Authority and Rebellion: Luther on Passive Obedience

Faced with the threat of Lutheranism being wiped out, Luther at first stuck to his guns on passive obedience:

'"It is in no way proper for anyone who wants to be a Christian to stand up against the authority of his government, regardless of whether that government acts rightly or wrongly," for even if "his Imperial Majesty acts unjustlyand operates contrary to his duty and oath, this does not nullify the authority of Imperial government, nor does it nullify the necessity of obedience."' Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, 196-197

However, by 1530, Luther, faced with immense pressure to resist the Emperor from fellow Lutherans, and presented with two theories that justified active resistance, capitulated.


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