On several occasions in the past, I have written letters to the editor on the subject of Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism. Some of what I wrote is true, some of it unintentionally false. Though not an admirer of the man in most respects, I have zero interest in spreading falsehoods about him.

It is certainly true that Luther was an ironclad anti-Semite, an inspiration to Hitler, in fact; that he disdained all the fathers of the Church (including Augustine) as lacking what he regarded as true faith; and that he taught the doctrine of predestination to hell — the destination of most humans.

But I was being simplistic in reducing Luther’s moral teaching to libertinism and in suggesting that the Ten Commandments are of no value whatever to Christians. As well, when he told his conscience-stricken right-hand man, Philip Melanchton, to “be a sinner, and sin boldly, but believe more boldly still.” I believe that Luther was speaking hyperbolically, not literally.

In another letter I stated that he held the New Testament Book of Revelation in contempt, which was true earlier in his career, but not later.

I regret those errors and apologize to the Sun Journal Lutheran readership, above all.

William LaRochelle, Lewiston


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