I want to start this blog by saying that I love history! It is so great to me that we have the opportunity to look back at significant people that stood for what they believed in and were willing to die for what they believed in. Today we are going to talk about a man who many of us of studied and heard about before but I believe deserves a second look. I hope you learn something new. Enjoy!
The history of the church is something that has always fascinated me personally. The focus of the Bible throughout is Jesus Christ but I love learning about how the church started and all of the changes that have brought the church to where it is today. Having said all of this, my absolute favorite era of the church is the Reformation. The Reformation is the era of the church that took place from between AD 1517 and 1648. One of the most important things to happen in this era is that the Pope began to lose his ultimate authority of the western world. Until this point the Catholic Church was extremely powerful and the Pope was the leader of the Catholic Church. A majority of the kings through the time before the Reformation were merely pawns whom the Pope had control of. The Pope started to lose his power due to several different people and movements that stated that the Catholic Church was not Biblically accurate or doctrinally sound. The main leader of this movement of Reformation was a man by the name of Martin Luther. Martin Luther was studying to be a lawyer when he got caught out during a thunderstorm and made a promise to God that if he survived he would give his life to the ministry and become a monk for the Catholic Church. In the year 1510, Luther was asked to run an errand in Rome (he was from Germany). When he got to Rome he was astonished and very upset to see that the clergyman of Rome were corrupt morally and lived lives of luxury when everything that they were taught was opposite of the way they were living. Sometime after he trip to Rome Luther became a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg. It was during this time that Luther began to dig deeper into his Bible and come up with some conclusions about things that the Catholic Church was saying the Bible said. Luther began to believe and teach that a person is granted salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone and nothing else. Luther also discovered that the practice of indulgences (or paying to get someone out of purgatory) was not Biblical whatsoever. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses” to the door of the local church of Wittenberg. Luther did not post his theses to the door to revolutionize or break away from the Catholic Church but to simply start a discussion on whether these things should truly be happening within the church or not. Shortly after Luther posted his “95 Theses” the Pope is quoted as saying, “There is a wild boar loose in the vineyard of God.” The Pope then gave Luther an ultimatum to either recant his “95 Theses” during the next sixty days or be put to death. Luther refused to recant at the Diet of Worms in 1521. Here is what he said, “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason — I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other — my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.” From this point on the Pope would never stop trying to find and kill Martin Luther. One of the greatest things that Luther did for the people of Germany is translate the Bible into their native language. With the help of the printing press the Bible rapidly made its’ way around Germany. This was a huge step because the Catholic Church said that only the clergy could read the Bible.
Martin Luther was an extremely influential person during the period of the Reformation and because of his courage many other nations and leaders rebelled against the Catholic Church. This is the reason that Papal authority was overthrown and this is the reason that we are able to worship today the way that we do.