Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Have Great Hope

A selection of a letter from Martin Luther to Martin Bucer, pastor in Strassburg. They were seeking to come to an understanding of the Lord’s Supper. Luther wanted greater fellowship with Bucer but it depended on their common agreement concerning this doctrine. The letter was written from Wittenberg on January 22, 1531.

I wish you would believe that, as I have told you at the Coburg, I want to settle our discord even though I might have to live three times to accomplish it, because I have seen how necessary your fellowship is for us, and how the gospel was and still is disadvantaged [by our discord]. I have become so much aware of this that I am convinced that all the gates of hell, the whole papacy, all of Turkey, the whole world, all the flesh, and whatever evils there are could not have harmed the gospel at all, if we had only been of one mind. But what am I to do with something which cannot be accomplished? If you wish to be fair, then you will attribute the fact that I shun this unity not to stubbornness, but to the urging of my conscience and to the force of my faith. Since our discussion at the Coburg I have great hope, but this hope is not yet unwavering.

Luther's Works, Letters III, Vol. 50, edited by J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald and H. T. Lehmann, Fortress Press, letter # 238.

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