A Jagged Contention: Finding Forgiveness

“If I now seek the forgiveness of sin, I do not run to the cross, for I will not find it given there. Nor must I hold to the sufferings of Christ, as Karlstadt trifles, in knowledge or remembrance, for I will not find it there either. But I will find in the sacrament or gospel the word which distributes, presents, offers, and gives to me that forgiveness which is won on the cross. Therefore, Luther has rightly taught that whoever has bad conscience from his sins should go to the sacrament and obtain comfort, not because of the bread and wine, not because of the body and blood of Christ, but because of the word which in the sacrament offers, presents, and gives the body and blood of Christ, given and shed for me.”

– Martin Luther


Karlstadt sent people somewhere other than the Word and sacrament for their forgiveness (in the knowledge and remembrance of Christ’s passion). Why is such a move dangerous for preachers? What other places are people directed to find forgiveness and assurance? What is lost when we are directed anywhere other than the Word and sacraments?

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