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Martin Luther's Reformation - Essay Example

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An ecclesiastical reformer, Luther was born in 1483 and baptized on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. He was sent to schools in Mansfeld, Magdeburg and Eisenach. After finishing his Master's degree in 1505 from the University of Erfurt, Luther enrolled in law school. He had to leave law school that same year, however, because he encountered a miracle of God during a thunderstorm. As a lightning bolt struck near to him, he cried out, "Help, Saint Anne! I'll become a monk!" His life was spared, so Luther left law school to enter a monastery.
Leaving law school to enter monastery was a huge change in young Luther's life. He had to believe with all his heart that God had saved him and wished for him to turn to His law instead. Studious as he was, Luther delved into God's ways with total concentration. He realized that man's reason was enough as law. Thus, the concept of sovereign selfhood was reborn after Christ. Luther's law has been referred to as a lawless law given that it refers to the free mind needing no set of rigid laws to abide by. The theologian believed that universal law was written on the heart of man, and rigid reminders to follow it - as in the case of public law - were foolish at best (Bork). In effect, Luther's concept of sovereign selfhood had to do with being one with Christ, and this was absolutely logical from the point of view of a servant of God who had had the Gospels seep into himself.

Luther first came into contact with the humanists, especially Melanchthon, Reuchlin, and Erasmus, at the time of the disputation of Leipzig in 1519. It was humanism, in fact, that had compelled Luther to go to the sources, that is, the Scriptures to find the truth for himself. Luther immersed himself in the study of the Bible. He also had to know about the early Church before terms like penance and righteousness could take on new meaning for him. The great theologian was convinced that the Church had lost sight of essential facts from the Scriptures; that, in truth, every servant of God is potentially the Son of Man. The Scriptures now told him clearly: the doctrine of justification by faith alone had been particularly ignored by the Church. Luther also began to teach at this time that salvation is only a gift of God's grace through Jesus Christ, and this gift is received entirely by faith.

Martin Luther was one of the inspirations for the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. In the year 1517, the man had posted 95 theses on a church door as an invitation to debate. Luther was challenging certain portion of the Roman Catholic doctrine and number of specific practices. From the church door in Wittenberg, the movement gained adherents in the German states, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Scotland and parts of France. Change was called for, and even before Luther, prominent personalities such as John Wycliffe (1330-84) and John Huss (1369-1415) had raised their voice.

Could one look at the Address to the Christian Nobility as a repudiation of the Fourth Lateran Council How and why What were the consequences of this address for lay-church relations and how did it affect the rise of the early modern state What role did Calvin's doctrine play in the development of early European political theory

Luther's Address to the Christian Nobility of the German nation opens with the words:

The Romanists, ...Show more


This paper is an answer to four exam questions about Martin Luther, his ideas, and his times. The man's biography is discussed, along with a discussion on how he influenced Christianity and the formation of the early European state. John Calvin and Ignatius Loyola are also featured in the discussion.
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Martin Luthers Reformation
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