bread. But this spirit has supreme power to fix
and to change, to add and to take away, as he pleases. How can
To confirm this land of reason he blames the pope for many
more grievous errors. First, the pope steals the honor due God, in
that he tells us to respond to the form of the bread, My God, be
merciful to me. Second, he contradicts the truth by teaching us to
honor the bread and letting us forget the body of Christ. Third, he
destroys the teachings of Paul, exalting the form of the bread to
the point that we forget the remembrance of the Lord. Fourth, that
he makes us foolish by teaching us to eat the bread with solemnity
though we may never give a thought to Christ. Fifth, that he
renders the suffering of Christ unnecessary in his teaching that
Christ in the form of the bread forgives our sins and has redeemed
us, and tibus his death on the cross was in vain. There you have it,
pope, you are done for. I hold that you have been vanquished.
These five points he has spewed out in such disorder that I find it
painful to bring any order into them.
What shall I do? If I answer him, then I am a priest But Dr.
Karlstadt has reasoned with himself. The pope's errors have been
brought to light by others before me. Now I, too, would be glad to
win a medal of honor in combat with the dead body of Hector.
But if I write what others have written and adduce nothing new,
it would bring disgrace on me as a great heavenly prophet All
right, I will attack him and write pure lies about him.** Now the
pope and his followers have done me much more injury than
Dr. Karlstadt, and still do so daily. In fact they have hitherto
184 A phrase used by Karlstadt about his opponents, meaning literally **dried and
'"The original speaks of Kolkryb, a kind of demonic, chameleon-like mythical
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
greatly despised Dr. Karlstadt. Yet I would not be so mad as to
attack the pope with what is generally known as a stinking lie. The
pope and his crowd do not care when I hit the mark with obvious
truth and clear Scripture. Why then should they pay any attention
when Dr. Karlstadt strikes at them with what he knows are
I am not concerned with the life of the pope and his people.
We speak now of his teaching not of his morals, but of his dogmas.
Here I do not say that Dr. Karlstadt errs, but his conscience tells
him that he obviously lies in what he says of the pope. For he too
has been a sophist 156 who has studied and taught the theology of
the universities and of the pope. The pope nowhere teaches that
one shall say to the sacramental bread, "My, God, be merciful to
me," as all the world knows. Nor does he teach that we should
hold in remembrance the bread but forget the body of Christ. Nor
does he ever teach so high a regard for the bread that we forget
remembrance of the Lord. He does not teach that we can eat the
bread worthily even if in so doing we never give a thought to
Christ. And he does not render unnecessary the suffering of Christ
when he teaches that Christ in the form of the bread forgives our
sins and redeems us, which in fact he does not teach. In these five
points Dr, Karlstadt himself, as well as all the world, knows that
he lies in his own conscience against the pope.
He should use other examples and reasons if he wants to show
that the pope is guilty of stealing the honor due God, contradicting
the truth, destroying the teaching of St. Paul, making people foolish,
and the suffering of Christ unnecessary. For these examples rather
prove that Dr. Karlstadt has a deceitful and evil spirit, who openly
robs the people of their honor, contradicts his own conscience, and
as a foolish rascal reveals his sin and shame before all the world.
What a fine spirit we have here, who would drive out the devil
by a devil. Indeed he would disgrace public truth with public lies.
What could be the purpose of Dr. Karlstadt in this shameless
lying? I can imagine two reasons. First, that he might get the mob
to think that what Luther and the others have done to the pope
"* Before joining forces with the Reformation Karlstadt was a Thomist and
published two tracts interpreting the scholastic theology of Thomas Aquinas.
AGAINST THE HEAVEXLY I'ROPHEIS
amounts to nothing. They all play the hypocrite with him. Here is
our man. Dr. Karlstadt knows how to do it. He knows how to
show up the pope. How about it, neighbor Andreas [Karlstadt] and
dear cousin Peter? Second, in lumping Luther and the pope
together, he might impress upon his bungling associate, Rultz, that
Luther's teaching is identical with that of the pope indeed that
Luther is a papist twice over, 157 for that is what he calls me, too.
This Dr. Karlstadt's devil does, not because he is hostile to the
pope's devil, who sent him to Dr. Karlstadt so as craftily to help
the pope up again, but in order that he might destroy everything
that God had accomplished hitherto by the gospel through us and
the many souls who had been saved, which was bitter medicine
to the devil.
So my readers now understand how bold and wicked this spirit
of Dr. Karlstadt is, as he shamelessly and openly lies before the
people against his own conscience in such great and important
matters, where we should avoid as poison all error and doubt (to
say nothing about obvious lies). They know that such a spirit
cannot be anything else than an evil, wrathful devil. For it is not
necessary to treat these questions, but through Dr. Karlstadt's
envious hatred this spirit would take revenge on us and destroy
our gospel. For we do not teach that the form of the bread should
be adored, feared, or honored to the disregard of the Lord's death.
Rather we do honor the body and blood of Christ in the bread, as
he himself well knows, and he has furthermore attacked us
throughout his book because we do not regard it as only bread or
the form of bread. Yet he charges that we honor only bread, and
in his folly contradicts himself.
So with more fairness on our side we could say that Dr.
Karlstadt robs God of his honor, contradicts the truth, destroys the
teaching of St. Paul, and makes the passion of Christ unnecessary,
since he denies, in the face of clear and strong texts, that the body
and blood of Christ are in the sacrament. He devises interpolations
out of his head, which are supported neither by a semblance of truth
nor by argument, Scripture and context. Finally he cannot help
357 To the title of his treatise Auhslezung dieser Worte Chnsti, Das 1st mein
Leib, etc., Karlstadt added the subtitle Wider die eiitfafogen und zwiefafogen
Papisten. . . . WA 18, 73. Cf. also p. 186.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
himself but spews out good, fat, strong lies, and like a mad person
speaks against himself. And thus you have a second good example
of the manner in which dear Reason pretends to authority in divine
things. We had better wait until later to consider how it can be
true that Christ forgives sin in the sacrament since he makes
himself quite useless in this regard.
Frau Hulda s third example is her proof that the body of Christ
is not in the sacrament because of the words of Christ, "The flesh
is of no avail" (John 6 [:63] ) and, "It is to your advantage that I go
away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you*
[John 16:7]. Where, he says, has Christ commanded us to receive
his body? This is a question he keeps bringing up in connection
with his t outo as though it were certain that he has won. We again
reply as to one who has gone down to defeat in disgrace. Christ
commands us to receive his body when he says, "Take, eat, this is
my body." Let this be said once and for all as though it were said
a thousand times in reply to tihis question. For the touto and capital
letter and period have lost the day, as we have already proved.
Is this not a demonstration of consummate skill and a forceful
conclusion: The flesh is of no avail, therefore one does not receive
the body of Christ in the sacrament? What a perfect fit! Why not
try this? Dr. Karlstadt is no longer at Orlamiinde, therefore the
body of Christ is not in the sacrament. It follows as well in one
case as in the other. What difference does it make to the sacrament,
either for or against, that the flesh of Christ is of no avail? Of what
avail is it, when he sits at the supper table and, according to their
dream, refers to himself in touto? You spirits, rather let me use
your skill! The flesh of Christ is of no avail, therefore he does not
sit at the table, and the touto cannot refer to him. Is this not as
valid a conclusion as yours? Tell me, where is the flesh of Christ
of avail? On the cross? In heaven? In the mother's womb? Where
then? I suppose 111 soon hear ttat he cannot be anywhere, since
his flesh is of no avail. For if it follows that Christ is not in the
sacrament since the flesh of Christ is of no avail, it follows equally
well that he is nowhere. For that the spirit must be present if the
flesh is to be of avail is as true on the cross or in heaven as in the
sacrameat What do you think? These are indeed heavenly
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
prophets, and thus you should attack the sacrament if you wish
to overthrow itl
Further, tell me, what is the benefit of your sacrament, your
bread and wine? If it is not of any benefit, then there is no sacrament
in the Supper and no one receives anything. For where that is
which does not avail, there is nothing, as you yourselves say that
the body of Christ cannot be there since his flesh is of no avail.
What then of the Supper? For surely none will be or become as
holy which will be of avail, since the flesh of Christ is of no avail,
though it is the most holy of all. If that is not fanaticism and frenzy,
brother, what is fanaticism and frenzy? I will not here show how
the blind and bold spirit employs and perverts the word of Christ.
For Christ does not say, "My flesh is of no avail," but thus, "Flesh is
of no avail" [John 6:63]. But of his own flesh he says, *My flesh is
food indeed" [John 6:55].
"Flesh" and "the flesh of Christ" are two very different things.
So also, "The flesh of Christ is of no avail," is quite different from,
"The flesh of Christ is of no avail to you or me." This I must further
expound to prove that these spirits, who so despise the outward
Word, do not have a right understanding of Scripture. God is good
[Luke 18:19], and all that he has created is good also (Gen. 1 [:3] }.
What is good, is also "of avail." To the godless, however, nothing is
good or "of avail," nothing pure and salutary, but everything is
harmful, evil, unclean, and damnable, even God himself, not
because of God or of what he has created but because of the lack
of faith of those who misuse everything. So we should not say that
the flesh of Christ is of no avail, but flesh is of no avail, as Paul says,
TFlesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom'* [I Cor. 15:50]. Here
"flesh" means a carnal mind, will, understanding or self-contrived
opinion, as Paul in Rom. 8 [:6] says, "To set the mind on the flesh
is death." When Christ (John 6 [:55] ) speaks of his flesh and says
it is "food indeed," he corrects the Jews who understand him in a
carnal manner, by adding that his words are "spirit and life" [John
6:63]. Flesh is of no avail, that is, to understand his spiritual words
in a carnal manner brings only death.
Yes, you say, the bread of the Lord and the cup are of benefit,
if we worthily eat and drink, which means that we acknowledge and
taste Christ, heartily and ardently. Brother, what can we say?
CHUBCH AND MINISTOY
Your bread and wine are of avail, if one eats and tastes of them
with ardent knowledge. Why is not our sacrament also of avail
when we eat and receive it in true faith? Or is the body and blood
of Christ, when it is received with true faith in the sacrament, not
as powerful as your frail bread and wine? Or is a true faith inferior
to an ardent acknowledgment of Christ? But tell me, you lying
spirit, when or where have we ever taught that the sacrament
(though in itself always "of avail," salutary, and good) is "of avail"
to everyone, unless he receives it in faith through the words of God
which are in with it?
In dealing with these matters, Dr. Karlstadt employs nothing
but real devilish tricks. First, he uses wonderfully beautiful words
(heartily, ardently, taste, knowledge), so that one might think him
in earnest. But he saw clearly that bread and wine are too ordinary
in themselves, so he had to blow them up with such additions, but
without showing either way or means of arriving at them. Secondly,
he does not use the word, faith, to make it seem as if he were
teaching of other and much higher things than we, and as if true
faith was nothing compared to "ardent knowledge,'* though he
knows as much of the acknowledgment of Christ as of faith and
a good conscience. Thirdly, he strikes a treacherous blow in seeking
to picture us as teaching merely a reception of the sacrament,
without Word and faith, though he well knows otherwise, and lies
continuously, poisonously, and wantonly. As I have said above, to
employ obvious lies in these great matters is not the work of a
good spirit, but of a vengeful devil, by which indeed Dr. Karlstadt
He comes next upon the word sacramentaliter and says, the
sacramental flesh of Christ is of no more avail than his natural flesh,
for it presents neither death nor resurrection, etc. Here he boasts
that with this piece he has boxed the ears of the pope so that his
whole face was blackened, together with all papists, old and new.
For a nobody you boast pretty loftily, I do not know whether the
spirit purposely puts on such irrational and mad demeanor, or
whether God plagues him so horribly. Out of his own fancy,
without any basis, he makes a bare, naked, impotent, statement
that the sacramental body of Christ is of "no avail," etc. By such
a word the pope and all of us are supposed to be vanquished. Were
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
it the heathen Priapus 158 he would probably pass wind in the face
of such well-aimed terror.
I have already said that it is not right, but blasphemous before
God, if one says the body of Christ is of no avail, as this mad spirit
raves. He is ever beneficial, wherever he is, however he may seem
of no avail because of my unbelief. The sun is always shining,
though unseen by the blind man. The Word of God is ever salutary,
though a poison and "a fragrance of death to death" [II Cor. 2:16],
The body of Christ is always in the sacrament, even if not to these
mad and blind spirits, who have not yet learned so much from
their high, heavenly spirit as to know that flesh and the flesh of
Christ are not one and the same flesh, but one is a flesh of life, the
other a flesh of death. But what difference do life and death mean
to such prophets? If only they had the honor of being holy spirits,
that would be quite enough.
But he says that one cannot see in the sacrament the death
and resurrection of Christ, therefore Christ is of no avail there.
Brother, is this true? What high prophets! But tell me, how do
you see the death and resurrection in the body of Christ seated
at the supper table, to which the touto refers? Is it marked on his
brow? No? Then even there he does not benefit us. How this
spirit makes a fool of himself in all his words. He can say nothing
but that it boomerangs on his own head and hits him so that he
not only is blackened but is made to stagger as a drunkard. If now
the words of Christ lead and teach us to see the death and
resurrection in the seated Christ, why should they not do so also
in the body and blood of the sacrament? For it is not the body
of Christ, either seated at the table or present in the bread, but the
word that he speaks, This is given for you,** which teaches us
about the death and resurrection of Christ
But suppose your knowledge and remembrance of Christ were
this pure passion, pure heart, pure ardor, pure fire, before which
also the sectarian spirits were to melt away and were to blow up
their spirituality with words which are a thousand times more
high-sounding, what then? What would be gained? Nothing except
new monks and hypocrites who would with greater devotion and
""The reaction ascribed to Priapus by Luther, is described by Horace,
Satires i., 8, 46, only for a different reason. Cf. WA 18, 194.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
earnestness stand before the bread and wine (if everything went
well), as hitherto the sensitive consciences have stood before the
sacrament Indeed as great a concern and anxiety would manifest
itself about this knowledge and remembrance as hitherto has been
felt for the worthy reception of the body of Christ. For the
acknowledgment which they advocate accomplishes nothing. Even
the devil knows full well and recognizes that the body of Christ is
given for us, yet this does not help him.
The knowledge, however, does help if I do not doubt, but in
true faith hold firmly that the body and blood of Christ is given
for me, for me, for me (I repeat), in order to take away my sins,
as the word in the sacrament affirms, "This is the body, given for
you." This knowledge produces joyful, free, and assured con-
sciences. This is the meaning in Isa. 53 [:11], "By his knowledge he
will make many to be accounted righteous." This teaching is as
hostile as death to Dr. Karlstadt's spirit, and in his desire to eradicate
it he makes a great ado about "passionate, heartfelt, earnest
knowledge of the body of Christ," as if he were much in earnest,
yet he really stifles it He thinks one does not see that out of the
word of Christ he makes a pure commandment and law which
accomplishes nothing more than to tell and bid us to remember
and acknowledge him. Furthermore, he makes this acknowledg-
ment nothing else than a work that we do, while we receive
nothing else than bread and wine. But more of this later*
I will, however, show up this spirit. With such high-sounding
words he hopes to anticipate the accusation and outcry that he
despoils the sacrament by making it merely bread and wine.
Therefore he vaunts himself and spruces up these great words, so
that one might suppose he wanted to exalt the sacrament. But
basically it is the devil's intention to dash it to the ground and
institute instead a festive meal, where finally it ends up in excessive
eating and drinking and throwing of jugs and cans against the walls,
brawling, and fighting. For if hitherto it has not been possible to
maintain reverence when it has been believed that the true body
of Christ was present, what kind of reverence will remain if it is
thought that only bread and wine are present? What jolly com-
panions we then would be, revelling and carousing until the heath
begins to wave.
AGAINST THE HEAVENXY PROPHETS
So you can clearly see how the devil makes a commandment
out of a promise of Christ and in place of faith institutes a human
work, as I have said of him above. For all that Dr. Karlstadt spews
out in this matter about the knowledge of the body of Christ derives
from referring his touto to the seated body of Christ, all from his
own fancy, as we have heard. For with this touto he means that we
are asked only to practice the knowledge of Christ in this sacrament,
though Christ in this place says not a word about such knowledge,
commandment, or work. Nor can he show any basis, Scripture, or
reason except his hopeless touto and his own notions, which let him
believe who believes the devil. He makes also this knowledge a
pure work, destroying thereby both faith and the promise of Christ
From this you can grasp that Dr. Karlstadt's theology has not
gotten beyond teaching how we are to imitate Christ, making of
Christ only an example and lawgiver. From this only works can
be learned. He does not know and teach Christ as our treasure
and the gift of God, from which faith follows, and which is the
highest of doctrines. All this he wants to dress up and obscure
with these words: passionate knowledge, ardent remembrance, and
the like. He descends from faith to works in a manner that I long
ago observed would lead his teaching and skill to a point where he
would affirm that the free will plays a part in the things of God
and in good works.
Further, the mad spirit is so ignorant of Scripture that he
interprets the word, "remembrance," where Christ says, "This do
in remembrance of me," only in the manner of the sophists
[scholastic teachers] to mean, the inner thoughts of the heart, as
one would think of any one. For this spirit must be inward, and
make inward and spiritual what God wants to be outward, so that
nothing will be external. But it is still more mischievous and
malicious, that he gives such remembrance the power to justify, as
faith does. The proof he gives is, he says, that it is written, "That
they have done this in remembrance of me." What think you?
It is written, 'They have done it in remembrance of me," Therefore
such remembrance justifies. There you comprehend how well Dr.
Karlstadt understands the Lord's Supper, his remembrance, and
justification, namely, that the devil shows only ridicule and scorn
in these matters.
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
You should, however, know and hold that this remembrance of
Christ is an outward remembrance, as one can speak of remember-
ing any one. This is the way the Scriptures speak of it, for example,
in Psalm 15 [Ps. 16:4]: "I will not take their names upon my lips";
Psalm 10 [Ps. 9:6] : "The very memory of them is perished"; Psalm 72
[Ps. 83:4] "Let the name of Israel be remembered no more";
Psalm 111 [Ps. 112:1]: The righteous will be remembered for ever."
By the words, "This do in remembrance of me," Christ meant what
Paul meant by his words, "Proclaim the death of the Lord," etc.
[I Cor. 11:26]. Christ wants us to make him known when we
receive the sacrament and proclaim the gospel, so as to confirm
faith. He does not want us to sit and indulge in such fancies and
make out of such a remembrance a good work, as Dr. Karlstadt
dreams. Would that these prophets had put in more time in study
before they published books.
From this you know well that such remembrance does not
justify, but that they must first be justified who would preach,
proclaim, and practice the outward remembrance of Christ, as it is
written in Rom. 10 [:10], "For man believes with his heart and so
is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved." The
righteousness which Dr. Karlstadt produces out of remembrance,
however, avails nothing and you should beware of it. He lies to
you and deceives you. For he does not make such knowledge
spiritual as it ought to be. For Isaiah [Isa, 53:11] speaks of a spirit
and of a spiritual knowledge which the Holy Spirit works in us,
not we ourselves. I know and am convinced beyond doubt that
this is the same as, Christ is given for me. But Dr. Karlstadt makes
of it a human, carnal devotion and a passionate, ardent work in the
heart, though not higher than the knowledge and recognition that
Christ is given for us, which the devil and the hypocrites also know.
He can teach knowledge, but not the use of knowledge. He spews
out much about knowledge, but does not develop or rightly apply
it, but permits it to remain a mere human work. That is to make it
a carnal instead of a spiritual knowledge. For his spirit will not
tolerate anything less than making carnal what is spiritual.
Frau Hulda gives us a fourth example when she takes St Paul's
words in I Cor. 11 [:24], "Take, eat, this is the body which is broken
for you," and seeks to master these. God help, how the spirit pales
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PBOPHETS
and trembles before this thunder! Still he summons courage and
says, "O you poor, ignorant man, do you mean that the body of
Christ was broken as bread is broken/* etc.? But hear, brother, how
he here chokes and writhes in pain. Tell me (he says), has Christ
broken himself in the bread? If he was not in the bread that he
broke you will not be able to convince any apostle that Christ broke
his body in the bread. He will finally make the claim that no bone
of Christ was to be broken, therefore this breaking must be under-
stood as his suffering, thus, "This is the body which is broken for
you," equals, "Which is crucified for you." See, brother, how the
spirit here walks on eggs, how he twists and turns, how he talks as
if he had mush in his mouth and mumbles like a half-dead, despair-
No, dear little spirit, you do not thus escape me. I should have
treated of this phrase above with the others, but could not because
of the sloppy and confused arrangement of this book. In the first
place it does not help that he understands "broken" as referring to
suffering and crucifixion, for Scripture does not so speak and he
cannot prove otherwise. So his interpolation and peculiar fancy
mean nothing. We do find that Scripture calls the troubled soul
"a broken heart and spirit" [Ps. 51:17], but not with reference to
bodily suffering. Even if it did so, we can thereby not be sure tibat
such is the meaning here, unless better evidence can be produced
Nor is it germane to the argument here that no bone of Christ is
to be broken. For none of us is mad enough to say that Christ was
broken in the sacrament visibly as a thief might be broken on a
rack. Our proof is that Christ and the apostles have broken the
body of Christ, according to the word, This is my body, which is
broken for you," and that in the breaking he was in it, unless
Let us take the rogue by the throat We have already thoroughly
and convincingly proved that Dr. Karlstadt's tovto must refer to the
bread, when Christ says, Take, eat, tovto or this is my body,
which is given for you." When St Paul also uses tovto and says,
"This is the body which is broken for you," it too must refer to the
bread. So the text requires that this bread be the body which is
broken. Consequently this breaking must necessarily remain in the
supper and in the eating at the table, and cannot mean anything
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
else, as I have said above, than that the body is distributed in the
congregation, as one breaks bread and distributes it in the con-
gregation. It is not necessary here to indulge in fantasy as to just
how the body of Christ is broken in the bread. It is enough that it
is broken, that is, distributed in all its parts and pieces completely.
So it is established that the body of Christ and the bread are
one, and that where the bread is broken it means that the body of
Christ is broken or distributed, so that it is divided between and
received by many. For had St. Paul not wanted to say that the
body of Christ was in the bread he would not have attributed to
the body of Christ the breaking (which in the usage and meaning
of Scripture applied especially to the bread). Now, however, no one
can disregard the fact that he joins the two together, and thus
refers to the bread and calls it the broken body of Christ, so that in
one breaking both bread and the body are broken, and we must con-
fess that the body of Christ is there in the bread. Just as the bread
does not lose its character or name because it is broken, but remains
bread and is called so, though in pieces, so also the body of Christ
remains such though divided in many places among many people.
Still another point remains. St. Paul says of the bread, "This
is the body which is given for you." Brother, how can it be for us?
"Broken among us" would have been better. What nimble feet this
spirit has, to jump so easily over this word "for us." Brother, why?
This is the reason: He has undertaken to deny that the forgiveness
of sins is in the sacrament. Such an undertaking is filthy, where the
word "broken for us" still stands. It cannot mean otherwise than
that such breaking of bread and body takes place and is instituted
that it might avail us and redeem us from sins. For Christ has
placed the strength and power of his suffering in the sacrament, so
that we may there ky hold on it and find it according to the word,
This is my body, which is given for you for the forgiveness of sins,**
as we shall hear now, right soon. Therefore, this word was to
remain untouched by this spirit.
Frau Hulda's fifth attempt is directed especially toward the
Luther 15 * who has taught that when a person has a conscience
** Actually, the attack was directed against the Roman rite. Because Luther
held that the forgiveness of sins is imparted in the sacrament, he could conclude
that the attack was also directed against him,
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
troubled by sin he should go to the sacrament and there obtain
comfort and the forgiveness of sins. Here Peter Rultz is first of all a
fine fellow and speaks boldly: "O you false prophets, you promise
the kingdom of God to the people for a piece of bread. I know
that you do not improve the bread by your secret breathin^ and
whispering, why then do you say that sins can be forgiven when
you have blown upon it? Why do you not just as well take a
handful of barley, etc., and eat it in God's name, so that you may
be free from your sins?" Here I must speak with Dr, Karlstadt
My dear Dr. Karlstadt, if you could not or would not attack
this point in any other way, why did you not stay at home? You
have your hands full, even if there were a thousand of you, if you
would win me over by Scripture and argument Then you sally
forth and attack me only with insulting words and with obvious
and shameless lies. Do you mean that I am afraid of lies when you
yourself know that you lie? In worldly affairs when someone dis-
honors another with lies, and both know that these are lies, will
not, brother, the one say to him who lies, you lie as an arch rascal
and disgraceful scoundrel? What shall we then say of one who
shamelessly lies against his conscience in divine things? All right,
who still does not believe these prophets to be full of the devil,
let him listen. I will show them up with their shameless lies.
Tell me, first, spirit of lies, when have we ever taught that a
piece of bread forgives sins? Ah, Peter Rultz and Victus Knebel, 160
prove it by one single syllable or punctuation mark, since it is your
custom to prove your points in this way. Since you know that we
do not teach so, what kind of a spirit is it that makes you lie so
scandalously? If it were because you forgot or did not know, I
could regard you as human. But since you lie so maliciously,
knowingly, and poisonously, no one can see in you anything else
than the evil spirit But it is the nature of these prophets to speak
thus scornfully and insultingly in divine matters in order to excite
the mad mob which gets the idea through such words that here
is the real victory and triumph, though they hear no real sense.
Secondly, tell me when we whisper or breathe upon the bread?
** The name of another fictitious character in Kaxlstadt's Dtalogw. Of. also
CHUKCH AND MJNISTOY
Ah, now, show me! And where have we ever taught that our whis-
pering and breathing have improved the bread? Ah, now, why
don't you answer? All right, I will take an oath. If Dr. Karlstadt
believes there is any God in heaven or on earth, may Christ my
Lord never more be merciful and gracious to me. I know that is
a serious oath. My reason for it is that Dr. Karlstadt knows that we
do not breathe or whisper over the bread, but do speak the divine,
almighty, heavenly, and holy words which Christ himself spoke
at the supper with his holy lips and commanded us to speak. I
shall remain silent concerning the evil and sinful papists. I affirm
this, that if an ass, as Balaam's ass [Num. 22:28], spoke these words,
or if even a devil spoke them, still they are the words of God and
are to be held in all honor, as is fitting.
Tell me, if some one certainly knows that it is a Word of God
and yet dares consciously to noise abroad with disdain and ridicule
that it is a human whispering and breathing, thus perverting the
poor mob by such lies and poison, and does this without any fear
or trembling and shows no contrition for it, but rather feels joy
and glee in such wickedness, as if God would give him a crown
for such blasphemy and perversion of souls and dub him a knight
of grace, how can such a one believe or think that there can be
any God? He cannot be possessed by one devil. Let it be. Dr.
Karlstadt will discover this, if he has not already done so. If God
rewards him I too will say that there is no God. But in friendliness
I warn Dr. Karlstadt to do penance. God has been tempted enough.
It has lasted long enough. It will and must soon become other-
wise. Would to God that in this respect I may be a liar and false
prophet Alas, dear Lord, what can we do if Thou dost forsake us?
Miserable spirit, why don't you lay hold of the right thing?
Why don't you correct our teaching? You impute a strange teach-
ing to us, which you impose on us deceitfully since it is not ours.
What is easier than to imagine a lie and attribute it to someone,
and then to fight about it and become a knight? Our teaching is
that bread and wine do not avail. I will go still farther, Christ on
the cross and all his suffering and his death do not avail, even if,
as you teach, they are "acknowledged and meditated upon" with
the utmost "passion, ardor, heartfeltness." Something else must
always be there. What is it? The Word, the Word, the Word
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
Listen, lying spirit, the Word avails. Even if Christ were given for
us and crucified a thousand times, it would all be in vain if the
Word of God were absent and were not distributed and given to
me with the bidding, this is for you, take what is yours.
Even if I followed the Karlstadtian teaching and preached the
remembrance and knowledge of Christ with such passion and
seriousness that I sweated blood and became feverish, it would be
of no avail and all in vain. For it would be pure work and com-
mandment, but no gift or Word of God offered and given to me in
the body and blood of Christ It would be as if I had a chest full
of gold and great treasure buried or preserved in a certain place,
I might think myself to death and experience all desire, great
passion, and ardor in such knowledge and remembrance of the
treasure until I became ill But what benefit would all this be to
me if this treasure were not opened, given, and brought to me and
placed in my keeping? It would mean truly to love, but not to
enjoy. It would mean to be satisfied with the scent and to become
drunk from the sight of the glass, as Isaiah [Isa. 29:8] says: One
dreams that he eats and drinks, but when he awakes, his soul is
The entire teaching of Dr. Karlstadt is a fantasy of this kind.
For by his high-sounding words, "passionate remembrance, ardent
knowledge, experiential taste of the suffering of Christ," he mocks
us and does not bring us any farther than showing the health-giving
treasure in a glass or vessel. We may look and smell until we are
satisfied, but as in a dream. He gives nothing, opens nothing, lets
us have nothing. Indeed by such high-sounding words he seeks to
obscure the word that gives us such a treasure, namely, "Take, eat,
this is the body given for you." To him the words, "for you," are
poison and bitter death. But they are our comfort and life. For
they open the treasure to us and allow us to appropriate it
So that our readers may the better perceive our teaching I shall
clearly and broadly describe it. We treat of the forgiveness of sins
in two ways. First, how it is achieved and won. Second, how it is
distributed and given to us. Christ has achieved it on the cross,
it is true. But he has not distributed or given it on the cross. He
has not won it in the supper or sacrament. There he has distributed
and given it through the Word, as also in the gospel, where it is
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
preached* He has won it once for all on the cross. But the distri-
bution takes place continuously, before and after, from the begin-
ning to the end of the world. For inasmuch as he had determined
once to achieve it, it made no difference to him whether he dis-
tributed it before or after, through his Word, as can easily be
proved from Scripture, But now there is neither need nor time
to do so.
If now I seek the forgiveness of sins, I do not run to the cross,
for I will not find it given there. Nor must I hold to the suffering
of Christ, as Dr. Karlstadt trifles, in knowledge or remembrance,
for I will not find it there either. But I will find in the sacrament
or gospel the word which distributes, presents, offers, and gives
to me that forgiveness which was won on the cross. Therefore,
Luther has rightly taught that whoever has a bad conscience from
his sins should go to the sacrament and obtain comfort, not be-
cause of the bread and wine, not because of the body and blood
of Christ, but because of the word which in the sacrament offers,
presents, and gives the body and blood of Christ, given and shed
for me. Is that not clear enough?
Yet this mad spirit has attacked us and said, O you false
prophets, you have no word in the sacrament which presents or
gives you the forgiveness of sins. I repeat, he should have attacked
the word in the sacrament on which we stand, defiantly and per-
sistently, and should have proved that we do not have it there.
Then he would have been a valiant knight Even if only bread
and wine were there present, as they claim, as long as the word,
"Take, eat, this is my body given for you," etc., is there, the
forgiveness of sins, on account of this word, would be in the sacra-
ment. Just as in the case of baptism we confess that only water is
present, but since the Word of God, which forgives sin, is connected
with it, we readily say with St. Paul, that baptism is a bath of
regeneration and renewal. Everything depends on the Word,
There you have, my reader, Dr. Karlstadt's devil and can see
how he has proposed to destroy the external Word of God, which
also he does not regard or consider or designate as anything more
than a whisper, breath, or blowing. Also, you can see how he has
wanted to abolish the sacrament altogether, both bodily and spir-
itually, denying the bodily presencie of the body and blood of
VGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
Christ and the spiritual presence of the forgiveness of sins, so
that neither the sacrament nor its fruits remain* And in place of
a divine ordinance and word he has wanted to institute his own
fancied remembrance and knowledge. But he lacked the necessary
skill. Now you know how to judge him.
I must add that at the very end of his book he spews out great
wisdom and cleverness. He says, the mortal body of Christ was
at the supper, but now he is immortal and cannot be given for us,
according to the words, "This is the body which is given for you/*
So now he neither is nor can be given for us, and the words are
now in the past and must be false, since we now speak of the im-
mortal body. So it must also be false to say that the mortal body
is in the bread and wine, as we hold such suppers even after the
death of Christ. Now he is immortal and is not given in the sense
Christ held when he was mortal. How say you? How Frau Hulda
seeks for loopholes and escapel
To this we answer. First, the blood of Christ does not become
the blood of Gabriel or Michael when it becomes immortal, but
remains the blood of the same Christ. For we believe and hold
that the blood of Christ now at the right hand of God in heaven
was shed for us once only. If we consider the act by which the
forgiveness of sins was achieved, we know that it did not take
place at the supper. But now it has taken place and is accom-
plished. When we consider the application of the forgiveness, we
are not dealing with a particular time, but find that it has taken
place from the beginning of the world. So St. John in the Book
of Revelation [13:8] says that the Lamb of God was slain before
the foundation of the world.
Since now all they who are forgiven still have sins, the body
and blood of Christ are necessary for them. Thus it is still true
that he is given for them. For while the act has taken place, as
long as I have not appropriated it, it is as if it had not taken place
for me. Frau Hulda gets nowhere with her sharp sophistry, for she
does not see that the question concerns completely the application
of what Christ has won for the sake of the distribution and has
placed in the distribution. As we have mentioned above, St Paul
therefore says, "The body of Christ was broken for us" [I Cor.
11:24], It neither hinders nor helps the forgiveness to speak of
CHUBCH AND MINISTRY
mortal or immortal, or of what has happened or will happen. It is
sufficient that the blood be one and the same. When it is given
for and to me, it is shed for me. That which is shed for me, does
and must take place daily.
This is the best and finest illustration of Frau Hulda's ability
in these matters, showing us how she acts and speaks as a bride of
the devil, expressing what he inspires. Dr. Karlstadt further juggles
and says that Christ does not descend from heaven, since Paul says,
"We are to proclaim his death until he comes" I Cor 11 [:26], Again
he ridicules the Word of God asking if Christ must leap up on
account of the stinking breath of a drunken priest, and if we can
call or conjure him down from heaven? Also he objects that Christ
would have to leave the place where he sat in order to creep into
the bread, and would have to leave heaven, were he to come into
the bread, etc. All blasphemous words of this kind are nothing but
childish, mad, sacrilegious ideas, and lies which are not worthy
For we do not say that he comes from heaven or leaves his
place vacant Otherwise this spirit would have to say that the Son
of God, when he became man in the womb of his mother, also had
to leave heaven. All the ridicule that Karlstadt heaps on the sacra-
ment, he has to direct also to the deity of Christ in the flesh, as he
also surely will do in time. When St. Stephen saw Jesus, Acts 8
[7:55], he did not say that he came down from heaven, but he saw
him standing at the right hand of God. When Paul, in Acts 9 [:4],
heard him speak, Christ did not come down from heaven. In
short, the mad spirit thinks in childish terms, as if Christ went up
and down. He does not understand the realm of Christ which is in
every place, and as Paul says, fills all in all (Eph. 1 [:23]). We are
not bidden to search out how it can be that our bread becomes and
is the body of Christ It is the Word of God that says so. We hold
to that and believe it. Chew on it, you poor devil, and search for
as long a time as you need to discover how it occurs.
He also ridicules us, claiming that we say and teach that the
cup is in the blood, and jests that we see no blood there. Always
he turns his ears away from the Word of God and sees with single
vision the bread and wine. For this spirit will not believe what
tibe Word of God says, but only what he sees and feels. What a
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
fine faith. Our answer to this wicked devil is this: This word in
Luke 22 [:20], This cup is the new testament in my blood," does
not and cannot mean that the word, "in my blood," should belong
to the word "this cup," as this spirit in his great and pure malice
pretends, but to the word "a new testament," as also these words
naturally follow each other in text and meaning. This is to say,
This cup is a new testament, not in itself, for it is perhaps glass
or silver, but because my blood is therein, it is a new testament
because of this blood." For whoever so receives the cup as to
receive the blood of Christ which is shed for us, he receives the
new testament, that is, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
But I will tell you why Dr. Karlstadt must blaspheme, juggle,
and ridicule at this point. The text is too clear and too powerful
and he is at a loss to know what to say. For this word more forcibly
and powerfully than any before requires that the blood is in the
sacrament So he hopes to fill the ears of the mob with other
pranks, so as to divert attention from these words of Luke. I think
I find evidence here that it is against his own conscience that Dr.
Karlstadt denies that tihe blood and body of Christ is in the sacra-
ment, and that in his heart he is hostile to God and wants to
blaspheme and dishonor him, to the injury and vexation of his
Word and sacrament. I believe, I say once more, that Dr. Karlstadt
has surrendered himself and dared to become an avowed enemy of
God, wanting to race rather than trot to hell God grant that I be
mistaken and lie.
For this word of Luke and Paul is clearer than sunlight and
more overpowering than thunder. First, no one can deny that he
speaks of the cup, since he says, "This is the cup." Secondly, he
calls it the cup of the new testament. This is overwhelming, for it
could not be a new testament by means and on account of wine
alone. For what else is the new testament than forgiveness of sins
and eternal life won for us by Christ and allotted to us in the
sacrament? If now the cup is to be a new testament, there must be
something in and connected with it as effectual as the new testa-
ment Is it not the blood of Christ, as he says, "in my blood"? If
not, tell us what it is. So we can well say to these spirits, O you false
prophets who give and promise the new testament to the people
for and in a drink of wine. Then the text should read, this is the
CHUBCH AND MINISTRY
cup of the new testament in wine. But now the words read: Has
is the cup of the New Testament in my blood. Thereby Dr. Karl-
stadt's skill, writings, books, both those he has written and can yet
still write, are thrust to the ground and so overwhelmed that he
can in no way resist Were he able he would be still more malicious.
There our text stands. However you bite, chew, ridicule, con-
fidently blaspheme, or wickedly act, dear heavenly prophets, the
cup you must let remain as the new testament, even though there
be no touto here referring to it. And even if all toutos were on your
side, you still would have to admit that it is the new testament not
because of or in its nature but through and in the blood of Christ.
The blood, the blood of Christ makes this cup to be a new testa-
ment It cannot be understood as the blood of the Christ who sits
there, for the cup cannot be the new testament on account of a
blood that is not in it, or does not touch or concern it. Cup and
blood must here be one, as we have said above, so that whoever
has or takes the cup also has and takes the blood. Whither now,
dear factious spirits? I will let you write and shriek for a thousand
years and need not oppose you with more than one word, "This is
the cup of the new testament" O how the words, "new testament/*
smash the prophets and spirits into one lump in the gutter.
I have also heard said (for I have not seen or read all these
poisonous books ) how they seek help from what Christ, in Matt 16
[;18] says to Peter, "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my
church," Here they say is a parallel. Christ begins to speak of Peter,
whom he calls a rock, and then immediately turns the thoughts to
another rock and says, "On this rock I will build my church." So
also here, when he says, "Take, eat, this is my body," and then turns
from speaking about bread to speaking about his seated body. See,
what a perfect match. Clutch at any straw. One he must be ac-
companied by seven other lies in order to make it look like and
seem to be the truth.
To this we reply. Even if it seemed that Christ spoke in the
manner of Matthew 16, that it must be so here would still not be
enough for us to base an article of faith and establish conscience
on it It would have to be proved by clear text that it is and mupt
be so read in this place. It means nothing if these spirits say that
Christ in Matt 10 [:18] turns the meaning from one rock to an-
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHKTS
other, therefore here also the thought turns from bread to the body.
Who will guarantee and assure us that it must be so here? You
of course say so, but how can one believe you when you have no
proof? You have to prove the parallel with Scripture and not simply
assert it of yourself. For faith (as I have often said), does not want
some one simply to say or sing thus, but wants a word of God
that plainly says: So it is and not otherwise. For faith wants to be
no reed that the wind shakes [Matt. 11:7].
Furthermore, it is not true that Matthew 16 reads similarly.
For the word "and" stands between the two and the word "rock*
is repeated, thus, "You are Peter, and on this rock," etc. So the
phrase, "You are Peter," is one complete sentence, and then a new
thought begins, namely, "On this rock," etc. Such an "and" and a
repetition of the word, "body/' do not occur in the Supper, but
the words follow immediately. "Take, eat, this is my body." If
Matthew 16 had read thus, "You are Peter or rock, on it or on
which I will build my church," then it would be similar in structure.
Or if in the account of the Supper, we were to read, "Take, eat
the body and this is my body," it would be like Matthew 16.
Now, however, there is an "and" in Matthew 16 and in our
passage no "and" is inserted, and Christ repeats the word, "rock,"
in Matthew 16 and says, "On this rock," but in the supper does not
repeat the word, "body." This shows that he used the word, "rock,"
about himself or the word which Peter spoke, and the word,
"body/* about the bread. So these two sentences are as alike as
water and fire. Also the Evangelist in Matthew 16 carefully distin-
guished and pointed out the second part as a new phrase concern-
ing the rock. For he refers to Peter as def [masculine] but to the
second rock as die [feminine] to make clear that Peter, der, was not
the other rock, which he makes die, on which Christ would build
his church. He puts der and die in two distinct parts, while in the
account of the supper he uses the pronoun das for both the bread
and the body in one sentence when he says, "This [das] is my body.*
Finally in order not to speak entirely without scriptural basis,
he does (God be praised) produce one verse, probably in parting,
It is from Matt 24 [:23]: "If any one says to you, TLo, here is the
Christ,* or There he is!* do not believe it * When we say Christ
is in the bread it is supposed to be the same as saying, here and
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
there Christ is, therefore it is not truly so. Here, here, they think
they've hit upon something. All right, I will sing "E1T to the
prophets 181 and proclaim a recess. So blind does hate make these
spirits, that they do not look around to see what comes before or
after these words, but fall for what seems to be the meaning on
first sight So again we have to make it clear to them.
There is quite a difference between speaking of Christ and
of the body and blood of Christ. For when the Evangelist says,
"Here or there Christ is,* and the like, he speaks of the whole
Christ, that is, of the kingdom of Christ. This is the meaning which
tie text in Luke 17 [:20] strongly requires, when it says, "The
kingdom of God is not coining with signs to be observed; nor will
they say, Xo here it is!' or There!'" This the other Evangelists
express thus: Christ is here or there. All of this means that the
kingdom of God does not consist in external things, places, times,
persons, works, but as he himself says, "The kingdom of God is
within you." From this it follows not that Christ is nowhere, but
that he is everywhere and fills all things (Ephes. 1 [:23]). He is
bound to no particular pkce, so that he must be there and nowhere
else, as they make out who do not let our consciences be free but
bind them to a particular place, work, or person.
Now, as Christ himself and his kingdom are not bound to any
one place or external thing, so all that belongs to his kingdom is
free and bound to nothing the gospel, baptism, the sacrament, and
Christians. For the gospel is and must be free in regard to all
places and is bound to no particular spot For it is not at Rome
alone or here or there to the exclusion of some other place. So
also baptism and the sacrament. For it is not necessary that in the
churches alone and nowhere else there be preaching, baptism, and
the sacrament They can be in any place where there is need. It
does not follow now that Christ in the sacrament is as if bound to
one place, here or there. He and his sacrament are or may be free
to be in any place. Consequently, these prophets wrongly apply
words about the kingdom of Christ to the sacrament.
Were what they say true, then one would also have to deny
that gospel, baptism, and sacrament are nowhere. For Christ is
30 A reference to an expression of Karlstadt wherein he compares Luther's
despair to Christ's word on the Cross.
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
present in the gospel and yet must be, orally and bodily, in places
and localities. And Christ could not be in heaven at the right
hand of the Father, since here too we might say, "See, there Christ
is/' And of St. Stephen, when he saw Christ stand (Acts 8 [7:56]),
we might say, "Thou liest, for Christ is neither here nor there," if
the carnal thoughts of these prophets were worth anything. Indeed
their own teaching about the knowledge and remembrance of
Christ could not stand, for these imply that he is at one place.
This phrase, "here nor there" must be understood, first of all
as referring to bodily, external places and things, and second, as
referring to such bodily places as are particularly prescribed by
false prophets for others as necessary for salvation, instead of per-
mitting freedom in regard to such things, as we have discussed in
regard to the papacy. We teach not that the body and blood of
Christ are visibly present in external things, but that they are
hidden in the sacrament. Nor do we say that he is and must be
in particular places and is not free to be in all. Rather we claim
that he and the bread and wine are and must be free in regard
to all localities, places, times, and persons.
The reason for saying, "This is my body," and not, This is
Christ," is that we might not regard the whole Christ, that is, his
kingdom, as in the sacrament, but see in it clearly and particularly
the true and real body, as a part of his kingdom and of the whole
Christ. In the same manner we do not call the gospel Christ or the
kingdom of Christ, but speak of it as an oral, bodily preaching,
regarding it as a part of the whole Christ or his kingdom. It has
the character of the whole Christ in that it is not necessarily bound
to any particular locality but is free as to all places. Therefore
when we speak of Christ, it is of the whole, but when we speak
of the body, it is as of a part of the whole.
Herewith I will be content for this time. To Dr. Karlstadf s
contention as to our authority to bring the body and blood of
Christ into the sacrament we have given sufficient proof, and he
will have to let us keep our belief that the bread that "we" break
is the body of Christ. This "we" has truly its authority from the
words of Christ himself at his supper. What he imagines concern-
ing the righteousness of mortification, and its coming before the
inner righteousness of the spirit, is his own fancy and is without
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
any foundation. For above you have heard of the right order: At
the beginning and first of all is the faith in the heart, the righteous-
ness of the spirit, then follows the mortification and death of the
old nature (Rom. 8 [:13]), Tor if by the Spirit you put to death
the deeds of the body you will live." By the Spirit, he says, which
thus must be there.
This is my answer to all the books of Dr. Karlstadt on the
sacrament which he has written and contrived over the past three
years, I have answered bJTn in three weeks, and will give him
another three years, and three more, or six in all, to make a decent
reply to me* I warn them once more to see to it that they meet the
issue, for they need it For my part I courteously give them thanks
from my whole heart and ask for none in return, because they have
so greatly confirmed me in regard to this article of faith. For now
I see that it is not possible to produce anything in opposition to
this article. I have gone to such lengths and written so much in
order to show clearly how obscurely and disorderly Dr. Karlstadt
writes. I hope that from this book Dr. Karlstadt first of all may
better understand himself. For I do not doubt that up to now he
has not himself understood what he has been doing or whither his
teaching may lead. He cannot rightly grasp or understand anything,
much less develop his ideas or write.
In closing, I want to warn everyone truly and fraternally to
beware of Dr. Karlstadt and his prophets, for two reasons. First,
because they run about and teach, without a call. This God
condemns through Jeremiah [23:21], who says, *1 did not send
them, yet they ran. I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied."
For this reason they are judged by Christ (John 10 [:!]), as thieves
and murderers who do not enter by the door, but climb in by
another way. They boast of possessing the Spirit, more than the
apostles, and yet for more than three years now have secretly
prowled about and flung around their dung. Were he a true spirit
he would at once have come forward and given proof of his call
by signs and words. But he is a treacherous, secret devil who
sneaks around in corners until he has done his damage and spread
The second reason is that these prophets avoid, run away from,
and are silent about the mam points of Christian doctrine. For in
AGAINST THE HEAVENLY PROPHETS
no place do they teach how we are to become free from our sins,
obtain a good conscience, and win a peaceful and joyful heart
before God. This is what really counts. This is a true sign that their
spirit is of the devil, who can use unusual new words to excite,
terrify, and mislead consciences. But their spirit cannot give
quietness or peace, but goes on and teaches special works in which
they are to exercise and discipline themselves. They have no idea
how a good conscience can be gained or ought to be constituted.
For they have not felt or ever recognized it How can they know
or feel it, when they come and teach of themselves, without a call.
No good can come in this way.
The grace of God be with us alL Amen.