Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Martin Luther On the Importance of Doctrine

Lest there be those who think that correct doctrine isn't important, listen to the words of Martin Luther:

The great difference between doctrine and life is obvious, even as is the difference between heaven and earth. Life may be unclean, sinful, and inconsistent; but doctrine must be pure, holy, sound, and unchanging. Life may show omissions and come short of what doctrine calls for. But from doctrine (says Christ, Matt. 5:18) not a tittle or letter may be omitted, however much life may fail to meet the requirements of doctrine. This is so because doctrine is God's Word and God's truth alone, whereas life is partly our own doing. On this account doctrine must remain entirely pure. God will have patience with man's moral failings and imperfections and forgive them. But He cannot, will not, and shall not tolerate a man's altering or abolishing doctrine itself. For doctrine involves His exalted, divine Majesty itself. In the sphere of doctrine, therefore, forgiveness and patience are out of order.[1]

[1]What Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, comp. Ewald M. Plass, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1994), 417.

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