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Suzette Arjune

Martin Luther
- Father Of The Protestant Reformation

Born on November 10th 1483 in the little town of


Eisleben, Saxony (Modern day Germany) and raised under
the strict discipline of those times, Martin Luther gained his
education in Magdeburg, then later in Eisenach between the
years 1498 and 1501 where he received advanced instruction
in Latin if he were to go on to university.
At the request of relatively wealthy father who paid
for his education, Luther studied Law in 1501 at the
University of Erfurt. He soon abandoned law and preferred
to study the philosophy and theology of Aristotle under the
influence of teachers who followed the nominalistic ideas of
William of Ockham. Luther’s philosophical studies made
him aware of the need of divine intervention if people were
to know spiritual truth and be saved. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1502 and
the Master of Arts degree in 1505.
In 1505, as a result of “a trick of the devil” (as his father suggested) during a severe
thunderstorm on the road near Stotternheim, Luther promised Saint Anne that he would
become a monk if he were spared. He entered an Augustinian Monastery at Erfurt and was
ordained and celebrated his first mass in 1507. Luther was a teacher as well as a student of
theology which, the more he studied, only resulted in his feeling of spiritual dryness. He
felt his nature of sin being more magnified rather than transformed. He found help in the
admonitions of the vicar- general of his order (Johann Von Staupitz) who urged him to
trust God and to study the Bible, or, as phrased by Tejvan Pettinger in A Biography Of
Martin Luther “… gave him more work so he wouldn’t become so introspected.”
On his visit to Rome in 1510 and 1511, Luther there saw the corruption and the
luxury of the Roman church and became increasingly concerned about the malpractices
which he felt was not in keeping with biblical scriptures.
Transferred to Wittenberg, Luther became a professor of the Bible and received his
doctor of theology degree. He held the position of lecturer and biblical theology until his
death. Luther was given an office in the tower where he came to the realization of
justification by faith. In this university, he and a loyal band of fellow professors and
students accepted the faith that was later spread over Germany.
Luther began lectures on the books of the Bible in the common language.
Gradually, he developed the idea that only in the Bible can true authority be found. While
preparing his lectures between 1515 and 1519, he found the peace of soul that he was not
able to find in rites, acts of asceticism, or in the famous German Theology of the mystics.
He became convinced from the reading of Romans 1:17 that only faith in Christ could
make one just before God. Despite all other formative influences of his life, it was the study
of the Bible that led him to trust in Christ alone for his salvation.

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Suzette Arjune

On October 31st 1517, Martin Luther attacked the sale of indulgences by the Roman
Catholic Church in his ninety five theses which he posted on the door of the Castle Church
in Wittenberg. Johann Tetzel (an underage archbishop,) claimed that repentance was not
necessary for the buyer of an indulgence and that the indulgence gave complete forgiveness
of all sin. Luther challenged all comers to a debate on the matter which he criticized in his
ninety five theses. Luther was forced to accept the idea of separation from the Roman
system in order to bring about reform. His ideas were rapidly spread with translation of the
theses into the German language.
After much debate, Luther was met at the Diet of Augsburg in 1518 by Cardinal
Cajetan who demanded that he retract his views, however Luther refused to do this until
he could be convinced of their falsity by the scriptures.
To carry the issue to the German people, Luther issued three pamphlets; The
address to the German Nobility; Babylonian Captivity; Freedom of the Christian Man.
In June 1520 Luther was excommunicated and his books were also burned at
Cologne. In retaliation, Luther burned the Bull which resulted in his excommunication.
When summoned to the imperial Diet at Worms to answer for his views, Luther once again
refused to recant. “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear
reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that
they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have
quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant
anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me.”
Amen.” -Martin Luther.
Luther had translated the New Testament into German in 1522. He also married an
ex-nun and had five children thereby giving the seal of approval for clerical marriages.
As Luther’s health deteriorated in his later life as he continued to struggle with
growing conflicts in the Reformation Movement. Luther is the founder of the Lutheran
church.
This theologian had planted the seeds of Protestant Reformation which has
influenced the development of most of the world and especially the Christian religion.

Word count: 894

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