Grace and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Your letter, sent to me at Wittenberg, was received some time ago. You wish to know whether it is proper for a Christian to run away from a deadly plague. I should have answered long ago, but God has for some time disciplined and scourged me so severely that I have been unable to do much reading or writing. Furthermore, it occurred to me that God, the merciful Father, has endowed you so richly with wisdom and truth in Christ that you yourself should be well qualified to decide this matter or even weightier problems in his Spirit and grace without our assistance.
In 1527, Luther wrote the letter “Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague” as disease passed through his hometown of Wittenberg. As coronavirus threatens our neighbors and loved ones, Ken Jones invites you to reflect on the famous reformer’s advice on Christian faithfulness. Below you will find a PDF copy of the introduction chapter that will be discussed during the next meeting. We hope you enjoy it!
“There are no words to describe how horrible these events have been and, in fact, whoever can say that they have not lived in utterly horrid conditions can truly consider themselves lucky. The infected die almost immediately. They swell beneath the armpits and in the groin, and fall over while talking. Fathers abandon their sons, wives their husbands, and one brother the other. In the end, everyone escapes and abandons anyone who might be infected. . . . And I, Agnolo di Tura, called the Fat, have buried five of my sons with my own hands.“