Shocking Beliefs of Martin Luther
August 5, 2015 by Frank Viola
7. Luther believed it was justified – and evenly divinely ordered – that the peasants be slain during the Peasants’ War.
At first, Luther sided with the peasants. He made this plain in his Admonition to Peace. In it, he blamed the unrest on the rulers who persecuted the gospel and mistreated their subjects. He felt that many of the peasants’ demands were fair. And for the sake of peace, the rulers should accommodate them.
But after he observed how the peasants were behaving — causing chaos, violence, and anarchy — he changed his position. In his treatise Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants, he urged the princes with these words,
“Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful or devilish than a rebel. It is just as when one must kill a mad dog; if you do not strike him, he will strike you, and a whole land with you.” [preemptive war – ed.]
As a result, the peasants were brutally suppressed.
The Protestant historian H. A. L. Fisher wrote,
“The manner in which he [Luther] dissociated his movement from the peasant rebellion . . . and the encouragement he gave to a course of repression so savage that it left the German peasantry more defenseless and abased than any social class in central or western Europe, are serious blots upon his good name. The German peasants were rough men and rough fighters; but their grievances were genuine, and their original demands were just and reasonable.” 
Here are some other quotes by Luther on the matter:
“Like the mules who will not move unless you perpetually whip them with rods, so the civil powers must drive the common people, whip, choke, hang, burn, behead and torture them, that they may learn to fear the powers that be.” 
“Peasants are no better than straw. They will not hear the word and they are without sense; therefore they must be compelled to hear the crack of the whip and the whiz of bullets and it is only what they deserve.” 
“To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Let there be no half measures! Crush them! Cut their throats! Transfix them. Leave no stone unturned! To kill a peasant is to destroy a mad dog! If they say that I am very hard and merciless, mercy be damned. Let whoever can stab, strangle, and kill them like mad dogs.” 
“I, Martin Luther, have during the rebellion slain all the peasants, for it was I who ordered them to be struck dead. All their blood is upon my head. But I put it all on our Lord God: for he commanded me to speak thus.” 
 A History of Europe by Fisher, p. 506. Durant includes more shocking quotes from Luther on the Peasants’ revolt in The Reformation, Chapter XVII.
 Quoted by O’Hare in The Facts About Luther, TAN Books, 1987, p. 235. (Note: we do not endorse O’Hare’s book as it’s largely a character assassination of Luther. However, some of the Luther quotes in it are authentic.)
 Tischreden (Table Talk); Erlanger Ed., Vol. 24, p. 294.
 Tischreden; Erlanger Ed., Vol. 59. p. 284.
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Martin Luther Cursed from His Heart Catholic Leaders, ‘Every Day’
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Greg Boyd: In the kingdom of God, we are not allowed to have any enemies