Crusading For Peace Through Truth
Free Call
500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage


s we approach the five hundred year anniversary of the Protestant reformulation on October 31, 2017, I have been piecing together narratives to examine how that all worked for them. I am examining the fruit of the Tree of Protestation, so to speak. In the last installment I looked at ‘The Culmination of it All . . .‘; how the Protestant doctrine has led to a complete ignorance of what religion actually is and why it is important. And in the first installment I offered a compilation entitled, ‘The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote‘.

For this installment, we are going to return to Martin Luther and pick up John Calvin along to way to create a narrative about something very timely. Marriage is being redefined in many parts of the world by legislatures and judges. Where did this notion come from that the state can define or redefine what belongs to God? We can actually trace this ideology back to the sixteenth-century protesters.

The Catholic Church has always understood Holy Matrimony to be a Sacrament, ever since it was instituted by Christ (Cf. Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-9; Jn. 2:1-12). Outside of sacred Scripture, Matrimony as a Sacrament was carefully articulated by Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to Polycarp around the year 110 A.D., and again, even more clearly by Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, in 411 A.D in his Marriage and Concupiscence:

    “Certainly it is not fecundity only, the fruit of which is in offspring, not chastity only, the bond of which is in fidelity, but a certain sacramental bond of marriage that is recommended to the faithful who are married, when the Apostle says: “Men, love your wives, as also Christ loved the Church” (Eph. 5:25).

    Undoubtedly the substance of the Sacrament is of this bond, so that when man and woman have been joined in marriage they must continue inseparably as long as they live, nor is it allowed for one spouse to be separated from the other except for the cause of fornication (Cf. Mt. 5:32). For this is preserved in the case of Christ and the Church, so that, as a living one with a living one, there is no divorce, no separation forever. So perfect is the observance of this bond . . . in the Church of Christ by all married believers, who are undoubtedly members of Christ, that, although women marry and men take wives for the purpose of procreating children, one is never permitted to put away even an unfruitful wife for the purpose of getting another to bear children. If anyone does this, in the law of the gospel he is guilty of adultery, just as a woman is if she marries another. But this is not the case in the law of this world, wherein even without crime a divorce is granted whenever the parties want to join in marriage with others, a concession which, the Lord bears witness, even the holy Moses granted to the Israelites only because of the hardness of their hearts . . . . (Cf. Mt. 19:8-9).

    Thus, between the living spouses there remains a certain conjugal bond, which neither separation nor union with another can take away. It remains, however, for the injury of crime, and not for the bond of covenant. So it is with the soul of an apostate. Even though its faith is cast aside in withdrawing, as it were, from its marriage with Christ, it does not lose the Sacrament of its faith, which it received in the bath of regeneration. . . . The apostate retains the Sacrament even after his apostasy; but now it is for the aggravation of his punishment and not for his meriting a reward.”

For the Catholic Church, a Sacrament is an action of the Church, through which Christ continues to minister among His people. We believe that there are seven Sacraments that were instituted by Christ Jesus for the salvation His people; namely, Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.

Now when Martin Luther and, later, John Calvin began teaching that Sacraments are just signs (i.e. containing no inner working/transformative grace), and of those signs there are only two (i.e. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and that Holy Matrimony is not a Sacrament, it instantly opened the door to their next finding; that the institution of marriage is under the purview of the state government, rather than the Church.

Now with God having been taken out of marriage, and it being placed in the hands of the state government, the government was then able to do with marriage whatsoever it so desired. In the hands of government marriage soon became dissoluble. No-fault divorce and remarriage became the law of the land. Then with marriage no longer being a permanent union, children became disposable objects, which opened up the door to the redefinition of the procreative act in marriage. Contraception and abortion became legal. The sexual revolution was in full swing. Then once children and conjugal acts between man and woman were no longer thought as being connected to marriage, marriage was then redefined as something other than one man and one woman.

There is no end in sight to the continuing redefinition of marriage and family. Indeed, it was always a Pandora’s Box that could only eventually lead to human annihilation. Even the Greek Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church have recently fallen into this Protestant heresy and have begun allowing divorce and remarriage. And now that they are in the business of redefining marriage, the allowance for birth control and homosexual marriage will logically follow next.

We are making excuses for sin as a reason to allow it. We are a weak people, who seem to have forgotten that holiness is something to fight for. We have become spiritually lazy and are more inclined to capitulate to temptation, rather than to embrace the fact that holy suffering, noble struggle and sufficient grace only comes by the way of resisting sin and temptation.

When the world gave up on marriage as being a Sacrament of God, they gave up on life and on God, and for this, we have the Protestant Reformulators to thank for paving the way.

Martin Luther:
Marriage is Not a Sacrament – Marriage is a Civic Matter

  • “Marriage is a civic matter. It is really not, together with all its circumstances, the business of the church.” It is so only when a matter of conscience is involved.” (source: What Luther Says Vol. II, Concordia Publishing House, 1959)
  • “No one can deny that marriage is an external, worldly, matter, like clothing and food, house and property, subject to temporal authority, as the many imperial laws enacted on the subject prove.” (source: What Luther Says Vol. 46, Concordia Publishing House, 1959)
  • “I feel that judgments about marriages belong to the jurists. Since they make judgments concerning fathers, mothers, children, and servants, why shouldn’t they also make decisions about the life of married people? When the papists oppose the imperial law concerning divorce, I reply that this doesn’t follow from what is written, ‘What God has joined together let no man put asunder.” (source: Luther’s Works Vol. 54)
  • “Neither is there any need to make sacraments out of marriage and the office of the priesthood.” (source: Luther’s Works Vol. 37)
  • “Not only is marriage regarded as a sacrament without the least warrant of Scripture, but the very ordinances which extol it as a sacrament have turned it into a farce. Let us look into this a little.

    We have said that in every sacrament there is a word of divine promise, to be believed by whoever receives the sign, and that the sign alone cannot be a sacrament. Nowhere do we read that the man who marries a wife receives any grace of God. There is not even a divinely instituted sign in marriage, nor do we read anywhere that marriage was instituted by God to be a sign of anything. To be sure, whatever takes place in a visible manner can be understood as a figure or allegory of something invisible. But figures or allegories are not sacraments, in the sense in which we use the term.” (source: Luther’s Works Vol. 36; Babylonian Captivity of the Church)

John Calvin:
Marriage is Not a Sacrament – No More than Shoe-Making is

  • “The last of all is marriage, which, while all admit it to be an institution of God, no man ever saw to be a sacrament, until the time of Gregory. And would it ever have occurred to the mind of any sober man? It is a good and holy ordinance of God. And agriculture, architecture, shoemaking, and shaving, are lawful ordinances of God; but they are not sacraments. For in a sacrament, the thing required is not only that it be a work of God, but that it be an external ceremony appointed by God to confirm a promise. That there is nothing of the kind in marriage, even children can judge.” (source: Institutes of Religion, Chapter 19, no. 34).


  1. The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote
  2. The Culmination of it All . . .
  3. Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage
  4. The Cycle of Insanity
  5. The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism
  6. The Ferguson Riots


500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage
Article Name
500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage
How did Martin Luther and John Calvin pave the way for the redefinition of marriage? For this installment of 500 Years of Protestantism explains how.
Publisher Name
Saint Dominic's Media, Inc.
Publisher Logo
  • Eileen Mechler

    I am so happy for you and your daughter. How proud of her you must be. She’s blessed to have you as her dad. Good job, David!

    • Thank you so much Eileen. Ever since I became Catholic I’ve been praying the same for my three girls. Looks like I have to wait for them to leave home and goto college for it to happen, but it’s happening. Praise God!

  • Wendell Clanton

    Blinded by their diabolical hatred of the Bishop of Rome, Luther, Calvin, et al, bought into the devil’s agenda. They usurped the authority belonging to Peter’s Successor, made themselves and every other believer in the relativistic and non-biblical sola scriptura doctrine the arbiters of faith and morals (yeah, that’s worked out well… ) and thus divided the Church. The negative effects of the Reformation are devastating, as you have articulated well in your article.

    As a former protestant who is thankful for the faith nurtured in me by loving parents, a saintly Sunday School teacher and other protestant friends, I am, nevertheless, thankful that God granted me the grace to see beyond the truncated view offered to me for the first twenty four years of my life, the same grace which led me home to the Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself.

  • Jeff Reser

    Great article, short,concise, we’ll researched. Praying for you and your daughter.

    • Thank you Jeff! I get worried when it goes over 1,000 words, but I had to include St. Augustine’s quote. I so appreciate your prayers. Have a blessed Lent friend!

      • nannon31

        Check with your pastor someday on Augustine because the Church historically parted from him on the matter of separation. In your above passage from him, he states that separation is only for fornication. The Church, not bound by every position of Augustine or of anyone, first also allowed separation for physical abuse and in the 20th century, she added emotional abuse. The goal of separation is generally to return to each other in time unless e.g. psychiatry is needed for one person and they obdurately refuse constantly. But neither may marry again unless the key trouble within the person went back to the time of the vow and made it null in God’s eyes ie as in annullment. But behaviour that appeared later in marriage and truly began at that later time is not matter for annullment….ie it is possible for the good person to fall later in time as Ezekiel makes clear.

        • Correct. The quote was included to support the proof of marriage being a sacrament, not for anything else.

  • Pingback: Keeping Lent -

  • Justas399 .

    This is mind-boggling. Marriage is not a sacrament. It is never presented as such in the Scripture. Roman Catholics are known as being poor exegetes of Scripture but this takes the cake.

    • What is your definition of a sacrament and why do you believe that Catholics are bound to Scripture for Divine revelation?

      • Justas399 .

        A sacrament is ” the Roman Catholic Church teaches, “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.”

        Can you show me such a defintion of marriage in Scripture? Can you show me where Jesus or His apostles taught that in marriage “divine life is dispensed”?

        RC’s do bind their teachings to Scripture. If they did they would have to reject a large portion of church teachings.

        • Justas I know OUR definition. I was asking what is your definition. You can’t take our definition and then tell us that we are not working within our own definition according to how you understand it.

          But now that we are here. A better working definition of what we mean by ‘sacrament’ is – A Sacrament is an action of the Church, through which Christ continues to minister among His people. If Marriage is what Jesus says it is – that it makes two things one – that is causes a man to leave home and CLEAVE to his wife – that when God joins it together that no man can tear it apart, then it becomes clear that Marriage is a work of grace. Only grace can make two things one. Only grace can make something indissoluble. Only grace can make a man CLEAVE to his wife. It is through this grace that Christ ministers among His people.

          Now there are many public signs of God working among His people, but not all are actions of the Church, which our seven Sacraments are. While the ministers of a marriage are the spouses – they being Baptized (In Christ) Christians make it an action of the Church.

          Now, while I have pointed to Jesus’ own words in Scripture, we are not bound to Scripture alone. As Paul says, we hold fast to the teachings of the Apostles – both letter AND word of mouth (tradition). Marriage as a Sacrament is a clear Apostolic teaching that was handed down in both letter AND tradition.

          • Justas399 .

            I gave you a definition from the catechism of the RCC. It is God that joins 2 people together.

            Are you claiming that your church is not bound by Scripture?

            It is true that the Jesus and His apostles taught orally but the only thing we have from them is found ONLY in the written NT and nowhere else. If you want to claim there is something in your Traditions the can you give me an example of it that Jesus or His apostles said or did not recorded in Scripture? For example, where did they say marriage is a sacrament?

          • We agree that God joins two people together, but how does He do that? Does he break their bones and glue them together with super glue? With my senses can I actually see two people who became one? No to both of these questions. Rather, it’s the mystery of God’s grace that makes two one and the other things that Christ promised about marriage. This, the Catechism affirms in PARA 1617, ” Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant” It’s through grace that Christ continues to minister among His people through actions of the Church.

            Evidence of this being an Apostolic tradition that is affirmed in Christ Jesus’ words can be proven by following the expounding upon holy matrimony being a Sacrament through the centuries until it was formally defined by council. Such as the case with all Catholic doctrine.

          • Justas399 .

            Ok. The problem is that there is any kind of grace given in marriage is not even hinted at in Scripture.

            Do those Protestant churches that do not believe that marriage is a sacrament still have God joining 2 people and making them one or these marriages not real?

          • Well the Sacraments are ex opere operato, meaning that they confer the grace when they are validly effected. Therefore, we have to look at which Sacraments don’t require a priest to be effected. Those sacraments are Baptism and Matrimony. Ironically, these are also are the sacraments that create a new thing. Also we believe that all water Baptized (in name of Father, Son, Holy Spirit) persons are members of the Catholic Church – some are just not in full communion.

            So to answer the question Yes, if two Baptized Christians get married then it is a Sacrament in our eyes. That why before divorced converts enter the Church they must have their marriage annulled first, or reconcile with their spouse.

            I understand you issue with there being nothing in the Bible that literally says, that ‘Marriage is a Sacrament’, or ‘Marriage has bestowed upon it a particular grace’, but that absence of words is Protestant problem, not a Catholic one. But Protestants do have to be careful looking for literal language because no where does the Scriptures literally teach sola-scriptura, or what Books are supposed to be in the Bible. They also can cling to literal language, but then ignore places in the Bible where it is quite literal, such where Jesus says that the communion bread is His flesh and the wine is His blood.

          • Justas399 .

            Thanks for the clarification on marriage. Actually the Protestant is closer to apostolic teaching than the RC. Its the absent of apostolic support that causes so many problems for the RC. We can discuss sola scriptura if you would like but it has nothing to do directly with marriage being a sacrament.

  • Paul

    Marriage is not a sacrament. Vatican 2 is wrong. The EF is the only true Mass. Novos Ordo is from the smoke of satan Why? Because I say it is. The sin of the Reformation is the same sin of the SSPX is the same sin of the left, right, middle. The great I AM not being He, but ME. Jewish leadership called for Jesus’ arrest, He went. He went the full mile they demanded of Him, though disagree and dislike it He did. Isn’t this Christianity? We always want to pick up that 75 pound Roman sword and whack somebody because we believe BETTER and that makes us RIGHT. “What’s wrong with the world today – I am”. GK Chesterton. The great “I AM” is
    not me, but He.

    Obedience to “a stupid thing” given you by a bishop or pope is your offering this life to Jesus all the same by your obedience. Why is it necessary that any error be reversed in your lifetime? Who are you that the timing must be on your terms? A generation or two or three and Jesus will permit things to right themselves if there is human/implementation error. The Counter Reformation and Summorum Pontificum and New Mass Translation are examples of varying degrees, as are the lessons learned and costly lawsuits of the sexual violence by religious.

  • gsk

    Not only is marriage a sacrament, it is THE primordial sacrament, the foundational truth that reflects the nuptial backdrop to all of creation. So glad to be Catholic, so that my marriage has the sacramental grace needed for sustenance over the decades. Love your writing, David (from a former Calvinist).

    • Glad you came home Gsk! If Marriage is not a Sacrament then God would not be able to make two into one flesh, nor would man have the grace to cleave to his wife. In other words, if Marriage is not a Sacrament, then Jesus is a liar.

  • Pingback: 500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin D...()

  • Fernando Alarcon

    I don’t think that the Reformation had much to do with the current situation with marriage. First, with such a search for separation of church and state, it was inevitable that the state would have their own version of marriage.

    The RC has itself to blame for any separation of the faith. With all the popes that were corrupt and how the RC was full of sin, the split was bound to come.

  • Pingback: 500 Years of Protestantism: The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism | Saint Dominic's Media()

  • Pingback: The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote | Saint Dominic's Media()

  • Pingback: 500 Years of Protestantism: Black Protestantism Lost to Leftist Advocacy (Ferguson Riots) | Saint Dominic's Media()

“Living the Dogma” Mug

500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage
Article Name
500 Years of Protestantism: Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage
How did Martin Luther and John Calvin pave the way for the redefinition of marriage? For this installment of 500 Years of Protestantism explains how.
Publisher Name
Saint Dominic's Media, Inc.
Publisher Logo