Defiant in Doctrine, Repentant in Life
Doctrine is the chief matter in which I am defiant, not only against princes and kings, but also against every devil, and indeed, apart from that there is nothing else that preserves, strengthens, cheers, and can make my heart even more defiant. The second matter, my personal life, I myself know to be sinful to such a degree it is not worth defending. I am a poor sinner and its fine with me if my opponents are pure saints and angels. Good for them, if they can maintain it. Not that I want to be that kind of person before the world and those who are not Christians, but before God and his dear Christians. I also want to be good before the world, and I am, so much so that they are not worthy to untie my shoelaces. They shall also never be able to prove by the truth that I have lived or acted towards anyone before the world such that I was not teaching them what is good. In short, I am not someone who is too humble, nor too proud, just as St. Paul says: “I can be exalted and I can be humbled, I can suffer poverty or have enough.” Phil. 2.3. For the sake of my doctrine I am very much too stalwart, unbending and proud to the devil, emperor, king, princes and all the world, but for the sake of my life I am also humble and submissive even to every child. Whoever doesn’t know that should hear it now.
— Martin Luther, Reply to the King of England’s Blasphemous Letter. L. W. Halle. XIX. 510-11.
Printed by C.F.W. Walther in Der Lutheraner, Volume I, Number 20 (May 1845), p. 80; Translated by Rev. Joel Baseley. Register to receive copies of Pastor Baseley’s translations of Der Lutheraner, for free.