Who was Martin Luther
I have spent most of my life hearing the name Martin Luther. Of course Martin Luther King is the first person that comes to mind when you hear this name. Both men had their cultural impact, But it is Martin Luther whom I believe is the most important figure of the last 1000 years. It was Martin Luther who set the world free from the oppressive hand of the Holy Roman Empire. Now, let's take a look into the life of Martin Luther.
Martin Luther was born in Germany November 10, 1483. Germany at that time was in the dark ages, which is to say it was under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire was controlled by the Catholic Church. The Catholic church owned 1/3 of all the land in Europe, and the Pope had authority over all kings. People paid tremendous taxes to Rome, not only that, but the Catholic Church also owned their soul or so they thought. They did not allow the people to read the Bible, if people wanted to hear the word of God, they had to do so through a priest, this is why it was called the dark ages. Even if the people were to get their hands on a Bible, most could not read. The Catholic Church had all bibles written in Old Latin. This would become the universal language in Europe. The word of God is responsible for every universal language in history, including English today. The world at this time was filled with poverty and suffering. The people lived under the strict authority of the Pope and the Roman Emperor. Most of these people were poor illiterate peasants just trying to survive. The only hope they had, was one day getting to heaven. They were told they would get there by doing more good than bad, but we will get to that later.
Martin Luther came from a well to do family. His Father Hans Luder, owned a cooper mining business. Martin was giving the best education money could buy. He went on to law school, where he liked to party and have a good time. He was particularly fond of German beer. One day by the providence of God, Martin got caught in a violent storm and was nearly struck by lightning. He said, "Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk!". Two weeks later he joined St. Augustine's Monastery in Erfurt on 17 July 1505. He took his vow very seriously. He obeyed the schools strict rules and changed his life. He was fully dedicated to serving God. He spent long days in his studies, and hours in confession. He felt unworthy to serve God and was wracked with guilt over his sin.
He was sent to Rome on assignment. When he got there he was shocked by what he saw. Decadent wealth flaunted everywhere. There was prostitution on the streets and corruption all around him. Priest's would hurry through mass just wanting to get it over with. He raised a fuss about it and was sent to the University of Wittenberg to finish his degree. He was awarded a doctorate in theology on October 21, 1512. It was while at Wittenberg that he discovered St. Paul's Epistles. One line would change his life forever, Hebrews 10:38-The just shall live by faith. This struck a powerful blow to Martin Luther. It utterly shattered all the teachings that he had been brought up with. He now believed that salvation was a free gift of Gods grace by faith in Jesus Christ, not by doing good works. He was taught all his life that good works would get him to heaven. Luther's new revelation was in direct opposition to the the newly created indulgences that had taken over his Country.
Indulgences were nothing more than a tax on sin, to pay for the ornate St Peters Basilica. The Catholics have a thing called purgatory, where people suffer for their sins when they die in preparation for heaven. Pope Leo X, created a system where people could pay gross sums of money to get themselves and dead loved ones out of purgatory. This system was called indulgences and was mainly used in Germany, because it was a fragmented nation of gullible peasants. Martin Luther saw this as buying their way into heaven, blaspheme. He saw the Pope as the enemy of God and the people. Indulgences were out right extortion. In response, Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses. It was 95 issues that he had against the Catholic Church. He nailed it to the church door on October 31, 1517. It debated works salvation, Catholic rituals to save souls, the infallibility of the Pope, the people were a priesthood, salvation was by grace alone (sola fide), The insignificance of religious artifacts, etc.. It basically questioned every belief of the Catholic Church. Luther translated his 95 theses from Latin into German. Thanks to the newly invented printing press, the theses was circulated all over Europe. People would come in hordes to hear him speak. He spoke the truth of God straight from the Bible. He began writing articles on the word of God, that were widely circulated. He became the peoples hero. Luther preached that salvation was by grace and not of good works. This was shocking to the people who were told all there lives that salvation came by doin more good deeds than bad.
When it got back to Rome, what he was doing, the Pope had to put a stop to it. Pope Leo X and the Holy Roman Empire summons Martin Luther to the Diet of Worms. The Diet of Worms, was an assembly gathered in the German town of Worms. Upon arrival, Luther was met with a hero's welcome. At the hearing he was told to renounce all of his writing in which he refused. He was excommunicated from the Catholic Church and declared the enemy of church and state. He was sentenced with the edict of worms. This was a grace period that when it ran out he was to be arrested. The reason they did not kill him out right, was they needed German support against the Turkish invasion of Rome. It was a political move.
On his way home from Worms, Martin Luther was kidnapped. This was not an actual kidnapping, but friends rescuing him. They took to him to Wartburg Castle at Eisenach, where he was given refuge by Frederick III. He changed his appearance and his name, posing as a knight named Junker Jörg. While at the Castle Luther got to work. He translate the New Testament into German in only 3 weeks. It was written in a kind of German that was used everyday by common people. Over 100,ooo copies were circulated in the first few years. He also wrote many essays and articles on Christian doctrine. He aimed his sites at the Catholic Church brutally attacking them in his writings. This sparked an uprise amongst the people against the Catholic Church. People saw themselves as equals to the clergy and usurped their authority. Many Christian denominations sprang from this movement including the Calvinists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, etc. They all had different doctrinal beliefs and were willing to go to war over it. The peasants rebelled against unfair taxes sighting the bible as their moral authority. They pillaged and tore down churches in their rage. The Catholic Church was being destroyed all around Europe. After waring with the Turks, the Holy Roman Empire decided to put an end to the uprising and went to war with the German people. Millions of people lost their lives in the bloody battles that ensued. Martin Luther to the shock of all the people did not side with them. He instead sided with the nobility, which he said God elected and also gave him refuge. He said his writings were only to deal with God and not the affairs of the state. He actually urged followers to kill the peasants. Over time the reformation became a political movement. Despite all of the chaos and shed blood, the reformation set the world free from the oppressive hand of the Catholic Church. It brought Gods word back into the hands of the people where it belonged. Effectively ending 1000 years of tyranny by the Catholic Church. By 1611 a group of Bible Scholars created the King James Bible which is still the authority today. This would lead to the Church of Philadelphia and the greatest evangelical movement in history. Without Martin Luther, none of this would have been possible. He was a man full of flaws. He detested the the Jews because they would not convert. He was a man who like strong drink. Despite all of his flaws, he was one of the most radical voices in human history and changed the course of the entire world.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you are not a Christian, I invite you to get saved now. Tomorrow may be to late. To get saved all you have to do, is admit that you are a sinner and that Jesus Christ died for your sins. The only way to take away sins is with the pure shed blood of Jesus Christ. Good works can not take away sins. If they could, then Jesus Christ died in vain. Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead as payment for all sins. Once you believe that, you are saved forever. You did nothing to earn it and you can do nothing to lose it.
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.