Martin Luther

luther

Martin Luther was born on November 10th, 1483 in Germany. His father was a miner, but he wanted Martin to be a lawyer, so he sent him to the university. But on July 2nd, 1505 as he was riding through a thunderstorm, he was scared by the lightening and thunder so he vowed that if God protected him, he would become a monk. He survived the storm and entered the monastery against his father’s wishes. As a monk he worked hard to gain righteousness through good works.

bible

Luther’s German Bible

Martin Luther became a doctor at the University of Wittenberg in 1512, and he remained a doctor there for the rest of his life. He began to resist the Catholic church in the matter of indulgences. John Tetzel was traveling through Germany selling indulgences, saying that the pope would forgive your sins if you bought them. Luther disagreed, and he wrote 95 theses in Latin against them and nailed them to the church door as was customary. They were translated into German, and quickly spread all over the country. The 95 theses acknowledged the supremacy of the pope, but Luther gradually began to see that the pope was opposed to the truth of the Bible. He also began to teach justification by faith alone. The pope excommunicated Luther in January 1521 because Luther refused to recant his writings. In April he was ordered to appear before Charles the Emperor at the town of Worms to defend his beliefs. When ordered to recant his writings there, he said,

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.

After the Diet of Worms Charles ordered that Luther be arrested. But on the way back to Wittenberg, he was captured by Fredrick the Elector and confined in Wartburg Castle to protect him from his enemies. While there he translated the New Testament into German. In 1522 he returned to Wittenberg and continued to preach and reform the church. He married Katharina von Bora after helping rescue her from a convent, and they had several children. He also finished his translation of the Old Testament into German. He died on February 18th, 1546. He had a great effect in Germany, but his writings were translated and he had a great effect wherever the Reformation penetrated.

wartburg

Wartburg Castle. Source.