Friday, December 16, 2005

Master Index: The Luther Quotes From O'Hare's "Facts About Luther"

Have you ever read an outrageous quote from Martin Luther and wondered where it came from? There's a really good chance the quote is from Father Patrick O'Hare's book, The Facts About Luther.

I consider The Facts About Luther one of the worst books on Luther ever written. Used as a strong dose of anti-Protestant prejudice, Roman Catholic laymen frequently refer to this book. This may be the single worst treatment of Luther in print today. The book eventually sank below the surface and went out of print. It would have remained obscure, but the Catholic publisher Tan books resurrected it in 1987 with a new printing. With the rise of the Internet, The Facts About Luther is probably more popular now than it was in 1917.

The book has wide popularity among Catholics. Numerous pro-Catholic websites give O’Hare’s work tremendous accolades, and cite it frequently. It is not uncommon to engage Catholics in discussion about Luther and hear the words, “Patrick O’Hare says…” or “Martin Luther is quoted as saying in The Facts About Luther…”. Or, most often, the reference is given as O'Hare cites it- which is usually to an out-of-print source from the 1800's- very few people have the books O'Hare cites. Many times references are given to Luther, when in fact, the references should be given to this book. Those who use this book as a reference try to pass off Luther quotes as if they've actually read Luther- they usually have not.

Below is a list of quotes I've either found in cyber-space or my own study of The Facts About Luther. I will be updating this page as I come across them. I do this because of my love for ad fontes research. It's one thing to read Luther and critique him- this is perfectly acceptable- and I challenge all (especially Roman Catholics) to do this. It is quite another thing to read a book that slanders Luther, and then use out of context quotes to prove how awful he was- without ever actually reading a page from Luther's actual writings. Not all the quotes will seem outrageous- this is because O'Hare's interpretation and usage has not been brought in. The quotes found in the later chapters are most vicious (Chapters 6-9 are used often by those writing against Luther).

This page was last updated on 3/06/06.


Chapter 1: Luther- His Friends and Opponents (1-21)

"Unfortunately, it is our daily experience that now under the Gospel [his] the people entertain greater and bitterer hatred and envy and are worse with their avarice and money-grabbing than before under the Papacy." (Walch XIII, 2195)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 15.

"The people feel they are free from the bonds and fetters of the Pope, but now they want to get rid also of the Gospel and of all the laws of God (Walch XIV, 195)."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 15.

"Everybody thinks that Christian liberty and licentiousness of the flesh are one and the same thing, as if now everybody was allowed to do what he wants." (Tisch. 1, 180).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 15.

"Townsfolk and peasants, men and women, children and servants, princes, magistrates and subjects, are all going to the devil." (Erl.14, 389).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 15.

"If we succeed in expelling one devil, he immediately is replaced by seven others who are much worse. We can then expect that after having driven away monks, we shall see arise a race seven times worse than the former." (Erl. XXXVI, 411).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 15.

"Avarice, usary, debauchery, drunkenness, blasphemy, lying and cheating are far more prevalent now than they were under the Papacy. This state of morals brings general discredit on the Gospel and its preachers, as the people say, if this Gospel were true, the persons professing it would be more pious." (Erl. I, 192)"
Source: The Facts About Luther, 15-16.

"We profligate Germans are abominable hogs." "You pigs, hounds, ranters, you irrational asses!" "Our German nation are a wild, savage nation, half devils, half men." (Walch, XX, 1014, 1015, 1633)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 16.

"The German people are seven times worse since they embraced the Reformation."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 16.

Chapter 2: Luther Before His Defection (22-57)

"I am a peasant's son, My father, my grandfather, all my ancestors were genuine peasants. My Father was a poor miner."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 23.

"There is as little sense in boasting of one's ancestry as in the devil priding himself on his angelic lineage."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 23.

"...his father, in a fit of uncontrollabe rage, beat him so mercilessly that he became a fugitive from home and was on this account so 'embittered against him that he had to win me to himself again.' (Tischereden, Frankfurt, 1567, fol. 314 a.) At another time, he says, 'his mother in her inflexible rigor flogged him, until the blood flowed, on account of a worthless little nut.' "
Source: The Facts About Luther, 28.

"When I was over-stricken and overwhelmed by the fear of impending death, I made an involuntary and forced vow." (DeWette, Dr. Martin Luther's Briefe, II Berlin, 1825, 101)Source: The Facts About Luther, 36.

“If Christ had not entrusted all power to one man, the Church would not have been perfect because there would have been no order, and each one would have been able to say as he was led by the Holy Spirit. This is what the heretics did, each one setting up his own principle. In this way as many Churches arose as there were heads. Christ therefore wills, in order that all may be assembled in one unity, that his power be exercised by one man to whom also He commits it. He has , however, made this Power so strong that He looses all the powers of Hell, without injury, against it. He says: ‘The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it,’ as though He said: ‘They will fight against it but never overcome it,’ so that in this way it is made manifest that this power is in reality from God and not from man. Wherefore whoever breaks away from this unity and order of the Power, let him not boast of great enlightenment and wonderful works, as our Picards and other heretics do, for much better is obedience than the victims of fools who know not ‘what evil they do,’ (Eccles. 4:17).” (Werke, Weim. Ed. I, 1883, p. 69).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 48-49.

“I was a pious monk and so strictly followed the Rules of my Order, that I dare to say if ever any man could have been saved by monkery, I was that monk. I was a monk in earnest, and followed the Rule of my Order more strictly than I can express. If ever a monk could obtain Heaven by his monkish works, I should certainly have been entitled to it. Of all this, the friars who have known me can testify. If I had continued much longer, I should have carried my mortifications even to death, by means of watchings, prayers, readings, and other labors.”
Source: The Facts About Luther, 50.

"From my misplaced reliance on my righteosness my heart became full of distrust, doubt, fear, hatred and blasphemy of God. I was such an enemy of Christ that wherever I saw an image or a picture of Him hanging on His Cross, I loathed the sight and I shut my eyes and felt that I would rather have seen the devil. My spirit was completely broken and I was always in a state of melancholy; for, do what I would, my 'righteousness' and my 'good works' brought me no help or consolation." (Janssen, Vol. III, p.84).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 51.

Chapter 3: Luther and Indulgences (58-92)

Chapter 4: Luther And Justification (93-131)

"To be a Christian means to have the Gospel and to believe in Christ. This faith brings forgiveness of sins and divine grace.”
Source: The Facts About Luther, 101.

"That shall serve you as a true rule that wherever the Scriptures order and command good works, you must so understand it that the Scriptures forbid good works" (Martin Luther - Wittenb. ed. 2,171.6)."
Source: Facts About Luther, 114.

"If you should not sin against the Gospel, then be on your guard against good works; avoid them as one avoids a pest." (Martin Luther - Jena. ed. 1.318 b)"
Source: Facts About Luther 114.

"Those pious souls who do good to gain the Kingdom of Heaven not only will never succeed, but they must even be reckoned among the impious; and it is more important to guard them against good works than against sin." (Wittenberg, VI, 160)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 122. 

"Since the downfall of Popery and the cessation's of ex-communications and spiritual penalties, the people have learned to despise the word of God. They are no longer for the churches; they have ceased to fear and honor God... I would wish, if it were possible, to leave these men without a preacher or pastor" complained Luther" and let them live like swine. There is no longer any fear or love of God among them. After throwing off the yoke of the Pope, everyone wishes to live as he pleases". (Walch ed.)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 125

"If God had not closed my eyes, "and if I had foreseen these scandals, I would never have begun to preach the Gospel". Walch, VI,920

Source: The Facts About Luther, 125

"I confess...  and many others could undoubtedly make an equal confession, that I am now more negligent than I was under the Pope: and there is now nowhere such an amount of earnestness under the Gospel, as was formerly seen among monks and priests" (Walch, IX.1311).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 125

Chapter 5: Luther on the Church and the Pope (132-177)

Chapter 6: Luther and the Bible (178- 214)

With how much pain and labor did I scarcely justify my conscience that I alone should proceed against the Pope, hold him for Antichrist and the bishops for his apostles. How often did my heart punish me and reproach me with this strong argument 'Art thou alone wise? Could all the others err and have erred for so long a time?" (De Wette 2-107).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 195

"If your Papist annoys you with the word [alone], tell him straightway: Dr. Martin Luther will have it so. Papist and ass are one and the same thing. Whoever will not have my translation, let him give it the go-by: the devil's thanks to him who censures it without my will and knowledge. Luther will have it so, and he is a doctor above all the doctors in Popedom".( Amic. Discussion, 1, 129)"
Source: Facts About Luther 201. (Not found in Amic. Discussion on page 129).

" Zwingli, another leading reformer, after examining his translation openly pronounced it "a corruption of the Word of God". (Amicable Discussion, Trevern, 1, 129)"
Source: Facts About Luther, 200 (On page 103 in Trevern, not 129).

"The book entitled ‘Ecclesiastes’ought to have been more complete. There is too much incoherent matter in it. It has neither boots nor spurs; but rides only in socks, as I myself did when an inmate of the cloister. Solomon did not, therefore write this book, which was made in the days of the Maccabees of Sirach. It is like a Talmud, complied of many books, perhaps in Egypt at the desire of King Evergetes.”"
Source: The Facts About Luther, 202.

"Of very little worth is the book of Baruch, whoever the worthy Baruch may be. "
Source: The Facts About Luther, 202.

"The book of Esther I toss into the Elbe. I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist, for it Judaizes too much and has in it a great deal of heathenish naughtiness."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 202.

"The first book of Maccabees might have been taken into the Scriptures, but the second is rightly case out, though there is some good in it"
Source: The Facts About Luther, 202.

"Job spoke not as it stands written in his book, but only had such thoughts. It is merely the argument of a fable. It is probably that Solomon wrote and made this book"
Source: The Facts About Luther, 202.

"The history of Jonah is so monstrous that it is absolutely incredible."
The Facts About Luther, 202.

"The first three [Gospels] speak of the works of Our Lord, rather than of His oral teaching; that of St. John is the only sympathetic, the only true Gospel and should undoubtedly be preferred to the others. In like manner the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Paul are superior to the first three Gospels".
Source: Facts About Luther 203

"The Epistle to the Hebrews did not suit him. "It need not surprise one to find here, bits of wood, hay, and stubble"."
Source: The Facts about Luther pg. 203.

"The epistle of Saint James, Luther denounced, as "an epistle of straw." I do not hold it," he said, "to be his writing, and I cannot place it among the capital books". "
Source: The facts about Luther, page 203

" 'There are many things objectionable in this book, he says of the Apocalypse; "to my mind it bears upon it no marks of an apostolic or prophetic character... Everyone may form his or her own judgment of this book; as for myself, I feel an aversion to it, and to me this is sufficient reason for rejecting it". (Sammtliche Werke [Collected Works], 63, 169-170).
Source: The Facts About Luther 203.

"This one will not hear of Baptism, that one denies the Sacraments, another puts a world between this and the last day: some teach that Christ is not God, some say this, some say that: there are about as many sects and creeds as there are heads. No Yokel is so rude but when he has dreams and fancies, he thinks himself inspired by the Holy Ghost and must be a prophet". M. Luther, De Wette III,61"
Source: The Facts About Luther, 208.

"There is no smearer but whenever he has heard a sermon or can read a chapter in German, makes a doctor of himself, and crowns his ass, convincing himself that he knows everything better than all who teach him". Walch V.1652"
Source: The Facts About Luther, 208.

"Noblemen, townsmen, peasants, all classes understand the Evangelium better than I or St. Paul" said Luther " they are now wise and think themselves more learned than all the ministers" M. Luther, Walch XIV, 1360"
Source: The Facts About Luther, 208-209.

“Nobody will allow himself to be led by another man's doctrine or authority. Everybody will be his own rabbi: hence the greatest scandals". Lauterb. 91"
Source: Facts About Luther, 209.

Chapter 7: Luther, A Formentor of Rebellion (215-255)

  Addressing the princes, he says, "People cannot, people will not, put up with your tyranny and caprice for any length of time." (On Authority)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 223

"It seems as if a rebellion is going to break out...and the whole clerical body are about to be murdered and driven out, if they do not prevent it by an earnest, visible change for the better. For the poor man, in excitement and grief on account of the damage he has suffered in his goods, his body and his soul, has been tried too much and has been oppressed by them beyond all measure, in the most perfidious manner. Henceforth he can and will no longer put up with such a state of things, and, moreover, he has ample reason to break forth with the flail and the club as Karsthans threatens to do." (Advice To All Christians, 1522)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 225

"Like the mules who will not move unless you perpetually whip them with rods, so the civil powers must drive the common people, whip, choke, hang, burn, behead and torture them, that they may learn to fear the powers that be." (El. ed. 15, 276)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 235

"A peasant is a hog, for when a hog is slaughtered it is dead, and in the same way the peasant does not think about the next life, for otherwise he would behave very differently." ('Schlaginhaufen,' 'Aufzeichnungen,' p. 118)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 241.

Chapter 8: Luther on Free Will and Liberty of Conscience (256-307)

"Man," he says, " is like a horse. Does God leap into the saddle? The horse is obedient and accommodates itself to every movement of the rider and goes whither he wills it. Does God throw down the reins? Then Satan leaps upon the back of the animal, which bends, goes and submits to the spurs and caprices of its new rider... Therefore, necessity, not free will, is the controlling principle of our conduct. God is the author of what is evil as well as of what is good, and, as He bestows happiness on those who merit it not, so also does He damn others who deserve not their fate."
Source: Facts About Luther, 266-267.

"Burn their synagogues. Forbid them all that I have mentioned above. Force them to work and treat them with every kind of severity, as Moses did in the desert and slew three thousand... If that is no use, we must drive them away like mad dogs, in order that we may not be partakers of their abominable blasphemy and of all their vices, and in order that we may not deserve the anger of God and be damned with them. I have done my duty. Let everyone see how he does his. I am excused."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 290.

Chapter 9: Luther As A Religious Reformer (308-362)

"...As he said, he 'was by God's revelation called to be a sort of anti-pope.' "
Source: The Facts About Luther, 308.

"We must remove the Decalogue out of sight and heart” (De Wette 4, 188)
Source: Facts About Luther, 311.

“If we allow them - the Commandments - any influence in our conscience, they become the cloak of all evil, heresies and blasphemies” (Comm. ad Galat, p.310).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 311.

"If Moses should attempt to intimidate you with his stupid Ten Commandments, tell him right out: 'Chase yourself to the Jews.' " (Wittenb, ad 5, pg. 1573).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 311.

"They are fools who attempt to overcome temptations [to lewdness] by fasting, prayer and chastisement. For such temptations and immoral attacks are easily overcome when there are plenty of maidens and women" (Jen. ed. 2, p.216).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 311.

"As little as one is able to remove mountains, to fly with the birds, to create new stars, or to bite off one's nose, so little can one escape unchastity." (Alts Aberdmahlsehre, 2, 118).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 311.

"They are fools who attempt to overcome temptations (temptations to lewdness) by fasting, prayer and chastisement. For such temptations and immoral attacks are easily overcome when there are plenty of maidens and women." (Jen. ed. 2, p.216).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 311.

"I sit here in idleness and pray, alas, little, and sigh not for the Church of God. Much more am I consumed by the fires of my unbridled flesh. In a word, I who should burn of the spirit, am consumed by the flesh, and by lasciviousness" (De Wette 2.22)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 314.

"I burn with a thousand flames in my unsubdued flesh: I feel myself carried on with a rage towards women that approached madness. I, who ought to be fervent in spirit, am only fervent in impurity” (Table Talk)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 315.

"Luther further tells that while a Catholic, he passed his life in 'austeries, in watchings, in fasts and praying, in poverty, chastity and obedience.' When once reformed, that is to say, another man, he says that as it does not depend on him not to be a man, so neither does it depend upon him to be without a woman; and that he 'can no longer forego the indulgence of the vilest natural propensities.' (Serm. de Matrim. fol. 119)."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 315.

" 'He was so well aware of his immorality,' as we are informed by his favorite disciple, 'that he wished they would remove him from his office of preaching.' (Sleidan, Book II, 1520)."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 315.

"They are fools who attempt to overcome temptations by fasting, prayer, and chastisment. For such temptations and immoral attacks are easily overcome when there are plenty of maidens and women."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 316.

"Chastity or continence was physically impossible."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 318.

"The womenfolk are ashamed to confess it, yet it is proved by Scripture and experience that there is not one among thousands to whom God gives grace to keep entirely chaste. A woman has no power over herself. God created her body for man and to bear offspring. This clearly appears from the testimony of Moses (Gen. 1:28), and from the design of God in the construction of her creation."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 318.

"The gratification of sexual desire was nature's work, God's work, and, as necessary, aye, much more so, than eating, drinking, digesting, sweating, sleeping, etc." (DeWette II, 535).
Source: The Facts About Luther, 318.

"Hence to vow or to promise to restrain this natural propensity is the same as to vow or to promise that one will have wings and fly and be an angel, and morally worth about as much as if one were to promise God that he would commit adultery."
Source: The Facts About Luther, 318-319.

"The husband may drive away his wife; God cares not. Let Vashti go and take an Esther, as did the king of Ahasuerus" (Wittenb. V, 123)."
Source: Facts About Luther, 329.

"I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter." (De Wette II, 459)
Source: The Facts About Luther, 329-330.


PeaceByJesus said...

James, i see the quotes but not your refutation. I am sure i can find them, but i am still sending parroting polemicists to your site for correction and it would be helpful if you had a response link after each one. Thanks be to God for your good work.

James Swan said...

I made this post many years ago as a reference to where certain obscure quotes came from. This was before Google books.

Perhaps i should hyperlink some of the quotes to responses.