Martin Luther

MARTIN LUTHER
MARTIN LUTHER

Martin Luther


Martin Luther (1484-1546) journeyed in 1509 from Germany to Rome. He could scarcely believe the wealth, luxury, and debauchery of the clergy there. He heard priests telling indecent jokes and using profanity, even during mass. This experience prompted him to say, "Even depravity may have its perfection. No one can imagine what sins and infamous actions are committed in Rome; they must be seen and heard to be believed. The Romans are in the habit of saying, 'If there is a hell, Rome is built over it; it is an abyss whence issues every kind of sin.'" Luther came to view Rome as the seat of sodomy and the Beast of the Apocalypse. Within ten years he was leading a revolt against the Roman Catholic Church, centered on his doctrine "justification by faith alone."

WITTENBERG GERMANY IN MARTIN LUTHER TIMES (1536)
WITTENBERG GERMANY IN MARTIN LUTHER TIMES (1536)
WITTENBERG CHURCH DOORS WHERE MARTIN LUTHER NAILED HIS 95 THESES
WITTENBERG CHURCH DOORS WHERE MARTIN LUTHER NAILED HIS 95 THESES

Martin Luther Reads the Bible

 

Martin Luther had no fear except the fear of God.  He acknowledged no foundation for the Christian faith except the Holy Scriptures.  Luther grew up the son of an impoverished miner.  He often sang for his food from door to door.  Luther had a thirst for knowledge, and developed a high standard of moral and intellectual excellence.  He began each day with prayer.

Martin Luther discovered a Latin Bible in the school library one day.  He had never seen one before, and didn't even know they existed. He had heard parts of the Gospel and the Epistles read to people by priests.  Reading this Bible became the focus of his life. He wrote, "The Gospel of God is something that is not very well known to a large part of the Church."

Martin Luther was ordained a priest and named professor at the University of Wittenberg.  He began to preach the Word of God with eloquence. 

Martin Luther was rude and had a bad temper.  But he also was a fervent and holy monk, who was forgiving of human weaknesses.  He preferred the company of the repentant sinner to the self-righteous.  While he thought astrology to be idolatry, he did not want those involved in it to be punished or even harassed.   Luther possessed a strong sense of humor, laughed often, and drank beer.  He loved nature, and played the guitar and the flute. 

JOHANN TETZEL SELLS INDULGENCES
JOHANN TETZEL SELLS INDULGENCES
INDULGENCE
INDULGENCE

Johann Tetzel

 

Johann Tetzel appeared in the mining town of Wittenberg, Germany, in the autumn of 1517.  He was there to sell indulgences—coupons from the pope offering forgiveness of all past and future sins (no repentance necessary) in exchange for contributions to the building fund of St. Peter's Basilica.  The purchase price was 1% of a person's annual income, and you could buy additional coupons for the dearly departed.  Tetzel cried in the town square, "The wailing voices of your dead relatives and friends implore you, 'Have mercy, have mercy! We are in wretched agonies, and you can redeem us for a mere pittance, but you don't want to.' When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs." 

Tetzel sold thousands of these certificates, collecting bucketfuls of gold and silver.  Salvation bought with lucre was an easy path compared to repentance, faith, and overcoming sin.  These glaring falsehoods would not have been believed had the ignorant, credulous, superstitious masses of Germany possessed the Word of God.  The Catholic Church had made it a crime punishable by death for a common person to read the Bible, arguably to control the populace, and swell the power and riches of Rome. 

Martin Luther was furious, and he challenged Tetzel's theological credentials by posting his arguments against indulgences (95 theses) on the door of his church in Wittenberg in 1517.  Luther denied that the pope could release anyone from purgatory (a state between heaven and hell).  He declared that only repentance toward God and faith in Christ can save a sinner.  The grace of Christ cannot be purchased; it is a free gift.  At the heart of Luther's beliefs was his axiom: "The true treasure of the Church is the most holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.

MARTIN LUTHER
MARTIN LUTHER
POPE LEO X WITH TWO CARDINALS AS PAINTED BY RAPHAEL IN 1579
POPE LEO X WITH TWO CARDINALS AS PAINTED BY RAPHAEL IN 1579
FREDERICK THE WISE ELECTOR OF SAXONY
FREDERICK THE WISE ELECTOR OF SAXONY

95 THESES

 

The 95 Theses of Luther were copied by somebody and dispersed around Germany within a few days—and spread around Europe within a few weeks.  Many devoted Catholics had long lamented the terrible iniquity of the Church, but had no way to stop it.  They read Luther's writings with great joy, perceiving in them the voice of God. 

The pope summoned Luther to Rome to answer for this affront to his authority but he refused to go, or we would not know of him today.  So the pope sent envoys to debate Luther, but these debates only served to convince Luther and his followers that they were in the right.  In 1520, Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X. 

Excommunication was a sentence that struck terror in the hearts of even powerful kings; it could fill an empire with woe and desolation.  If you were excommunicated, you were universally regarded with dread and horror, cut off from the community, and treated as an outlaw. 

Pope Leo X was of the Medici family, and the last non-priest to become the pope (papa).  He was a man of exquisite taste, who was devoted to sensuality, beauty, and luxury.  He hadn't thought much about this little monk at first. 

Luther's prince was Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, who refused a request from the pope to discipline Luther.  Frederick was a devout Catholic, who owned a collection of 8,000 relics, including straw from the crib of Jesus, bread from the Last Supper, a branch from the Burning Bush, milk from the Blessed Virgin, and the corpse of a child killed by King Herod.  But all his life he protected Luther, though they never met, who kept burning papal bulls (official letters from the pope).  Frederick did not appreciate Italians interfering in the affairs of the German nation, and he feared that the sale of indulgences would diminish his tax revenues. 

EMPEROR OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE CHARLES V
EMPEROR OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE CHARLES V
MARTIN LUTHER APPEARS AT THE DIET OF WORMS
MARTIN LUTHER APPEARS AT THE DIET OF WORMS

Diet of Worms

 

The pope appealed to the new teenaged emperor, Charles V, who agreed to deal with this troublemaker.  In 1521 Charles V summoned Luther to appear before the Diet of Worms, the assembly of the German states.  Dignitaries of church and state assembled, including lords, knights, ambassadors, bishops, and priests.  It made for a dramatic contrast.  The emperor was surrounded by the most illustrious personages in the empire.  There stood a simple monk before the most powerful man in Europe besides the pope, the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.  No man had ever stood before such an imposing assembly.  Luther wrote, "Who was I to oppose the majesty of the pope, before whom the kings of the earth trembled?

Charles demanded that Luther recant his 95 theses.  A deep silence fell upon the assembly.  Luther expressed regard for his Church but then said, "Prove from the writings of the apostles that I have erred, and I will retract every error.  I will be the first to lay hold of my books and throw them into the fire. I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted; my conscience is captive to God's Word.  I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against conscience is neither safe nor honest.  Here I stand.  I cannot do otherwise.

The assembly was amazed and speechless.  The distinguished papal lawyer, Aleander, perceived the effect produced by Luther's speech and said, "It is high treason against the Church to allow so horrible a heretic to live on hour longer. Let the scaffold be instantly erected for him!

PAPAL BULL AGAINST MARTIN LUTHER
PAPAL BULL AGAINST MARTIN LUTHER
ALEANDER
ALEANDER

Luther Pronounced Guilty

 

The august tribunal and the large crowd present had an excellent opportunity to compare these two men; to judge for themselves the spirit manifested by them, and the strength and truthfulness of their positions.  Aleander was a gifted, eloquent orator.  But he was also self-important, haughty, threatening, and never mentioned Scripture.  A prince who was there said, "Aleander is moved by hatred and vengeance much more than by zeal and piety."  Martin Luther was humble but firm; calm, dignified, and peaceful.  The emperor even exclaimed, "This monk speaks with an intrepid heart and unshaken courage."  Christ had spoken through Luther with power and grandeur that had filled friends and foes alike with awe and wonder.  But Aleander implored the emperor not to cast away the support and friendship of the powerful pope, in the cause of an insignificant monk. 

Luther was declared a heretic, and all those who followed him were to be banished, cursed, and excommunicated.  All persons were forbidden to harbor him, or give him food or drink, under threat of imprisonment and confiscation of their property.

Aleander pronounced Luther guilty of sedition, rebellion, and blasphemy.  And he demanded that the emperor disregard the promise to Luther of safe-conduct.  But the princes of Germany reminded the emperor what had happened when the safe-conduct promised to Jan Hus had been ignored by the German Emperor Sigismund—Hus was burnt at the stake, leading to a massive rebellion in Bohemia.   Charles V allowed Luther to leave, and he was whisked away into hiding, at the castle of Wartburg.  His location was kept a secret, even from his protector, Frederick of Saxony—because if he knew not where Luther was he could not reveal his location under pressure.   But the emperor was pressured to issue a proclamation that Luther was "Satan himself under the form of a man and dressed in a monk's frock." 

THE ROOM AT WARTBURG CASTLE WHERE MARTIN LUTHER TRANSLATED THE BIBLE INTO GERMAN
THE ROOM AT WARTBURG CASTLE WHERE MARTIN LUTHER TRANSLATED THE BIBLE INTO GERMAN
MARTIN LUTHER BIBLE
MARTIN LUTHER BIBLE

German Bible of Luther

 

It was at Wartburg that Luther translated the first German Bible.  Here Luther was removed from human praise, saving him from the pride often succumbed to by those who are successful. He humbly suffered instead. In this way God assured that it was not Luther to be honored but God himself. This thwarted the plans of Satan, who always seeks to divert the thoughts and affections of man from God, and toward men; honoring His instrument rather than the hand that steers Providence. 

Luther's proclamations were well received by German peasants, merchants, knights, princes, and even priests.  He declared that every man was a priest, with direct access to God, and no man needed the Roman hierarchy to act as his middleman. 

The Catholic Church was an easy target in many ways.  Monks were idle gluttons who lived in splendor, not trying to save souls but to profit from them; priests had concubines, and didn't teach the Scriptures, in fact hardly knew them; bishops had become absentee businessmen and politicians.  

The pope and his cardinals were angry that their power, which caused kings to tremble, did not terrify this simple monk.  Luther continued to be visited by princes, counts, barons, and bishops.  He was seen by many as more than human.  A man who had the integrity to face death rather than violate his conscience was admired even by those who did not share in his views. Luther said, "In what concerns the Word of God and the faith every Christian is as good a judge as the pope.  God, who is the searcher of hearts, is my witness.

This one man was to affect the church and the world throughout all future generations.  He taught that man should not submit to man, where eternal interests are concerned, because such submission in spiritual matters is real worship, and ought to be solely rendered to the Creator. 

MARTIN LUTHER BURNS PAPAL BULL
MARTIN LUTHER BURNS PAPAL BULL
DANTE IN PURGATORY BY GUSTAVE DORE
DANTE IN PURGATORY BY GUSTAVE DORE

Luther Disavows Purgatory

The conflict caused Luther to further study the papal decrees, and compare them to Scripture. He wrote, "I am reading the decrees of the pontiffs and I do not know whether the pope is the antichrist himself, or his apostle, so greatly is Christ misrepresented in them." Yet he continued to support the Roman Church. Luther wrote to the emperor, "It is a horrible thing to behold the man who styles himself Christ's vicegerent, displaying magnificence that no emperor can equal. Is this being like the poor Jesus, or the humble Peter? He is, they say, the lord of the world. I said formerly that the pope was Christ's vicar; now I assert that he is our Lord's adversary, and the devil's apostle. "

In 1530, Luther published his Disavowal of Purgatory, which articulated his conception of justification by grace alone through faith. He wrote, "It is clearly false and foreign to the Holy Scriptures as well as to the Church Fathers to promise that by the power of the keys, through indulgences, souls are delivered from purgatory. Unless it can be founded on divine authority, it is a diabolical lie."  Indulgences were therefore scandalous and dangerous. The message of the Gospel was the doctrine of justification by faith. This doctrine is the foundation of the entire Reformation; in fact the chief doctrine of Christianity and the chief point of difference separating Protestantism from Roman Catholicism.

 

95 THESES
95 THESES
MAP OF PROTESTANT TERRITORIES IN 1560
MAP OF PROTESTANT TERRITORIES IN 1560

EVANGELICALS

 

Martin Luther certainly did not want to separate himself from the Catholic Church.  He wanted to reform it, chiefly by stripping the papacy of its riches, pomp, and Papal States; and also by allowing the clergy to marry. He soon became the most famous man in Germany.  Luther was not opposed to the Catholic religion or its adherents.  He was opposed to the papacy, and the man-made trappings of worship.  And he was convinced that a close reading of the Gospels by anyone would prove him right.  To prove this, he translated the New Testament from the Greek version by Erasmus into German.  Copies poured off the presses.  A Catholic scholar lamented, "Tailors and shoemakers, even women and other simple idiots were debating texts with priests and monks."  Luther's majestic Bible would go on to shape the German language.

Soon priests in some parts of Germany were seen reciting the mass in plain clothes, in German, and giving the wine as well as the bread to the people during Communion.  Monasticism began to die, and priests got married.  Mass for the dead was eliminated, as were feast days.  The emphasis was on the Bible and preaching.  Latin, the cult of Saints, and allegiance to Rome ceased.  The Germans involved did not see this as leaving the Catholic Church, only as a Reformation of it. 

Luther's followers were called Evangelicals for a long time.  Eventually the accidental name, Protestants, prevailed after German princes protested a compromise with Catholic authorities.  After a rift among the Protestants, his followers became known as Lutherans. 

"A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD" BY MARTIN LUTHER
"A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD" BY MARTIN LUTHER

Martin Luther Hymns

 

Luther was not a prude.  He believed it was cruel to bind young people to celibacy as priests, monks or nuns.  He thought that sex was a powerful force of nature and having children divinely ordained.  Luther said, "Early love is fervid and drunken, blinds us and leads us on.  Rosy cheeks and white legs drive young men to get engaged." 

Martin Luther married a former nun in 1525.  He and Katie had six children.  Luther preached three or four sermons every Sunday for 28 years.  He wrote so many letters, tracts, and Bible commentaries that it took 55 volumes to hold them all. 

Martin Luther was also a poet, composer, and a fine tenor.  He thought it important that the congregation participate in the music, and so he wrote some of the finest hymns ever.  This new Lutheran musical tradition was the catalyst for Germany to become the most musically educated nation in Europe.  This lay at the roots of the later awesome German music of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms. 

Luther's protégée, Philip Melanchthon, was modest, eloquent, upright, gentle, and brilliant.  He displayed sound judgment and extensive knowledge, winning him universal admiration and esteem.  

DEATH MASK OF MARTIN LUTHER 1546
DEATH MASK OF MARTIN LUTHER 1546

PROTESTANTS

 

The Protestant Reformation was a revolution, sparked by a seemingly insignificant event.  A ripple became a tidal wave.  The news traveled quickly; rumors, misunderstandings, and exaggerations spread about Luther, begetting much conversation.  The atmosphere became electric.  At Wittenberg there was shouting, window breaking, and fist fighting in the church.   In such a revolution not only sincere believers but also immature youths, rowdy folk, vengeful characters, criminals, and lunatics join in.  Then customs and manners deteriorate.  Insults and profanities fly; shops are looted; buildings are vandalized.  Learned discourse gives way to angry debate.  Common people learn words and ideas hitherto neither familiar nor interesting and discuss them like intellectuals.  Talk begins about sweeping away all corruption and evil.  Those on the side of tradition come together to defend what they have against the revolutionaries.  Voices grow shrill, parties form and adopt names and are tagged with them in derision; families and friendships are broken; turncoats abound; authorities are bewildered and alternate between threats and concessions. 

Sources and Other Hubs

My sources used to prepare this article include The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White; From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun; A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins; The One Year Book of Christian History by E. Michael & Sharon Rusten; and Europe by Norman Davies.

This Hub is part of a series on the History of Christianity. The previous four entries were:

Jan Hus

Byzantium Falls

Christian Theology before the Reformation

Christendom in the 15th Century

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Comments 78 comments

Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

There is so much here to absorb, and yet you were able to condense Martin Luther's life in such a way that leaves me feeling as if I really don't need to research any further. You have a talent for that!

"This monk speaks with an intrepid heart and unshaken courage." It's beyond belief that people could see this man in such a way, and yet still not really see him at all. How many people cannot see what stands before them, and how many question why they stand?

The pictures are amazing; I love the photos of the Papal Bull and the 95 theses......... you must have searched long and hard for those...........

Beautifully done............... spring break finds me happily still in school. Well, at least tonight. I plan on reading through your Hubs on socialism and then taking a complete vacation.

I've enjoyed..........

Kaie


iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 6 years ago from Sunny California

I particularly enjoy your Hubs on the History of Christianity. So well written and researched. I have bookmarked a number of them and this one enters the list. You do such good work. I'm privileged to know you even if only through the internet.


"Quill" 6 years ago

The true birth of Christianity as we know it today, I have studied him on a few occasions and this hub is very well done James...Thank you and God Bless...

In Him


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, James, for a wonderful hub. Martin Luther was so right in every way and I wish the vatican would have listened. It certainly would be a different church today but they never changed and will not change. It is a disgrace to God and Jesus for all the teaching. An absolute disgrace.


Hummingbird5356 profile image

Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

Thank you for this hub. It is people like this who stand up for their beliefs and win that gives us hope that God really exists. Belief gives strength.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

James,

Another great testament to the wonder and glory of God the Father and Jesus our Savior on this Palm Sunday. The fact that Gutenberg lived almost a century before Luther was fortunate or devine providence. Otherwise his translation of the Holy Bible could have been lost.

He wanted to ,like Jusus, throw the money changers out of the temple of God!!!!!!!!!


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 6 years ago from India

Thanks for writing on him.. I am from India and not a Christian and though I have heard about him but only his name now i know about him too


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 6 years ago from HubPages, FB

This is I think the most important peace of history, James. Thanks.

I was raised as the Lutheran. I never worship Dr. Martin Luther but admired him.

He said he did not finish reformation. He should, however, place back removed second of tenth commandment by Roman Church: You shall not make any graven images (Ex. 20: 4). He also should remove infant baptism as invalid.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

What a fine piece of research and writing, James.

Gus :-)))


BetsyIckes profile image

BetsyIckes 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

Very good! My father was raised Lutheran. I like all the info you have here!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Frederick the Wise sounds like one of those eBay collectors that buy "Jesus on toast".

Good hub about the foundation of the protestants. I just love how people with some sense point out errors of the Vatican. But I still don't understand how Hello, hello and even close friends of mine still defend the "Holy Church". Do they really believe that the Pope grants them ultimate salvation? What?


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

So well-written, James, I read every word and learned much I didn't know. Excellent research - as always. Thanks.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Kaie Arwen— :D

Thank you for being my first visitor! I love that you brought back your old avatar. Truly beautiful. :D

I am glad that you liked my selection of pictures, Kaie. And I greatly appreciate your accolades. Thank you so much for coming. I am always warmed by your presence. :D

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

iantoPF— Why, I am humbly grateful for your kind words. Thank you so much for them. I appreciate this visitation.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

"Quill"— You are welcome, my brother. I agree with your remarks. Thank you so much for making them here.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello, hello,— You are surely welcome. I wish the Vatican would have accepted reforms, too. You are right; it would have been a different world. The Church could have stayed together. Thank you for your keen insights.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hummingbird5356— You're welcome. I appreciate your excellent comments. Thank you for visiting my Hub. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Tom Whitworth— This Hub is the Palm Sunday Special! :)

Divine Providence, I would think. Your remarks are very thoughtful and insightful. Thank you, my friend.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Well James we were taught about Martin Luther at school but all I could remember was the Diet of Worms. I could not remember what it meant. Interesting read as always


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

Interesting-I can't say I agree it was the birth of Christianity-!

Luther actually continued to pray the Rosary until his death.

While I don't approve of the debauchery etc of some of the Catholic clergy -there were many good Christian Catholics.History can be re-written and lack balance too.

Then again the church has survived despite all-I guess there must be some good fruits.

The protesting continues-now 30,000 Christian sects in US-curious!!


singlmomat52 profile image

singlmomat52 6 years ago

Wow !! Very interesting Hub!! Thanks for sharing the wealth of information.


eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Thanks for the lesson on Martin Luther. I have been wanting to find out more about him, and how and why he did what he did.

As I am a member of the LDS church, we look at the apostosy from the teachings of Jesus Christ. A lot of what you have have written here agrees with it. Martin Luther and the Protestants recognize all of this also, and even say they did not reform and restore the chruch of christ. Nor did he talk about the revelations from God as a prophet to do this in the Lord's name. But as a man recognizing the lost of gospel and the principles there in. Also, this brought about the principle, that since the gospel had been lost through the Catholic Church, and the authority, that man is meant now to be be able to only serve Christ through faith. As Martin Luther theses, from what I can obtain, claimed that now we are left to faith only, and we are saved by faith and no by ordinances, such as baptism, because it has been changed and lost.

Thanks for helping put this together, because in the LDS church we, claiming to be lead by a prophet, has had the true ordinances and gospel restored.

Take care James, and Keep on Hubbing!


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Very well written and researched hub - I read with great interest as a Protestant, though I do hate labels! Martin Luther inspired many, much food for thought.


caretakerray 6 years ago

James A Watkins:

Very interesting. I enjoy learning more about the Christian religiom. thanx :)

caretakerray


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

sweetie1— You are truly welcome. I appreciate you taking the time to read my article and I thank you for your comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Vladimir! Hello, my friend. You are welcome. Thank you very much for coming by to visit my Hub. I enjoyed reading your remarks. I agree with you about graven images; and infant baptism always struck me as absurd.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

GusTheRedneck— Thank you, Gus, for your kind compliments. I appreciate it!

James


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Thank you James for affording me this moment of reflection upon the life of a man who made a difference in the Christian world and beyond. His courage in the face of exacting powers remains admirable and strengthening to the spirit. His hymns (such as, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God") are a ministry in themselves and continues to bless us as we exalt and glorify our Lord and our God.

May the Lord continue to use you in His service!

Forever His,


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

BetsyIckes— Thank you! Thank you very much.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Austinstar— You are quite the wit! Frederick would have had a ball if ebay had been around during his day. Thank you for reading my piece. I appreciate the compliment, too.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

drbj— You are welcome. I appreciate your encouragement and the accolades. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

ethel smith— Well, I'm glad you came and that you found it interesting. Thank you for your remarks. :-)


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

His example is something which brings "good scent" to Christiaity, good example and it means Martin Luther is a "human" hehe, he knows how relax as well! I like HIS JOURNEY in the "CHRISTIAN" world and strict world of Catholism during those times (or until now).

Well researched and good hub about a MAN who fight for what is right and who gave an inspiration to the rest of us until now. Thank you SIR!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins— No, not the birth. Christianity goes right back to the 12 apostles. Sort of a rebirth. You are surely right that there were not only some but literally millions and millions of good Christians who were Catholic.

You know, I saw someone else mention 20 or 30 thousand Christian sects. That sounded like a lot to me so I researched it and the consensus seems to be around 250. :D

Thank you for coming by and providing balance. I appreciate it.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

singlmomat52— You are surely welcome. Thank you for your kind comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

eovery— You are most welcome, my friend. I really appreciate your comments. I enjoyed getting your perspective on these issues. I consider myself just a Christian, with no other denominational attachments to that appellation. If I did have one, it would probably be Evangelical. They say you can tell by the fruits and I must say that every Mormon I have ever met personally, has been a wonderful person, and a fine family person, sincere, honest, and sunny of outlook. My dentist for one. I like how they have lots of children, too.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

billyaustindillon— Thank you! Thank you very much. I apreciate your comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

caretakerray— Thank you and you are welcome. I appreciate the visitation.

James


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

I am an Indian but not Christian. Martin Luther is highly honored in India as because he was a follower of non-violence of Gandhi.


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

There are approximately 38,000 Christian denominations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of denominations in different countries.

World Christian Encyclopedia (2001) .Ok ,not just the US-my research reveals 1,500 in US ,but probably many more -one doesn't have to register a church when they feel so inclined to start a new one.


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Great! Your historic hubs James are simply great. I didn't knew much about Martin Luther but now things are different. I think he was pretty right, and still he is. Actually the celibacy of Catholics Priests was invented during the Middle Age to protect Church's assets from being inherited. And we all know what kind of fruits this forced celibacy has given. Not only the actual discussion about pedophilia but also the fact that outside a lot of female monastery is full of tombs of babies.

Great hub, rated up and stumbled. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

RevLady— You are most welcome, my dear. I love your learned and discerning comments. Thank you for coming to see me and offering your ongoing encouragement. I appreciate you very much.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

prettydarkhorse— "good scent" I like that. Thank you for appreciating my research and writing, Maita. You are quite welcome.

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

H P Roychoudhury— Yes! That's right. He was a proponent of non-violence. Thanks for pointing that out. It's great to hear from you, my friend.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins— Those are very interesting statistics. A lot of fragmentation there, alright. Perhaps we'll all come together some day. I appreciate your diligent research.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

hypnodude— You have added some valuable information to this conversation, my friend. Thank you very much for the laudations. I am gratified to read your affirmation. :D


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful Hub. Martin Luther was quite a monk. Quite a devoted person to his concepts of Christianity. It was such a shame that he got excommunicated. I am just a simple Christian in comparison to these artists in the studies of the church that seem to seek changes or concepts to possibly improve the church. He was obviously brilliant, a hard worker, and a perfectionist as I gather. What do I know among these great wise priests and monks that live hard lives in great devotion to God. May God Bless them, and God Bless You. Thanks to you, ignorant Christians like myself learn more about the church and God.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

James A. Watkins, Well done exegesis on Martin Luther he was indeed a remarkable man. He stood on the TRUTH in the midst of cognizant dissonance! He truly was led by the Holy Spirit! This well written presentation serves to remind us of the importance of being “steadfast and unmoveable” when you know the Lord has called you to do something… "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof..."

It is quite evident they were intimidated by his Faith, Trust and Perseverance! They went to great lengths to undermine his integrity and attempt to suppress his passion for the Lord and the truth of His Word! “Luther was declared a heretic, and all those who followed him were to be banished, cursed, and excommunicated. All persons were forbidden to harbor him, or give him food or drink, under threat of imprisonment and confiscation of their property…” This is not as far fetched today as some might think…! Thank God for giving us the privilege of having His Word for constant reassurance of His continued presence as well as His indwelling Holy Spirit!

Thank you for sharing, This indeed is another excellent expose that renders another facet of Christian History and additional insight! God truly is GOOD, absolutely nothing gets by HIM! In His love & Blesssings!


Wynand 6 years ago

This was very interisting, I had learn this in school but forgot all about it. Now my memory is fresh and wil remmember it for ever!

Keap up the good work and God bless!


The Last Quill profile image

The Last Quill 6 years ago from Lancaster, CA

Did you know?

Martin Luther was one of the three kings mentioned in the book of Daniel 7:24, the other two were: Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin, unfortunately, they were subdued by the Catholic Church.


cantueso 6 years ago

I am Swiss German Catholic. At church and in religious instruction I did not get to hear almost anything about the Old Testament. At Mass I would often hear little excerpts. I have since been interested in this very big problem that the Catholic Church has with Bible reading. Benedict has written many long pages about it, and some very beautiful, too.

From this point of view -- the problem of Bible reading, Bible language and interpretation -- Luther was the real master, because his command of the language allowed him to make the Bible readable for many people. Compared to his translation, later versions, also English language ones sound wooden, artificial, solemn in a silly way.

Luther also wrote poetry and songs. -- So thank you very much for having me reminded of Luther and how brave he was.


cantueso 6 years ago

I am not a fast reader, but always look through text for things I want to know. So seeing "a diet of worms", I quickly scrolled ahead since I vaguely thought this expression was a Shakespearian metaphor for a corpse and wasn't going to have any of it. --

An hour later, however, I wondered where it had been that Luther stood before the Emperor. Was that here in Spain? Safe conduct all the way from Madrid to who-knows where? How could that be?

So I came back to check and saw that Worms is the name of a city and the "diet" is a solemn meeting.

This is off-topic, and you can certainly erase it. But it also goes to show how your typical blog reader actually reads.


Kristeen profile image

Kristeen 6 years ago from Michigan

James,

I was surprised to see your article about Martin Luther. I am WELS Lutheran and went to Lutheran schools from first grade all the way through my first and only year in college.

I was taught about Luther all through school. I guess maybe I had taken all that he stood for and still does stand for for granted, but now that I am older it means so much more to me. Have you ever read the book "Kitty My Rib"? It's a very good book about his wife Katherine.

It's amazing how God uses people for his purposes. I have always thought of Luther only in connection with the Lutheran church, but I am beginning to realize that many church bodies honor his teachings and the part he played in reforming the church. Awesome!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439— Thank you! I greatly appreciate this visitation and your wise comments. Your remarks show you to be far from ignorant, my friend. I am grateful for your ongoing encouragement. God Bless You!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans— You are welcome. Thank you for the enthusiastic reception of my latest work. Martin Luther was truly a remarkable man, yes. And his name was greatly besmirched by the Roman Church back then, and still is somewhat. He did stand for what he believed to be the truth. We may have to do that before our own government one day in America. If we will.

Thank God for people like you who work faithfully for His purposes. I agree with and love what you wrote:

"Thank God for giving us the privilege of having His Word for constant reassurance of His continued presence as well as His indwelling Holy Spirit!"


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Wynand— Thank you for reading my article and providing your encouragement. I am glad you found this little refresher course to be interesting.


Earthbeat 6 years ago

A very rich and detailed hub on the life of Martin Luther. I think it is true to say that both Catholics and Protestants of today are the better for his having lived, and having made his reforms.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

The Last Quill— Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

I had no idea that Martin Luther was prophesied about in Daniel. This is the first time I have heard this. Thank you for that illumination. I will be writing a bit about Zwingli and Calvin soon.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cantueso— You are quite welcome. Thank you for reading my article. I appreciate your outstanding comments. I agree with you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cantueso— Thank you for adding these comments. Yes, that term "Diet of Worms" is confusing. I appreciate you clarifying it for my readers.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Kristeen— I had not heard of "Kitty my Rib" before today. Thank you for telling me about it. And oh yes, I think all Protestant churches honor Martin Luther as the father of their movement. Maybe not as much as the Lutherans but surely he is recognized as the big guy. It is truly amazing how God uses people for His purposes. Martin Luther is an outstanding example of this. I am so glad that you enjoyed my article. Coming from a Lutheran, this approval means a bit more.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Earthbeat— I surely agree with your insightful remarks. Thank you for reading my article and for your kind comments.


gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 6 years ago from North Texas

Surely an imperfect man, but the Lord uses very flawed people for His purposes. I understand that Martin Luther had a genius IQ.

I really love learning more about the time of Martin Luther. That era was richly stimulating, enlightened, and not a little scary.

Can't wait to see your educational hub on John Calvin. Good work, James.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

gracenotes— Thank you for your comments. John Calvin is on the way. :-)

Everybody is flawed. Even the popes. Luther was a genius and a Renaissance man. I enjoyed putting this together and I'm glad that you enjoyed reading it.


Allan McGregor profile image

Allan McGregor 6 years ago from South Lanarkshire

After spending the last two weeks struggling with a sick computer, I come back to this - surely one of your best articles.

I marvel at your consumate ability to span such a wide subject so concisely. Excellent.

You correctly observe that the 'Protestant' epithet was accidental and initially primarly political, which is why I never describe myself as one. In my view only one who has rejected the religious dogmas (as opposed to the Biblical doctrines) of the Roman Catholic Church can truly be described as a Protestant. My wife was brought up as Roman Catholic, so she can be so described. I was not, so I can't.

The political dimension of the papacy also explains a lot of the division and animosity that arose then and persists even today, because much of it was initially directed at 'Papists' rather than 'Catholics', because many Roman Catholics (including Luther himself, and all of the early Reformers) as iatkins observes, were good Christians. The issue therefore, was not so much between individual believers as between those who recognised the secular authority of the Pope and those who did not. All too soon, however, did the term Papist and Roman Catholic become synonymous, whereupon Catholicism became regarded by Protestant states as synonymous with treason.

What you were a little light on, were Luther's negative traits. He was a vociferous anti-Semite, whose Judaeo-phobic opinions were shamefully misappropriated by Hitler, and for many years he doubted whether James' Epistle or the Book of Revelation belonged in the Bible.

He could also be heavy handed with his enemies and had Rome not burnt Hus first, Luther might have done the job for them because, as he expressed in a letter to Zwingli, he was concerned that once people had the Bible in their own language the uneducated might veer off into their own doctrines. Luther's tolerance had its limits, and in some ways he was an authoritarian who did not like to be disagreed with.


darrinintheden profile image

darrinintheden 6 years ago from Edson, Alberta

wow, great hub, do you ever wonder how the papacy answered for their offenses?


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Allan McGregor— I am glad you got your computer problems ironed out, brother. I am thrilled that you consider this article one of my best. Thank you for making my day.

Your remarks about what a Protestant is—and isn't—are interesting and illuminating.

You are right on target in the criticisms Luther surely deserves. I knew someone would cover this ground for me in this comments section. Luther was not the only person who had doubts about James and Revelation (and perhaps Hebrews).

I appreciate your participation in regard to this subject. Your words are wise.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

darrinintheden— Thank you very much, kind sir. I will be writing a Hub soon with the Catholic answer—the Council of Trent and the CounterReformation.


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

What an excellent account of Martin Luther's life. This is another excellent hub indeed. Martin Luther inspires me to be bold about my christian convictions. Thank you for sharing this account with us. Remain blessed.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cristina327— Thank you for your gracious accolades. You are surely welcome, too. God Bless You!


Marliza Gunter profile image

Marliza Gunter 6 years ago from South Africa

Here is a hub and a man (Martin Luther) that I truly like...yes..and it is said that Rome is where Satan's throne is at...many blessings.. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Marliza Gunter— Martin Luther was quite a fellow, alright. I am glad that you approve. Thanks for coming and commenting. :)


tracykarl99 profile image

tracykarl99 6 years ago from San Francisco

James, Hi. I know that you wrote this hub about Martin Luther several weeks ago, but I've been wanting to read the whole series that you so intelligently put together - so I just chose one. I want to read them all. This one about Martin Luther is fascinating and touching! I was particularly moved by his devotion to God and to his will and integrity in translating the bible, the scripture, into German for the people. I could go on. This was excellent - you must be super organized! ~ Tracy


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

tracykarl99— Thank you so very much for your warm laudations! I am greatly encouraged by your words. I appreciate you, Tracy.

James


Lila Sharma profile image

Lila Sharma 5 years ago from Naples/Florida/USA

Nicely done. I just finished watching the PBS documentary, "Empires: Martin Luther" (which I thought was very interesting) and am now fascinated by this man. One thing I wonder...where did the Catholic church get the idea of purgatory in the first place?


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Lila Sharma— Welcome to HubPages!

I have not seen that documentary. Thanks for telling me about it.

Purgatory dates to the 12th century. It appears to be based on rather flimsy theology, centered around 1 Peter 3:14 and 1 Corinthians 3:14-15. It is an intermediate stop for people to be purified before entering heaven. So you end up with three categories of people, the good, the bad, and the mediocre, the last of whom get into heaven but only after some painful process and only with the prayers of the living for them. The practice of praying for the dead is at the root of purgatory, and that goes back to early Christianity.


JeannieGuzman 4 years ago

I love indulgences described as "Coupons from the Pope!" I can just see them appearing in the Sunday newspaper, alongside coupons for toilet paper and pancake syrup! What a racket. I wonder why the Church abandoned the practice of selling them. Now they are probably given out for "substantial donations." I remember they were still around when I was in grade school in the 1950's. They were often on the back of Holy Cards or prayer cards.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

JeannieGuzman— Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article about Martin Luther.

"Coupons from the Pope!" That is rather clever, if I do say so myself. :D

I sincerely appreciate your insightful comments. I am grateful that you took the time to read my Hub and respond to it.

James

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