Luther on preaching

…I believe that it has now become clear that it is not enough or in any sense Christian to preach the works, life, and words of Christ as historical facts, as if the knowledge of these would suffice forthe conduct of life; yet this is the fashion among those who must today be regarded as our best preachers.

Far less is it sufficient or Christian to say nothing at all about Christ and to teach instead all the laws of men and the decrees of the fathers. Now there are not a few who preach Christ and read about him that they may move men’s affections to sympathy with Christ, to anger against the Jews, and such childish and effeminate nonsense.

Rather ought Christ to be preached to the end that faith in him may be established that he may not only be Christ, but be Christ for you and me, and that what is said of him and is denoted in his name may be effectual in us. Such faith is produced and preserved in us by preaching why Christ came, what he brought and bestowed, what benefit it is to us to accept him.

This is done when that Christian liberty which he bestows is rightly taught and we are told in what way we Christians are all kings and priests and therefore lords of all and may firmly believe that whatever we have done is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God, as I have already said.

On Christian Liberty, Augsburg Fortress Press 2003, 31-2.

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