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The Judgment of Reason

September 12, 2020
By Martin Luther

It is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."

1 CORINTHIANS 1:19

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The Judgment of Reason

When God proposes the doctrines of faith, He always proposes things that are simply impossible and absurd—if, that is, you want to follow the judgment of reason. It does indeed seem ridiculous and absurd to reason that in the Lord's Supper the body and the blood of Christ are presented, that Baptism is "the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5), that Christ the Son of God was conceived and carried in the womb of the Virgin, that He was born, that He suffered the most ignominious of deaths on the cross, that He was raised again, that He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He now has "authority in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). Paul calls the Gospel of Christ the crucified "the Word of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18) and "the folly of preaching" (1 Corinthians 1:21), which the Jews regarded as offensive and the Greeks as a foolish doctrine. Reason judges this way about all the doctrines of the faith; for it does not understand that the supreme form of worship is to hear the voice of God and to believe . . .. But faith slaughters reason and kills the beast that the whole world and all the creatures cannot kill.

From Lectures on Galatians (1535) (Luther's Works 26:227-28)