#36 Where God Built a Church, the devil Built a Chapel Beside It

Now when the devil saw that God built such a holy church, he was not idle, and erected his chapel beside it, larger than God’s temple. This is how he did it: he noticed that God utilized outward things, like baptism, word, sacrament, keys, etc., whereby he sanctified his church. And since the devil is always God’s ape, trying to imitate all God’s things and to improve on them, he also tried his luck with external things purported to make man holy—just as he tries with rain-makers, sorcerers, exorcists of devils, etc. He even has the Lord’s Prayer recited and the gospel read over them to make it appear a great holy possession. Thus he had popes and papists consecrate or sanctify water, salt, candles, herbs, bells, images, Agnus Dei, pallia, chasubles, tonsures, fingers, hands—who can tell it all?—finally the monks’ cowls to a degree that many people died and were buried in them, believing that thereby they would be saved. Now it would have been fine indeed if God’s word or a blessing or a prayer were spoken over these created things, as children do over their food or over themselves when they go to bed and when they arise. St. Paul says of this, “Everything created by God is good, and is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” [I Tim. 4:4–5]. The creature derives no new power from such a practice, but is strengthened in its former power.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.167-168)

Picture: Come Unto Me Statue

Posted in 2020 Church.

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