Martin Luther – The Protestant Reformer

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Martin Luther : 

Martin Luther A brief history

Martin Luther : 

Martin Luther Martin Luther was born in Germany on November 10, 1483; He died February 18, 1546 at the age of 63. At one time he was a Catholic monk/priest who decided to break away form the Catholic Church and then formed the first Protestant Church. Lutheranism spread through Europe and eventually to the rest of the world.

Luther’s Father : 

Luther’s Father Martin Luther’s father was named Hans. He was a miner, a rugged, stern, irritable character. Hans beat Martin so severely he ran away from home. His mother’s name was Margaret Ziegler, she too was so strict that Martin never knew the joys of childhood. She too beat Martin until he was bloody.

Wittenberg, Germany : 

Wittenberg, Germany In the words of Martin the brutality of living at home with his parents forced him to run away to the monastery and become a monk. It also has been reported that one of his reasons for leaving home was his fear of death. He reasoned that by becoming a monk, if death came, he would be saved. Luther was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1507. For the first time in his life he found peace in the monastic life, unfortunately within a few years he would also turn his back on the monastery and leave. Before doing so he became a professor of philosophy and theology at the University of Wittenberg in Germany.

Faith, Scripture and Grace Alone : 

Faith, Scripture and Grace Alone Luther originated the doctrine which became the centerpiece of the Protestant Reformation. He believed that humans were evil by nature and that no amount of "good work" could possibly merit a person's salvation. But in studying the Greek text of the St. Paul’s letters he found new inspiration, which led him to teach a doctrine based on three revolutionary principles: By faith alone By scripture alone and By grace alone

Wickedness and Corruption : 

Wickedness and Corruption He like his parents would become rigid not in the ways of the world but in the ways of religion. His rigidity eventually gave way to violation of church law, his excuse was he needed more time to study so he would go weeks without reading his Breviary, a book containing the daily psalms, hymns, prayers, and Biblical lessons, failure to do so resulted in mortal sin and a deep sense of guilt. As a result he found nothing in himself except wickedness and corruption. The violation of his vows led to physical, mental, and spiritual depression. At one point he even tells us that he was angry with God because he was born. Martin speaks about salvation by faith alone.

Be A Sinner, An Adulterer, A Murder : 

Be A Sinner, An Adulterer, A Murder "Be a sinner and sin on bravely, but have stronger faith and rejoice in Christ, who is the victor of sin, death, and the world. Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice: sin must be committed. To you it ought to be sufficient that you acknowledge the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world, the sin cannot tear you away from him, even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders" (Enders, "Briefwechsel", III, 208). Martin’s attitude of displeasure with the teachings of the Church came to a head with what appeared to him to be the selling of an indulgence.

On Halloween October 31, 1517 : 

On Halloween October 31, 1517 On Halloween, October 31, 1517 Martin placed his ninety-five Theses of disagreement with the Church onto the Church door at Wittenberg. This wasn’t considered an open rebellion against the Church. To put the matter in perspective let’s keep in mind that the Church door was the normal place to put academic questions. It seems clear that this was Martin’s intent, to ask questions, however, the archbishop’s councilors were of the unanimous opinion that the questions were heretical. The decision was made to take action against Martin and to send Martin’s statements to the pope for further action.

Pope Leo X1475-1521 : 

Pope Leo X1475-1521 Luther was asked to recant or retract his statements. He agreed. On March 3rd , 1519, he writes Pope Leo X: "Before God and all his creatures, I bear testimony that I neither did desire, nor do desire to touch or by intrigue to undermine the authority of the Roman Church and that of your holiness" (De Wette, op. cit., I, 234).

Ten Days Later : 

Ten Days Later Ten days later on March 13th he writes to a friend: "I am at a loss to know whether the pope be the antichrist or his apostle" (De Wette, op. cit., I, 239). Luther began reading anti-clerical literature that only served to add to his contempt for any who disagreed with his theological statements. Until this time his thesis's were kept within the confines of academia and the Church. But now Luther took the matter to the public and made statements that took him from a Church reformer, to a revolutionist who was beginning a revolt within the Church. He then said, "I neither can nor will recant anything, for it is neither safe nor right to act against one's conscience God help me, Amen.“ With that statement the Reformation began.

His Bible : 

His Bible The only Christian Bible in existence at the time was the Catholic Bible but that Bible did not match Luther’s new theology. Luther then wrote his own version of the Bible, published in 1546 in order to support his theology. His “mistranslations,” have been removed and corrected by most of the Protestant religions. Luther recognized no superior, tolerated no rival, and did not tolerate contradiction. As people disagreed with him, and since there was no central teaching authority or hierarchy, people left Lutheranism and formed their own religions. In 2006 Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary tells us there is approximately 38,000 Christian denominations in the world.

Luther Marries : 

Luther Marries On June 13, 1525 Luther, then 42, married a 26 year-old Bernardine nun. Luther’s creation of the “universal priesthood,” and the ability of people to judge Christianity on their own terms opened the door to anarchy within his church. As he saw it, “there are as many sects as there are heads.” By April of 1526 the word Protestant was coined as the whole opposition movement to the Catholic Church. On March 20, 1530 the Lutheran's completed their Catechism, the official teachings of their faith. That document was not a sharp division between Catholics and Lutherans but demonstrated many commonalities.

Henry VIII : 

Henry VIII An example would be the Catholic opposition to divorce and remarriage. King Henry VIII of England wanted a divorce so that he could marry another. The Catholic Church turned him down and Luther said, “"before he would permit a divorce, he would rather that the king took unto himself another queen" (De Wette, op. cit., 296). He was not at all accepting of divorce but was accepting of adultery.

Death : 

Death It appears that Luther was happily married to Catherine. Their marriage produced six children. Outside the marriage his “terrible temper” drove people away. He was repeating the behavior of his parents and flew into a rage if anyone disagreed with him on any theological issue. As he grew older he felt isolated from the Church he started simply because of his temper. Luther died about three in the morning, February 18, 1546. The body was taken to Wittenberg for a funeral, and he was buried on the February 22, 1546.

Luther The Victim? : 

Luther The Victim? Luther did not set out to form Lutheranism or abandon the Catholic Church. In many ways Luther became the victim of circumstances. He grew up in an abusive household. His escape route from the abusive household was to join a monastery. He had questions about his faith but they were perceived by others as heretical. He left his faith, he left his vows, married and became a father who repeated his parents aggressive behavior which resulted in him loosing most of his friendships outside of his immediate family.

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