” Sarah, the free woman, on the other hand, that is, the true church, seems to be barren; for the Gospel, the Word of the cross, which the church preaches, is not as brilliant as is the teaching about the Law and works, and therefore it has few pupils who cling to it. Besides, it has the reputation of forbidding good works, making men idle and faint, stirring up heresies and sedition, and being the cause of every evil. Therefor it does not seem to have any success or prosperity; but everything seems to be filled with barrenness, waste and despair…Christ and the apostles were crushed; but when they were dead, the teaching of the Gospel was spread more widely than when they were alive. Thus our opponents can crush us, but “the Word of the Lord will abide forever” (1 Peter 1:25). Regardless of how barren and deserted the church of Christ seems, therefore , or of how much it is said to teach heretical and seditious doctrine, it alone gives birth to children and heirs, through the ministry of the Word.”

Martin Luther
(LW 26: 443-444)