Maritn Luther Essay, Research Paper
Martin Luther lived from 1483-1546. Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben in the province of Saxony. His protestant view of Christianity started what was called the Protestant Reformation in Germany. Luther wanted to reform the medieval Roman Catholic Church. But firm resistance from the church towards Luther’s challenge made way to a permanent division in the structure of Western Christianity.
Luther lived in Mansfield and was the son of a miner. He studied at Eisenbach and Magdeburg. After studying at these schools he then went to study at the University of Erfurt. Luther started out studying law, but then went on to enter the religious life. He went into the religious life because he felt that he would never earn his eternal salvation. He didn’t feel that all of the prayer, studying and sacraments were enough. So, Luther felt like he would never be able to satisfy God. Not being able to satisfy this God meant going to hell. After going into the religious life he later became an Augustinian monk and got into the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt in July 1505. While in this monastery Luther became a well known theologian and Biblical scholar. In 1512 Luther earned his doctorate in theology and became a professor of Biblical literature at Wittenberg University.
Luther took his religious pursuit very serious. This led him into a problem in dealing with his religion. He wondered, “is it possible to reconcile the demands of God’s law with human inability to live up to the law.” Luther then turned to the New Testament for answers. He found, “God had, in the obedience of Jesus Christ, reconciled humanity to himself.” “What was required of mankind, therefore, was not strict adherence to law or the fulfillment of religious obligations, but a response of faith that accepted what God had done.” In other words he realized that religion is based on love and not fear. Basically, he realized that everyone is burdened by sin because it happens because of our weaknesses. He finished off by saying that man could never earn his salvation by leading a blameless life or by doing good deeds. Instead, man’s salvation was a gift from God resulting from faith in Jesus, especially the saving power of his death and resurrection. This is known by the protestant doctrine of “justification by faith alone.” The reason Luther believed this it lead him into his first confrontation with the Catholic Church in 1517. All of this influenced Luther to write his 95 Theses in 1517.
The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Leo X was trying to get money to build St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. To raise the money the Pope offered the sale of indulgences. These were basically donations of money that would give forgiveness for people’s sins. So, in October 31, 1517, Luther posted these 95 Theses or propositions on the door of the Wittenberg Catholic Church. These 95 Theses told the pope that he couldn t sell indulgences for the forgiveness of sins. Because Luther wrote the 95 Theses made Luther the leader of the religious movement or reformation towards Protestantism.
Pope Leo X made Luther appear before Cardinal Cajetan in Augsburg. There the Cardinal made Luther take back everything that he said in his 95 Theses. Luther said that he would if his Theses could be proved wrong by the Bible. Later in 1521, Pope Leo X made a “Bull of Excommunication” towards Luther. Emperor Charles V was expected to enforce the Excommunication. Charles V made a “diet” in the town of worms and asked Luther if he could come to this meeting so that he could be examined. Again Luther was asked to take back everything that he had said in his 95 Theses. Luther said no again and was outlawed. Anyone could kill Luther and they would not be held responsible. Luther decided that it would be best to move under these conditions. He had a buddie that was an elector of Saxony and he helped him get away. So, Luther disguised himself and hid in the castle of Wartburg. While he was in Wartburg he began translating the New Testament to German. At that time the emperor was busy with a war in France. This helped Luther return to his work with the help of his buddies and followers in Wittenberg. Some of his followers went too far carrying out the reform. Luther tried to change his follower’s mistakesbut couldn t.
Luther married Katharina Von Bora, a former nun, in 1525. This showed his rejection to living in a monastery as a monk. After this marriage he spent the rest of his life writing, teaching and preaching.
He believed that God’s power was too big for man and could only be accepted on faith alone. He didn’t believe that humans could understand how God become a guy through Jesus and have weaknesses like sin and death. His thought that man could accomplish nothing without God’. That people could not have salvation and that is why God had to send his son to earth. While on earth his son lived as a human and died on the cross for our sins. He felt that participating in church activities like following rules, ceremonies and doing good deeds were not enough. That would not help us have salvation, but only beliveing in God could do that. Luther felt that the Bible was a very important in a Christian’s life. He also thaught that the Pope and other people of the Catholic Church didn t know of the Bible or had even ever read it. They were bad, bad people that were too worried with their cash money, cars, and social life, and never thaught of doing God’s will.
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