I would love to see it. You think that I get in trouble?

Title of Martin Luther’s Post: “Sin Boldly”

Maybe that would be the title of his blog. Maybe that would be a post. One thing is for certain—Luther was a blogger before blogging was cool.

As you know, in blogging, one must continually be informative and/or provocative, otherwise don’t expect to have many hits. Luther would have chosen the latter nine times out of ten.

The principle in being provocative is to say something that seems outrageous (or at least out of the box of your readers). After this, you have to replant the issue. It is a scary thing to do. You are always second guessing yourself. “Should I have said that?” “Will people understand?” “Will people read beyond the first paragraph?” Your hope is that people will stick around long enough to give your provocation a chance to settle itself into some informative way.

I could see the first paragraph of one of Luther’s blogs:

“Seek out the society of your boon companions, drink, play, talk bawdy, and amuse yourself. One must sometimes commit a sin out of hate and contempt for the Devil, so as not to give him the chance to make one scrupulous over mere nothings…” (Martin Luther, Werke, XX, p.58)

Or how about this for a blog title: “Sin boldly”

Would you stick around to hear the rest? Of course you would. This is why Luther was such a charismatic and effective leader.

Love him or hate him, you cannot put Luther in any box.

Luther was certianly aware of sin and grace. Sin more so in his early years, sin and grace later. The above comments made by Luther are meant to provocatively communicate something much deeper. “Sin boldly . . .” as the statement goes, but it continues, “. . . but believe more boldly.” Luther did not care for self-righteousness much. He was continually attempting to make those who were satisfied in their own works to recognize their own utter depravity. It was not so much that he wanted people to sin with a since of comfort, but to recognize their sin, not being coy with its presence in their own life. In order to communicate this, he would often encourage people in this with over-the-top statements such as the ones given here. When we sin and play personal cover-up, grace becomes invisible. Yes, it is there, but without shaking its hand each day, we cannot see grace. We have to live with such a recognition of our brokenness that we are continually kneeling the foot of the Cross.

How often do we play cover-up with our sin, acting as if it is not that bad? We become so used to it that it is not bold in our lives, or we just manipulate and deny its presence. To sin boldly is the only way for us to find grace.

What do you all think about WWLB? Do you think is over-the-top communication is effective or does it do more harm than good?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    26 replies to ""Sin Boldly":What Would Luther Blog (WWLB)"

    • Greg Smith

      I doubt many could handle Luther if he were blogging today.

    • Dr. G.

      Lex Luther? Lex Luther would try to get superman, once again.

      By the way: perhaps Lex Luther was the Superman comic’s dig at Martin? Who was demonized in a similar way by the Church?

      But in any case: Martin, if he was alive today … would no doubt read lots of contemporary theology … and change his mind, even about some of his own principles.

    • Edward T. Babinski

      “Seek out the society of your boon companions, drink, play, talk bawdy, and amuse yourself.” (Martin Luther, Werke, XX, p.58)

      So the difference between Lutheranism and Babinski-ism is what?

      Luther added: “One must sometimes commit a sin out of hate and contempt for the Devil, so as not to give him the chance to make one scrupulous over mere nothings…” (Martin Luther, Werke, XX, p.58)

      Here’s your chance to follow Luther’s advice, listen to these songs:



    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      “So the difference between Lutheranism and Babinski-ism is what?”

      Your current trajectory is away from eternal life with God.

    • ScriptureZealot

      Your post makes me want to read more Luther.

      He was also a jokester which is also a good thing for blogging.

      • Emma

        Jeff, and others,

        Due to your very presence on this blog, and from the ‘tag’ you chose to bestow upon yourself: of ScriptureZealot––I assume that you are of an evangelical persuasion; you likely have a desire to share God’s Word with others. I, too, take the Great Commission seriously, and it is for this reason that I write: I want to encourage you to do just as you have suggested––I want you, and any others led to this note, to read more about (and from the pen of) Luther.
        Particularly, I recommend his “Von den Juden und ihren Lügen” and “Vom Shem Hamphoras.”

        As I assume you would agree, one can not overstate the vast importance of thoroughly researching any person or school of thought (outside of Jesus himself, outside of divine Scripture) which we might utilize as a vehicle to convey the reality of God to others. When we do this, we actively connect these quotes and the ‘quoters’ to Christ; when someone is first navigating through their hunger for God, they are sensitive to misdirection–which is why the Apostle Paul so often instructs us to consciously avoid becoming stumbling blocks––1 Corinthians 8 is one of many places where this is addressed (and it is but the first to come to mind).

        I do not write this with any lofty air, though; I am addressing this as a well-earned warning–as I, myself, recently became just such a ‘stumbling block’… and even due to Luther, no less.
        For I, too, had previously only read Luther’s work, selectively.
        Basically, my two feelings for Luther had evolved like this: 1) I had grown up, like many, surrounded by an idealized image of Luther running up to those church doors with his history-altering theses, cleansing the church of corruption; 2) I had been taught to view him as a forefather, a forerunner, a man brave enough to snub his nose at authority and bring about change.

        Only preconception 2 proved true, though… provided you capitalize the word ‘Authority’… But, first, I want to address my own…

    • Charlie

      Some good insights, Michael. I’m new to your blog and now I want to read more.

      I think your ideas about being provocative have merit. Flannery O’Connor said something very similar, and I can’t find the quote at the moment, but to the effect that the characters in her stories were deliberately grotesque to make the grace of God all the more amazing. There is a certain sense in which the church is half-asleep, settled into a comfortable Christian Lazy Boy, fat, dumb and happy. Luther wanted to wake the church out of its stupor, and out of the comfortable compromises it had made with culture. In every age, the church has the same duty to itself and its culture, to wake ourselves up to what God is requiring of us and doing among us.

      So be provocative boldly, I would say! Keep up the good work.

    • Edward T. Babinski

      Luther also suffered depression. And several Lutheran friends of his killed themselves. But hey, it was rough back then. (Need exact references? Or are you Lutheran scholars enough to find them on your own?)

      As for Truth Unites… and Divides’ comment, did you notice how willing you are to condemn people to “the trajectory of hell” without of course taking any personal responsibility for making such a sweeping condemnation, instead you “know” this just by pointing to an old book which you TACITLY claim to have enough indisputable knowledge about to claim that book is perfectly inspired by God, and TACITLY claim further that you understand with little doubt exactly what that book says and how it ought to be understood. That’s a lot of knowledge on your part, which of course you claim no responsibility for actually claiming.

      So, you’re the one who is tacitly condemning me, don’t blame God for your jugdmentalism, unforgiveness and unkindess.

      As for “uniting and dividing” in general one may note that’s exactly the basis of all TRIBALISTIC ways of thinking. What makes yours so holy special and intrinsically true beyond a doubt?

    • Kara Kittle

      I proposed that in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, nice to see it addressed.

      I really don’t know Martin Luther enough to say. Perhaps we could show his 95 Thesis on Extreme Makeover, Church Edition?

    • Dr. G.

      Luther would still be rebelling against the Church Establishment; he’d be left-of- center today, the same as yesterday; he’d be a Biblical Critic.

      And he’d be catching all kinds of flac on this blog. Everybody would be condemning him; the same as he was condemned by the Church Establishment of his own time.

    • Dr. G.

      Luther by the way, was one of the rather early scholars, to get a PhD (in theology?).

      Look where that got us.

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr. G,
      I recall that PhD was from that same church establishment he rebelled against? Hmmm. Seems his PhD in Catholic Education was not enough, if there was something more.

    • Dr. G.

      Best of all, bad boy Luther was following his Bible exactly. Some parts of it lots of pastors don’t usually read in church:

      “Deu 14:26 and spend the money for whatever you desire, oxen, or sheep, or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves; and you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.”

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr. G
      Wasn’t Luther married later? I seem to forget. I never understood that one myself about priests not allowed to marry. Seems that should be a personal choice.

    • Cannie

      Was Luther alive when Calvin was systematizing his five points? (I know they lived around the same time, right?) Where did Luther stand in regards to TULIP?


    • Aaron R.

      We got the Reformation out of ‘im. I say, “let him loose.”

    • Michael Teeter

      Martin Luther died in 1546, while Calvin wrote Institutes around 1536. So they were alive at the same time. I am not sure however, over how much they interacted. It seems they didn’t interact much as Lutheranism and Reformed Theology are distinct theological systems arising at the same time. Martin Luther is kind of hard to nail down on a decent amount of theology because his views changed over time. For instance he didn’t initially reject purgatory all together when he wrote his 95 Thesis, but rather rejected the Catholic abuses of it. It wasn’t till later he rejected the notion altogether as unbibilical. From my limited understanding on the TULIP issue I think Luther and Calvin would disagree over the perseverance of the saints for sure. This however comes from second hand knowledge as I have some friends who’ve studied Luther and indicated to me that Luther thought that faith could be rejected even after one had made a genuine confession of faith.

    • C Michael Patton

      The five points of Calvinism were created after even Calvin’s time! They came from the Synod of Dort as many of the followers of Calvin’s teaching were responding to the Arminian Remonstrance.

      Luther would have hung with Calvin in many areas although I think they would articulate things differently. They had mutual respect for each other.

    • Michael Teeter

      Also note that the systematizing of Calvin’s 5 points (what we know as TULIP) didn’t happen until after Calvin’s death. This systemization mostly came out of the Arminian-Calvinism controversy in the Dutch Reformed Church from my understanding

    • Michael Teeter

      Wow you beat me by like 30 seconds to the punch lol

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Edward T. Babinski: “As for “uniting and dividing” in general one may note that’s exactly the basis of all TRIBALISTIC ways of thinking. What makes yours so holy special and intrinsically true beyond a doubt?”

      Answer: The self-attesting Truth of both the Living Word and the Written Word.

      P.S. Please note that Mr. Babinski is a co-blogger for Debunking Christianity. Their tagline states: “This blog has been created for the purpose of debunking Evangelical Christianity.”

      Therefore, to be insulted by you is high praise indeed. Thank you for honoring me.

    • Kara Kittle

      Calvinists are mentioned in the book Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy, British social commentator. He mentions most of the religions at work in England in his day. Apparently Thomas Hardy did not have a problem with religion, but the practitioners.

      Now one of the questions I have is this…if Calvinism is a response to what it considered a false set of theological idea, but itself was responded to in such the same manner…in other words, if Calvinism was called heresy, then why would it consider others as being heretical? What then is the real basis for Calvinism if all theologies are based on scripture? I think people who push for any theology and defend it should know completely just how it came about. And no one should say their theology is true or correct if it is an offensive response to someone who merely viewed it differently and translated a verse from a different perspective.

      Calvinism is only as correct as the understanding of a verse is. Theology was woven from the different views. And so to say any other theology is wrong is completely baseless. Arminianism is correct, Lutheranism is correct, Calvinism is correct. Just because you don’t agree with their viewpoint of a same word does not mean you are both right.

      I tried this experiment with my brother (he’s a Freemason and has dabbled in witchcraft). I said “tell me what the word tank means.”

      You might think it is a simple word and easy to define, but that little word has so many viewpoints. I asked other people the same question, and even though I got so many definitions, they all were correct because they all responded from their own understanding. My brother was in the military so he understood a tank as the big machine with a big gun. But fish are in tanks, gas is in tanks, in Texas a tank is a pond, to tank means to throw away or take a nosedive. The definitions are as broad as the understanding of the person. So all are correct. Now you can say that is just a word. Yes but concepts work the same way.

      I asked my brother if things were a fact, would it be solid? He said facts cannot be changed. So I asked, “is it true if two objects are dropped off the Empire State Building, do they fall at the same rate of speed.” He said of course, and I said no….why? I said bowling ball and helium filled balloon. Both are objects released from your hands. One goes down, the other goes up. He said not fair…and so I said it’s a variable. Those should always be considered.

      The last experiment was even more tricky, and no offense to any one out there, it was just used to make a point. I said this to several different groups and got the same response…”suppose I told you I saw a young black guy driving recklessly down Main Street. What would you infer from that statement?”

      After the many different responses I got, I answered…”now suppose I told you that young black guy were an ambulance driver were on his way to an emergency”? Because we live in defined society, no one even considered that a young black guy would have a job as that, and to be doing his job, but by omission of facts and manipulation of viewpoints the correct view was not seen.

      So what does this have to do with theology? If your theology is based your viewpoint does not make another person’s understanding wrong. If your theology is based without considering variables then you haven’t investigated enough. And if your theology is based in your own stereotypical bias, and you refuse to think any differently, then you didn’t believe all scripture.

      And the same works for philosophy. Intellectual arrogance is detrimental. We are dealing with a great concept, and to belittle another’s viewpoint because they don’t see it like you is intellectual bigotry.

      And that is what happened in history…some people refused to accept that someone else also had the right, but different definition. If you understand God from your own experience and understanding, then work with that. But don’t ever assume some one else is wrong just because they don’t see through your lenses.

    • Dr. G.

      KK. I am not a Catholic. I often mention Catholic theology, because – as an excercise in broad-mindedness – I, as a born Protestant, tried to learn to see the other side. And encourage others to do so.

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr. G,
      I never thought you might be Catholic. I am not Catholic either. So that much we can agree on are similarities.

    • Cynthia

      I love the way this has made my brain work! Interesting post. I know what you mean about the essential need for and the essential fear of provocative posts. I recently wrote one on hell. My finger hovered over the “post now” button for ages. But it did provoke excellent dialogue.

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