What Does VDMA Mean?

I saw "VDMA" on a Lutheran mug recently and had no idea what it meant.

So, this brief entry is for you Lutherans who have been curious about these four letters just like I was.

VDMA, standing for the Latin motto Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum. This symbol was inscribed on swords, cannons and armor used by the Smalcaldic League which was formed to be a mutual defense organization, against the Catholic princes trying to overthrow the Reformation in the various territories of Germany that had embraced it.

The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation, a confident expression of the enduring power and authority of God’s Word. The motto is based on Isaiah 40:6-8 quoted by 1 Peter 1:24-25. It first appeared in the court of Frederick the Wise in 1522. He had it sewn onto the right sleeve of the court’s official clothing, which was worn by prince and servant alike. It was used by Frederick’s successors, his brother John the Steadfast, and his nephew John Frederick the Magnanimous. It became the official motto of the Smalcaldic League and was used on flags, banners, swords, and uniforms as a symbol of the unity of the Lutheran laity who struggled to defend their beliefs, communities, families and lives against those who were intent on destroying them.*

*From Concordia The Lutheran Confessions, by Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

“The Word of the Lord Endures Forever.”

This “is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation, a confident expression of the enduring power and authority of God’s Word. The motto is based on 1 Peter 1:24-25.” (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2).

Of course, this resonates with the truth found elsewhere in the holy Scriptures.

Luke 21:33 (ESV) 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

I hope that helps to finally put to rest the mystery surrounding these four seemingly random letters that tend to show up in Lutheran circles.

Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with...Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all mature spiritually (myself included) then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!