Luther and Difficult Times
On this episode of five minutes in Church history, we are returning to spend some time with a good friend of ours Martin Luther, and we are looking at Martin Luther. And Difficult Times actually luther had many moments of difficulty in his life. But one of those moments was the peasants revolt of fifteen, twenty, four to fifteen five. Other uprisings in Germany immediately prior to the reformation. But in fifteen, twenty, four to twenty five. This was a much larger insurrection historians estimate that as many as three hundred thousand peasants were involved in this rebellion at various times and in various places. One of the flashpoints for this was in a place called Swabia. Swabia is in southwestern Germany. It's pretty far away from Pittsburgh, a good four hundred or five hundred kilometers or so to the south and slightly West it's down near Munich. It's beautiful country with rivers and. and. Snow. Capped Mountain peaks and fabled castles dotting the landscape in. Swabia is the city of Berg. Will in a few years after this peasants revolt will come into play in a major way and Luther is life. But back in fifteen, twenty, four, fifteen, twenty, five, the peasants in Swabia produced a document called the twelve articles of the peasants in Swabia. It called for in. The list of serfdom they raised various points of contention. and Prince's of the land. It's prefaced with an idea that this is rooted in the Gospel and that their understanding of the application of the Gospel has led them to this. So they published this and this was right in the throes of the peasant rebellion, and of course, the Lord's in the prince's were responding and both sides were claiming luther. Luther was brought into it in fact even the Roman Catholics. Sitting outside of Germany and watching all of this we're blaming Luther for this tumult and for this troubling time in Germany. So Luther responds he writes text that is simply titled a reply to the Twelve articles of the peasants in Swabia. He addresses his thoughts and advice to the peasants. He addresses advice to the nobles and he walk through each of the twelve articles and then he gives a conclusion. To bottom line his advice to the prince's Luther says this for rulers are not appointed to exploit their subjects for their own profit and advantage, but to be concerned about the welfare of their subjects. His bottom line chastisement of the peasants comes a little bit later in his document when Luther says. Preface, that is the preface of their document. You are conciliatory and claim that you do not want to be rebels. You even excuse your actions by claiming that you desire to teach and to live according to the Gospel, and then Luther says your own words and actions condemn you. So Luther was trying to draw attention to both sides of the issues they were having and draw them back to the. Table. So to speak to discuss what Luther says to pursue natural law and to pursue justice and he said to both parties used to do so without assuming that God is on your side and rather just act whether you are Lord or Prince or whether you are a peasant in a way that is keeping with the natural law of God has revealed in the natural order and in the pursuit. Of Justice. So Luther will give us the final word here in a classic statement now dear people there is nothing Christian on either side and nothing Christian is at issue between you. Both Lords and peasants are discussing questions of justice and injustice in natural or worldly terms. Furthermore, both parties are acting against God and are under his wrath as you've heard for God's sake. Then take my advice take A. Hold of these matters properly with justice and not with force or violence and do not start endless bloodshed in Germany for because both of you are wrong and both of you want to avenge and defend yourselves. Both of you will destroy yourselves and God will use one rascal to flog another.