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What Luther Says

Martin Luther On Marriage: 'Better To Marry Than To Burn'

We Christians believe, teach, and confess that God established the holy institution of marriage despite what the rest of the world tells us we should believe, teach, and confess.

My copy of What Luther Says contains more than 5,100 quotations on 200 subjects from the writings of Martin Luther. All quotations are alphabetically and topically arranged for quick and easy reference.

I took the liberty of looking up what he wrote about "Marriage" and discovered a whopping 78 total entries on that topic alone!

At first, I was going to select just one or two of what I thought were the best to share here, but then I decided that it might be much more beneficial to actually share every single one of those 78 entries with all of you over a period of time.

Some are really short and some are really long, but all of them are rooted in the truth of God's Word, and that's obviously what should matter most.

We shouldn't be surprised by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to legalize so-called "Same Sex Marriage" and we shouldn't hang our heads in defeat and disgust when we see the LGBT Movement's mass conditioning taking place on our TVs and in our Public Restrooms. We should never be scared to confess the truth that stands in complete contrast to this new reality. 

The answer is as simple as making sure we know not only WHAT we believe, teach, and confess, but also WHY we believe, teach, and confess it to the world.

Otherwise, we end up trotting out into the public square unhelpful platitudes like "It Was Adam And Eve, Not Adam And Steve!" which is a dead horse that you can no longer beat.

Anyway, I hope that by publishing one of Luther's writings on marriage every now and then, it will help to arm us with the truth and give us a firm foundation to stand on.

"NO DOUBT the unmarried man is spared worries and vexations of a certain kind; but if he is an average man, what of the far more grievous concerns of sex life? From this angle Luther views the matter in his lectures on Genesis 28:1-2, Isaac's marriage directives to Jacob."
-- Ewald M. Plass

Ever since man is subject to death and the power of Satan through original sin, Satan does not cease to vex and afflict married people horribly in body and soul. This it is which so deforms the estate and makes it so burdensome, hateful, and detested that nature is as horrified at marriage as it is at the cross. The examples and the shameful expressions of the heathen bear witness to this fact. And nowadays you may hear many who studiously gather all the inconveniences incident to marriage and, misled thereby, are deterred from turning their mind to this estate. Not that we believe that the uninterested and the unwilling should be forced to marry. For if you have the gift of abstinence and can live without sin, well and good. Then abstain from sex life. But if you cannot without sin abstain from uniting with a woman, then make use of the remedy which God points out to you. And if you do not seek to become a father, seek at least a remedy against sin that you may avoid fornication and adultery, pollutions, and irregular satisfaction of evil desires. For there is more than enough of misery. We are oppressed by all sorts of calamities, by sin and death. Do not add sin to sin and make your evil conscience worse by other evil deeds.
(W 43, 559 -- E op ex 7, 112 -- SL 2, 361)

I think most people have this perception that once you become a Christian your daily struggle with sin immediately comes to an end. Well, that's just not true!

Simul justus et peccator, right?

That's why I thought it was important to share a Luther quote on marriage that pertains to this harsh reality while we find ourselves in the midst of debates and discussions about sexually immoral lifestyles in this country.

Scripture is clear about how our sin substitutes inferior things for God's good gifts. The misuse of God's gift of sexuality brings complete dishonor. Sexual immorality is a departure from the natural order. So, participation in degrading, unnatural acts is, in itself, part of the judgment for sin.

What was true back in Martin Luther's time is still true even today, because it's derived directly from God's Word.

The point of these posts is to, hopefully, communicate that marriage is a pure gift from God regardless of what the world tells us today.

When I think about the so-called "marriage debate" as it exists right now, I'm reminded of a verse from the Book of Judges (Judges 17:6) where we read, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

In other words, when there's no absolute authority to decide "right" and "wrong," everyone has their own opinion as to what they should do.

As Christians, however, we know that there is an Authority and that Authority has already spoken on these subjects quite clearly and emphatically.

How should we respond to others who ask us questions about our "unpopular" stance regarding so-called "Gay Marriage" or the decision to allow Transgender individuals into any Public Restroom they feel like using on any given day?

Please consider using this Biblical answer from now on...

"First of all, Jesus (Who created us and therefore owns us and has the authority to determine 'right' and 'wrong'), DID deal directly with homosexuality and the 'gay marriage' issue, in the Bible's New Testament, in Matthew 19:4-6. 
Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV) 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 
Christ quoted directly from the Book of Genesis (and its account of the creation of Adam and Eve as the first man and woman -- the first marriage) as literal history, to explain the doctrine of marriage as being one man for one woman. Thus, marriage cannot be a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. 
Because Genesis is real history (as can be confirmed by observational science, incidentally), Jesus dealt quite directly with homosexuality and the 'gay marriage' issue when He explained the doctrine of marriage. 
Not only this, but in John 1, we read: 
John 1:1-3 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
Jesus, the Creator, is the Word. The Bible is the written Word. Every word in the Bible is really the Word of the Creator -- Jesus Christ. 
Therefore, in Leviticus 18:22, Jesus actually deals directly with the homosexual issue, and thus the 'gay marriage' issue too. This is also true of Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. 
Because Jesus in a real sense wrote all of the Bible, whenever Scripture deals with marriage and/or the homosexual issue, Jesus Himself is directly dealing with these issues."

Now, if that's too "churchy" and "religiously deep" of a response to share with others, then perhaps there's a much simpler approach you can take.

See, even in a secular context, the only answer a Christian should offer is this...

The Bible is the Word of our Creator, and Genesis is literal history. Its science and history can be trusted. Therefore, we have an absolute authority that determines marriage. 
God made the the first man and woman -- the first marriage. Thus, marriage can only be a man and a woman because we are accountable to the One who made marriage in the first place. 
And don't forget, according to the Scripture, one of the primary reasons for marriage is to produce godly offspring. Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply, but there's no way a 'gay marriage' can fulfill this command!

When you stop and think about it, it's very interesting because we can quote passages against homosexuality from Genesis, which is before the Law. We can quote verses from Leviticus, which is Moses' Law. And then we can quote from Romans and other passages in the New Testament, so this is something that runs throughout Scripture.

Of course, if people can't quite see how those are suitable responses to both "Culture War" issues, then you need to remind yourself that this is a perfect example of a double standard at work, and then go an reread John 15:18-21.

It's important to always remember what 1 Corinthians 6 says too: "Such were some of you." You were homosexuals, you were effeminate, you were adulterers, you were liars, it goes on and on, but you were also washed and you were cleansed, and that's what the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ offers to all mankind -- even though currently caught up in a sinful lifestyle.

We're not trying to use the Law to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals and transgenders and then just leave them in the midst of hopelessness and despair. We're trying to bring conviction that only the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God (the Law) can bring so that it will bear the fruit of repentance in their lives and lead them to the only hope of forgiveness and salvation for all of us sinners, which is faith in Jesus Christ.

So, to quickly recap, and to make sure that none of this was lost on anyone who might be reading this, now it's time for some "bad news" and some "good news" (or a little Law and Gospel).

The "bad news" is that the rebellion of the first man, Adam, against God's command brought death, suffering, and separation from God into this world. We see the results all around us every single day. All of Adam's descendants (that's you and me) are sinful from conception (Psalm 51:5) and have themselves entered into this rebellion (sin). They therefore cannot live with a holy God, but are condemned to separation from God.

The Bible says that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that all are therefore subject to "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Ah, but the "good news" is that God has done something about it! "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Jesus Christ the Creator, though totally sinless, suffered, on behalf of mankind, on behalf of you and me, the penalty for our sins, which is death and separation from God. He did this to satisfy the righteous demands of the holiness and justice of God, His Father.

Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; He died on a cross; but on the third day, He rose again, conquering death, so that all who truly believe in Him, repent of their sins, and trust in Him (rather than trust in their own merits or their own "good works"; Isaiah 64:6) are able to be reconciled to God and live for eternity with their Creator.

Therefore: "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:18). What a wonderful Savior! What a wonderful salvation in Jesus Christ our Creator!

So, what is our tone? What is the content of our message supposed to be? We need to make sure that people hear two things coming from us when this topic comes up in conversation from now on: (1) That this area of activity (i.e., homosexual behavior; transgender lifestyle) is a sin like all the other activities that a person can do that are called a sin by God AND (2) Jesus Christ is a friend of sinners, and Jesus died for sinners, and if you're reading this message and you're a sinner (i.e., homosexuals and non-homosexuals alike) then Jesus commands you to repent and believe in Him, because He loves you and He died for you and does not want you to be separated from Him for all of eternity in Hell!

Let's make sure they hear that compassion and that good news at all times. Talk about "Love Wins" huh? And, if people still think that you're a "bigoted" and "hateful" and "intolerant" person for such views, then maybe consider sharing with them what a real Christian response to a homosexual should sound like, and pray for the Lord to finally open their eyes and ears to the truth.

Friends, I hope you found all of this as edifying as I did. Please be sure to check out one of the very first posts I published here back in 2013 titled "Lessons From Luther On Marriage" for four valuable lessons he encouraged people to prayerfully consider about married life since it's a nice exclamation point to add to all of this.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, Martin Luther's influence on marriage was profound and permanent at a time when it had become so perverted that he often felt he had to return to the basics and clearly define its nature and purpose.

Sounds a lot like today, doesn't it?

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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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 and social media 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 sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training 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 arrive at the truth of God's Word (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!

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