Are there Protestant saints?

Saints for Protestants?

Will be more than fifty times in the New Testament People referred to as. Most of them are normal members of the Christian community. In this sense, Martin Luther also understands the statement of the Apostles' Creed as an interpretation of what also means: the Christian community.

Very early on, when the Christians were persecuted by the Roman state, the view arose that martyrs for Christ would be taken to heaven immediately after their death and there interceded with God for all those who called on them for it. This led to the later veneration of saints with their cult of relics and pilgrimage. It reached its peak in the Middle Ages. In popular piety, the old pagan polytheism in Christian garb was often continued. Martin Luther then not only put aside some abuse, but also the veneration of saints in general: the Bible knows only one heavenly intercessor, Christ, and the invocation of saints is tantamount to denying his sole mediator role.

Martin Luther himself grew up with the veneration of saints. Later he became a radical critic: the saints had become, every saint had one. Luther saw the danger that. For Protestants, worship of saints is therefore suspected of worshiping saints.

Holy actually designates first and foremost the essence of God as the completely different and sublime. The Bible also tells how God chooses people for himself in order to pursue with them his goal of salvation for the whole of creation: Abraham, Moses, then all his covenant people Israel, and finally their later expansion through Christ into the worldwide Christian community. The Christians are one, not because it consists of perfect people, but because it is the property and instrument of the holy God (Exodus 19: 5-6). As Christians, people are through Christ and the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:11), so all baptized are holy.

From this gift the task also arises: (Leviticus 19, 2). That is why the New Testament calls such Lifestyle . There are particularly exemplary people whom Protestant churches also commemorate. One can see God through the veneration of saints alone due honor withheld; but without praise and recognition of the creatures especially gifted by him one takes away from him also Honor: because people are holy not because of their own efforts and achievements, but because they are called and accepted as daughters and sons of God, in whom his spirit dwells and works.

This is how the Marburg theologian Hans-Martin Barth describes it.

That of 1530 formulates in Article 21:

The modern evangelical theologian Paul Tillich defined in his main work, Volume 1, 1956, p. 253f:

And the theology and education professor Wolf Eckart Failing from Frankfurt says:.

So for Protestants this is the Adoration of saints whether their life's work - which is ultimately always a gift of grace - harmless. Any action that comes close to worship is to be rejected because it affects God's exclusivity. The fact that much of the great treasure trove of legends and imagery was lost - out of great caution - is the associated deficit. Concentrating on the experience of grace from God alone in Christ Jesus is the evangelical plus.

The Evangelical Church in Germany publishes the Evangelical Name Calendar every year.

Author: Joachim Schäfer - last updated on 07/31/2017
cite correctly: Joachim Schäfer: Article
The German National Library lists the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints in the German National Bibliography; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at and