Luther on Lutherans

In case we might be wondering whether denominations are one of those things that “have always been this way,” I thought it might be interesting to consider what one of the original reformers had to say about the notion of dividing into named groups:

I ask that people make no reference to my name; let them call themselves Christians, not Lutherans. What is Luther? After all, the teaching is not mine. Neither was I crucified for anyone. St. Paul, in I Corinthians 3, would not allow the Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine but Christian. How then should I – poor stinking maggot-fodder than I am – come to have people call the children of Christ by my wretched name? Not so, my dear friends; let us abolish all party names and call ourselves Christian.

Martin Luther, “A Sincere Admonition to All Christians to Guard Against Insurrection and Rebellion” (1522), Luther’s Works, Vol. 45, p. 70.


Post image: Luther in 1533 by Lucas Cranach the Elder