"While The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod holds Martin Luther in high esteem for his bold proclamation and clear articulation of the teachings of Scripture, it deeply regrets and deplores statements made by Luther which express a negative and hostile attitude toward the Jewish people."I would certainly agree. The entire statement is thoughtful and well-articulated... with the exception of one point:
Resolved, That, in that light, we personally and individually adopt Luther's final attitude toward the Jewish people, as evidenced in his last sermon: "We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so that they might become converted and would receive the Lord" (Weimar edition, Vol. 51, p. 195).There's actually an ambiguity here. These words probably are not from Luther’s last sermon, but rather from his An Admonition Against The Jews (1546), which was added to his last sermon.
Luther’s last sermon has been said to contain his last blast of anti-Jewish writing: “Luther's last sermon, preached just days before his death, was brimming over with biting condemnation and vulgarities for the Jews” [source]. The editors of Luther’s Works though note this probably did not happen:
In Luther’s sermon of February 7, 1546 (WA 51, 173 ff.) no “blunt” statements against the Jews can be found. This sermon has been preserved in notes and was published later. At the end of this first edition the Admonition Against the Jews (WA 51, 195 f.), which has been ascribed to Luther, was added; this writing seems to fit the description Luther outlines [in his letters]—though this judgment may be debated—but it does not fit the one made[to his wife in a letter], since Luther does not “outlaw” or “expel” the Jews in this document. It is, of course, possible (as is suggested in WA, Br 11, 288, n. 15) that the editor of the sermon and of the Admonition “polished” the text somewhat and perhaps eliminated passages that sounded too harsh. Even though there is some evidence that the Admonition could have been a part of Luther’s last sermon preached in Eisleben and thus would be dated February 14/15, the arguments and the material presented in Rückert, LB, p. 429, n. 9, are sufficiently strong to suggest the Admonition was a part of Luther’s February 7 sermon [LW 50:303, footnote 19].Luther's Works includes Luther’s last sermon preached at Eisleben February 15, 1546 and it does not contain anti-Jewish material.
Even the respected scholar Gordon Rupp refers to Luther’s last sermon and its material against the Jews: “Probably Luther preached his last sermon within hours of his death. It is the rambling, repetitious sermon of an old, tired man and we can almost hear the pauses for breath. But it is in the main a moving and simple exposition of the great evangelical mandate "Come unto me . . ." Yet at the end of it, he spoke about the Jews” [Gordon Rupp, Martin Luther and the Jews (London: The Council of Christians and Jews, 1972), 20]. Many reputable scholars refer to anti-Jewish sentiment in Luther’s last sermon. Mark U. Edwards: “…[T]he intense antagonism Luther bore the Jews continued to the end of his life and even found violent expression in his last public sermon” [Luther’s Last Battles (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983), 134]. James Mackinnon: “His last sermon delivered at Eisleben a few days before his death (15th February 1546) concluded with a fiery summons to drive [the Jews] bag and baggage from their midst, unless they desisted from their calumny and their usury and became Christians” [James Mackinnon, Luther and the Reformation Vol. IV, (New York: Russell & Russell inc. 1962) 204].
Rupp provides this citation from Luther’s sermon:
"Now I am going home, and perhaps I will never preach to you again, and I have blessed you and prayed you to stay always close to God's Word ... I see the Jews are still among you. Now we have to deal with them in a Christian manner and try to bring them to the Christian faith that they may receive the true Messiah who is their flesh and blood and of the seed of Abraham—though I am afraid Jewish blood has got watery and wild these days. Yet they must be invited to turn to the Messiah and be baptized in him ... If not then we must not suffer them to remain for they daily abuse and blaspheme Christ. I must not, you must not be a partaker of the sins of others. God knows I have enough to do with sins of my own, but if they will give up usury and receive Christ we will willingly receive them as our brethren . . . but if they call Mary a whore and Jesus her bastard still we must exercise Christian love towards them that they may be converted and receive our Lord . . . this I tell you as your Landeskind not to be partakers of the sins of others. If they turn from their blasphemies we must gladly forgive them, but if not we must not suffer them to remain!"[WA. 51. 195-6 as cited in: Gordon Rupp, Martin Luther and the Jews (London: The Council of Christians and Jews, 1972), 21].Interestingly, the last published volume of Luther's Works (vol. 58), includes a translation of this Admonition. Indeed, it does say what the LCMS statement says it does. However, Luther still is quite harsh against the Jews, requesting that if the Jews don't convert, it wouldn't be a bad idea for the Lords to "drive them away." It's an odd document. It's obvious he wasn't calling for the Jews to be killed, but he certainly would only tolerate them in society if they converted. Otherwise, they were to be banished. Here again, Luther was not against Jews as "people" but rather he was quite intolerant of their religion.