Saturday, June 17, 2006

Luther on a Pastor's Love for His People

When writing the post on Pastors as Protectors, I felt sure Luther has spoken to the issue and just this evening I came across this quote:
“A preacher must be a fighter and a shepherd. He must have teeth in his mouth. Teaching is a very difficult art. Paul contends (2 Tim 4:2; Titus 1:9), as does Peter (2 Peter 2), that sound doctrine must be urged and that those who contradict must be answered.”
However, the right sort of ‘protecting’ will be that sort that arises from deep affection for the people, not simply a hankering for conflict. This deep love, “mother love” (1 Thess 2:7) as Luther calls it, is one thing that seems so terribly lacking in ministries today. This quote is great!
“Men who hold the office of the ministry should have the heart of a mother toward the church; for if they have no such heart, they soon become lazy and disgusted, and suffering, in particular, will find them unwilling. … [Luther drawing from John 21 paraphrases the words of Jesus] Unless your heart toward the sheep is like that of a mother toward her children- a mother, who walks through fire to save her children- you will not be fit to be a preacher. Labor, work, unthankfulness, hatred, envy, and all kinds of sufferings will meet you in this office. If, then, the mother heart, the great love, is not there to drive the preachers, the sheep will be poorly served.”
Amen! And may the Lord grant a fresh baptism of this sort of love for the people of God. Then there will be a decrease in the treating of God’s people as merely steps on a ladder and more awareness of them as the people of God “which He obtained with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).


Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Dr. V,

Thank you for this word. I am asking the Lord to help me care for His people in this way.

Love in Christ,


Anonymous said...

"hankering for a conflict"

Just more proof that you can send a Tennessee boy to Scotland for some high society education but it is hard to root the redneck out of him!

As always good stuff!

julie said...

happy fathers day.

C. A. McKinney said...

Thank You,

I needed to read this to remind me of how I should deal with those I minister to and with.

canonglenn said...

I know that its been a while since you wrote this post, but can you remember the source or citation for the Martin Luther quotes? Thank you for a blog that is full of God's heart for people.

Ray Van Neste said...


The second quote comes from:
Martin Luther, “Ministers” in What Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, ed. Ewald M. Plass (1959; repr., Saint Louis, MO: Concordia, 1994), 932.
I think the previous quote comes from the same spot.