The iconoclasts – radical reformers under the raving extremism of Dr.Andreas Karlstadt – were throwing out the baby with the bath water. Trying to introduce the precious gospel of our Lord, they went overboard and started to attack art work, trappings, vestments etc in their misguided attempt to clean up the church. They were not reforming the church, but overthrowing it, pulling it down and destroying it.
Dr. Martin Luther was busy translating up on the Wartburg – his Patmos -, where his benefactors had hid him as “Junker Jörg” from emperor Charles V in his vindictive quest to implement the papal bull, banning Luther since he had resisted recanting in Worms & insisted on confessing before kings and princes:
“My conscience is captive to the Word of God,” he told his accusers. “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand.”
Now after several months there was no time to lose. The little flame of the reformation was in danger of being consumed in the flames of revolt. Wittenberg without Dr. Martin Luther was about to loose it all to the hell hounds turned loose. So, the biblical prophet and church reformer returned to Wittenberg to quench the billowing flames of the demagogues and other mad men – despite protests from his friends and contrary to the express commands of his landlord and prince.
And what did Luther do on returning? He preached. Right there in St.Marys. The city church of Wittenberg. Starting on the first Sunday in Lent (Invocavit) he started a series called the Invocavit sermons
“The summons of death comes to us all, and no one can die for another. Every one must fight his own battle with death by himself, alone. We can shout into another’s ears, but every one must himself be prepared for the time of death, for I will not be with you then, nor you with me. Therefore every one must himself know and be armed with the chief things which concern a Christian. And these are what you, my beloved, have heard from me many days ago.”
And – thank God – peace returned to Wittenberg – at least for the time being. Hallelujah! It was as Luther had said: “God and His word did all and everything – even as he together with Johannes Bugenhagen & Co were at peace enjoying God´s goodness and grace +