Luther's Works, Volume 56 (Sermons III)

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These sermons of Luther’s particularly cover the administration of the Lord’s Supper, the remembrance of the saints, and the "estate of marriage."
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About this Volume
Martin Luther arrived in Wittenberg as an Augustinian friar and scholar, and his primary call was to the university. Yet from 1514 onward, he was also called by the Wittenberg town council to preach in the parish church, and periodically he was invited to preach in the Castle Church. Upon his return from the Wartburg in 1522, and for the next decade, Luther’s preaching—more than 1,000 sermons—was a central means of organizing and directing reform in Wittenberg. The sermons also served to extend his voice beyond Saxony, as Luther’s words from the pulpit were copied down and printed in Wittenberg and across Germany. The present volume offers a selection of Luther’s sermons from this exceptionally fruitful and important period of his preaching.

Luther used his sermons to inculcate the basic structures of Christian doctrine and life: the distinction between Law and Gospel and the use of Christian freedom and love for the neighbor. Unlike Karlstadt, Luther urged Christians who had been set free by the Gospel to show love for the weak in making changes. His sermons in these years particularly apply these principles to the administration of the Lord’s Supper and the remembrance of the saints. In addition to instruction in Christian doctrine from the pulpit over the course of the 1520s, Luther also sought to teach the Wittenberg congregation to understand and appreciate the “estate of marriage” and the “temporal sword” as God’s own appointed order for human life in the world. Luther extolled God’s institution and blessing of marriage and emphasized His forgiveness which covered any sin that might remain in the flesh therein while defending the regrettable possibility of divorce under certain circumstances.

About the Series
The 28 planned volumes are intended to reflect both modern and sixteenth-century interests and to expand the coverage of genres underrepresented in the existing volumes of Luther's Works, such as Luther's sermons and disputations. The primary basis for the translation is the comprehensive Weimar edition.

“Among the greatest and most prolific theologians of Christian history, Martin Luther still speaks to us today. This 28-volume new series splendidly complements its 55-volume predecessor and offers a treasure-trove of writings never before available in English, writings crucial to understanding Luther’s life, thought, and profound influence throughout the centuries. Offering readable yet reliable translations, well introduced and appropriately annotated, this new series should delight scholars as well as engage laity and clergy.”

—Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Academic Dean, Harvard Divinity School

“Luther’s analysis of human life and his proclamation of God’s merciful deliverance of humankind from sin and evil through Christ ring true across the cultural boundaries of time and space. This supplement to the historic edition of the reformer’s writings, completed a quarter century ago, is bringing significant additions to the texts from his pen than are currently available in English. It will also provide English-language readers access to documents that aid in understanding Luther’s own life and the development of the Wittenberg Reformation. The volumes are being edited according to the highest academic standards and their introductions and notes offer readers helpful guides to the context and content of the reformer’s writings. Casual readers and those seeking to expand and deepen their knowledge of the Reformation will profit greatly from these carefully translated and edited volumes.”

—Robert Kolb, Missions Professor of Systematic Theology, and Director of the Institute for Mission Studies, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis

“Concordia Publishing House is providing a tremendous service to historians, theologians, pastors, and students by producing these new translations of Luther’s works. The editors have chosen key texts for illustrating Luther’s life and thought, from his earliest works to the biographies written soon after his death. The volumes devoted to Luther’s sermons, lectures, and disputations are especially welcome, because they will give English readers a more complete picture of Luther the preacher and professor.”

—Amy Nelson Burnett, Professor of History, University of Nebraska—Lincoln

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