From Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth page 26-27:
A paraphrase of Psalm 12, this hymn was written in 1523, the same time as many of Luther’s other psalm-hymns. It was published in the first Lutheran hymnal, Achtliederbuch, of 1524. Luther’s version of the psalm reflects much of his own experience in the early days of the Reformation. Though several different tunes were used for this text with various levels of success, the present tune dates from 1524 and is possibly by Luther himself.
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“A New Song Shall Now Be Begun” – Composed by Martin Luther 1523
From Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth page 8-13:
On July 1, 1523, the infant Reformation saw executed in the Brussels market place Heinrich Voes and Johann Esch, two Belgian Augustinian monks and followers of Luther. Since wandering minstrels and their ballads served as the mass media of the day, Luther wrote this first hymn of the Reformation as a ballad recounting the martyrdom of these witnesses. First appearing in 1523 in broadsheet for, it, along with Luther’s tune, was published in Johann Walter’s 1524 Wittenberg hymnal.
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Is it true that Martin Luther of the Reformation said “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong.” Yes, it is. But the second half of that sentence was “but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.”
Here is that passage in it’s original context; a letter from Luther to Melanchthon on August 1, 1521. If you like you can scroll directly to number paragraph thirteen for the complete passage.
This is also the letter where Martin Luther expresses his favor for allowing monks to marry.
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Join public television host, author and ELCA Lutheran Rick Steves as Mosaic takes you on a journey through Lutherland! Travel from Eisleben where Luther was born to the university town of Wittenberg where he taught and preached. After a pilgrimage south to the Vatican in Rome, the program follows the tumultuous events of the Reformation at Worms, Erfurt, Eisenach, Marburg and Augsburg.
Video produced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Katie Luther: The Morning Star of Wittenberg looks at the life of the woman Katie Luther, the woman who helped 16th century reformer Martin Luther change the course of history. Katarina von Bora Luther (1499-1552).
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