Martin Luther (1483–1546): Take away assertions, and you take away Christianity

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“To take no pleasure in assertions is not the mark of a Christian heart; indeed, one must delight in assertions to be a Christian at all. (Now, lest we be misled by words, let me say here that by ‘assertion’ I mean staunchly holding your ground, stating your position, confessing it, defending it and persevering in it unvanquished….) Away, now, with Sceptics and Academics from the company of us Christians; let us have men who will assert, men twice as inflexible as very Stoics! Take the Apostle Paul—how often does he call for that ‘full assurance’ which is, simply, an assertion of conscience, of the highest degree of certainty and conviction. In Rom. 10 he calls it ‘confession’—‘with the mouth confession is made unto salvation’ (v. 10). Christ says, ‘Whosoever confesseth me before men, him will I confess before my Father’ (Matt. 10.32). Peter commands us to give a reason for the hope that is in us (I Pet. 3.15). And what need is there of a multitude of proofs? Nothing is more familiar or characteristic among Christians than assertion. Take away assertions, and you take away Christianity….Leave us free to make assertions, and to find in assertions our satisfaction and delight; and you may applaud your Skeptics and Academics—till Christ calls you too! The Holy Spirit is no Sceptic, and the things He has written in our hearts are not doubts or opinions, but assertions—surer and more certain than sense and life itself.”

– Martin Luther (1483–1546), The Bondage of the Will, p. 66, 67, 70

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