This paper will have a particular focus on Luther’s Large Catechisms with specific attention towards Luther’s exposition on the fourth commandment. The following will critically analyze this confessional text in light of its historical-theological context and conclude with its contemporary relevance within American social milieu. In particular, this paper will view Luther’s exposition on the fourth commandment with a pragmatic lens as a means to explore its implications for the American social structure.
Luther’s Large Catechism was written to assist preachers and pastors with Christian education and to improve upon their fulfillment of their office duties. During the summer of 1527 Luther and his colleagues at Wittenburg were rudely awakened by the pastoral leadership climate of the church. Due to the various changes that were taking place during the Reformation, European society’s interest in Christian piety dramatically increased during the late Medieval Ages. As a result the church increased the number of rostered Clergy to meet the pastoral demands. However, most of the clergy had little to no educational background and what theology they did know came from booklets that assisted them in their pastoral duties. In short, the church had an overabundance of underequipped clergy who were loosely following the proper call of their office, and as a result laity were uninformed on Christian doctrine as well as lacking in effective pastor care. In the introduction to the