The failure of Martin Luther

Martin Luther Alan Hirsch is right: Martin Luther's record of anti-semitism was deplorable.

Towards the end of his life in, “On the Jews and their Lies” (1543), he wrote:

Jews' synagogues should be set on fire, prayerbooks destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes “smashed and destroyed,” property seized, money confiscated, and that these “poisonous envenomed worms” be drafted into forced labor or expelled “for all time.” Wikipedia

His stance is not only contrary to Scripture but also to his own writings as shown in the original quote:

Do you know what the Devil thinks when he sees men use violence to propagate the gospel? He sits with folded arms behind the fire of hell, and says with malignant looks and frightful grin: ’Ah, how wise these madmen are to play my game! Let them go on; I shall reap the benefit. I delight in it.’ But when he sees the Word running and contending alone on the battle-field, then he shudders and shakes for fear. The Word is almighty, and takes captive the hearts.

Luther teaches us that even a great founder (as he was) can fall (as he did). Luther was a great founder. We can learn from his greatness and we can be warned by his failure to finish well.

Alan HirschLeadershipMartin LutherMovements