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Archive for September 23rd, 2016

The following quote is from Dr. Luther’s Sermon preached on the 1st Sunday after Trinity, 1535. The sermon text is St. Luke: 16:  19-31, “The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus”.  Dr. Luther understood this parable as a warning against greed: 

“…this warning spoken for the sake of the Pharisees on that occasion availed as little as do warnings addressed to rich and arrogant people of the world today. Unfortunately, as we know, such people most often think themselves pious and without greed. Vice has been turned into virtue. Greed nowadays has come to be viewed as talented, smart, careful stewardship. And as with greed, so sin in general is dressed up to look like virtue and not vice. Murder and harlotry, perhaps, are still considered sinful in some quarters, but other sins have in general come to be viewed more as virtues than vices. That is particularly the case with greed, now so dressed up and polished as no longer to be denominated as such. Neither prince nor peasant, nobleman nor average citizen is any longer considered greedy, but only upstanding, the common consensus being that the man who prudently provides for himself is a resourceful person who knows how to take care of himself.

The same holds true for other sins: Pride is no longer pride, or sin, but honor. The proud man is no longer deemed arrogant but honorable, a commanding person, worthy of respect, a credit to his generation. Anger and envy are no longer that, or sin, but righteousness, zealousness, and virtue. The man who storms, or is envious, or who loses his cool is now considered industrious, with a passion for what is fair, and justly angry when high-handed injustice is done to him. Thus there are no more sinners in the world, but—God have mercy!—the world is full of holy people. In Seneca’s words, when this happens, that vice is turned into virtue and honor, there no longer is hope or a way out; everything is lost.”

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