For Christmas I received a copy of the excellent book, What Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian. This book is the result of some serious work! It contains over 1600 pages of selected passages from Luther’s writings arranged in topics alphabetically. This makes it a wonderful reference tool. You will probably see some Luther quotes coming soon! In fact here are two that jumped out to me as directly addressing the prosperity gospel. Some thigns never change- and the truth of the gospel is one of those!
If Only the Church Promised Men This World!
If Christ had the sort of kingdom and Gospel in which money were plentifully given and temporal, visible help were dispensed, men would promptly believe in His heaven. In fact, in that event another heaven would be required; for everybody would believe, and the present heaven would be entirely too small. With a sermon that promised plentifully to distribute gold and silver among the people, I would pledge the “conversion” of all the people in the world to Christianity. Since, however, the kingdom and Gospel of Christ give life eternal and teach at the same time that one must be willing to let oneself be dishonored, hated, caught, beaten, plagued, killed, no one wants to accept it, and our good God has room enough in heaven.
Outward Prosperity Paralyzes Spiritual Progress
Now that we have made the matters of the church attractive and famous and have drawn the spirit into the flesh, wealth, a tyrannical administration, impunity, outward peace, and a more than worldly pomp are called a good state of the church. For the devil saw and finally understood our spiritual prosperity; so he kept himself in check and attacked us from a different direction and is now triumphing to our terrible misfortune. And he who was defeated in war now rules in peace – in both instances certainly by God’s marvelous decree. Therefore St. Hilary has aptly and very truly said that it is the nature of the church to wax by adversities and inevitably to wane in prosperous times.