Luther’s Theology and Foreign Policy

Copyright © 1994, Word & World, Luther Seminary. Word & World, Supplement Series 2, pp. 96-107.
First published under the title “Foreign Policy” in Luther and Culture, ed. George Forell, Harold Grimm, and Theodore Hoelty-Nickel (Decorah, Iowa: Luther College Press, 1960) and delivered first as a lecture presented at the 1959 “Luther Lectures” at Luther College. Used with permission.

[1] Martin Luther lived in an age of profound international tensions. Europe’s political situation was in a state of flux. The reasons for the unrest were numerous. In 1519 Emperor Maximilian had died. Shortly before his death he had attempted to make sure that the empire would be passed on to his grandson Charles, who had recently inherited the Spanish crown. But Maximilian had died before he could achieve this ambition. Nevertheless, with the help of complicated international negotiations, expensive bribes, and the pressure of the early version of what one would call today “public opinion,” the election of Charles V as emperor was finally brought about in June 1519. Because of the new emperor’s considerable military and political resources as ruler of Spain he was in a position to try to be emperor in fact as well as name. For the last time the idea of a universal European empire had the chance of being realized. Charles V almost accomplished the feat, but the effort caused tremendous tensions, and Luther was often unwittingly in the very center of these international political maneuvers.

[2] A second factor which contributed greatly to the international conflicts of Luther’s time was the pressure which the Turks exerted upon the eastern frontiers of the empire. Large parts of southeastern Europe were under Turkish rule. During the early years of the reformation the Turkish threat constantly increased. In 1521 Suleiman II captured Belgrade. In the battle of Mohacz of 1526 he routed the Hungarian army and struck terror into the hearts of Christendom. While this danger from the Turks abated temporarily during some periods of Luther’s ministry it increased again towards the end of his life. Thus all during his ministry Luther was forced to comment on the meaning of this threat and counsel his followers in regard to their responsibilities in this conflict.

[3] A third element contributing to international tensions was the papacy, which in the sixteenth century was still a major political power. The papacy made alliances, fought wars, and acted like any other political kingdom. As a matter of fact, the actions of the papacy in the international conflicts of the first half of the sixteenth century were inspired almost exclusively by political and economic considerations. Luther knew that and was bound to use this obvious political partisanship of the papacy as material for his criticism. Because of the deep involvement of the papacy in the international intrigues of the time any criticism of the papacy was bound to have political overtones.

[4] Fourthly, one of the major political power-blocks which eventually came into being in Germany was the so-called Smalcald League. The participants in this confederation were joined together for the defense of their right to reformation. They were followers of Luther and forced into this defensive alliance because their stand at the Diet of Augsburg had made them into outlaws in the eyes of the majority of their princely neighbors. Only by standing together could they hope to be allowed to worship God according to the faith expressed in the Augsburg Confession. We cannot be surprised that among these confederates the judgments of Luther, even on matters of foreign policy, were sought and respected.

[5] What then was Luther’s counsel in these many international conflicts? What was his attitude towards Emperor and Turks, Pope and Smalcald confederates? We must begin by stating the theological presuppositions of his advice in matters of foreign policy. First of all, international conflicts are ways in which God shows ultimate lordship over history. Secondly, they are ways in which the devil shows his provisional power in this age to obstruct the advance of God’s word. But it is essential to understand that nothing the devil does can ultimately frustrate God’s plan. The sovereign power of God over all history is a basic element of Luther’s theology. It is clearly expressed in one of his major theological works, the powerful attack against Erasmus of Rotterdam which he called On the Bondage of the Will. Here he quotes the 115th Psalm, “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.”[1] And he cites Jer 18:6: “Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”[2] “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble” (Prov 16:4).[3]

[6] In his exposition of the Second Psalm of 1532 Luther describes this sovereign power of God most eloquently. The judgments of God are not hidden. The wrath of God, whom the godless consider asleep and unwilling to bother with their deeds, will finally overwhelm them.

The examples are before our eyes. The empire of the Romans was indeed most powerful and yet this empire, which contemplated the destruction of Christ’s kingdom, was itself destroyed and perished. The church, however, which kept the faith in the promises, remained intact, even though gravely afflicted.[4]
[7] And Luther continues,

The prophet says here that God will speak in his wrath. For it is certain that at this word entire nations will collapse and will in no way be able to protect themselves against this fall. Thus God spoke in his wrath when he sent forth the Romans against the holy city Jerusalem and later when he sent the Vandals and the Goths against Rome. These were powerful and overwhelming words and a voice of iron which overthrew the mightiest ruler.[5]
[8] We see here that for Luther the kingdoms of this world and their rulers are tools in the hands of a sovereign God who through them accomplishes a sovereign purpose. But Luther does add that conflicts may also be the result of the demonic powers which try vainly to obstruct God’s holy purpose. Thus when the gospel is being preached Satan will use every device at his disposal in order to create national and international chaos and drown out the good news of Christ. This is why Luther can say:

Here you can learn why in our age seditions and godless opinions emerged in the church. Satan cannot tolerate the word. Christ thunders now through his gospel in the whole world and reveals the papal idolatry and abomination. Do you expect Satan to keep silent and accept such damage to his empire lying down? Didn’t we see how terribly he raved when some moral questions (moralia) were corrected by that holy man John Hus? For unlike us he did not condemn the sacrifice of the mass and merits and other religious observances but only doubted the primacy of the pope, contested the sale of indulgences and denied purgatory. And yet he so affected Satan that he involved Germany and Bohemia in a long and terrible war. [6]
[9] International conflict is here seen as a demonic device of the devil to obstruct the path of the gospel. Yet, to Luther it is evident that such interference, however terrible, can only be provisionally successful. Ultimately it is doomed with its originator the devil. The sovereignty of God over the nations is the fundamental premise which undergirds all of Luther’s statements on foreign policy.

[10] But once this basic theological premise has been stated it is apparent that the basic political premise for Luther’s participation in foreign policy is a great and astonishing readiness to accept the facts of political life. In this practical area Luther’s thought is characterized by an unexpected combination of realism, conservatism, and pragmatism. His analysis of the political situation is singularly free from the common sentimental illusions of amateur politicians. His advice is a lively combination of caution, courage, and prudence.

[11] Of course, politics in general and foreign policy in particular belong for Luther in the realm of the law. It is, therefore, proper that reason should rule and guide people in these decisions. It is not even necessary that a ruler in order to rule competently should be a Christian. Luther says, “Caesar does not need to be a saint.”[7] For the ruler it suffices that he uses reason; in this way God maintains all government, even that of the Tartars and Turks.[8]

[12] Luther writes to the Christians in Riga:

You have just heard that those in authority should be watchful and diligent, and perform all the duties of their office: bar the gates, defend the towers and walls, put on armor, and procure supplies, In general, they should proceed as if there were no God and they had to rescue themselves and manage their own affairs.[9]
[13] Of course, God rules even the international affairs of nations, but for Luther this does not excuse the political leaders and the individual citizens from taking their proper responsibility in these matters. For Luther insists that God has chosen to exercise authority through human beings. All the preparations and activities of humankind are ways in which God accomplishes his purpose. “Indeed,” Luther states, “one could very well say that the course of the world, and especially the doing of his saints, are God’s mask, under which he conceals himself and so marvelously exercises dominion.”[10]

[14] Those who exercise the function of government should, according to Luther, face the complexities of the political life realistically. This is not at all easy. Most people have no idea how complicated the decisions in the realm of politics actually are. Yet Luther observes that as a matter of fact,

Nobody thinks he is too clumsy or inept. If he were the government, he would really do splendidly; and he is dissatisfied with anything done by others in the government….Those are the Master Smart Alecks who are so clever that they can bridle a steed in its hind end. All they can do is to condemn other people and to improve upon them. When they do get control of things, they ruin everything. It is as the saying goes: “Whoever watches the game knows best how to do it.”[11]
[15] Luther is convinced that spectators who see the clash of political interests from the outside and who have to assume no responsibility are never aware of the intricacies of international relations. Such people think that all these problems can be figured out logically. They say: “How can it fail? It is as certain as the fact that seven plus three make ten.” And indeed, this is good mathematics, here seven and three do make ten. But in real life this may happen: God may melt seven pieces into one and thus make out of seven one or divide three into thirty and it turns out that the result which was supposed to be ten and was so certain in theory is quite different in actuality.[12] And then Luther continues to illustrate this point with examples taken from the international scene as he observed it. In 1525 Pope Clement and the King of France had been sure that they had the emperor in their power. Yet at the battle of Pavia France was defeated and the king became a prisoner. Luther observes that pope and king certainly learned then that in international politics three and seven do not necessarily add up to ten.

[16] Luther was especially sceptical about the specific political advice which the clergy might give in such international questions. He felt that they tended to add mostly pomp and ceremony and little expert information and opinion to such international consultations.[13] Furthermore, there was always the danger that political and international tensions would be merely complicated by the injection of ideological considerations. In the Magnificat, dedicated to John Frederick, Duke of Saxony, Luther described this problem as follows:

Oh, this is a thing that ought to be known to all princes and rulers who, not content with confessing the right, immediately want to obtain it and win the victory, without the fear of God; they fill the world with bloodshed and misery, and think what they do is right and well done because they have, or think they have, a just cause. What else is that but proud and haughty Moab, which calls itself worthy to possess the right…while if it regards itself right in the sight of God, it is not worthy to live on earth or eat a crust of bread, because of its sins.[14]

[17] Luther has little patience with those defenders of ideological warfare who try to camouflage their attitude by saying: “I am not doing this out of hostility to the person but out of love for righteousness. I am a friend to the person but an enemy to the cause.” He quotes such phrases and adds that they seem so gentle and beautiful that they obscure the beam in one’s own eye and see only the splinter in the brother’s eye.[15]

[18] Luther was a realist when examining the actual causes of international tensions and war. He cautioned against the false pretense which is always at the bottom of ideological warfare. He proclaimed the involvement of all participants in sin and preferred that if wars had to be fought they be fought for the defense of a city or the preservation of a border rather than in defense of the Christian faith or of the Holy Trinity. From this point of view he wrote in his book On War Against the Turks:

Therefore the urging and inciting with which the emperor and the princes have been stirred up to fight against the Turk ought to cease. He has been urged, as head of Christendom and as protector of the church and defender of the faith, to wipe out the Turk’s religion, and the urging and exhorting have been based on the wickedness and vice of the Turks. Not so! The emperor is not the head of Christendom or defender of the gospel or the faith. The church and the faith must have a defender other than emperor and kings. They are usually the worst enemies of Christendom and of the faith….That kind of urging and exhorting only makes things worse and angers God deeply because it interferes with his honor and his work and would ascribe it to men, which is idolatry and blasphemy. And if the emperor were supposed to destroy the unbelievers and non-Christians, he would have to begin with the pope, bishops, and clergy, and perhaps not spare us or himself; for there is enough horrible idolatry in his own empire to make it unnecessary for him to fight the Turks for this reason. There are entirely too make Turks, Jews, heathen, and non-Christians among us with open false doctrine and with offensive, shameful lives. Let the Turk believe and live as he will, just as one lets the papacy and other false Christians live. The emperor’s sword has nothing to do with the faith; it belongs to physical, worldly things.[16]

[19] Added to this sober realism of Luther in questions of international politics was a cautious conservatism which made it impossible for him to identify change and improvement. Concerning rulers in general he would say that “There is as great a difference between changing a government and improving it as the distance from heaven to earth. It is easy to change a government, but it is difficult to get one that is better, and the danger is that you will not. Why? Because it is not in our will or power, but only in the will and the hand ofGod.” [17]In matters of politics and international relations experience and precedent are most important. After all, the existing laws represent the distillation of the wisdom of the ages. It would be foolish to discard them without having the assurance that something better would be put in their place. Luther said,

The imperial law, according to which the Roman Empire still rules today and will continue to rule until the Last Day, is nothing more than heathen wisdom, established and set down before Rome had ever heard a thing about Christians or even about God Himself. Yet I dare say that if all the wise men were brewed into one drink, they would not only leave all the cases and disputes unresolved but would even be unable to speak or think this well about them. Those who set down the law had to be experienced in big deals and to be familiar with the thinking of many people; for this they had been endowed with a high degree of intelligence and brains. In other words, those who had such wisdom in secular government lived once and will never live again.[18]

[20] All utopian political hopes were alien to Luther. In view of his frequently expressed hope that the end of the world was at hand he was convinced that only the most urgent changes should be made in the political structure and in the relationship of the nations to each other. He said:

Because there is no hope of getting another government in the Roman Empire, as Daniel also indicates (Dan. 2:40), it is not advisable to change it. Rather, let him who is able darn and patch it up as long as we live; let him punish the abuse and put bandages and ointment on the smallpox. But if someone is going to tear out the pox unmercifully, then no one will feel the pain and the damage more than those clever barbers who would rather tear out the sores than heal them.[19]

[21] No victory or defeat could ultimately affect the destiny of nations unless God had so ordained it. For this reason Luther did not feel that the decisions for change or reform of the international pattern were as significant as those affecting the proclamation of the gospel. As radical as he was in his insistence that the word of God be preached in its purity, whatever the cost, so conservative was he in his political views. Since no change in the area of foreign politics would affect the ultimate destiny of humankind these changes were to be made cautiously. An existing international situation might present great problems, yet these problems are known. When advocating change we are dealing with an unknown situation. What might at first appear as an improvement could turn out to be the very opposite. By recklessly promoting changes we may actually be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. So Luther could say:

Temporal power is in duty bound to defend its subjects, as I have frequently said, for it bears the sword in order to keep in fear those who do not heed such divine teaching and to compel them to leave others in peace….Yet this defense of its subjects should not be accompanied by still greater harm; that would be to leap from the frying pan into the fire. It is a poor defense to expose a whole city to danger for the sake of one person, or to risk the entire country for a single village or castle, unless God enjoined this by a special command as He did in former times. If a robber knight robs a citizen of his property and you, my lord, lead your army against him to punish this injustice, and in so doing lay waste the whole land, who will have wrought the greater harm, the knight or the lord? David overlooked many things when he was unable to punish without bringing harm upon others. All rulers must do the same. On the other hand a citizen must endure a certain measure of suffering for the sake of the community, and not demand that all other men undergo the greater injury for his sake. Christ did not want the weeds to be gathered up, lest the wheat also be rooted up with them. (Matt. 13:29). If men went to war on every provocation and passed by no insult, we should never be at peace and have nothing but destruction. Therefore, right or wrong is never a sufficient reason indiscriminately to punish or make war. It is a sufficient cause to punish within bounds and without destroying another. The lord or ruler must always look to what will profit the whole mass of his subjects rather than any one portion. That householder will never grow rich who, because someone has plucked a feather from his goose, flings the whole goose after him.[20]

[22] This long quotation shows also that hand in hand with Luther’s conservatism goes an attitude in political questions which could best be described as pragmatism. This is here not a philosophy but a common sense approach to life which judges political action not according to theories but according to its effect on the welfare of the citizens. Luther’s counsel in questions of foreign policy always expresses this concern for the practical political results of an action. In the Treatise on Good Works of 1520 he wrote:

A prince must also be very wise and not always try to impose his own will, even if he has the right and the best of all reasons to do so. For it is a far nobler virtue to put up with a slight to one’s own rights than [it is to risk damage] to life and property, where this is to the advantage of the subjects. As we know, worldly rights are valid only with respect to the things of this world.[21]

[23] He called the slogan, fiat justitia et pereat mundus, [22]which happened to be the motto of Ferdinand of Austria, “absolutely foolish.”[23]

[24] And he praised the Roman Emperor Augustus because of the Roman historian Suetonius’ report that he did not wish to wage war, however just his cause might be, unless there were sure indications that the result would produce greater benefit than harm, or at least that the damage would be bearable. The saying of Augustus which Luther liked particularly well and which he quoted repeatedly with approval was: “War can be likened to fishing with a golden net-you never catch as much as you risk losing.”[24]

[25] About those who hold responsible positions in government Luther said:

He who drives a cart must act differently than if he were walking alone. When he is on his own he can walk, jump, and do what he likes, but when he is driving he must control and guide so that the horse and cart can follow. He has to pay greater regard to the horse and cart than to himself. A prince is in the same position. He stands at the head and leads the multitude, and must not go or do as he wants but as the multitude are able. He has to pay more regard to their needs and necessities than to his own will and pleasure.[25]

[26] Any other behavior on the part of those who govern is bound to lead to disaster both for those who rule and those under their care.

When a prince rules according to his own mad will and follows his own opinion he is like a mad driver who rushes straight ahead with his horse and cart through bushes, hedges, ditches, streams, uphill and downdale, regardless of road and bridges. He will not drive for very long. He is bound to smash up.[26]

[27] It was Luther’s concern with the practical results of statecraft as they affect people in their daily life which led him to suggest that it might actually be better, politically speaking, to have a competent and intelligent ruler who is personally evil than to have a ruler who, though personally a model of virtue, is politically incompetent and stupid. Indeed, Luther insists that a good and wise ruler is the ideal head of government, but if this ideal is not available it may turn out to be in the long-range interest of the commonwealth if a personally evil person rules the state intelligently and with skill than if someone who is personally virtuous rules without intelligence and competence. This is how he puts it:

The question has been properly raised whether a prince is better if he is good and imprudent or prudent yet also evil. Here Moses certainly demands both. Nevertheless, if one cannot have both, it is better for him to be prudent and not good than good and not prudent; for the good man would actually rule nothing but would be ruled only by others, and at that only by the worst people.[27]

[28] Luther had too much respect for the technical demands of competent government to believe that good intentions were all that a ruler needed.

[29] In view of this political pragmatism with its concern for the practical consequences of all political thoughts, words, and deeds, how does Luther conceive of the possibility of international order? International order should be the result of wise decisions by peace-loving princes. If the rulers were virtuous they would avoid war and work for peace. But Luther has no illusions about the sincerity of their desire for peace. He said, “Who is not aware that a prince is a rare prize in heaven.”[28]

[30] He was sure that there would not be many rulers present “when the roll is called up yonder.” Yet God had made provisions for peace, not through the moral excellency of princes but rather through the balance of power which is the result of the multitude of peoples and interests in this world. He said,

But if a lord or prince does not recognize this duty and God’s commandment and allows himself to think that he is prince, not for his subjects’ sake, but because of his handsome, blond hair as though God had made him a prince to rejoice in his power and wealth and honor, take pleasure in these things, and rely on them. If he is that kind of prince, he belongs among the heathen; indeed, he is a fool….God restrains such princes by giving fists to other people, too. There are also people on the other side of the mountain. Thus one sword keeps the other in the scabbard.[29]

[31] Thus peace is the result of the multiplicity of forces and interests which tend to check each other and prevent even a wicked and foolish ruler from dominating everybody else. Not in the goodness of an individual, who wants peace, but in the goodness of God, who has created this variety of interests and pressures which require compromise and make war risky, rests our hope for peace. Luther carries his basic ideas through with amazing consistency. The powers of this world have to play God’s masquerade. Through them he punishes evil-doers and presses towards peace. Even in the international relationships of the nations God rules and accomplishes his own ultimate purpose.

[32] It is in the light of these basic insights that we must try to understand Luther’s specific counsel in the international conflicts of his time. He warned the emperor against crusades, yet encouraged him to defend the borders of Germany and protect the life and property of its citizens against the Turkish attacks.[30] He condemned the military machinations and the international intrigues of the pope and saw in them further proof for the fact that the papacy is in truth the Antichrist proclaimed in the prophecies of the Bible. By allying himself with the pope the king of France fell under the same condemnation.[31] In Luther’s relationship to the League of Smalcald it was the gradual attainment of greater technical knowledge of the legal problems here involved which eventually led him to the position that the defense against the attacks of the emperor and the Roman Catholic princes was not only a right but also a duty for those princes who were loyal to the gospel. [32]But in all these specific questions of foreign policy Luther was guided by the principles which we have here observed.

[33] A final question may now be asked. Is there anything in Luther’s utterances on foreign policy which might give us some counsel in our own complex foreign-political decisions? Is this merely ancient history, of interest to us because of Luther’s significance for the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession, but without relevance to the political life in the second half of the twentieth century? Or did Luther in wrestling with the political questions of his revolutionary age with the help of biblical revelation come upon answers which may have something to say to our time?

[34] It seems that a number of Luther’s insights are as helpful and correct today as they were in the sixteenth century. First of all, international conflicts are ways in which God shows ultimate lordship over history in our time as in the days of Luther. In an age which tends to understand all events as governed only by chance, Luther reminds us that the God who once used the Persian ruler Cyrus may today use the Chinese ruler Mao Tse Tung. World history is not the “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” For those who believe in God’s revelation in Jesus Christ it is within history that God executes judgment. As one great secular historian of our time has said,

If men put their faith in science and make it the be-all and end-all of life, as though it were not to be subdued to any higher ethical end, there is something in the very composition of the universe that will make it execute judgment on itself, if only in the shape of the atomic bomb.[33]

[35] Luther never lost sight of this ultimate judgment of God. He can remind us not to lose sight of it either. No view of foreign politics which does not keep in mind the ultimate lordship of God over history is truly realistic.

[36] Secondly, Luther sought, and we should learn from him, to heed the biblical warning: “Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). The reality of the demonic powers as they affect the relationships of nations has been demonstrated with terrifying force in the twentieth century. We have seen whole cities incinerated by the command of relatively moral leaders. Can we doubt the power of the devil? We have seen millions dying in gas-chambers upon the order of people possessed by the devil! We know that even today we live every minute at the brink of total disaster. Can we question the power of him whom Luther calls “the prince of this world”? In an age in which we are tempted to explain international conflicts and tensions with the aid of some individual villain, allegedly responsible for all our difficulties, whose removal will usher in the reign of peace, Luther reminds us that there are principalities and powers in the service of evil which utilize individuals but which are hardly affected by their removal. If we take this biblical insight of Luther seriously we will judge international conflicts with greater realism and become aware of a dimension of our existence which has been obscured by the superficial rationalism of our age.

[37] Thirdly, Luther made some very practical suggestions for the day-to-day conduct of foreign policy. They are especially important for those who desire the responsible participation of church people in the formulation and execution of a nation’s foreign policy. Luther advocated a sober realism in regard to human beings and their possibilities. He had no illusions about their innate goodness. He had no utopian hopes that humans could through their efforts establish God’s kingdom on earth. While some Christians have added great confusion to the conduct of foreign politics with their attempts to use the state as an instrument of the gospel, Luther finally rejected ideological warfare and crusades as blasphemous efforts on the part of humankind to usurp the work of God. The sobriety with which Luther judged the international conflicts of his time could well be imitated by Christians today. When Herbert Butterfield says, “It is essential not to have faith in human nature. Such faith is a recent heresy and a very disastrous one,”[34] he is enunciating an insight which was part and parcel of Luther’s counsel in foreign politics. It is an insight which when ignored by christendom has led to Schwärmerei, the enthusiastic confusion of law and gospel. This confusion is an obvious and unfortunate aspect of some of the pronouncements on international questions made by Christians in our time. Here, too, Luther’s counsel is certainly very much to the point in our own discussions.

[38] And this evaluation applies certainly also to his conservatism. Here, again, Herbert Butterfield has made a very “Lutheran” observation. He says,

Somewhere or other there exists a point at which our ambitions, however well‑meaning, do become a defiance of the providential order. At that point there would be better hope for the world if we would try to see rather how to make the best of it, and accept some of our limitations and discomforts as the decree of Providence, lest by too feverish an activity we only make matters worse.[35]

[39] Luther said, “To change is easy, to improve is troublesome and dangerous.” This piece of practical advice could be of special benefit to an age which has shown a fantastic talent for bringing about changes in the map of the world without demonstrating any talent to bring about substantial improvements for the people of the world. The naive assumption that any change is an improvement is as false in the overthrow of governments as in the change of borders and the relocation of peoples. Here, too, Luther’s conservatism might supply some counterbalance to the prevailing naive identification of change and betterment.

[40] And finally, Luther seems to have suggested that politics in general and international politics in particular is the area where we ought to ask concerning every policy, “Does it work?” While absolute trust in God is basic to the Christian faith such absolute trust in international schemes and political panaceas is blasphemous and an offense against the First Commandment. “When a prince rules according to his own mad will…he is like a mad driver who rushes straight ahead with his horse and cart through bushes, hedges, ditches, streams, uphill and downdale, regardless of road and bridges.”[36] In politics bushes and hedges, ditches and water, hills and valleys ought to be most carefully and patiently studied. Foreign policy in particular should concern itself most attentively with the building of roads and bridges. Here the questions, “What will work? What will reduce conflict? What is in the interest of all concerned?” are most important. They ought to be answered using all the resources of intelligence and imagination at our command. If we participate in this effort as actively and intelligently as we are able we will have the privilege to know that we are dancing in God’s masquerade and that God uses us and others to guide the nations of the world to the goal which his providence has destined for them.

[1] LW 33:68.

[2] Ibid., 203.

[3] Ibid., 174.

[4] Sermons (1528), WA 27:418.

[5] Sermons (1528), WA 27:418.

[6] Sermons (1528), WA 27:418.

[7] Sermons (1528), WA 27:418.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., 149.

[12] Ibid., 149.

[13] Ibid., 150.

[14] LW 21:336-337.

[15] The Sermon on the Mount (1530-1532), LW 21:223.

[16] LW 46:185-186.

[17] Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved (1526), LW 46:111-112.

[18] Psalm 101, LW 13:198.

[19] Ibid., 217; cf. also George W. Forell, Faith Active in Love (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1959) 154ff.

[20] Magnificat, LW 21:337-338.

[21] LW 44:94.

[22] [“Do justice and the world is vanquished.” Ed.]

[23] LW 44:94.

[24] Ibid., cf. Psalm 82 (1530), LW 13:56-57.

[25] LW 44:94.

[26] Ibid., 94-95.

[27] Ibid., 94-95.

[28] Temporal Authority (1523), LW 45:120.

[29] Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved, LW 46:122.

[30] Cf. George W. Forell, “Luther’s View Concerning the Imperial Foreign Policy,” Lutheran Quarterly 4/2 (May 1952) 153-169. [Reprinted in the present volume, pp. 135-146.]

[31] Cf. George W. Forell, “Luther and the War Against the Turks,” 14/4 (December 1945). [Reprinted in the present volume, pp. 123-134.]

[32] Cf. Johannes Heckel, Lex Charitatis: Eine juristische Untersuchung über das Recht in der Theologie Martin Luthers (Munich: Verlag der Bayrischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1953) 184 ff.

[33] Herbert Butterfield, Christianity and History (London: Fontana, 1957) 82f.

[34] Ibid., 66.

[35] Ibid., 135.

[36] Treatise on Good Works, LW 44:94-95.