#42 The devil’s Sacraments and Churches

Well then, that is just what is done for us feeble human beings, and in it we see how God deals with us as with beloved children and not, as he surely would have a right to, in his majesty. And yet, in this guise he performs his majestic, divine works and exercises his might and power, such as forgiving sin, cleansing from sin, removing death, bestowing grace and eternal life. Indeed, these things are missing in the devil’s sacraments and churches. No one can say there, “God commanded it, ordered it, instituted it, and ordained it; he himself is present and will do everything himself”; but one must say, “God did not command, but forbade it, that man, or rather that ape of God, invented it and misled the people with it.” For he effects nothing except that which is temporal, or, if it purports to be spiritual, it is sheer fraud. He cannot forgive sin eternally and save, as he lyingly claims, by means of holy water, masses, and monkery, even though he may restore a cow’s milk which he had first stolen from her by his prophetesses and priestesses. Among Christians these are called the devil’s harlots and, when apprehended, are rightfully burned at the stake, not because of the theft of milk, but because of the blasphemy with which they fortify the devil, his sacraments, and his churches against Christ.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.171-172)

Picture:  The pulpit was made for Trinity in 1864.  Originally it had the four evangelists and an angel, which was damaged by the tornado of 1896.  A statue of Martin Luther (a gift from a congregation in Dresden, Germany) has replaced the angel.

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