9/13/11 – Luther and Calvin on Secular Authority
Luther sees the world divided in 2 – Christian and secular
Christian – holy, divine, just
Secular – lawful, sinful, reason, corruption
Luther sees secular world as lost in sin, as well as its leaders
Luther offers advice to a secular prince, because he had an interest in protecting his preaching
and his life from being excommunicated or killed by authorities.
What is Luther trying to do in the text? Not persuasive rather unflattering, grim defiance, note
towards the princes - calls them all pagans and denounces them as he seeks to persuade them.
Doesn’t offer advice he’s telling them what to do.
He feels he has the right to tell princes what to do based on his reading of the scripture and
Defies both power of church and power of nobility. Scornful of worldly power.
1. He believes corruption comes from following power rather than holiness
2. Corrupt church has corrupted the law
Church is earthly power with earthly weapons in Luther’s time. He wanted to cleanse the