JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN

Martin Luther's pastor in Wittenberg was Johannes Bugenhagen, officiating at Luther's wedding to Katherina von Bora and preaching at his funeral. An important reformer in his own right, he was particularly dedicated to putting the biblical truths of the Reformation into practice. To learn more about Pastor Johannes Bugenhagen, follow these links:

Read an overview of Johannes Bugenhagen and his life at Concordia Seminary--St. Louis' Reformation 500 website.

This biography of Bugenhagen was written in 1928 by Walter M. Ruccius and is free to read online. A few brief excerpts are reproduced below.

Here is a German biography of Bugenhagen from 1867 by Karl August T. Vogt that is also available online. 

An excellent work by Bugenhagen that exhibits his love of God work through the Lutheran Reformation and his pastoral skill is the sermon he preached at Luther's funeral. A few brief excerpts are reproduced below. This English version was translated by Prof. Kurt Hendel, who also translated and compiled two volumes of Bugenhagen's selected writings

 

Issues, Etc. has also recorded several interviews about Johannes Bugenhagen.

If you can read Latin, Bugenhagen's Church Order for Denmark-Norway is one of his most important works. Click here for a modern reprint.

Excerpts from Bugenhagen's funeral sermon for Martin Luther:

 

This is enough said about our rightful mourning, for we mourn justly that such a dear man, a proper bishop and shepherd of souls, has departed from us. But in this sorrow we should also rightly recognize God s grace and mercy to us and thank God that he has awakened for us through his Spirit this dear Dr. Martin Luther against the antichristian doctrines of the abominable, satanic pope and against the devil's doctrines...

Our dear father Dr. Martin Luther has now attained what he often desired. And if he were to return to us again now, he would reprimand our mourning and faint-heartedness with the word of Christ from John 16: "If you loved me you would rejoice because I go to the Father, and you would not begrudge me this eternal rest and joy." Christ has conquered death for us. Why, then, are we afraid? The death of the body is for us a beginning of life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord, who has become for us a noble, precious sacrifice.

Excerpts from John Bugenhagen Pomeranus by Walter M. Ruccius:

Among these Reformers of the second rank none did more to earn the gratitude of Protestants than John Bugenhagen. He was the typical servant with the two talents, of the Saviour's parable. An earnest, serious, uninspired and unoriginal personality, he yet possessed two gifts. One of them was the gift of loyalty to what he conceived to be the truth; the other was the gift of order. His loyalty was given wholeheartedly to the Reformation and to the author of it, whose friendship and confidence he enjoyed. His gift of order amounted to a genius for setting things to rights. It was his task to take the principles which Luther taught him and work them out in terms of organization. In this work, he had to create his own precedents, and the influence of those precedents has never departed from the institutions and the worship of the Lutheran churches. (from the Foreword by Charles M. Jacobs)

The boy was born on June 24, 1485, the day of the nativity of John the Baptist, and forthwith according to the custom of the day he was baptized in the name of John. Looking ahead somewhat we find that the date of his birth is not without significance, for a modicum of prophetic spirit was bequeathed him. His Creator wisely refrained from imbuing this hard-headed, placid and ponderous son of the northern seacoast with the fiery ardor and abandon exemplified by Semitic ascetics in torrid deserts. Nevertheless Bugenhagen was a prophet in his day, and although he did not stand in the very first rank of the great men of his time he came not far behind. To say that his heart was fundamentally incapable of such deep-seated emotion and conviction as was Luther's, or that his mind was neither keen nor deft enough to chisel such perfect, sparkling gems of thought as Melanchthon's, detracts not at all from the regard that is due him. On the contrary, it indicates the unique distinction by virtue of which he ranked third among the Wittenberg reformers, ---- he was par excellence the organizer and consolidator of the Lutheran Church. (p. 8-9)

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