Duke George of Saxony replies to the Dean and Doctors of the Theological Faculty of the University of Leipzig, urging them to reconsider their decision not to host the disputation between Johannes Eck and Andreas Karlstadt (and Martin Luther):

Honorable, learned, dear and trustworthy Gentlemen! We have received your letter and one from our dear and trustworthy Dr. Johannes Eck of Ingolstadt, in which he begged that he might hold a public debate with Dr. Andreas Karlstadt of Wittenberg, before you. And we have read the reasons why you refused this. However, we consider that, if (instead of refusing) you would do all you could to further the debate and give these doctors of other universities a place to debate in, you would thereby win no little fame, praise, and honor. And if you did this, you would not be compelled to give any assent or recognition to the debate, but, if necessary, could recommend the decision to the papal commissaries or other proper authorities who stand ready to take the responsibility. Moreover, you should not be anxious that any uproar or unpleasantness might arise from the propositions, but — if and when it should arise— we can then deal with it then. …

Meanwhile, Dr. Luther continues his second series of lectures on the Psalms.


Commentary on Psalm 8:2. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. … We are here to understand … that Christ has wrought all things in the world by the mouths alone of those who preach the Gospel, and has by their weakness subverted all strength and power, by their foolishness all wisdom, and by their offense all religions. For the weakness of God is stronger than men, and the foolishness of God is wiser than men.[cf. 1 Cor. 1:25] In this manner also Luke frequently mentions in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Word of God increased greatly and was mighty;[Acts 6:7; 12:24; 19:20] thereby proving and exemplifying the substance of this verse.

And here also the rulers of the church of Christ are to be called together, so that, being instructed by these words, they might learn their duty. For the power and strength of Christ and the church are not procured from the world. The church does not call for the aid of the secular arm; it does not threaten fire and sword; it does not trust in the arms of kings and princes; but its strength is perfected “out of the mouth of babies and infants.” David therefore, without doubt, here teaches that he who studies to magnify the name of God upon the earth otherwise than by the mouth of babies and infants, instead blasphemes, and is proved to magnify his own name rather than the name of the Lord. And such are all those who madly imagine that the Turks, infidels, and heretics in the present day are to be attacked, not by the Word of God (of which they know nothing), but by war and worldly tumult, or by the clamors of abuse and revilings. That is, they presume to conquer by those very things which are themselves conquered by the mouth of babies and infants. Thus they turn the mild and gentle mouth of infants into the bloody mouths of giants — they turn the sweet Word of God into the tyrannies of their own traditions. If, therefore, anyone sees this evil and is willing to leave it, let him finally learn what he ought to do and how to act — so that he may rule the people rightly. … [excerpt continued tomorrow] (Second Lectures on the Psalms, published as Operationes in Psalmos, “Works on the Psalms”, beginning in Mar 1519)

3 thoughts on “December 30, 1518

  1. “For the power and strength of Christ and the church are not procured from the world. The church does not call for the aid of the secular arm; it does not threaten fire and sword…” This is something we Lutherans have not always remembered over these past 500 years!


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