Michael Brown suggests Martin Luther eternally condemned for antisemitic writings

When asked whether German theologian is in Hell, 'Line of Fire' host says, 'I don't know'

Pastor Chris Rosebrough and Michael Brown discuss the sins of Martin Luther on 'The Line of Fire' podcast.
Pastor Chris Rosebrough and Michael Brown discuss the sins of Martin Luther on "The Line of Fire" podcast. | Screengrab/American Gospel/YouTube

Is Martin Luther, the father of Protestant Christianity, condemned for eternity because of his antisemitic writings?

That’s one of several arguments that were made during a four-hour roundtable with apologist and author Justin Peters, author and pastor Jim Osman, podcast host Michael Brown, and Sam Storms, pastor emeritus of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. 

Originally recorded in April 2023, the debate focused on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, specifically the gifts of healing, prophecy, and tongues, as well as finding a working definition for a false prophet. 

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The roundtable began with an October 2021 segment from Brown’s show “The Line of Fire with Dr. Michael Brown,” in which Osman called Brown during a segment titled “How To Deepen Your Discernment.” In that segment, Osman accused Brown of giving “a lot of shade … to some of the worst and most egregious Charismatics, charlatans, false prophets and hucksters that the Charismatic movement has churned up in recent years, including Sid Roth and Benny Hinn and others.” 

Brown himself appeared on the "This Is Your Day with Benny Hinn" program in 2014, which drew public criticism from Peters at the time.

During the roundtable conversation, the topic came up of Hinn’s 1990s “nine Persons of the Godhead” claim and other false teachings, which Brown said was 30 years ago and likely not a position that Hinn currently holds.

Peters then brought up Storms’ previous statements in which he said he believes Hinn is a brother in the Lord who “loves Jesus.”

“Now, you and I would definitely depart on that,” Peters said, pointing to Hinn’s Godhead teaching, which Brown characterized as “one little tangent” that was a “bizarre, crazy statement.”

Brown, addressing Peters, added, “If everything that you said about Benny Hinn is accurate, then of course he's a false teacher. If what you described, OK, the whole description of lifestyle and this and that unrepentant ongoing sin, if that's true, and ongoing denial of fundamentals of the faith never retracted, never corrected, yeah, of course, he would be a false teacher.”

As the conversation continued as to what exactly constitutes a false teacher, Brown suggested that definition could be applied to Luther.

“Would you agree that Martin Luther was a false teacher?” he asked.

“No,” both Peters and Osman replied.

In support of his claim, Brown pointed to the writings of Luther being quoted by the Nazis in the run-up to World War II at the infamous “Night of Broken Glass” or Kristallnacht, as well as a medieval sculpture of Jews engaged in obscene acts with a pig which appears on the facade of a historic German church where Luther preached.

“So the man who said that Jews should be forbidden to teach under penalty of death, whose words were used literally by Adolf Hitler at Kristallnacht, the opening of the Holocaust, who said God commanded me to kill hundreds of thousands, 150,000 peasants, that God commanded me to do that?” Brown asked. “So a man whose words were used to fuel the fires of antisemitic hatred that put millions and millions of Jews to death, who was unhinged in all kinds of rhetoric against all kinds of people. ...

Brown then referred to the medieval sculpture of Jews, saying Luther “praised the image hanging on a church building in Germany of a pig where the rabbis are trying to suck in the excrement or nurse from the pig's breast, the pig's nipples, and talking about the Jews.”

“He's not a false teacher? I mean, to me, that's a massive double standard,” he added, saying he could present more on Luther that would make the Hinn allegations “seem childishly unimportant compared to the horrific things that Luther said and did that led to, that contributed to the slaughter of millions of people, and that’s not a false teacher?”

Brown appeared to equate Luther’s writings with the act of murder by suggesting the German theologian’s eternal destiny may not have been what most Protestants would presume.

“But to give him a pass, to say he could racially, theologically hate Jews, that he could say, if their rabbis teach put them to death, and you're still going to say he has eternal life, right? ‘No murderer has eternal life, 1 John 3,” he said.  

“ ... I just don't understand why you can't agree, why you can't say to me, ‘If everything you're saying about Luther is true, then we agree he's a false teacher.’”

Martin Luther debates Cardinal Thomas Cajetan from Oct. 12-14, 1518, in Augsburg, Germany, as depicted in a 19th century painting.
Martin Luther debates Cardinal Thomas Cajetan from Oct. 12-14, 1518, in Augsburg, Germany, as depicted in a 19th century painting. | Public Domain

During a March 15 broadcast of “The Line of Fire,” Chris Roseborough, pastor and host of “Pirate Christian Radio,” asked Brown to clarify his statement on Luther’s eternal destiny.

“Do you believe Luther is in Hell today because of his antisemitism?” Roseborough asked. 

“I don’t know,” said Brown. “I don’t know how a converted person can say what he said.”

In a conversation with CP, Roseborough, who described himself as an “outspoken critic of all manifestations of antisemitism and Nazism,” said Brown’s argument had some logical fallacies.

“Basically, he's saying, ‘Well, you can't say they're a false teacher, because you don't say Martin Luther is a false teacher.’ That's not how it works,” he told CP. “And so, I considered his argument to be distracting from the actual topic and the points that need to be addressed when it comes to the false teachers and false prophets within the charismatic movement.”

While Roseborough acknowledged that Church controversies surrounding terms like “Judeo-Christianity” can be linked to “some antisemitism running around there,” there is also evidence that modern-day Orthodox Judaism is “not the same religion that King David practiced.”

“It's actually the religion of the Pharisees that Christ condemned,” added Roseborough. “And so what happens is, is that people rightly push back when they hear the term ‘Judeo-Christianity’ and say, ‘Is this really something that we should be saying?’”

Roseborough, who concurred with Brown’s characterization of Luther as antisemitic, also said Orthodox Judaism could be described in comparable terms.

“It’s one thing to say that Judaism is the religion of the Pharisees, and it's inherently opposed to Christ being the Messiah. That's a legitimate thing to say,” he explained. “But it's a whole other thing to say that we need to now burn their synagogues and things like this. That's sinful. 

“And so, we have to come to grips with the fact that every human being that we listen to, every preacher that we listen to, everyone that we hold up in high esteem as heroes of the faith, from Augustine, to Calvin, to Luther, to Wesley, each and every one of them had great sins that they've committed and are guilty of, and at the same time, they are mercifully covered by the blood of Christ.” 

In comments made to CP, Brown said it’s critical for Christians to “assess Luther fairly” when considering his ultimate legacy.

“He was a [man] mightily used by God with some terrible, uncrucified areas of his life, because of which his expression was often vulgar and he wrote and said things that led to people’s deaths, from Anabaptists in his day to Jews during the Holocaust,” Brown told CP.

A self-described “non-Catholic, Jewish believer in Jesus,” Brown wrote in 2017 that while Luther in 1523 “reached out with kindness and humility to the Jewish people, denouncing how the Church had treated them up to now with the hope that many would become Christians,” Luther's own views changed after he was “exposed to some blasphemous, anti-Jesus writings penned by Jews in past generations.”

It was these writings, known as the Talmud, a collection of rabbinical teachings from around 500 AD, which Luther targeted in his infamous treatise, “Concerning the Jews and Their Lies.”

When asked whether Luther’s writings could be compared to the Talmud — which Brown acknowledged speaks “disparagingly” of both Jesus and Mary — Brown said any such comparison would be inaccurate.

“There is no moral equivalence between the 1543 writings of Martin Luther, which called for rabbis to be put to death for teaching Judaism and for Jewish synagogues, houses, and places of business to be set on fire and destroyed — and much more —  and some scattered references in the Talmud or rabbinic literature speaking disparagingly of Jesus or Mary,” said Brown.

He also noted that the “vilification of the Talmud and the dangerous rise of antisemitism in the Church” resulted in his team removing a number of social media comments from the roundtable video “basically saying, ‘What Luther did was not that bad given how evil the Jews are.’”

Brown said most Christians “have zero clue” as to the content of the Talmud and
"would likely get bored by the detailed legal discussions and debates." 

“As for criticizing it fairly, as I have sought to do as a Jewish believer in Jesus, that is not antisemitic,” he told CP. 

“As for criticizing it unfairly, claiming it sanctions pedophilia or is primarily anti-Jesus or demonizes all Gentiles, that is antisemitic.”

Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post and the author of BACKWARDS DAD: a children's book for grownups. He can be reached at:

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