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Why do you call yourselves Lutherans?


Luther has this to say:

"I ask that men make no reference to my name and call themselves, not Lutherans but Christians.  What is Luther?  After all, the doctrine is not mine, nor have I been crucified for anyone.  St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 would not allow Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine, but Christian.  How, then should I, a poor evil-smelling maggot sack have men give to the children of Christ my worthless name?  Not so, dear friends.  Let us cast out party names and be called Christians after Him whose doctrine we have."

Also, Luther says:

"It is true that you should never say:  I am Lutherish or popish; for neither of them died for you; neither is your master.  Only of Christ may this be said.  Therefore you should profess to be a Christian.  But if you believe that Luther's doctrine is evangelical and the pope's unevangelical, you must not flatly disown Luther; otherwise you also disown his doctrine, which you admittedly recognize as the doctrine of Christ,  Rather you must say:  'Whether Luther personally is a scoundrel or a saing means nothing to me.  His doctrine, however, is not his own but Christ's own.  For you see that the object of the tyrants is not only to slay Luther but also extirpate his doctrine.  They lay hands on you because of the doctrine, and for this reason they ask you whether you are Lutheran.  Truly, here you should freely confess Christ, whether Luther, Nicholas, or George preached Him.  Let the person go.  But the doctrine you must confess.


--Martin Luther

(Both quotes taken from "What Luther Says:  A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian")

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