Martin luther wild Boar

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  • Wild Boar

  • In the Vineyard

Martin Luther’s Youth

  • Born November 10, 1483

  • Parents: Hans & Margaretha Luder

  • Hans was common servant; worked in copper mine; rose to ownership of mines & smelter

  • Hans was driven to succeed; driven to be sure that Martin succeeded as well

  • Martin went to University of Erfurt to study law

Martin Luther’s Entrance into Monastery

  • Caught in a thunderstorm at age 21, he cried: “Help me, St. Anne! I will become a monk!”

  • Entered Augustinian Monastery, 1505 – much to his father’s dismay

  • Ordained a priest

  • Studied theology in preparation for teaching

Martin Luther’s Confession

  • Tormented by sensitivity to sin nature

    • Extreme asceticism: prayer, fasts, sleep deprivation, cold, whipping himself
    • Constantly in confession
    • Luther: “If ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery, I was that monk!

Martin Luther’s Trip to Rome

  • Abbot Staupitz sent Luther on pilgrimage to Rome

    • Luther visited holiest places; crawled up Pilate’s staircase
    • Luther observed priests & bishops acting immorally & abusing their power
    • Luther: “I went with onions & returned with garlic

Martin Luther’s Discovery

  • Next Staupitz sent Luther to Wittenberg as theology professor

  • 1515, great discovery: Rom. 1:17

    • Gospel is revelation of justice of God
    • To Luther, justice of God was unbearable; yet, Gospel linked to God’s justice
    • Justice does not refer to punishment of sinners; righteousness is given to those who live by faith
    • Justification is the free gift of God to sinners: righteousness is imputed by God who justifies humans by their faith in Jesus Christ

Controversy over Indulgences

  • Leo X sold archbishopric of Mainz to Albert of Brandenburg to raise money to build St. Peter’s

  • Albert hired John Tetzel to sell indulgences

  • Tetzel: “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs”

95 Theses

  • 95 Theses written against the sale of indulgences

  • Nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517

  • 95 Theses translated, printed, & distributed throughout Germany within 2 weeks

Selections from 95 Theses

  • 32. Those who suppose that on account of their letters of indulgence they are sure of salvation will be eternally damned along with their teachers.

  • 36. Every Christian who truly repents has plenary (full) forgiveness both of punishment and guilt bestowed upon him, even without letters of indulgence.

  • 37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has a share in all the benefits of Christ and the Church, for God has granted him these, even without letters of indulgence.

Selections from 95 Theses

  • 81. This shameless preaching of pardons makes it hard even for learned men to defend the pope’s honor against calumny or to answer the indubitably shrewd questions of the laity.

  • 82. For example: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love . . . For after all, he does release countless souls for the sake of sordid money contributed for the building of a cathedral? . . .”

4 Attempts to Silence Luther

  • Heidelberg Disputation (May 1518)

    • Luther was put on trial before Augustinian General Council
    • Introduced “Theology of the Cross”:
      • Centrality of Cross
      • Only Jesus can forgive sins
      • Be willing to become nothing for God’s glory
    • Attacked scholastic theology, which he called “Theology of Glory” – those who hate the cross & love works in order to obtain earthly glory
    • Martin Bucer attended & was persuaded

4 Attempts to Silence Luther

  • Leo X offered Luther position of Cardinal if he would be silent

4 Attempts to Silence Luther

  • Cardinal Cajetan, Dominican papal legate, was sent to stifle Luther

  • Luther presented written arguments

    • Pope was not infallible
    • Authority of council was superior to pope
    • Sacraments apart from faith cannot save
    • Justification by faith was scriptural
    • Appealed to Bible as supreme authority
  • Cajetan published order for Luther’s arrest

4 Attempts to Silence Luther

  • Leipzig Disputation (July 1519)

    • John Maier of Eck vs. Luther
    • Luther bested Eck through citation of Scripture by memory to prove that Christ, not pope, is head of church
    • Eck accused Luther of being “Saxon Huss”
    • At first Luther denied charge; during intermission, he researched Huss; came back to say: “We are all Hussites if we believe the Bible to be true”
    • Luther’s affirmation of Huss, convicted heretic, was dangerous admission

4 Attempts to Silence Luther

  • Why was Luther not killed in order to silence him?

  • He was protected by Frederick the Wise, who was able to manipulate pope & emperor

Three Treatises of 1520

  • An Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation

    • Attacked Three Walls pope erected around Scripture
      • Spiritual power of pope is above temporal powers of magistrates (preventing magistrates from instituting reform)
      • Interpretation of Scripture belongs only to pope
      • Only pope can call council
    • Insisted on “priesthood of believer”

Three Treatises of 1520

  • The Babylonian Captivity of the Church

    • Attacked sacramental system
    • Affirmed 3 sacraments: baptism, Eucharist & penance (later affirmed only first 2)
      • Denied transubstantiation but affirmed real presence (consubstantiation)
      • Mass was not sacrifice but testament
      • Faith is real element that gives value to sacraments

Three Treatises of 1520

  • The Freedom of a Christian

    • Exposition of relationship between faith & works
    • Devotional work that shows that new person in Christ lives not to himself/ herself, but in Christ & for neighbor
    • Emphasized priesthood of believer

Papal Bull of Excommunication

  • 1520, Luther was threatened by papal bull: “Arise, O Lord, a wild boar is loose in the vineyard”

  • Luther burned papal document plus entire canon law

Diet of Worms (April 17-18, 1521)

    • Charles V, HRE & king of Spain: “Surely one individual could not call into doubt the tradition of the entire church?
    • Luther was ordered to recant his books

Wartburg Castle

  • Edict of Worms condemned Luther as civil criminal; 21 days “safe conduct” but pre-dated May 6

  • Kidnapped on the way home

    • Surrounded by hooded men
    • Taken to Wartburg Castle by order of Frederick the Wise for safety
  • Knight George

    • He hid for 10 months

German Bible

  • New Testament: translated in 11 weeks

  • Old Testament & entire Bible in 1534

  • Significance of the German Bible

    • Prompted Bible study & spread of Reformation
    • Popularized vernacular in other languages
    • Beginning of increased production of Bibles
    • Improved literacy
    • Unified German language: Luther = “Father of Modern German Language”

4 Incidents that Limited Luther’s Reformation

  • Andreas Bodenstein “Karlstadt” (1480-1541)

    • Led reform in Luther’s absence
    • Celebrated radical mass on Christmas 1521
    • Instigated iconoclastic riots & removed images from churches

4 Incidents that Limited Luther’s Reformation

  • Andreas Bodenstein “Karlstadt” (1480-1541)

    • People were nerve-shattered by radical mass & iconoclastic riots
    • Luther returned to Wittenberg
    • Karlstadt was expelled from Saxony

4 Incidents that Limited Luther’s Reformation

  • Zwickau Prophets

    • Lay movement of men studying Scripture in Zwickau, Saxony
    • Tenets:
      • Questioned infant baptism
      • Emphasized immediate inspiration over biblical revelation (Spiritualistic Reformation)
      • Influenced by Taborites (militant Bohemian Hussites) with revolutionary eschatology
    • Arrived in Wittenberg just after Christmas 1521
      • Supported by Karlstadt
      • Luther discerned their spirit to be “of the devil” & expelled them

4 Incidents that Limited Luther’s Reformation

  • Thomas Müntzer (1489-1525)

    • Follower of Zwickau Prophets
    • Became critical of Luther, when Luther did not go far enough with Reformation
    • Advocated revolutionary means to obtain social justice

4 Incidents that Limited Luther’s Reformation

  • Peasants’ Revolt

    • Peasants discontent over economic suppression
    • Luther’s Freedom of a Christian taught priesthood of believer, interpreted as egalitarian society
    • Müntzer incited peasants against authorities & asked Wittenberg for help; Luther refused
    • 1525, Catholic & Lutheran forces defeated peasants, beheaded Müntzer

4 Incidents that Limited Luther’s Reformation

  • Peasants’ Revolt

    • Luther’s Reaction:
      • First, pled for princes to deal mercifully with peasants
      • Then, wrote Against the Robbing & Marauding Hordes of Peasants: “Smite, stab, slay the peasants!
      • Divorced himself from peasants in order not to impugn Reformation
      • But lost faith in common people & weakened his base of support from them


  • After his return to Wittenberg, he continued work of Reformation & established Lutheran Church

  • Wrote commentaries on every book except Revelation

  • Wrote Large & Small Catechisms

  • Wrote hymns (“Mighty Fortress Is Our God”)

Debate with Erasmus

  • Erasmus desired moral reform of Catholic Church & helped pave way for Reformation, but was unwilling to break from Catholic Church

  • Compared to Augustinianism of Luther, Erasmus’ theology was tinged with Pelagianism

  • Luther’s The Bondage of the Will (1525) vs. Erasmus’ On Free Will (1524)

    • Salvation by grace alone not by an act of the will (using sacraments and doing works).
    • Predestination: The hidden and revealed wills of God.
    • God produces a passive disposition, not a free will.

A Monk Re-Invents Family Life

  • Marriage to Katherine von Bora (Martin was 41)

    • Established model for Protestant Parsonage
    • Parents of 6 children
  • Frederick the Wise gave them Luther’s former Augustinian cloister as a wedding present; Katie remodeled it as hotel for income

Luther’s Wit & Wisdom on Marriage

  • There’s a lot to get used to in the first year of marriage. One wakes up in the morning and finds a pair of pigtails on the pillow that were not there before.

  • If I should ever marry again, I would hew myself an obedient wife out of stone.

  • In domestic affairs I defer to Katie. Otherwise, I am led by the Holy Spirit.

  • According to one story, Luther locked himself in his study for 3 days, until Katie took the door off the hinges.

Protestants vs. Catholics

  • First Diet of Speyer (1526)

    • New policy: Cujus regio, eius religio (“whose region, his religion”); ruler’s personal religion dictates his subjects’ religion
    • Within 3 years, most of N. Germany became Lutheran: state church
  • Second Diet of Speyer (1529)

    • Roman Catholics free in Lutheran territories; Lutherans not free in Roman Catholic territories
    • Lutheran princes wrote Protestations; hence, “Protestant Reformation”

Protestants vs. Catholics

  • Marbourg Colloquy (1529)

    • Philip of Hesse wanted to unify all Protestants
    • Arranged meeting between Luther & Zwingli to unite German & Swiss Protestants
    • Major doctrinal difference was over Lord’s Supper
      • Luther – real presence; Zwingli – memorial
      • Luther wrote Hoc est meum corpum on table & would not budge
    • Agreement & alliance could not be achieved

Protestants vs. Catholics

  • Diet of Augsburg (1530)

    • Charles V needed unity against Turkish threat & attempted reconciliation of Protestants & Catholics
    • Luther could not attend because Edict of Worms was still in effect

Protestants vs. Catholics

  • Diet of Augsburg (1530)

    • Melanchthon & Luther composed Augsburg Confession
      • Justification by faith
      • Faith not just mental assent
      • New life in Christ produces good works by God’s grace, not good deeds of merit for salvation
    • German princes signed; RCC gave one year to recant
    • But war with Turks occupied HRE for 16 yrs.

Martin Luther’s Death

  • 1546, Luther died: “When I die, I’m going to come back as a ghost & haunt the popes & his bishops. They’ll have far more trouble with the dead Luther than they ever had with the live one.”

Martin Luther’s Successor

  • Philip Melanchthon was named successor

  • Real name: Schwarzerd, “Black Earth”, Greek: melan chthon

  • Attended Marbourg Colloquy; co-authored Augsburg Confession

Martin Luther’s Legacy

  • Salvation: justification by grace through faith

  • Lord’s Supper: consubstantiation – Christ’s presence with the elements

  • Infant baptism

  • Priesthood of the believer

  • Union of church & state – to retain support of German princes

  • Anti-semitism

Martin Luther’s Legacy

  • Principles of Reformation

  • Sola Scriptura

  • Sola Fide

  • Sola Gratia

  • Sola Christus

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