Sermon Illustrations


One of the blots on the career of the great German Reformer, Martin Luther – was his acquiescence to the bigamous marriage of Philip of Hess.

In 1530, at the height of the Reformation in Germany – and where the Protestant cause was at its most vulnerable, Philip of Hesse organised the secular Protestant forces of the Reformation into what was known as the Schmalkaldic League. This alliance was set up to protect their religious and secular interests against interference from the Roman Catholic Holy Roman Emperor.

On 11th December 1523 Philip married Christine of Saxony the daughter of an important ally George Duke of Saxony. However Christine has been described by contempory sources as sickly and unattractive and was reputed to have a drinking probLem.

So it wasn’t very soon after the marriage that Philip committed adultery with the daughter of one of his sister’s ladies-in-waiting, Margarethe von der Saale. And he wanted to marry her. The matter was discussed with the great German Reformers, Luther, Methancthon and Bucer. It was only when Philip threatened to side with the Holy Roman Emperor against the Protestant Schmalkaldic league if he didn’t get his own way, that the Reformers gave in. They agreed that - rather than follow Henry VIII and have a divorce - they would sanction a bigamous marriage which took place on 4th December 1540, between Philip and Margarethe.

To the eternal shame of the Reformation

Related Sermon Illustrations

Related Sermons