It is often said that Luther restored congregational singing. This is true, but he did more than that: Luther restored preaching to the congregation—a most appropriate activity for lay priests. “If, now, the congregation is to proclaim the divine truth, it must have a sermon worth preaching. This is the reason for the substantial…doctrinal content in many of the Reformation hymns.”
—P. J. Janson, “The Reason We Sing, Reformation and Revival 4.4 (Fall 1995), 19
Johann von Staupitz, Luther’s mentor, asked him once, “Luther, what happens if all this works, if you have your Reformation. What happens to the devotions, and to the pilgrimages, and to the relics, and to all the wonderful things of the Church; and to the marvelous, majestic liturgy, with all of its pomp and ceremony; all these things that we’ve grown up with and that we love so dearly and that are so close to our hearts? What will be left when you’re through?”
And Luther said, “Christ.”
—cited by Michael Horton
What should happen in this house of God is that our Lord Himself will speak to us through His holy Word, and we in turn will speak to Him with our prayers and songs of praise.
—Martin Luther (on the door into the Castle Church in Wittenberg, on the other side of which Luther posted his 95 Theses)
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.
I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
He has given me everything,
forgiven me everything,
promised me everything.
And I lack nothing except
the faith to believe it.
If it is asked how we can be sure that a tradition of the Church universal is not in fact a corrupt tradition we have the answer of the Reformers: “always in accordance with the Word of God.” The Scriptures are the continual control upon all traditions—universal, denominational, and local.
—Rev. D. H. C. Read, “The Reformation of Worship,” Scottish Journal of Theology 8:1 (March 1955):78
Tradition is the living faith of the dead, while traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. It is traditionalism that gives tradition a bad name.
—Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition Vol. 1,9,65
Tradition is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.