The Bible’s Influence on Music

Martin Luther believed that music was second only to Scripture in its ability to elevate the soul. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul, W. Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, and Stephen Nichols discuss some of Luther’s most famous and heartfelt hymns.

The below is from Vishal Mangalwadi’s book, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, chapter one:

Chapter One

The West Without Its Soul
From Bach To Cobain

For two hundred years we had sawed and sawed and sawed at the
branch we were sitting on. And in the end, much more suddenly than
anyone had foreseen, our efforts were rewarded, and down we came.
But unfortunately there had been a little mistake: The thing at the
bottom was not a bed of roses after all; it was a cesspool full of barbed
wire . . . It appears that amputation of the soul isn’t just a simple
surgical job, like having your appendix out. The wound has a tendency
to go septic.

—George Orwell, Notes on the Way, 1940

On April 8, 1994, an electrician accidentally discovered a dead body in Seattle, Washington. A shotgun had blown the victim’s head into unrecognizable bits. The police investigation concluded that the victim of this ghastly tragedy was the rock legend Kurt Cobain (b. 1967) and that he had committed suicide a few days earlier. Cobain’s previous attempts at suicide by drug overdose had been unsuccessful. His beautiful wife, singer Courtney Love, is said to have called the police multiple times to have them confiscate his guns before he killed himself or harmed others.

Cobain, the lead singer and gifted guitarist for the rock band Nirvana, captured his generation’s loss of anchor, center, or soul so effectively that their album Nevermind sold ten million copies, displacing Michael Jackson at the top of the charts.

The phrase “never mind” means “don’t bother,” “don’t concern yourself.” Why should you mind, if nothing is true, good, or beautiful in any absolute sense? Should a man be bothered about his adorable daughter’s ongoing need for a father? “Never mind” is a logical virtue for a nihilist who thinks that there is nothing out there to give meaning and significance to anything here —be it your daughter, wife, or life. In contrast, the modern West was built by people who dedicated their lives to what they believed was divine, true, and noble.

Nirvana is the Buddhist term for salvation. It means permanent extinction of one’s individual existence, the dissolution of our illusory individuality into Shoonyta (void, nothingness, or emptiness). It is freedom from our misery-causing illusion that we have a permanent core to our being: a self, soul, spirit, or Atman.

Here is a sample lyric expressing Cobain’s view of salvation as silence, death, and extinction:

Silence, Here I am, Here I am, Silent.

Death Is what I am, Go to hell, Go to jail . . .


As the news of Cobain’s suicide spread, a number of his fans emulated his example. Rolling Stone magazine reported that his tragic death was followed by at least sixty-eight copycat suicides.[2]

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” The Stanford students of the 1960s who chanted for the demise of the Western civilization were disgusted with hypocrisy and injustices in the West. Yet, their rejection of the soul of their civilization yielded something very different from the utopia they sought. Diana Grains, in Rolling Stone, noted that prior to the 1960s, teenage suicide was virtually nonexistent among American youth. By 1980 almost four hundred thousand adolescents were attempting suicide every year. By 1987 suicide had become the second largest killer of teens, after automotive accidents. By the 1990s, suicide had slipped down to number three because young people were killing each other as often as they killed themselves. Grains explained these rising figures among the offspring of the ’60s generation:

The 1980s offered young people an experience of unsurpassed social violence and humiliation. Traumatized by absent or abusive parents, educators, police and shrinks, stuck in meaningless jobs without a livable wage, disoriented by disintegrating institutions, many kids felt trapped in a cycle of futility and despair. Adults . . . [messed]-up across the board, abandoning an entire generation by failing to provide for or protect them or prepare them for independent living. Yet when young people began to exhibit symptoms of neglect, reflected in their rates of suicide, homicide, substance abuse, school failure, recklessness and general misery, adults condemned them as apathetic, illiterate, amoral losers.[3]

According to his biographers, Cobain’s early years had been happy, full of affection and hope. But by the time he was nine years old Cobain was caught in the crossfire between his divorcing parents. Like far too many marriages in America, his parents’ marriage had devolved into an emotional and verbal battlefield. One of Cobain’s biographers, commenting on a family portrait when Kurt was six, said, “It’s a picture of a family, but not a picture of a marriage.”[4] After the divorce, Kurt’s mother started dating younger men. His father became overbearing, more afraid of losing his new wife than of losing Kurt. That parental rejection left him displaced, unable to find a stable social center, incapable of maintaining constructive emotional ties either with his peers or with his parents’ generation. That instability inflicted a deep wound in Cobain’s soul that could not be healed by music, fame, money, sex, drugs, alcohol, therapy, rehabilitation or detox programs. His inner anguish made it easy for him to accept the Buddha’s first noble truth that life is suffering.

Psychotherapy failed Cobain. Having questioned the very existence of the psyche (roughly, the self or soul), secular psychology is now a discipline in decline. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung believed in the existence of self,[5] but their followers now recognize that their faith in “self” was a residual effect of the West’s Christian past—Jung’s father, for example, was a clergyman.

Jung’s truly secular followers, such as James Hillman, are recasting the essence of his theory. An increasing number of thinking people are recognizing that theoretically it is impossible to practice psychology without theology. Six centuries before Christ, the Buddha already knew that if God does not exist, then the human self cannot exist either. Therefore, he deconstructed the Hindu idea of the soul. When one starts peeling the onion skin of one’s psyche, he discovers that there is no solid core at the center of one’s being. Your sense of self is an illusion. Reality is nonself (anatman).

You don’t exist. Liberation, the Buddha taught, is realizing the unreality of your existence.

This nihilism is logical if you begin with the assumption that God does not exist. However, it is not easy to live with the consequences of this belief, or rather, this nonbelief in one’s own self. To say “I believe that ‘I’ don’t exist” can be devastating for sensitive souls like Cobain. His music—alternately sensitive and brash, exhilarating and depressed, loud and haunted, anarchic and vengeful—reflected the confusion he saw in the postmodern world around him and in his own being. While he was committed to a small set of moral principles (such as environmentalism and fatherhood), he was unable to find a stable worldview in which to center those principles.

He was naturally drawn to the Buddha’s doctrine of impermanence: there is nothing stable and permanent in the universe. You can’t swim in the same river twice because the river changes every moment, as does a human being. You are not the same “thing” that you were a moment ago. Cobain’s experience of the impermanence of an emotional, social, spiritual center to his life had tragic consequences. He adopted the philosophical and moral emptiness that other bands lauded as the “Highway to Hell.”[6]


German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (AD 1844–1900) realized that having killed God, Europe could not possibly save the civilizational fruits of its faith in God. But not even Nietzsche realized that one philosophical implication of God’s demise would be the death of his own self. For fifteen hundred years prior to Nietzsche, the West had followed St. Augustine (AD 354–430) in affirming every human being as a trinity of existence (being), intellect, and will. After denying the existence of the Divine Self, it became impossible to affirm the existence of the human self. Therefore, many intellectuals are reverting to the Buddhist idea that the self is an illusion. As contemporary Jungian psychologist Paul Kuglar explained, in the postmodern philosophy, Nietzsche (the speaking subject) is dead—he never existed, for individuality is only an illusion created by language.[7]

Deconstructionists blame language for creating the illusion of the self, but the Buddha blamed the mind. It cannot be God’s image. Therefore, the mind had to be a product of primeval cosmic ignorance, Avidya. The Buddha’s rejection of the self made sense to the classical skeptics such as Pyrrho of Elea (360–270 BC), who traveled to India with Alexander the Great and interacted with Buddhist philosophers. After returning to Greece, he established a new school of skeptical philosophy to teach that nothing is truly knowable. If so, why should anyone pay philosophers to teach anything? No wonder education, philosophy, and science declined in Greece.

Denying the reality of a spiritual core as the essence of every human being makes it hard to make sense of music, because music, like morality, is a matter of the soul. Those who think that the universe is only material substance and the soul is an illusion find it hard to explain music. They have to assume that music evolved from animals, but none of our alleged evolutionary cousins make music. (Some birds do “sing,” but no one has proposed that we, or our music, evolved from them.) Charles Darwin thought that music evolved as an aid to mating. That might be believed if rapists took bands to lure their victims. By evolutionary psychology, rape could be seen as a natural form of mating and morality an arbitrary social control.

Music serves no biological purpose. As Bono, the lead singer for U2 put it, “music is a matter of the spirit.” Some contemporary music moves toward God—for example, Gospel Music. Other genres—for example, the Blues— may be running away from God and seeking redemption elsewhere. Nevertheless “both recognize the pivot that God is at the center of the jaunt.”[8] Even in the Bible, all prophetic poetry is not singing praises to God. Beginning with Job, biblical poetry includes penetrating questioning of God in the face of suffering and injustice. Music that blames God for evil, affirms God as the only available source of meaning and our right to pass moral judgment.

The Buddhist skepticism that Pyrrho brought to Europe is logical and powerful. The West escaped its paralyzing influence only because thinkers such as St. Augustine succeeded in refuting it. Augustine affirmed the certainty of the human self because the Bible taught that God existed and had created man in his own image. Augustine also affirmed the validity of words. He believed language can communicate truth because communication is intrinsic to the triune God and man is made in the image of a God who communicates. Now, having rejected those biblical foundations, the West has no basis for escaping the Buddha’s radical pessimism.

In spite of—or perhaps because of—his inner chaos, Cobain remained so popular that in 2008 the music industry ranked him as the number one “Dead Artist.” His albums outsold Elvis Presley’s. Years after his death, in 2002 his widow was able to sell the scraps and scribbles in his journals to Riverhead Books for (reportedly) four million dollars. Two decades ago, a publisher anywhere in the world would have rejected his notes as meaningless, misspelled graffiti. At the dawn of the twenty-first century in America, cultural gatekeepers rightly recognize that Cobain represents America’s soullessness better than most celebrities. In a sample of relatively meaningful meaninglessness, he wrote:

I like punk rock. I like girls with weird eyes. I like drugs. (But my Body And mind won’t allow me to take them.) I like passion. I like playing my cards wrong. I like vinyl. I like feeling guilty for being a white, American male. I love to sleep. I like to taunt small, barking dogs in parked cars. I like to make people feel happy and superior in their reaction towards my appearance. I like to have strong opinions with nothing to back them up with besides my primal sincerity. I like sincerity. I lack sincerity . . . I like to complain and do nothing to make things better.[9]

I have seen entries similar to Cobain’s journals and lyrics in students’ private diaries in art exhibitions in American colleges. Prior to Cobain, in the 1960s and ’70s, countercultural students at these colleges believed they were on the cusp of inaugurating utopia. By Cobain’s time they knew that nihilism leads only to escapism. Steven Blush studied the music of the early 1980s that directly preceded Cobain both chronologically and stylistically. Popularly it is called “hardcore,” a genre marked by its brashness and intentional existence outside the mainstream. He concluded:

Hardcore was more than music—it became a political and social movement as well. The participants constituted a tribe unto themselves. Some of them were alienated or abused, and found escape in the hard-edged music. Some sought a better world or a tearing down of the status quo, and were angry. Most of them simply wanted to raise hell. Stark and uncompromising . . . Lots of [messed]up kids “found themselves” through hardcore . . . the aesthetic was intangible. Most bands couldn’t really play that well, and their songs usually lacked craft. They expended little effort achieving prevailing production standards. However, they had IT—an infectious blend of ultra-fast music, thought provoking lyrics, and f[orget]-you attitude.[10]

The postmodern “rebels without a cause” were Living in a world of my own.[11]

Cobain’s music appealed to contemporary America because it was a full-throated disharmony of rage, anguish, hatred, despair, meaninglessness, and obscenity. His song titles included “I Hate Myself, I Want to Die” and “Rape Me” (later changed to “Waife Me”). Most of what Cobain sang cannot be deciphered, and many of his lyrics that can be deciphered have no apparent meaning. Whether he knew it or not, his lyrics were Zen koans, counter-rational sayings such as “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” Such words do not make sense because (in the absence of revelation) reality itself makes no sense. Words are merely mantras—sounds without sense—to be chanted or shouted.

Cobain committed suicide because Nothingness as the ultimate reality does nothing positive. It cannot provide joy to the world, let alone meaning or hope for the mess in one’s life. Its only consequence is to inspire people to seek an exit from the world—Nirvana. A culture of music does not flourish in the soil of nihilism. Cobain’s gift as a musician blossomed because he had inherited a unique tradition of music.

Music seems a natural, perhaps even essential, part of life to the Western mind because it has been an integral part of traditional worship and education. For example, Oxford and Cambridge universities have played pivotal roles in shaping the second millennium. However, a person who has never visited these cities may not know that they are cities of churches and chapels. The chapel is the most important building in traditional colleges and a pipe organ is often the centerpiece of a chapel. That is not the case in every culture.

Turkmenistan is the latest country to put restrictions on music: on state holidays, in broadcasts by television channels, at cultural events organized by the state, in places of mass assembly, and at weddings and celebrations organized by the public.[12] Nations such as Saudi Arabia have had restrictions on music for a long time. In Iran and Afghanistan, women cannot sing on the radio, let alone on television or in person before mixed audiences. In post-Saddam Iraq, radical Muslims have assassinated sellers of music CDs. Mosques do not have keyboards, organs, pianos, orchestras, or worship bands because according to traditional Islam, music is haraam or illegitimate. [The idea that music is “haraam” or is illegitimate is based on Qur’an 17.64, 31.6, and 53.59–62. Historically, Islamic theologians working in the tradition of Qur’anic interpretation developed by Ibn Masood, Ibn Abbas, and Jaabir after the death of Prophet Muhammad have interpreted these passages as condemning all music. Other modern interpreters contend that the Qur’an does not ban music.]

These cultures see Western music as inextricably mixed with immoral debauchery. For them, musicians such as Kurt Cobain are undesirable role models. Indeed, on the cover of his album Nevermind, Cobain brazenly depicted the values he lived by: an infant with a long penis underwater reaching out to a dollar bill on a fishhook. On the back cover, Cobain’s mascot, a chipmunk, sits on a vagina. Open debauchery was a part of “pagan” music until the Bible extricated music from it by recentering the locus of the music to God.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit . . . Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.[13]

Buddhist monks in Asia developed sophisticated philosophies, psychology, rituals, and psycho-technologies to try to escape life and its sufferings. They perfected techniques such as Vipasana [Yoga attempts to control breathing in its quest to realize self. Vipasana observes breathing as a means of silencing one’s mind to experience that there is no self or soul inside us but only Nothingness, Emptiness, Void, Shoonyta or Selflessness] to silence not just their tongues but also their thoughts. Buddhism originated in India and prior to its disappearance enjoyed powerful political patronage for centuries. It built such massive monasteries that Buddhist art is a cherished aspect of our national heritage. Yet, Buddhism left no discernible musical tradition or instrument in India. No Buddhist monk started a band such as Nirvana, because in Buddhism salvation is not a heaven filled with music.[14] As a pessimistic philosophy of silence it could not produce music of hope and joy. Buddhism could not celebrate existence because it saw suffering as the essence of life. Some forms of modern Buddhism have embraced music, partially because of the efforts of Western converts, such as Kurt Cobain, who grafted the Western tradition of religious music into the Buddhist faith.

To say that music is a new phenomenon in Buddhist temples is not to suggest that pre-Buddhist Tibet or China had no music.[15] Music is intrinsic to the universe and to human nature even if some worldviews, including Darwinism, do not understand, recognize, or promote it. China’s fertility cults and sexual rites involved choirs of boys and girls singing alternately and together to symbolize Yin and Yang dualism as early as 2000 BC. A thousand years prior to that, the worshippers in Sumero-Mesapotamia used music in their temple rituals.

The musical ragas of Hindu magical rituals have survived for thirty-five hundred years. Most of the Vedas are hymns and chants. The Vedic priests understood sound as well as anyone else in the world and developed a highly complex system of chanting, even if Hindu monks and priests did not develop music into the complex medium that Western music became. Thankfully this is changing now. Bollywood has played a great role in inspiring some Hindu ashrams to develop great music. It has also raised the standard of Qawwali, which began as a part of Sufi tradition [Sunnis and Shiites consider Sufism a Muslim heresy], but is now loved by Hindus as well as by Muslims—including in Pakistan.


St. Augustine, the author of the six-volume On Music, was a key figure in inserting music into Western education and worldview. His first five volumes are technical and could have been written by a Greek philosopher. But Augustine was most excited about his sixth book, which gives a biblical philosophy of music. Music is, of course, integral to the Bible, in which the longest book is Psalms. The last psalm, for example, asks creation to praise the Lord with the trumpet, lute, harp, tambourine, strings, pipe, and cymbals.

Why are these physical instruments able to make music? Augustine saw that the scientific basis or essence of music lies in mathematical “numbers” or scores at the core of creation. Since music is mathematical, Augustine argued, it must be rational, eternal, unchangeable, meaningful, and objective—it consists of mathematical harmony. We cannot make a musical sound from just any string. To get a precise note, a string has to have a specific length, thickness, and tension. This implies that the Creator has encoded music into the structure of the universe. This insight was not new. It had been noted by Pythagoras (570–490 BC), whose school Plato attended before starting his Academy. Augustine promoted this “pagan” insight because the Bible presented a view of creation that explained why matter could make music.

Augustine taught that while this musical code is “bodily” (physical), it is made and enjoyed by the soul. For example, the book of Job deals with the problem of inexplicable suffering. In it God himself tells Job of the connection between music and creation: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? . . . when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”[16]

The Bible taught that a sovereign Creator (rather than a pantheon of deities with conflicting agendas) governs the universe for his glory. He is powerful enough to save men like Job from their troubles. This teaching helped develop the Western belief of a cosmos: an orderly universe where every tension and conflict will ultimately be resolved, just as after a period of inexplicable suffering Job was greatly blessed.

This belief in the Creator as a compassionate Savior became an underlying factor of the West’s classical music and its tradition of tension and resolution. Up until the end of the nineteenth century, Western musicians shared their civilization’s assumption that the universe was cosmos rather than chaos. They composed consonance and concord even when they experienced dissonance and discord. That is not to suggest that classical music did not express the full range of human emotions. It did. A bereaved composer would write a tragic piece; someone abandoned by his love would express his desolation. But such outpourings of a broken heart were understood as snapshots of real life. Given the cultural power of the biblical worldview, no one thought of them as Kurt Cobain did, as evidence of the breakdown of cosmic order or the nonexistence of order in the universe.

In the novel The Silmarillion, J. R. R. Tolkien gives us a beautiful, fictional exposition of the Augustinian perspective on the relationship of music, creation, the fall (evil), and redemption. Tolkien’s Middle-earth experienced much more suffering than the Buddha’s India. Tolkien’s “earth” was to be captured, corrupted, and virtually controlled by evil. Suffering was real, brutal, and awful. Yet the Bible taught Tolkien that the Almighty Creator, who was also a compassionate Redeemer, was loving enough and powerful enough to redeem the earth from the greatest possible mess, sin, and suffering. This helped Tolkien to celebrate creation, both in its origin as well as in its ultimate destiny:

There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad. But for long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest hearkened; for each comprehended only part of the mind of Iluvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly. Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony. . . .

Then Iluvatar said to them: “Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony together a Great Music.”

Then the voices of the Ainur, like unto harps and lutes, and pipes and trumpets, and viols and organs, and like unto countless choirs singing with words, began to fashion the theme of a great music; and a sound arose of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony that passed beyond hearing into the depths and into the heights, and the places of the dwelling of Iluvatar were filled to overflowing, and the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void.[17]

Prior to becoming a follower of Christ, Augustine had been a professor of Greek philosophy. He knew that although music was encoded into the structure of the physical universe, being finite, it could never provide ultimate meaning to life [Augustine’s intellectual mentor, Plato, believed that epistemologically no finite particular can make sense without an infinite reference point]. Therefore, he reasoned that to be meaningful, music had to be integrated into the ultimate aim of human life, which was to love God and one’s neighbors. To love one’s neighbor is to “always mind” his welfare.

Over the centuries, the influence of Augustine’s biblical philosophy of music kept growing. Originally, church music was dominated by monophonic plainsong, a single line of melody as in the Gregorian chant. Roman Catholic churches began to develop polyphonic music. This style, which combines several differing voice parts simultaneously, began to flourish at Notre Dame (Paris) by the eleventh century. That development in Christian worship laid the foundation for the entire spectrum of Western classical music, religious and secular [Augustine did not have much influence over the Eastern Church and that may be one reason why its music did not develop much beyond the chant].

In the tenth century AD, Augustine’s biblical philosophy of music inspired a group of Benedictine monks to build the world’s largest pipe organ in the cathedral of Winchester, England. The organ required seventy men and twenty-six bellows to supply wind to its four hundred pipes. Technologically, the pipe organ was the world’s most advanced machine until the invention of the mechanical clock. Europe’s organs stood as emblems of the West’s unique desire and ability to use the arts, science, and technology for the glory of God as well as for the relief of humanity’s suffering and toil.

Augustine’s biblical philosophy of music was an important tributary that contributed to the river of mechanical arts that began to flow out of Christian monasteries and churches. This tradition used technology to worship God and to love one’s neighbors.


Martin Luther (AD 1483–1546) took the biblical-Augustinian philosophy of music out of the cloister and choir loft to Europe’s masses. An Augustinian monk and pioneer of the Protestant Reformation, Luther was and remains a polarizing figure. Some love him; others hate him. Yet many critics agree that Luther may have been the most influential figure of the second millennium.

Luther was a “Protestant” because he saw plenty in his world to protest against. But he did not become a reformer simply because he protested. He changed Europe because he found something worth singing about, something worth living for, and something worth dying for. He found a covenant relationship with the Almighty God [Later some Enlightenment thinkers secularized the biblical idea of divine covenant as “social contract.” The idea lies at the root of modern constitutionalism. It enabled the West to become a society built uniquely on trust. See Robert N. Bellah The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Trial (New York: Crossroad Books, 1975)]. A relationship he could count upon. It was a faith, a worldview upon which his decadent world could be rebuilt. Yet, it was far more than an idea or creed. It was a vibrant relationship with someone who was worth dying for; a love affair worthy of songs.

Luther got excited about the Bible partly because it taught that he could not and did not need to do anything to qualify for God’s love. Salvation— forgiveness from sin and the restoration of a person’s relationship with God —was a free gift of grace to be received by the empty hands of faith. The Bible gave Luther a deep, Abraham-like, inner assurance of God’s acceptance. God’s friendship gave such a value and meaning to his life that he had something to sing about. Yes, in a world that had rebelled against the Creator, there was suffering. Yet, because God is love, there is hope for pardon, peace, progress, and prosperity. This gospel made the West uniquely optimistic, enabling it to sing, “Joy to the world”—a message opposite to that of Cobain.

Luther helped this biblical worldview to become the soul of Western civilization. His spiritual followers summed up his discovery of the Bible’s essence in songs of hope, assurance, and certainty, such as “Amazing Grace,” written by reformed slave trader John Newton (1725–1807):

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Luther became a reformer because he realized that in order to conform to God’s Word, all God’s children would need to have that Word in their native languages. He translated the Bible into his own German dialect. His translation went into hundreds of editions and turned his dialect into the “Standard German” for the whole of the German-speaking world. Together with Luther’s German hymnal, his Bible forged the soul of the German-speaking nations. Luther’s work inspired other reformers, such as William Tyndale, who began translating the Bible into English. That crucial beginning made the Bible the soul also of the English-speaking world. Following Jesus and the apostles, the early church sang worship together until Jerome the Great encouraged priests to take over chanted worship in the fifth century. Since then until Luther’s time, congregations rarely sang during Christian worship—and then only in Latin, which they did not understand. By and large it was the priest’s job to worship and pray. Luther rediscovered the New Testament doctrine of the priesthood of all believers [As we shall see in chapter 15, this profound discovery based on 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6, etc., became an important source of the West’s economic development and political liberty.], which made it necessary for the entire congregation to worship God by singing as well as by prayer and other means. “God,” he believed, “has created man for the express purpose of praising and extolling Him.”[18] Because of his belief in the priesthood of all believers, Luther wrote hymns in the language of his people —German—and brought music to the lungs and lips of even the poorest peasants in the congregation.

For Luther the reformation of the university was second in importance only to the reformation of the Church, and music had to have a prominent role in education as well:

I have always loved music; whoso has skill in this art, is of a good temperament, fitted for all things. We must teach music in schools; a schoolmaster ought to have skill in music, or I would not regard him; neither should we ordain young men as preachers, unless they have been well exercised in music.[19]

In putting music at the heart of worship and at the core of his curriculum of education, Luther simply followed the Jewish (biblical) tradition of temple musicians and singers who were “prophets” or “sons of prophets.” The biblical phrase “sons of prophets” often meant the students of prophets. An early meaning of the phrase “to prophesy” was ecstatic singing accompanied with music.[20] King David—the driving force behind the temple worship in Jerusalem—was Israel’s musician, singer, and poet par excellence. The Bible calls him a “prophet.”[21] The New Testament asked the followers of Christ to seek the gift of prophecy.[22] In the light of the Old Testament, that exhortation had to include learning music, as did the “sons of prophets.”

The modern West confirmed Luther’s educational philosophy that musical literacy produces people with an intuitive awareness of a logical and orderly universe. It is not a coincidence that universities such as Oxford and Cambridge that have a distinctly Christian heritage still hold music in greater respect than most of the universities founded upon secularism during the twentieth century.


It takes barely five minutes to walk from the Bach house at Eisenach, Germany, to the house where Luther had lived as a student, and it takes less than ten minutes to drive up the hill to the castle of Wartburg where Luther translated the New Testament into German. By the time Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was born, that area had become a Lutheran province. Philosophically, Johannes Kepler reinforced the biblical-Augustinian-Lutheran view of creation and music by teaching that music mirrors the divinely ordained mathematical harmony of the universe. Bach was a musical genius because he was a mathematical genius who received as a part of his education this (non-polytheistic) biblical outlook of an orderly creation. In that mind-set, aesthetics was inseparable from ultimate harmony. One of his biographers, Wilfrid Mellers said,

At the school which Bach attended in Ohrdruf the system of education was little changed from the old [Augustinian-Lutheran] prescription. Music was second in importance only to theology, and was taught by the same master, who believed that music makes the heart ready and receptive to the divine Word and truth, just as Elisius [Elisha] confessed that by harping he found the Holy Spirit.[23]

For Bach, as for Luther, “true music” pursues as its “ultimate end or final goal . . . the honor of God and the recreation of the soul.” Bach believed that music was a “harmonious euphony for the glory of God.”[24] Obviously, this is not meant to suggest that Bach’s musical talent was nurtured only by theological beliefs. His family was a key factor in developing Bach’s talent. In chapter 15 we will see that it was Luther’s exposition of the Bible that made his family different from Cobain’s family. In his formative years, Bach drew heavily on his family’s musical heritage, which extended back to his great-great-grandfather. The Bach clan had developed into an expansive network of musical apprenticeship and encouragement. This network proved to be pivotal in Bach’s development.

What does a German monk, a Roman Pope, and a Spanish Emperor have to do with music history? Today we look at the events that surrounded 15th and 16th Century German music – particularly that of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

Bach and Cobain shared more in common than their talent for music. They both lost their parents when they were nine years old, Cobain’s parents to divorce and Bach’s to death. A tragic event such as his parents’ death could have irreparably upset Bach’s emotional balance. But back then the “family” was more than parents and children. Johann moved in with his older brother, who taught him to play the organ and develop his talents as a composer. Following his brother’s example, Johann later tutored his own children to become some of the best musicians of their generation. His youngest son became, in his own right, one of the most important influences on Mozart’s work.

It is tempting to interpret the order and harmony of Bach’s music as a metaphorical reflection of the order of his family. The stability and support of his wider family gave Bach the emotional strength to overcome his heartaches. This strength is reflected not only in his life but also in his work. Yet, the family alone cannot explain his ability to celebrate “The Passion” (suffering) of St. John or St. Matthew. This ability to celebrate suffering came from his faith in the resurrection— God’s triumph over suffering and death.

Philosophically speaking, Bach’s inner power to cope with his parents’ death came from his belief in a sovereign and loving God. His life and his compositions were saturated with the book that had given him profound personal and social hope.[25] Life taught him that evil was real and powerful, but the Bible taught him that God was at work redeeming the world, working all things together for good.[26] This biblical faith had been the key to the optimism and music of Western civilization: for Augustine as the Roman Empire was collapsing around him, for Luther as his own life was threatened by a powerful empire and a corrupt religious leadership, and for Tolkien as he lived through the horror of two World Wars.

These people knew evil and suffering, as did the Buddha and Cobain, but the difference was that the Bible gave them a basis for hope in this life as well as in the next. This biblical faith in a Creator who made human beings in his image and loved them enough to come to save them, made it possible for the West to sing, “O come, all ye faithful/ Joyful and triumphant.” In contrast, Cobain’s career demonstrates that without this faith the West’s hope and celebration are turning into a sense of abject despair. If we may borrow the language of musicologists, the West is losing its “tonality”—its “home/ key note,” its soul, its center, the reference point that allowed the relaxation/resolve of tension.


For centuries, Western music was tonal. That is, its hallmark was loyalty to a tonic key/home note. Every single piece gave preference to this one note (the tonic), making it the tonal center to which all other tones were related. The breakup of tonality in Western music is said to have begun with Adolf Hitler’s hero, Richard Wagner (1813–1883), who experimented with “atonality” in his opera Tristan and Isolde. Claude Debussy (1862–1918), Grand Master of the occult Rosicrucian lodges in France, took that experiment further. The West’s descent into the chaos of atonality accelerated in the twentieth century in Vienna, the capital of Europe’s cultural decadence [for example, the second Viennese school of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg].

Eventually the atonal composers had to create a new organization in their art to replace tonality—an artificial tonality called serialism. By dismissing tonality—the center—they lost something they hadn’t considered—form. Technically, Cobain retained tonality, but in a philosophical sense the loss of tonality in Western culture culminated in Cobain’s music, the icon of America’s nihilism and an unfortunate victim of a civilization that is losing its center, its soul. It must be added in his defense that by killing himself, Cobain demonstrated that he lived by what he believed. His sincerity makes him a legitimate icon. Most nihilists do not live in the grip of what they believe to be the central truth about reality. For example, French existentialists Sartre and Camus advocated choice in spite of the nihilism they embraced. In so doing they made a way out of Cobain’s problem. For them suicide was not necessary if one could create his own reality by choices.

Cobain remains popular because while many people claim to be nihilists, they don’t fully live it out. He did. He lived without creating his own reality through choice (or tonality through serial technique). He lived in the nihilism, in the “atonality,” and in that nihilism he died. In that sense Cobain stands as the direct opposite of the life, thoughts, and work of J. S. Bach. Whereas Bach’s music celebrated life’s meaning as the soul’s eternal rest in the Creator’s love, Cobain became a symbol of the loss of a center and meaning in the contemporary West.

While Western music has gone through dozens of phases with thousands of permutations since the time of Luther and Bach, in some ways it was only during the 1980s that a phenomenon like Kurt Cobain became possible. The rejection of a good, caring, and almighty God and a rejection of the biblical philosophy of sin ensured that there was no way to make sense of suffering— personal, societal, or environmental. Reality became senseless, hopeless, and painful.


Today, many people reject the Bible because they consider it to be irrational and irrelevant. Others believe it to be responsible for racial prejudices, sectarian bigotries, slavery, the oppression of women, the persecution of witches, opposition to science, the destruction of the environment, discrimination against homosexuals, and religious wars. However, this criticism itself reveals the powerful influence the Bible had during the last millennium. During that time, hardly any intellectual position or social practice could become mainstream in Christendom unless it could be defended on biblical grounds, real or mistaken; nor could beliefs and practices be challenged unless their opponents demonstrated that their call for reform was biblical.

Criticisms of the Bible are recognition of its unique cultural power. It has been the West’s intellectual and moral compass, the “sacred canopy” (Peter Berger) that gave legitimacy to its values and institutions. The West’s rejection of the Bible ushered in what historian Jacques Barzun called its “decadence.”[27] It brought an abrupt end to the Modern age [by that I mean the period from the sixteenth through the midtwentieth century when the Bible remained the dominant culture-shaping force, even though skeptics, agnostics, and atheists kept condemning the Bible], just when Western civilization seemed set to win the world. Now, having amputated the Bible, the Western educational machinery is producing “strays,” lost like Cobain. It can make good robots but it cannot even define a good man. The postmodern university can teach one how to travel to Mars but not how to live in one’s home or nation.[28]

India-born British author George Orwell (1903–50) was a socialist, inclined toward atheism. The horrors of Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and the two World Wars forced him to face the consequences of the “amputation of the soul.” In his “Notes on the Way,” Orwell wrote that the writers who sawed off the West’s soul included “Gibbon, Voltaire, Rousseau, Shelley, Byron, Dickens, Stendahl, Samuel Butler, Ibsen, Zola, Flaubert, Shaw, Joyce —in one way or another they are all of them destroyers, wreckers, saboteurs.”

These “Enlightenment” writers led the West into its present darkness.

In his essay Orwell was reflecting on Malcolm Muggeridge’s book The Thirties, which describes the damage these writers had done to Europe. Muggeridge, then still an atheist, was astute enough to perceive that,

we are living in a nightmare precisely because we have tried to set up an earthly paradise. We have believed in “progress.” Trusted to human leadership, rendered unto Caesar the things that are God’s. . . . There is no wisdom except in the fear of God; but no one fears God; therefore there is no wisdom. Man’s history reduces itself to the rise and fall of material civilizations, one Tower of Babel after another . . . downwards into abysses which are horrible to contemplate.[29]

I first discovered the Bible as a student in India. It transformed me as an individual and I soon learned that, contrary to what my university taught, the Bible was the force that had created modern India. Let me, therefore, begin our study of the book that built our world by telling you my own story.

Epigraph: George Orwell’s “Notes on the Way” was first published in Time and Tide, March 30—April 6, 1940. It is reprinted in Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968).


[1] “Endless, Nameless” on Nevermind (Los Angeles: Geffen Records, 1991). This song is a hidden track at the end of some copies of the CD.

[2] The Rolling Stone editors, Cobain (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994), 128. See “Suicidal Tendencies” by Diana Grains, 128–32.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Charles R. Cross, Heavier Than Heaven (NY: Hyperion, 2001), 15.

[5] Freud’s second topography undermines the modern, Cartesian understanding of selfhood that most in the West understand by “self.” Freud’s self is decentered.

[6] Band AC/DC.

[7] For a simple summary see Connie Zweig’s essay, “The Death of the Self in a Postmodern World” in The Truth About The Truth: Deconfusing and Re-Constructing the Postmodern World, ed. Walter Truett Anderson (NY: Penguin Putnam, 1995), 145–150.

[8] Rolling Stone, November 3, 2005, 54.

[9] Kurt Cobain, Journals (NY: Riverhead Books, 2003), 108–09.

[10] Steven Blush, American Hardcore: A Tribal History (Los Angeles; NY: Feral House, 2001), 9.

[11] A lyric by Agent Orange, “Living in Darkness,” Agent Orange (Warner/Elektra/ Atlantic, 1981).

[12] On February 25, 2009, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour submitted the 2008 Human Rights Report for Turkmenistan: “The government demonstrated little or no support for non-Turkmen music, but classical music was taught and performed throughout the country. The previously banned government-supported symphony orchestra was reestablished at the National Cultural Center and began monthly concerts of Turkmen and world classical music. The president decreed that the circus reopen, and the first opera performance took place in June. Traditional local music, which had not been performed for years, was played in concerts and social events.” US STATE DEPT (accessed January 16, 2011).

[13] Ephesians 5:18–20 NIV.

[14 ] For a biblical description of music in heaven, please see Revelation 5:7–9, 14:1– 3, 15:1–4.

[15] “Tibetan Buddhist Monk Nominated for Grammy award,” 3 February 2006, International Campaign for Tibet (accessed December 4, 2010).

[16] Job 38:4–7.

[17] J. R. R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion (Boston and NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001), 15–16. Tolkien’s fictional passage is an expression of the Bible’s teaching in Job 38, John 1, and the book of Revelation.

[18] Martin Luther’s Foreword to Georg Rhau’s Symphoniae Lucundae, a collection of chorale motets published in 1538, reprinted in From Liturgy and Hymns, ed. Ulrich S. Leupold; trans. Paul Zeller Strodach; vol. 53 of Luther’s Works, American Edition, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan and Helmut T. Lehmann (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1965).

[19] Martin Luther, The Table Talk of Martin Luther, trans. and ed. William Hazlitt (London: H. G. Bohn, 1857), 340.

[20] For example, see 1 Samuel 19:18–24 or 1 Chronicles 25:1–6. “David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. The list of those who did the work and of their duties was: Of the sons of Asaph . . . who prophesied under the direction of the king. Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun . . . who prophesied with the lyre in thanksgiving and praise to the LORD. Of Heman, the sons of Heman . . . the king’s seer, according to the promise of God to exalt him . . . They were all under the direction of their father in the music in the house of the LORD with cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of the house of God.”

[21] Acts 2:30.

[22] 1 Corinthians 14:1.

[23] Wilfrid Mellers, Bach and the Dance of God (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1981), 82.

[24] Christoph Wolff, Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (NY: Norton, 2000), 8.

[25] Ulrich Meyer, Biblical Quotations and Allusions in Cantata Libretti of Johann Sebastian Bach (London: Scarecrow Press, 1997), 177–216. Bible references that Bach quoted or alluded to in his compositions and writings.

[26] Romans 8:28.

[27] Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present, 500 years of Western Cultural Life (NY: HarperCollins, 2000). His concept of “decadence” is explained in his introduction.

[28] Stanley Fish, who retired as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago argued in an article, “Why We Built the Ivory Tower,” NY Times, May 21, 2004, that the Univ. should not even try to teach morality or good citizenship. He wrote, “Performing academic work responsibly and at the highest level is a job big enough for any scholar and for any institution. And, as I look around, it does not seem to me that we academics do that job so well that we can now take it upon ourselves to do everyone else’s job too. We should look to the practices in our own shop, narrowly conceived, before we set out to alter the entire world by forming moral character, or fashioning democratic citizens, or combating globalization, or embracing globalization, or anything else.”

[29] Ibid. Quoted by Orwell.

Martin Luther – Movie 1953 (English)

Martin Luther – Movie 1953 – English

Biopic of the German priest Martin Luther (played by Niall MacGinnis), covering his life between 1505 & 1530 A.D., and the birth of the Protestant Reformation movement.

The dramatic black and white classic film of Martin Luther’s life made in the 1950’s. This film was originally released in theaters worldwide and nominated for an Academy Award.

A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reforming efforts.

This film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Church. This film, in spite of its age, continues to be a popular resource to introduce Luther’s life.

This biographical picture was produced by Louis de Rochemont and RD-DR Corporation in collaboration with Lutheran Church Productions and Luther-Film-G.M.B.H.

The picture was filmed in studios in Wiesbaden, West Germany.

“Fun facts”:

  1. The biographical nature of Luther’s significance is portrayed with great detail but contains a few historical faults that have been noted.
  2. The more telling detail that’s lost to most, is the disturbingly larger factions that sought to not have the picture released in America. It was in fact pushed by the Roman Catholic Church to be banned from many cities across the United States.
  3. The film failed to be approved by Quebec’s film censorship board, which was made up entirely of French-speaking Catholics, since Luther’s radical teachings remained as heretical in 1953 as they were in the 16th Century, and thus was never released in Quebec’s movie theaters; it could only be seen there in the basements of Protestant churches.
  4. Martin Luther was not only a theologian and reformer, but also a musician and composer. The singing of the community receives through him a new place in the Reformed liturgy. He composed over thirty songs and wrote a hymn book with other musicians. He also demands singing lessons in schools.

The importance that music received from Luther has contributed to the remarkable development of this art in the German-speaking countries.

  • Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott / A mighty fortress is our God – (text & melody, 1529) is one of his songs, which can be heard at the end of this film.

“Whoever does not find God in Jesus Christ will never find Him, he seeks Him where he wants.” — Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) German theologian and reformer.

Is Martin Luther’s “Plague Advice” Good for Covid?

Personal Statement: J-and-J in May 2020, boosted with Covid, end of December. Raging headache for days. Like a bad cold, slight fever for 2-days, have lost all sense of smell and taste….just in time [/sarcasm] to try out my wife’s Christmas present – an air fryer.

A few thoughts on a Martin Luther quote I have seen used since 2020… first, the quote fashioned by RPT

I am only writing this post because I have just seen a similar Luther quote [albeit mine is more complete] on the Facebook of someone that should know better. One commentor noted:

  • False equivalency, among other logical fallacies. — C.P.

I responded thus (with a slight addition):

Really? A quote about the Black Plague?

The Bubonic plague was a deadly pandemic that wiped out a massive chunk of population in the World during the mid-1300s. In Europe alone the plague wiped out nearly 50% of Europe’s population. Some estimates even claim that Black Death wiped out around two-third of Europe’s population. According to National Geographic the plague killed around 25 million people, almost one-third of Europe’s population (National Geographic). The plague also killed half of London’s population in almost 4 years (Sciencemag). The Bubonic plague is reported to have killed an estimated 75–200 million people (Shipman). Historians report that people died rapidly. The streets were filled with corpses mounted over each other. And the priests were too scared to perform the death rites. Florence, a city of Italy, alone is reported to have 50,000 deaths out of a population of 80,000. The mortality rate was as high as 50% during the Bubonic plague era. (Joshua Mark)

….How serious is Covid-19 exactly? And how will the outcome of the pandemic differ if vaccines were mandatory rather than optional? What additional loss of life can be expected if we do not make vaccination compulsory?

That Covid-19 is serious is beyond question. But let’s look at a few markers to help us evaluate the severity of the risk to humanity.

The deadly Spanish Flu from 1918-1920 is estimated to have killed somewhere between 20-50 million people, or close to 3% of the world’s population. By contrast, Covid-19 has so far killed about 5.3 million people in two years. That represents about 0.07% of the global population. 

How deadly is Covid-19? The overall infection fatality rate (IFR) of Covid has been estimated to be between 0.1% and 0.2%. Quoting from an analysis by Professor John P.A. Ioannidis of multiple studies which calculated inferred IFR by seroprevalence data: 

“Interestingly, despite their differences in design, execution, and analysis, most studies provide IFR point estimates that are within a relatively narrow range.  Seven of the 12 inferred IFRs are in the range 0.07 to 0.20 (corrected IFR of 0.06 to 0.16) which are similar to IFR values of seasonal influenza. Three values are modestly higher (corrected IFR of 0.25-0.40 in Gangelt, Geneva, and Wuhan) and two are modestly lower than this range (corrected IFR of 0.02-0.03 in Kobe and Oise).” (emphasis mine).

For people under 60, the IFR is much lower still. And for vaccinated people, the risk of death from Covid-19 is reduced about ten fold. 

For a vaccinated person, the risk of Covid-19 is no worse than seasonal influenza. 

And this was before Omicron, the new variant which looks set to become the dominant strain around the world in the coming weeks, and so far appears to cause much milder symptoms and a much lower fatality rate. Why are we still in panic mode?

Over the last two years, there were roughly 120 million all cause deaths. Only 5.3 million of those (less than 5% of all deaths) were Covid-19 deaths. Thanks to the media’s scaremongering, there are many people who seem to think that Covid-19 was the leading cause of death in 2020 and 2021. Based on historical mortality data we can estimate that deaths due to cardiovascular disease probably exceeded 40 million over the last two years, while cancer deaths are likely to have exceeded 20 million. That reality does not nullify or make light of the tragic 5.3 million Covid-19 deaths so far. But it helps to put Covid-19 in perspective. …..

Arguing From The Other Side – Onne Vegter Sets Out The Case Against Mandatory Vaccines (December 2021)

AGAIN, this is in no way parallel to even the 1793 Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic. The city had reached about 50,000 residence, and over the course of the fever 5,000 died. That is 5% of that cities population. Comparing…

  • These unparalleled public health actions were enacted for a virus with an infection mortality rate (IFR) roughly similar to seasonal influenza. Stanford’s John P.A. Ioannidis identified 36 studies (43 estimates) along with an additional 7 preliminary national estimates (50 pieces of data) and concluded that among people <70 years old across the world, infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 0.57% with a median of 0.05% across the different global locations (with a corrected median of 0.04%). AIER

Back in June of 2020 I noted the following:

  • The CDC just came out with a report that should be earth-shattering to the narrative of the political class, yet it will go into the thick pile of vital data and information about the virus that is not getting out to the public. For the first time, the CDC has attempted to offer a real estimate of the overall death rate for COVID-19, and under its most likely scenario, the number is 0.26%. Officials estimate a 0.4% fatality rate among those who are symptomatic and project a 35% rate of asymptomatic cases among those infected*jump, which drops the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to just 0.26% — almost exactly where Stanford researchers pegged it a month ago.RPT

Keep in mind in March of 2020 I noted that the rates would be from 0.03% to 0.25% — not to brag or anything, but I am in the 23-studies lane-lines of the Stanford study mentioned in June. I just couldn’t differentiate between age groups, but that was assumed as the average age of deaths.

All this is to say is that to compare such an even is at best a non-sequitur. Much like the same person’s comparing

Dr. Sarfati, with whom I agree on most things, shows unfortunately his twisted logic on vaccines — all the while calling those who disagree with his position in the slightest: anti-vaxers.”

Here is his posting:

Anti-vaxers: Is there any other vaccine in history that required three doses in a year and yet still didn’t prevent transmission of the virus it was meant to protect against?

Reality: remember your childhood vaccines which kept you safe and which you are depriving your children from.

Here are the two responses I wish to note:

S.L. – I shouldn’t respond because I am not an ‘anti-vaxxer’ (I am vaccinated with every vaccine my GP recommended), but I’d just like to comment on this vaccine schedule. I (and most people my age) received FAR less vaccinations that suggested on the above or the current schedule in Australia. I received 6 vaccinations in my first five years of life in Germany in 1970: tuberculosis, smallpox, measles, diphtheria, polio and whooping cough. Some of these were boosted ONCE. So apart from the occasional influenza vaccine (which I take when the ‘season’ looks particularly ominous) I have had perhaps 15 shots in my life. My children (born in the early millennium in Australia) had many additional vaccinations but still not as many as required above. We followed the increased schedule but spaced out and separated the MMR vaccines at the suggestion of our pediatrician at the time. We also refused the HPV vaccine for both children at 14. They were not about to be sexually active. We decided (with them) that they can choose to take the HPV vaccine as adults. Both kids (19 and 22) are healthy and have always been. Same with me – though I’ve worked in education all my life i.e.. in contact with many different people every day and exposed to every ‘childhood disease’ outbreak you can think of. I have no compelling reason to accept uncritically that vaccinations requirements should have needed to go up the way they have because someone wants to improve our health. lol.

Here is my response as well… a bit shorter:

ME – I honestly do not know. Are those doses minimized due to age? And a single or two dose be given to adults? To Wit….

To support my observational question…. well, somewhat answer it — the ATLANTIC notes the following:

  • ….10 micrograms of RNA in each Pfizer shot, a third of the 30-microgram recipe that’s given to people 12 and older. Further down the road, pending another set of votes, authorizations, and recommendations, kids 4 and younger will get a wee 3 micrograms, a tenth of what their parents get…..

Historically, variola major [smallpox] has a case-fatality rate of about 30% (FDA | TIME). In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic became the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. Of the nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.

(FLASHBACK) Dr. Kelly Victory says delta variant is far, far less lethal

So, even if say 3 adult vaccination shots are needed for such a horrible disease… to require boosters and laws regulating Covid “vaccines,” is not where the evidence leads. The fatality rates and survivability of Covid compared and an argument for vaccinations is moot. Both in the IFR, CFR, and the efficacy of these “vaccines” for Covid are the basis to reject such logic in the OP (original post).

I have also in the past questioned the death rate and other factors are wildly overcounted.

Hospitalization Numbers:

Death Numbers:

Two examples from this post to make a point:

Example One:

A pair of gunshot deaths that counted among COVID fatalities have earned the ire of a county coroner in Colorado. Grand County, in the sparsely-populated (but breathtaking) northwestern quarter of the state, is home to fewer than 15,000 people and has been lucky enough to endure only a handful of deaths related to the Wuhan Virus.

But of those five deaths, County Coroner Brenda Bock says two actually died of gunshot wounds.

Bock sounded furious in her interview with CBS4 News in Denver, and with good reason. Grand County’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, and as Bock told CBS4, “It’s absurd that they would even put that on there.”

“Would you want to go to a county that has really high death numbers?” she asked, presumably rhetorically. “Would you want to go visit that county because they are contagious? You know I might get it, and I could die if all of a sudden one county has a high death count. We don’t have it, and we don’t need those numbers inflated.”

Bock told CBS4 that because the victims had tested positive for COVID-19 within 30 days of having been shot, the county classified them as “deaths among cases.”

That’s a curious definition, but one required by the national reporting rules created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….


That is literally 40%!

Example two:

  • Just one more of the many examples I could share is the New York Times getting 40% wrong of their “died from Covid-19 under 30-years old” front page news story. Mmmm, no, they didn’t die of Covid.

Another four-zero. Just sayin.

First Omicron Death (With or Of)

Promises, Promises

I.E., if masks work, why don’t they work? If lockdowns work, why don’t lockdowns work?

I think these stories are related to the non-sequitur nature of the OP… in that it is a false equivalency:

Martin Luther would surely be on the “keep society open” side considering the evidence.

Gay Christians?

  • and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20)

Luther Comments:

“Yet not I.” That is to say, not in mine own person, nor in mine own substance. Here he plainly showeth by what means he liveth; and he teacheth what true Christian righteousness is, namely, that righteousness whereby Christ liveth in us, and not that which is in our own person. And here Christ and my conscience must become one body, so that nothing remain in my sight but Christ crucified, and raised from the dead. But if I behold myself only, and set Christ aside, I am gone. For Christ being lost, there is no counsel nor succour, but certain desperation and destruction must follow.

The following story starts will quote first BREITBART, following it will be a portion of an article (and audio) from an NPR PIECE.

(BREITBART) National Public Radio aired a remarkable interview on Sunday’s Weekend Edition with Allan Edwards, a Presbyterian pastor who is gay, yet lives a heterosexual life. Torn between his sexuality and his faith, he chose his faith–without trying to “convert” his attraction to men, and without trying to change his religion to fit his personal preferences. The conversation between NPR’s Weekend Edition and Edwards–and his wife–sheds light on an often overlooked constituency in the debate over gay marriage.

Edwards explains that he began to realize he was attracted to men during his teenage years, at the same time he was active in his church youth movement. He realized immediately that there was a conflict between his sexuality and his faith, and tried to find a justification in the Bible for living a gay life as a Christian. He could not, he says–and so he chose to live a heterosexual life, in accordance with the teachings of his church. He does not deny his gay sexuality, but does not act on those feelings, he says.

In that way, Edwards says, he is no different than anyone else. Everyone, he says, experiences some kinds of forbidden desire, or a sense of discontentment with their lives, and they have to adjust their behavior to their values and goals. He and his wife have a sexual relationship, despite his attraction to men, and they are expecting their first child. He is reluctant to judge others, but when pressed by Montaigne, says that he believes those who try to adjust Christianity to accept same-sex marriage are “in error.”

He acknowledges that others might call his lifestyle one of suppression–one that is doomed to divorce or suicide. He disagrees, and says that his relationship with God comes before other parts of his identity, including his sexuality….

…read more…

How did this young man come to find his identity within the Christian faith? Simple, if Jesus is who He claims to be, then he [pastor Edwards… and we/us] should believe what Jesus believes. Simple:


Allan Edwards is the pastor of Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America. He’s attracted to men, but considers acting on that attraction a sin. Accordingly, Edwards has chosen not to act on it.

“I think we all have part of our desires that we choose not to act on, right?” he says. “So for me, it’s not just that the religion was important to me, but communion with a God who loves me, who accepts me right where I am.”

Where he is now is married. He and his wife, Leanne Edwards, are joyfully expecting a baby in July.


He didn’t understand how he could resolve his feelings, he says, and had little support from his friends. “I didn’t know anyone else who experienced same-sex attractions, so I didn’t talk about it much at all,” Allan says.

But at a small, Christian liberal arts college, he did start talking.

“My expectation was, if I started talking to other guys about this, I’m going to get ostracized and lambasted,” Allan says. “I actually had the exact opposite experience … I actually was received with a lot of love, grace, charity: some confusion, but openness to dialogue.”

Allan considered following a Christian denomination that accepts gay relationships, but his interpretation of the Bible wouldn’t allow it, he says.

“I studied different methods of reading the scripture and it all came down to this: Jesus accepts the rest of the scripture as divined from God,” he says. “So if Jesus is who he says he is, then we kind of have to believe what he believes.”

…read more…

In other words, Christ’s claims and later His backing his claim with the Resurrection should make any one WANT to thank his/her creator by worshiping Him in obedience for the work done for each of us on Calvary. Pastor Edwards is building riches in his heavenly home in his obedience.

Wesley Hill, who is a scholar of New Testament studies and happens to be an openly gay Christian. He says the Bible makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. And so, subjects himself to the will of the Lamb… not subjecting the Lamb to his will:

Now… I would be remiss to note as well that there are many people who once were gay, but through Christ’s redeeming power they no longer identify as homosexual. There is a play list of some testimony in this regard at Theology, Philosophy and Science’s YouTube Channel: Ex-Gay People.

The above testimonies and viewpoints add to a previous upload of mine a while back with three church leaders talking about this same-sex attraction but duty to God ~ and it is this duty to God that gives a new identity (a “new man” if you will):

The three men in the above interview (see below) have a powerful testimony to God working in their lives. They take Scripture serious and share their struggles openly and honestly in this interview by Justin Brierley of Premier Christian Radio for his show, “Unbelievable” ( This interview and some other recent insights via Stand to Reason and Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, has me evolving and honing my apologetic on this more and more (See #4 of my cumulative case:

▼ Sean Doherty is associate minister at St Francis, Dalgarno Way in London and teaches theology at St Mellitus College;
▼ Sam Allberry is associate minister at St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead;
▼ Ed Shaw is part of the leadership of Emmanuel Church, Bristol.

This is the larger interview of which I isolated Sean Doherty’s portion here.

And Savi Hensman of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Anglican blogger Peter Ould debate the issues in the interview.

Here I am adding a video by First Things, and it is a short talk about a woman who is gay but has chosen to live towards truth. While I am not a Catholic, I am an admirer of people who sacrifice for the faith:

Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith
— from First Things on Vimeo

Eve Tushnet is a lesbian and celibate Catholic freelance writer. She studied philosophy at Yale University, where she was received into the Catholic Church in 1998. She writes from D.C., and has been published in (among others) Commonweal, First Things, The National Catholic Register, National Review, and The Washington Blade. Eve blogs at

And one of the most important presentations delineating the issue of “can a Christian be a homosexual?” is by Dr. William Lane Craig (see also his article, “Christian Homosexuals?” & “A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality“). His other noteworthy videos are these:

Another pastor who grew up in the mix of the LGBT culture… and his in-depth knowledge of what is often “Messy Grace” in a fallen world.

How the Reformation Shaped Your World

Can one man change the world? The life and work of Martin Luther prove the answer to that question is an unqualified, “yes.” Stephen Cornils of the Wartburg Theological Seminary details the rebellion that fractured a centuries-old religion and changed the course of history.

A Man Named Martin Luther – The Movement

Lutheran Hour Ministries (2017) – From Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517 to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, God was at work in the Reformation. Fierce debates over Scripture, church doctrine, and late medieval church practice led to theological positions articulating salvation as God’s grace in action, with man being left to add nothing to his own salvation. In A Man Named Martin – Part 3: The Movement, viewers will see how the Reformation transformed European society and, eventually, left a profound impression around the globe.

Voddie Baucham On The Gospel Centered Marriage

A couple friends and I are going though Voddie Baucham’s book, and we added some media to the mix. I wanted to post the sermon from the 2012 Shepherd’s Conference that we watched. And to give you a taste of how wide and diverse the Body is… one of us has been married for 22-years (not easy though!), another is getting married soon, and the other is divorced and working through being a father and preparing for a real relationship in the future. WE ALL are all student’s of our Lord, and are being challenged and learning from Voddie’s work, a fellow lover of our Lord.

Here are some quotes from the Reformers that were stolen from THE CHRISTIAN BRIDE RESOURCE (no posts since 2013). Take note this should be combined with this post, “The Office of Marriage,” enjoy:

Martin Luther, Preaching on Marriage

“How I dread preaching on the estate of marriage! I am reluctant to do it because I am afraid if I once get really involved in the subject it will make a lot of work for me and for others. … I would much prefer neither to look into the matter nor to hear of it. But timidity is no help in an emergency; I must proceed. I must try to instruct poor bewildered consciences, and take up the matter boldly….

In order that we may not proceed as blindly, but rather conduct ourselves in a Christian manner, hold fast first of all to this, that man and woman are the work of God. Keep a tight rein on your heart and your lips; do not criticize His work, or call that evil which He himself has called good. He knows better than you yourself what is good and to your benefit, as he says in Genesis 1 [2:18], “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” There you see that He calls the woman good, a helper. If you deem it otherwise, it is certainly your own fault, you neither understand nor believe God’s word and work. See, with this statement of God one stops the mouths of all those who criticise and censure marriage.

For this reason young men should be on their guard when they read pagan books and hear the common complaints about marriage, lest they inhale poison. For the estate of marriage does not set well with the devil, because it is God’s good will and work. This is why the devil has contrived to have so much shouted and written in the world against the institution of marriage, to frighten men away from this godly life and entangle them in a web of fornication and secret sins. Indeed, it seems to me that even Solomon, although he amply censures evil women, was speaking against just such blasphemers when he said in Proverbs 18 [:22], “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.” What is this good thing and this favour? Let us see.

The world says of marriage, “Brief is the joy, lasting the bitterness.” Let them say what they please; what God wills and creates is bound to be a laughingstock to them. The kind of joy and pleasure they have outside of wedlock they will be most acutely aware of, I suspect, in their consciences. To recognise the estate of marriage is something quite different from merely being married. He who is married but does not recognise the estate of marriage cannot continue in wedlock without bitterness, drudgery, and anguish; he will inevitably complain and blaspheme like the pagans and blind, irrational men. But he who recognises the estate of marriage will find therein delight, love, and joy without end; as Solomon says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing,” etc.

Now the ones who recognise the estate of marriage are those who firmly believe that God himself instituted it, brought husband and wife together, and ordained that they should beget children and care for them. For this they have God’s word, Genesis 1 [:28], and they can be certain that he does not lie. They can therefore also be certain that the estate of marriage and everything that goes with it in the way of conduct, works, and suffering is pleasing to God. Now tell me, how can the heart have greater good, joy, and delight than in God, when one is certain that his estate, conduct, and work is pleasing to God?

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason (which the pagans followed in trying to be most clever), takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, “Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? O you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful, carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, “O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers. or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labour, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.”

A wife too should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways; and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works. This is also how to comfort and encourage a woman in the pangs of childbirth, not by repeating St Margaret legends and other silly old wives’ tales, but by speaking thus, “Dear Grete, remember that you are a woman, and that this work of God in you is pleasing to him. Trust joyfully in his will, and let him have his way with you. Work with all your might to bring forth the child. Should it mean your death, then depart happily, for you will die in a noble deed and in subservience to God. If you were not a woman you should now wish to be one for the sake of this very work alone, that you might thus gloriously suffer and even die in the performance of God’s work and will. For here you have the word of God, who so created you and implanted within you this extremity.” Tell me, is not this indeed (as Solomon says) “to obtain favour from the Lord,” even in the midst of such extremity?”

John Calvin’s Writing on Marrying and Marriage

(On what he looked for in a wife…)

“Always keep in mind what I seek to find in her, for I am none of those insane lovers who embrace also the vices of those with whom they are in love, where they are smitten at first with a fine figure. This is the only beauty that allures me: if she is chaste, if not too fussy or fastidious, if economical, if patient, if there is hope that she will be interested in my health.”

(In a letter to a new convert…)

I might wish that you were a little more sparing in your approval of celibacy. (Please pardon my naivete, in that I do not hesitate to tell you freely what I do not like.)

I see that your advice is not without a reasonable basis. Those who are involved in marriage are less free for the Lord’s work, and it is expedient for those who want to consecrate themselves altogether to the Lord to be free of this hindrance. Then too, continence itself lends not a little dignity to the holy ministry. Lastly, you do not use pressure or tyranny to force celibacy upon those who hold ecclesiastical office, but you counsel with them simply and convince them of what you judge to be in the best interests of the church.

And yet, although I confess that marriage brings with it many different impediments, and that it is desirable for the servants of Christ to be free of these, nevertheless I do no concede that the impediments are of a sort to call them away from their duty. I would argue, on the contrary, that celibacy has its own disadvantages, and that these are considerable and not all of one type. I am not speaking yet of the difficulty of sexual continence. I say that celibate men are distracted by no slighter and fewer distractions than married men

John Knox

“Brethren, you are ordained of God to rule your own houses in his true fear, and according to his word. Within your houses, I say, in some cases, you are bishops and kings; your wife, children, servants, and family are your bishopric and charge. Of you it shall be required how carefully and diligently you have instructed them in God’s true knowledge, how you have studied to plant virtue in them, and [to] repress vice. And therefore I say, you must make them partakers in reading, exhorting, and in making common prayers, which I would in every house were used once a day at least.”

Martin Bucer

“Now the proper and ultimate end of marriage is not copulation, or childrenbut the full and proper and main end of marriage is the communicating of all duties both divine and human, each to other with utmost benevolence and affection.”


“There should be the most intimate unity in marriage in accord with its divine institution.”


“Therefore, let Christians be mindful of the purpose of the institution of marriage, and let them remember that to regard for any reason as unlawful what is commended by God’s voice as good—as indeed we read that marriage is so commended—is to impugn the goodness of God.”


“Let us notice here also the commendation of the wonderful dignity of marriage: God is its author, and he it is who unites those who come together in marriage. What way of life, what regimen of the holiest of monks and nuns enjoys such an encomium? Therefore, let husbands and wives nourish their confidence on this truth, that God has joined them together. Though they complain when any adversity befalls them, he cannot possibly abandon them in the estate in which he himself has placed them, provided they depend upon him. Moreover, let them nourish also their love on this truth, for if God has joined them together in such a way that they become one person and cleave to each other after leaving their parents, the husband should obviously be happy with whatever wife the Lord has assigned him, and love her as his own flesh. The wife in turn must honor her husband for the Lord’s sake, whatever kind of man he may be, because God has given him to her. Each of them, indeed, ought not to doubt that whatever he or she does for the other partner is done for the Lord.”

BTW, I love how Voddie expresses early that a) he is speaking of the “ideal,” and b) no one is living the ideal. BUT, that doesn’t mean we do not strive towards it. Scripture says we are to “run with patience (endurance, persistence) the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith… For consider Him that endured… lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

The DAILY SIGNAL has this summary:

….In the same way Scripture commands us to love God and love others as we love ourselves, perhaps marriage can be thought of as an act to love God and others, and to grow ourselves.

Talk to any happily married couple, and they will tell you marriage has humbled them, highlighted their weaknesses, and expanded their capacity to love. In short, marriage has forced them to grow as people. And couples in healthy marriages often express a deep joy that they have found in having a companion to walk through the highs and lows of life with.

Marriage is a gift to the betterment of self. 

But marriage viewed only as a means to make you and your spouse happier and healthier is like Leonardo da Vinci painting the body of the Mona Lisa without the face: It’s beautiful, but incomplete. 

Studies, such as those reported by the National Library of Medicine, find that married men are less likely to commit crime when married to women without a criminal record, and children who have two parents, whether biological or adopted, are less likely to live in poverty and are more likely to reach higher levels of education and occupational attainment.

Marriage even decreases alcohol use, according to studies

Marriage gives individuals something to live for that is bigger than self-fulfillment, and that in turn benefits society, aka “others.” It’s no stretch to say a marriage boom across America would do more to reduce crime, end child poverty, and raise living standards than any government program ever could. 

The full picture of the purpose of marriage can only be completed in light of God and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Even if one is not a believer in God, the following may still prove helpful to understanding why marriage is so important to faith-filled communities across the world. 

Scripture refers to the Church, those who believe in and follow Jesus, as Christ’s “bride.” Marriage between a man and woman on Earth is intended to be a reflection of Christ’s love and commitment to His bride, the Church. 

As the book of Ephesians advises, “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”….

A good BIBLE.ORG lesson is this one: “Faith to Run the Christian Marathon” — remember, a race has a goal. Jesus life and finished work is our ideal, our goal, so train well (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).



The “Office” of Marriage and Love in the Reformation

The reformers’ early preoccupation with marriage was driven, in part, by their jurisprudence. The starting assumption of the budding Lutheran theories of law, society, and politics was that the earthly king­dom was governed by the three natural estates of household, Church, and state. Hausvater, Gottesvater, and Landesvater; paterfamilias, patertheologicus, and patapofiticus— these were the three natural offices through which God re­vealed Himself and reflected His authority in the world. These three offices and orders stood equal before God and before each other. Each was called to discharge essential tasks in the earthly kingdom without impediment or interference from the other. The reform of marriage, therefore, was as important as the reform of the Church and the state. Indeed, marital reform was even more urgent, for the marital house­hold was, in the reformers’ view, the “oldest,” “most primal,” and “most essential” of the three estates, yet the most deprecated and subordinated of the three. Marriage is the “mother of all earthly laws,” Luther wrote, and the source from which the Church, the state, and other earthly insti­tutions flowed. “God has most richly blessed this estate above all others, and in addition, has bestowed on it and wrapped up in it everything in the world, to the end that this estate might be well and richly provided for. Married life therefore is no jest or presumption; it is an excellent thing and a matter of divine seriousness.”

The reformers’ early preoccupation with marriage was driven, in part, by their politics. A number of early leaders of the Reformation faced aggressive prosecution by the Catholic Church and its political allies for violation of the canon law of marriage and celibacy. Among the earliest Protestant leaders were ex-priests and ex-monastics who had forsaken their orders and vows, and often married shortly thereafter. Indeed, one of the acts of solidarity with the new Protestant cause was to marry or divorce in open violation of the canon law and in defiance of a bishop’s instructions. This was not just an instance of crime and disobedience. It was an outright scandal, particularly when an ex-monk such as Brother Martin Luther married an ex-nun such as Sister Katherine von Bora —a prima facie case of spiritual incest As Catholic Church courts began to prosecute these canon law offenses, Protestant theologians and jurists rose to the defense of their co-religionists, producing a welter of briefs, letters, sermons, and pamphlets that denounced traditional norms and pronounced a new theology of marriage.

Evangelical theologians treated marriage not as a sacramental insti­tution of the heavenly kingdom, but as a social estate of the earthly kingdom. Marriage was a natural institution that served the goods and goals of mutual love and support of husband and wife, procreation and nurture of children, and mutual protection of spouses from sexual sin. All adults, preachers and others alike, should pursue the calling of marriage, for all were in need of the comforts of marital love and of protection from sexual sin. When properly structured and governed, the marital house­hold served as a model of authority charity, and pedagogy in the earthly kingdom and as a vital instrument for the reform of Church, state, and society. Parents served as “bishops” to their children. Siblings served as priests to each other. The household altogether — particularly the Chris­tian household of the married minister — was a source of “evangelical impulses” in society.

Though divinely created and spiritually edifying, however, marriage and the family remained a social estate of the earthly kingdom. All parties could partake of this institution, regardless of their faith. Though subject to divine law and clerical counseling, marriage and family life came within the ,jurisdiction of the magistrate, not the cleric; of the civil law, not the canon law. The magistrate, as God’s vice-regent of the earthly kingdom, was to set the laws for marriage formation, maintenance, and dissolution; child custody, care, and control; family property, inheritance, and commerce.

Political leaders rapidly translated this new Protestant gospel into civil law. Just as the civil act of marriage often came to signal a person’s conversion to Protestantism, so the Civil Marriage Act came to symbol­ize a political community’s acceptance of the new Evangelical theology. Political leaders were quick to establish comprehensive new marriage laws for their polities, sometimes building on late medieval civil laws that had already controlled some aspects of this institution. The first reformation ordinances on marriage and family life were promulgated in 1522. More than sixty such laws were on the books by the time of Luther’s death in 1546. The number of new marriage laws more than doubled again in the second half of the sixteenth century in Evangelical portions of Germany. Collectively, these new Evangelical marriage laws: (1) shifted primary marital jurisdiction from the Church to the state; (2) strongly encouraged the marriage of clergy; (3) denied that celibacy, virginity, and monasticism were superior callings to marriage; (4) denied the sacramentality of marriage and the religious tests and impediments traditionally imposed on its participants; (5) modified the doctrine of consent to betrothal and marriage, and required the participation of parents, peers, priests, and political officials in the process of marriage formation; (6) sharply curtailed the number of impediments to betrothal and putative marriages; and (7) introduced divorce, in the modern sense, on proof of adultery, malicious desertion, and other faults, with a subse­quent right to remarriage at least for the innocent party. These changes eventually brought profound and permanent change to the life, lore, and law of marriage in Evangelical Germany.

John Witte, Jr., Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 200-202.

God’s Ideal Should Be Mine

Persons should accept marriage not only as a duty that served society, but also as a remedy against sexual sin. Since the fall into sin, lust has pervaded the conscience of every person, the Lutheran reformers insisted. Marriage has become an absolute necessity of sinful humanity, for without it, the person’s distorted sexuality becomes a force capable of overthrowing the most devout conscience. A person is enticed by his or her own nature to prostitution, masturbation, voyeurism, homosexuality, and sundry other sinful acts. The gift of marriage, Luther wrote, should be declined only by those who have received God’s gift of continence. “Such persons are rare, not one in a thousand, for they are a special miracle of God.” The Apostle Paul has identified this group as the permanently impotent and the eunuchs; few others can claim such a unique gift.

This understanding of the created origin and purpose of marriage un-dergirded the reformers’ bitter attack on celibacy and monasticism. To require celibacy of clerics, monks, and nuns was beyond the authority of the church and ultimately a source of great sin. Celibacy was for God to give, not for the church to require. It was for each individual, not for the church, to decide whether he or she had received this gift. By demanding monastic vows of chastity and clerical vows of celibacy, the church was seen to be intruding on Christian freedom and violating scripture, nature, and common sense. By institutionalizing and encouraging celibacy the church was seen to prey on the immature and the uncertain. By holding out food, shelter, security, and opportunity, the monasteries enticed poor and needy parents to condemn their children to celibate monasticism. Mandatory celibacy, Luther taught, was hardly a prerequisite to true service of God. Instead, it led to “great whoredom and all manner of fleshly impurity and… hearts filled with thoughts of women day and night.” For the consciences of Christians and non-Christians alike are infused with lust, and a life of celibacy and monasticism only heightens the temptation.

John Witte, Jr., From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), 50.

Double Imputation – Better Than A Double Rainbow


Imputed righteousness is a theological concept directly related to the doctrine of Justification. It is particularly prevalent in the Reformed tradition.

“Justification is that step in salvation in which God declares the believer righteous. Protestant theology has emphasized that this includes the imputation of Christ’s righteousness (crediting it to the believer’s “account”), whereas Roman Catholic theology emphasizes that God justifies in accord with an infused righteousnessmerited by Christ and maintained by the believer’s good works,” (Elwell Evangelical Dictionary). Imputed righteousness therefore means that upon repentance and belief in Christ, individuals are forensically declared righteous. This righteousness is not the believer’s own, rather it is Christ’s own righteousness ‘imputed’ to the believer.

A primary line of argumentation for this doctrine maintains that perfect righteousness or holiness is necessary to be with God. All mankind “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) because all their ‘righteousness’ is like filthy rags (Is 64:6) before the throne of God, and so all are “dead in their trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), and as a result “will not come into [God’s] light for fear that their evil deeds will be revealed” (John 3:20). All mankind is in this predicament because all are the offspring of Adam and Eve (Rom 5) who originally sinned against God. As a result of Adam’s fall, the world was cursed and sin entered the world. But upon confession of one’s own sin and faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, the sinner is justified and counted as having the righteousness of Christ.


Imputed righteousness is one of the classic doctrines of Protestantism and traces back through the Reformers – chiefly John Calvin and Martin Luther. These men stood against the Roman Catholic doctrine of infused righteousness where the righteousness of the saints and of Christ is gradually infused to the believer through the sacraments. For the Catholic, infused righteousness either gradually dissipates as the believer takes part in worldly sins or is enhanced by good works. If the believer dies without having the fullness of righteousness, coming in part from the last rites, he or she will temporarily spend time in purgatory until the sinful status is purged from his or her record.