Luther on the famine of the hearing of the Word:

“I refrain from saying anything about the utterly stupid and incompetent persons whom bishops and abbots nowadays promote everywhere to the pulpit. We really cannot say that they are called and sent, even if we wanted to, because in this case incompetent and unworthy men are given the call. This is the work of God’s wrath, for it is he who withdraws his Word from us on account of our sins, and he increases the number of vacuous talkers and verbose babblers.”[1]

Luther in a sermon April 7, 1521: “He pronounced the world ‘utterly perverted’ and blamed it on the absence of faithful preachers. Among perhaps 3,000 preachers, he contended, only four good ones could be found.”[2]


[1] LW 25:447; Commentary on Romans 12:7 (1516). Above translation from Wilhelm Pauck, ed. and trans., Luther: Lectures on Romans. Library of Christian Classics 15 (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961) 335-36.

[2] LW 51:65; quoted in Scott H. Hendrix, Martin Luther. Visionary Reformer (New Haven: Yale, 2015) 102.