01 November 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

For certain it is, if you trust any man, you are already deceived, for human nature, in itself, cannot but lie and deceive. Everything is uncertain among men, their deeds and words are unstable; that you may well believe.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXIII, Church Postils


Carl H said...

How does one reconcile the Luther quote here with Romans 2:14 and the idea of civil righteousness? Isn't trust necessary just to get along? From marriages to mergers, how can we sustain a common understanding of the way forward without trust?

William Weedon said...

Carl, excellent question. I don't think Luther would urge us to trust each other "from marriages to mergers" but to trust in God and to thank Him that He set in place government as a gift to help a bunch of dishonest folk live together as best they can.

So, for instance, in Luther's marriage rite there simply are NO vows. Just: You wanna marry X? And then hearing the Word and pleading God's grace in prayer. What Luther didn't think we were capable of on our own He certainly believed God could be counted on to deliver. So while we "trust not in princes" we DO trust in God and He won't let us down.

That's probably not very satisfying, but I honestly can't think of a place where he speaks positively about trusting in other men; nor for that matter, can I think of such a passage in the Scriptures. "Test EVERYTHING." Civil righteousness means, of course, that a man can be outwardly honorable in his actions; but as always it fails when you dig below the surface and start examining the heart.

Carl H said...

No, not very satisfying. The difficulty might be more evident on a personal level:

"For certain it is, if you trust [William Weedon], you are already deceived...."

Is that correct?

But what kind of trust is this about? Trust to do ... what? Or to be ... what?

William Weedon said...

Would it help if you heard it in the sense of:

"For certain it is, if you trust in William Weedon, you are already deceived..."

For he would certainly say that of himself too: Don't trust Luther. He never asked anyone to trust in him. He always directed folk to the one they COULD trust for certain. If "God is not a man that He should lie" and "every thought of man's heart was only evil continually" and "all men are liars" and "you are of your father the devil,...the father of lies....." well, I think that's where he headed. And that's why I think the Scriptures demand the two or three witnesses. The worst part is how often we've not even realized HOW we've spun something, shaded a story, to make ourselves come out a tad better. What human doesn't do this?

Well, ONE human never did. And Him we trust!