Exerpts From The Lutheran Handbook

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I thought I’d break out one of the better entries. Again, I’m not making any of this up, it’s a straight copy.


Burning at the stake has a centuries long history as punishment for heretics. (A heretic is someone who challenges established church teachings). Some historians argue that many heretics have performed an essential function by forcing the church to clarify its position.

Martin Luther himself was declared a heretic by the pope in in 1521, when he would not recant his teachings, but he survived under the protection of a friendly prince. While heretics are no longer treated this way, it is nevertheless good to be prepared.

1. Avoid public heresy.

Heresy is any formal public statement that disagrees with the church on an issue of dogma. The Lutheran church was founded upon such statements. Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, for example, were heretical and entered as evidence at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

Here’s what to do if you are accused of heresy:

  • Demand an immediate public trial. By this point, your rights may have evaporated. Speak up anyway.
  • State your position clearly and repeatedly. Get it on the record in your own words.
  • Consider your options. If in a church trial you believe you might change enough minds to ward off execution, consider proceeding.

  • Support your case with Holy Scripture. In a trial, you will be doomed without sufficient evidence from the Bible, history, and church doctrine.
  • If the above steps fail, consider recanting. You could be wrong.

2. Avoid practicing witchcraft.

Witchcraft is considered a form of heresy, since it depends upon powers other than God and the authority of the church. Practicing witchcraft does not include wearing Halloween costumes or reading books about wizards.

3. Avoid getting nabbed in a political uprising.

Historically, persons who posed a political threat were sometimes burned at the stake. Or crucified.

Be Aware

  • If you find yourself in a situation where being burned at the stake poses an imminent threat, try wearing flame-retardant material.
  • If there is no hope of escape, request dry wood and plenty of dry kindling. Green wood burns slower, smokier, and at lower temperatures, causing a more painful death.

One thought on “Exerpts From The Lutheran Handbook

  1. I’m not too worried about being burned at the stake. I figure if it happens, I’ll pee my pants so bad that I won’t be flammable. 🙂

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