Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Few Words from Martin Luther

Martin Luther, Radical
Martin Luther wrote these words 400 years before LLL. Don't you see a significant difference in tone and readability? Maybe LLL needs better translators? (You can read more of Luther's works by clicking on the link above.)
Now preaching ought to have the object of promoting faith in Him, so that He may not only be Christ, but a Christ for you and for me, and that what is said of Him, and what He is called, may work in us. And this faith is produced and is maintained by preaching why Christ came, what He has brought us and given to us, and to what profit and advantage He is to be received. This is done when the Christian liberty which we have from Christ Himself is rightly taught, and we are shown in what manner all we Christians are kings and priests, and how we are lords of all things, and may be confident that whatever we do in the presence of God is pleasing and acceptable to Him.

(CONCERNING CHRISTIAN LIBERTY, LETTER OF MARTIN LUTHER TO POPE LEO X)

4 comments:

  1. After reading Sermon 97 I have continued to get information about Laestadius. Please correct any mistakes. He was born in 1800 in northern Sweden. The family lived in terrible poverty, one account said that his father was an alcoholic--which would explain his aversion to alcohol. He eventually went to live with his half-brother who was a paster. This brother helped get him into the University of Uppsala in 1820. He was brilliant. He studied Latin, Greek, French and German, but his strongest areas were math and science. He became an internationally known botanist, with 4 plants named after him. He was awarded a membership in the Edinburgh Botanical Society, the Royal Swedish Society of Sciences, and was given some award from the French for his part in a Lapland expedition. This expedition produced his book about Lapp Myths which has only been published in recent years. On Sept. 15, 2000 a stamp was published in Norway celebrating his work in the field of botany. He became an ordained Lutheran minister in 1825. From 1826-1849 he was a vicar in Kanesuando. He became the Dean of the Pajala parish in 1949. He preached in Swedish, Finnish, and two Sami dialicts. Three quarters of the people in the area were Laplanders. He had 12 children, at least two died in early childhood, and he nearly died twice. The area he preached in was a place of pure misery and alcoholism. From what I can find, people were starving, even eating bread made of straw. The weather was awful and there wasn't much hope. So it seems he was preaching to starving peasants.

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  2. I'll continue-for the people who were living in these wretched conditions, alcohol was an outlet. Laetadius was able to almost eliminate drinking in some areas with his strong preaching. Notice how often drinking is mentioned in his sermons. One account said that the church meetings were a place where people would swoon,laugh, cry and be transported out of their reality, could we say that the meeting took the place of being drunk? In 1852 in Kautokeino a group of Laestadian Lapps murdered 2 people in a moment of religious frenzy. Many people, including the Bishops, held Laestadius accountable, but he denied any wrongdoing. In 1853 his preaching became so radical that the Lutheran Bishops decided two services needed to be held-one for the Laestadians and one for the other Lutherans. It was also in 1853 that his sermons started to be recorded in the Postilla. In 1844 he had met a girl named Milla Clementsdotter. She was a member of a group called The Readers. I couldn't find out anything about them. He called her Lapp Mary and from her said he got great inspiration. He was preaching to a migratory audience, so the religion spread quickly. In Sermon 42 he talks about the Holy Spirit effecting the hearts of some men so that they begin to prophecy, (he is talking about himself). He knew how to get his congregations attention. He insisted that faith could only be attained in a rural life. The choosen ones, were the humble, plainly garbed, unsophisticated peasants. He preached against deer thievery and worldly urban pleasures. Since these people certainly didn't have the means to have worldly pleasures, beautiful works of art, etc. this must have had great appeal. "We're dirt poor, but because of our miserable lives we are the Choosen Ones. Moreover we need to stay in this condition to reach the Kingdom". His sermons are one track--you and your relationship with God are nothing without this church. Any spiritual life outside these walls is dead faith. He says in Sermon 50 "Those wretches who leave the flock will immediately become food for the beasts". On the other hand Jesus promised to his disciples in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you..Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" John 14:27. I'm going to stick with Jesus!

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  3. Another post--if we understand who his audience was and what their needs were--why did he choose the approach he took? Well, it worked then and it's lasting now--but I sure would like to know more about his state of mind. Who can give more information? After 3 posts today---I think I'll go out and work in the garden to clear my head and thank Jesus for my wonderful life.

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  4. The bottom line is this:
    Luther pointed people toward Jesus; Laestadius pointed people toward himself.
    That's the reason Luther was so clear and Laestadius... confusing.

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