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Martin Luther had a Wife by William Petersen and published by Classics. Martin Luther had a wife. So did John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Dwight L Moody and . This book is an intimate, heartwarming look at the lives of great Christians. In Martin Luther Had a Wife, you will read the sometimes humorous, sometimes. of Martin Luther—was that the Word of God comes to us in a form of a Book. In other .. I had strayed from faith and could not but imagine that I had angered God.

And wherever men try to resist this, it remains irresistible nonetheless and goes its way through fornication, adultery, and secret sins, for this is a matter of nature and not of choice. LW Provan quotes the following words once in full , and again in part Indeed, there are many who have an aversion for it and regard sterility as a special blessing. Surely this is also contrary to nature. Much less is it pious and saintly. Accordingly, it is inhuman and godless to have a loathing for offspring.

Thus someone recently called his wife a sow, since she gave birth rather often. The good-for-nothing and impure fellow! The saintly fathers 4 did not feel like this at all; for they acknowledged a fruitful wife as a special blessing of God and, on the other hand, regarded sterility as a curse.

And this judgment flowed from the Word of God in Gen. It was recorde Luther died three months after finishing the sermons, From to these sermons covered Genesis and were printed under the title Declamationes 9 in Mattox, Defender 31, He refers to the commentaries but not to the treatises, and provides little historical context.

A manual of the Book of psalms: or, The subject-contents of all the Psalms, tr. by H. Cole

Steven Ozment does discuss it but does not deal with biblical reception 8, His emphasis on justification by faith, and his war with a religion of salvation by works as he saw it , led him to attack vowed celibacy Bultmann ; Ozment 1. He was also deeply concerned about sin and its consequences, and one breeding ground of sin in his view was the compulsion of celibacy for priests which led to sexual immorality.

Many of the early Protestant leaders were celibates as monks, friars, priests, or in minor orders before they changed allegiance Chadwick, Reformation , and a central feature of the Reformation was the shift from a celibate to a married church leadership.

This was experienced intensely by Luther, who had been an earnest monk of the Augustinian community but came to believe that he had lived a false piety that trusted in works for salvation. Later he wrote to his father: 13 Luther included this letter to his father as the dedication of his treatise Monastic Vows in Novem Later, while Luther was in exile at Wartburg in November one of the other monks at Wittenberg began urging his peers to abandon the monastery, and this prompted Luther to turn his attention to monastic celibacy Lohse By February the community was depleted from thirty friars to six, and by only three diehards remained of whom one was Luther, who kept to all his vows and wore his habit until October , at a time when in some Protestant towns anyone seen in a habit risked being thrown out of church or pelted with mud Chadwick, Reformation , Luther believed that outward disciplines were beneficial if done with a good conscience, but perilous if regarded as good works to earn salvation.

He was especially concerned about those who had been put inside religious houses as youths by their parents LW In his job as regional supervisor of Augustinian monasteries, Luther had been informed about cases of immorality. He criticized the wealthy religious orders for economic parasitism and permitting laziness. He is alluding to such rumours when he mentions common knowledge of the results of celibacy.

The emperor He perceived a chain of consequence from the avoidance of marriage to sexual immorality which brought not only peril to souls but also temporal judgment on society. The contribution of sexual immorality is illustrated in his statement in The estate of marriage, however, redounds to the benefit not alone of the body, property, honor, and soul of an individual, but also to the benefit of whole cities and countries, in that they remain exempt from the plagues imposed by God.

We know only too well that the most terrible plagues have befallen lands and people because of fornication. Writing in Good Works LW These motives moved Luther, in his roles as pastor, prophet, and theologian, to urgent and forceful exegesis of Genesis to promote marriage and child-rearing as a religious vocation to replace vowed celibacy.

So he urged early marriage. Luther urged parents to help every one of their children to marry: Parents should understand that a man is created for marriage, to beget fruit of his body just as a tree is created to bear apples or pears , unless his nature is altered … by supreme grace or a special miracle.

Therefore, they are in duty bound to assist their children to marry, removing them from the perils of unchastity. Some of those were vowed celibates, and Luther considered that many chose that path because of the imagined spiritual superiority of celibacy. Many other people were simply unmarried, and Luther identified various reasons for that choice, including the bad reputation of marriage, worries about insufficient income, and canon law.

He wanted to demolish anything that delayed or prevented marriage. Luther judged that many people remained single because marriage had been given a bad reputation LW Thus do they bring their own children home to the devil, as we daily observe; they provide them with ease for the body and hell for the soul. Luther wanted to dissuade young people from entering religious orders, and persuade them to marry instead.

The Most Dangerous Thing Luther Did

But the moral risks of young people delaying marriage outweighed any financial hardships. These rules included a ban on polygamy, prohibition based on affinity that extended to a wide range of relatives and even to godparents and their relatives, strict control of divorce with a requirement for annulment by church authority , and the ban on marriages between an adherent of another religion and a Christian. Luther called for abolition of all such impediments, except the ban on polygamy and the degrees of relatedness that were explicitly forbidden in Leviticus chapters 18 and Just as I may eat, drink, sleep, walk, ride with, download from, speak to, and deal with a heathen, Jew, Turk, or heretic, so I may also marry and continue in wedlock with him.

Pay no attention to the precepts of those fools who forbid it. You will find plenty of Christians — and indeed the greater part of them — who are worse in their secret unbelief than any Jew, heathen, Turk, or heretic. Peter, St.

Paul, and St. Luther wanted to encourage widows to remarry quickly. Child-rearing as penitential discipline 22Weddings might prevent fornication, but to remedy the sins of idleness and greed a further medicine was needed: the responsibilities of parenthood.

Luther critiqued the lifestyle of monks and friars not only for producing fornication but also for its dependence on endowments and begging by friars , which he suspected led to idleness and sloth.

His vision for marriage transferred to the marital condition what he regarded as the better features of Augustinian penitential discipline LS Aside from death, the curses on woman and man only become fully operational in parenthood, since they relate to childbearing for the woman , economically supporting the family for the man , and the rearing of children for both spouses.

Those who avoid family life by staying unmarried were missing out on these means of grace and were likely to end up being punished spiritually instead: He gives the woman her torment, but … absolves her of spiritual misery, and lays the penalty upon her body … God turns eternal punishment into a temporal and physical one … upon all those who shall become the daughters of Eve. It is not said to her alone. It is said as though they should all become pregnant … This is a gentle, gracious punishment … [but] the land is full of whores and knaves … everybody shies away from marriage because they might have grief with the bearing of children, that pertains to the woman, or the man because he has to provide for and nourish his wife and child … Nobody wants to bear this burden, but it must be borne.

If you do not take a wife and eat your bread in the sweat of your brow, God will take his punishment from your body and lay it upon your soul.

This is not a good exchange. He wants to be gracious to the soul and helpful, but He rightly wants to torment the body. On that account, where people stand in faith, they … bear this burden gladly — they take wives, labor, and let their lives be painful … where one finds a marriage in which the wife has no misfortune with children and in which the husband is not bitter, something is not right.

The world is so crazy and foolish, contrary to God, that it is of the opinion that one can be married … only to have good days and live well. But God wants exactly the opposite. Indeed, they turn away from it and consider it better to live without children, because they are poor and do not have the means with which to support a household.

But this is especially true of those who are devoted to idleness and laziness and shun the sweat and the toil of marriage. But the purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to reproduce and bring up children, to support a household. This of course is a huge burden full of great cares and toils. But you have been created by God to be a husband or wife and that you may learn to bear these troubles.

Commands, and orders of creation 19 With regard to contraception, Christian tradition condemned this for reasons that were not natalis There is a difference. Provan implies it is a command addressed only to married couples. By contrast, the scope of a law of nature must be the whole species, implying a necessity for all to marry.

But that logic leads to a condemnation of those who choose singleness and that is incompatible with Christian history. Singleness against the law of nature?

Luther also says, God presents to our eyes the marital estate in all creatures, … among the birds, … animals, … fishes … male and female are to be found among trees, such as apples and pears … If one plants them beside one another, they grow and develop better near each other than otherwise.

The man stretches out his branches toward the woman … The sky is the man and the earth the woman; for the earth is made fruitful by the sky. According to this rhetoric, celibacy or even continence prolonged for more than a few days is against nature and unhealthy for the human body. Luther writes in Estate of Marriage: 20 Luther is referring to fasting hunger and physical work, both monastic disciplines. Physicians are not amiss when they say: if this natural function is forcibly restrained it necessarily strikes into the flesh and blood and becomes a poison … That which should have issued in fruitfulness and propagation has to be absorbed within the body.

Unless there is terrific hunger 20 or immense labor or supreme grace, the body cannot take it; it necessarily becomes unhealthy and sickly. Hence we see how weak and sickly barren women are. Those who are fruitful, however, are healthier, cleanlier, and happier. And even if they bear themselves weary — or ultimately bear themselves out — that does not hurt. Let them bear themselves out. It is better to have a brief life with good health than a long life in ill health.

However in Declamationes, his early Genesis sermons, he does seem to portray reproduction as the main purpose of life. LS 17 31Luther affirmed that celibacy may be received as a gift, which could hardly be denied as the apostle Paul and most of the Early Fathers were celibate, but in the s he portrayed celibacy as a theoretical possibility, rather than a live option, by arguing that it cannot be chosen.

He also suggested that the gift of celibacy had become rarer after the early church era and vanishingly rare in his own time, which may be linked to his belief that the moral quality of humankind had continued to decline after the apostolic era LW 2.

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An open letter in on Why Virgins Are Allowed to Leave the Convent in a Godly Way explains that nuns may and should leave because it is impossible that the gift of chastity is as common as the convent.

A woman is not created to be a virgin, but to bear children. And this was not just said to one or two women, but to all of them, with no exceptions. God establishes this not through our oaths or our free will, but through His own powerful means and will.

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Whenever He has not done this, a woman should remain a woman, and bear children, for God has created her for that. LS 32In a letter of to three nuns, Luther went further in that he attempted to persuade contented nuns that their way of life must be false because the gift of celibacy had become very rare in his time: Scripture and experience teach that among many thousands there is not one to whom God gives the grace to maintain pure chastity.

A woman does not have the power herself. Wycliffe, however, had struck a match, and there was no putting out the fire. Perhaps the most poignant tale of this era is that of William Tyndale. Tyndale lived from — and was martyred for translating the Bible into English. Tyndale, like Luther, translated directly from the Hebrew and the Greek, except presumably for cross-referencing and checking.

He actually only finished the New Testament, completing about half of his Old Testament translation before his death. His was the first mass-produced Bible in English. Tyndale originally sought permission from Bishop Tunstall of London to produce this work but was told that it was forbidden, indeed heretical, and so Tyndale went to the Continent to get the job done.

A partial edition was printed in just three years after Luther in Cologne, but spies betrayed Tyndale to the authorities and, ironically, he fled to Worms, the very city where Luther was brought before a diet and tried.

He had a remarkable gift for turning biblical phrases into memorable English. But even the Authorized Version was not the first authorized English translation of the Bible. Henry wanted this Bible read in all the Anglican churches, and Miles Coverdale produced the translation.

For this and various reasons, many of the budding Protestant movements on the Continent and in Great Britain were not happy with the Great Bible. The Geneva Bible had more vivid and vigorous language and became quickly more popular than the Great Bible.

The Geneva Bible was popular not only because it was mass produced for the general public but also because it had annotations, study guides, cross-references with relevant verses elsewhere in the Bible, and introductions to each book summarizing content, maps, tables, illustrations, and even indices. In short, it was the first study Bible in English, and again note, it preceded the KJV by a half-century.

What About the Apocrypha?

Notably, the Geneva Bible was the first to produce an English Old Testament translation entirely from the Hebrew text. Like its predecessors, it included the Apocrypha. In short, none of the major Bible translations that emerged during the German, Swiss, or English reformations produced a Bible of simply 66 books.

It is true that beyond the 66 books the other 7 or more were viewed as deuterocanonical, hence the term apocrypha, but nonetheless, they were still seen as having some authority. So when and where does the Protestant Bible of 66 books show up? Protestants had long treated the extra books as, at best, deuterocanonical. Some had even called them non-canonical, and there were some precedents for printing a Bible without these books. The and printings of the Geneva Bible left them out as well.

But in any event, these books had not been treated as canonical by many Protestants. No, the biggest rock he threw into the ecclesiastical pond, which produced not only the most ripples but real waves, was his production of the Luther Bible.

But he was not a lone pioneer. He and William Tyndale deserve equal billing as the real pioneers of producing translations of the Bible from the original languages into the language of ordinary people, so they might read it, study it, learn it, and be moved and shaped by it.

The Bible of the people, by the people, and especially for the people did not really exist before Luther and Tyndale.

Today, to speak just of English, there are more than translations or paraphrases of the New Testament in whole or in part into our language.

Nine hundred! None of the original Reformers could have envisioned this nor for that matter could they have imagined many people having Bibles not just in the pulpits and pews but having their own Bibles in their own homes.

The genie let out of the bottle at the beginning of the German Reformation turned out to be the Holy Spirit, who makes all things new. This includes ever-new translations of the Bible as we draw closer and closer to the original inspired text of the Old and New Testaments by finding more manuscripts, doing the hard work of text criticism, and producing translations based on our earliest and best witnesses to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts of the Bible.

Today, we have over 5, manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, most of which have been unearthed in the last years and some of which go back to the second and third centuries A.The best documented is Herford, where local pastors and the Town Council wanted to close both houses Brothers and Sisters of the Brethren of the Common Life, who obeyed a Rule of celibacy without permanent vows Brecht 30; Chadwick, Reformation God mitigates his punishment and does not take away his blessing, so conception and birth are a sign of grace for Eve.

Now that question could have easily ended up in a philosophical and theological debate. Indeed, they turn away from it and consider it better to live without children, because they are poor and do not have the means with which to support a household.

That's a dangerous road.