The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Would the Real Luther Please Stand Up!
Many in favor of a culturally saavy and rich Christianity love to quote Luther about work:

"What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. For what we do in our calling here on earth in accordance with His word and command He counts as if it were done in heaven for Him"

"...it looks like a small thing when a maid cooks and cleans and does other housework. But because God’s command is there, even such small work must be praised as a service of God far surpassing the holiness and asceticism of all monks and nuns"

Yet Luther could also talk in astonishingly negative tones about earthy things:

"we must not seek to build for ourselves eternal life here in this world and pursue it and cleave to it as if it were our greatest treasure and heavenly kingdom, and as if we wished to exploit the Lord Christ and the Gospel and achieve wealth and power through Him. No, but because we have to live on earth, and so long as it is God’s will, we should eat, drink, woo, plant, build, and have house and home and what God grants, and use them as guests and strangers in a strange land, who know they must leave all such things behind and take our staff out of this strange land and evil, unsafe inn, homeward bound for our true fatherland where there is nothing but security, peace, rest, and joy for evermore."

How seriously are we going to take "everyday" life and work if it is only transitory?

This kind of escapism would make a dispensationalist blush. It would appear that for all his pro-work bravado he sometimes mustered, that Luther never entirely left the monastery.