|Salvation||By grace through faith in Christ alone||By good works, baptism, penance, etc|
|Eternally secure||Lost through sin|
Lutherans have a number of problems: They insist on being Lutheran more than on being Christian, they are essentially Catholic in belief, they accept the words of Luther as almost canon (though they deny this is word, they confirm it in action), and when Luther's teachings contradict Scripture, they simply say, "It's a mystery of God, and we shouldn't try to figure it out." When one studies the teachings of Luther, one must allow the possibility that Luther wasn't Christian! To even suggest such a thing is considered ludicrous, yet when one considers Luther's teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation, it becomes clear that his understanding of salvation was not too great. When one studies his other teachings, it becomes clear that Luther is not the great theologian he is often made out to be.
According to Luther, baptism is required for salvation:
Second: What does Baptism do for us?
Baptism works forgiveness of sin, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. What are these words and promises of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
Luther's Small Catechism, The Blessings of Baptism
Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat.
Luther's Large Catechism, Of Baptism
Luther taught that salvation comes through the (falsely called) sacrament of communion.
Second: What blessing do we receive through this eating and drinking and drinking?
That is shown us by these words, "Given and poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins." Through these words we receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation in this sacrament. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
Luther's Small Catechism, The Blessings of Holy Communion
Third: How can eating and drinking do such great things?
It is certainly not the eating and drinking that does such things, but the words, "Given and poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. "These words are the main thing in this sacrament, along with the eating and drinking. And whoever believes these words has what they plainly say, the forgiveness of sins.
Luther's Small Catechism, The Power of Holy Communion
Luther looked down on Scripture. This is reflected in the Lutheran's reliance upon the words of Luther for doctrine and belief more than on the Word of God.
If nonsense is spoken anywhere, this is the very place. I pass over the fact that many have maintained, with much probability, that this epistle was not written by the apostle James, and is not worthy of the spirit of the apostle.
Martin Luther, on the Book of James
...to my mind it bears upon it no marks of an apostolic or prophetic character... Everyone may form his own judgment of this book; as for myself, I feel an aversion to it, and to me this is sufficient reason for rejecting it.
Martin Luther, on the Book of Revelation
The history of Jonah is so monstrous that it is absolutely incredible.
Martin Luther, on the Book of Jonah
The book of Esther I toss into the Elbe. I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist, for it Judaizes too much and has in it a great deal of heathenish foolishness.
Martin Luther, on the Book of Esther
...the epistle of St. James is an epistle full of straw, because it contains nothing evangelical.
Martin Luther, on the Book of James
Luther allowed--and even encouraged--polygamy! Landgrace Philip of Hesse had been committing adultery. Luther's advice was that rather than divorcing his wife, he should just marry another!
I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture.
Martin Luther, Letter to Chancellor Gregory Bruck, January 13, 1524
Luther had some anti-Semitic tendencies:
Jews are young devils damned to hell.
Burn their synagogues. Forbid them all that I have mentioned above. Force them to work and treat them with every kind of severity, as Moses did in the desert and slew three thousand... If that is no use, we must drive them away like mad dogs, in order that we may not be partakers of their abominable blasphemy and of all their vices, and in order that we may not deserve the anger of God and be damned with them. I have done my duty. Let everyone see how he does his. I am excused.
Like the mules who will not move unless you perpetually whip them with rods, so the civil powers must drive the common people, whip, choke, hang, burn, behead and torture them, that they may learn to fear the powers that be.
During the Peasants' War of 1525, Luther had some wonderful advice for the rich folk:
...stab them secretly and openly, as they can, as one would kill a mad dog.
Martin Luther, on the rebellion of the peasants
...with regard to God, and in all that bears on salvation or damnation, (man) has no 'free-will', but is a captive, prisoner and bondslave, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan.
...we do everything of necessity, and nothing by 'free-will'; for the power of 'free-will' is nil...
Luther said that man is a puppet under the control of either God or Satan, and that God damns those who don't deserve it:
Man is like a horse. Does God leap into the saddle? The horse is obedient and accommodates itself to every movement of the rider and goes whither he wills it. Does God throw down the reins? Then Satan leaps upon the back of the animal, which bends, goes and submits to the spurs and caprices of its new rider... Therefore, necessity, not free will, is the controlling principle of our conduct. God is the author of what is evil as well as of what is good, and, as He bestows happiness on those who merit it not, so also does He damn others who deserve not their fate.
Luther taught that priests have the power to forgive sins:
First: What is the use of the Keys?
The use of the Keys is that special power and right which Christ gave to his church on earth, to forgive the sins of penitent sinners but to refuse forgiveness to the impenitent as long as they do not repent.
Luther's Small Catechism, The Keys
First: What is Confession?
Confession has two parts. The one is that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution or forgiveness from the pastor as from God himself, not doubting but firmly believing that our sins are thus forgiven before God in heaven.
Luther's Small Catechism, Confession
Note the phrase "we receive absolution or forgiveness from the pastor."
Fourth: How will the pastor assure a penitent sinner of forgiveness?
He will say, "By the authority of Christ, I forgive you your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
Luther's Small Catechism, Confession
Note the phrase, "I forgive you your sins."
Luther's 95 Theses
For much more heresy and absurdity than will be addressed here, I suggest a quick reading of the entire 95 Theses. As is plainly stated, Luther concede's papal authority, the power of indulgences to relieve the penalty of sin, and the necessity of temporal punishment (purgatory). The so-called reformer did little more than make confusing the same heresies which the Roman church stated clearly.
7 God never remits guilt to anyone without, at the same time, making him humbly submissive to the priest, His representative.
8 The penitential canons apply only to men who are still alive, and, according to the canons themselves, none applies to the dead.
9 Accordingly, the Holy Spirit, acting in the person of the pope, manifests grace to us, by the fact that the papal regulations always cease to apply at death, or in any hard case.
25 The same power as the pope exercises in general over purgatory is exercised in particular by every single bishop in his bishopric and priest in his parish.
44 Because, by works of love, love grows and a man becomes a better man; whereas, by indulgences, he does not become a better man, but only escapes certain penalties.
61 For it is clear that the power of the pope suffices, by itself, for the remission of penalties and reserved cases.
71 Let him be anathema and accursed who denies the apostolic character of the indulgences.