Martin Luther is credited for starting the Protestant Reformation by declaring the corruption he saw in the Roman Catholic Church. By standing firm in his faith and openly going against the church, he’s able to get the people thinking for themselves and discovering the truth of their leaders and religion.
Martin Luther was born November 10, 1483 in Eislenben, Germany, to copper miner Hans and peasant Margaretha Luder. Living in poverty, his father is set on Luther becoming a lawyer for higher income and family honor. In 1501, he enrolled at Master of Arts in Erford, and received his Bachelor’s degree in 1502 and Master’s in 1505. He then enrolled to the law school. In 1505, he’s caught in a thunderstorm and asks God for deliverance. Since he lived through the fright, he then devotes himself to God, dropping out of law school and joining the monastery, although against his father’s orders.
While searching for personal salvation, Luther took his spiritual growth very seriously and often times punished himself. He spent most hours praying and confessing. Through this, he began to notice his frequent and awful sins. He was told to follow after academics which he then taught theology at the University of Wittenberg. On October 18, 1512, he is given a Doctorate in Theology. In 1513, he studied Psalm 22 and gained enlightenment. He realized, as Paul said, “The just will live by faith,” and that salvation comes with solely faith and not religious works or practices.
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Luther’s knowledge of the Scriptures and his analytical mind caused him to see the power-hungry church leaders’ corruption. A major issue Luther saw was the selling of indulgences which were ways to get people of the church to pay for prayers and salvation. The Roman Catholic Church used these indulgences to put fear into their followers and money into their own pockets. Along with that complaint and others, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door on October 31, 1517. Within two weeks, the news of his rebellion spread through Germany and throughout Europe in two months. The Johannes Gutenberg Printing Press played a vital role in this expansion. Within days, many copies of the news was made and sent out. This gave the people of the church and of the nations concrete evidence of their leaders’ corruption. Soon, the fear of the people faded and so did the church’s power.
In 1520, Luther is threatened with excommunication from the church. In January of 1520 he is excommunicated and named as a heretic. In April of 1521, the Diet of Worms met and Luther is questioned about his act. He is told to recant but he refuses to do so unless the Scriptures would have him do otherwise.
In 1522, Luther translates the New Testament to German where again, the printing press made it available to society. He also formed his own church, Lutheranism, and teaches his practices and gains followers. On June 13, 1525, he married former nun Katharina von Bora and went on to have six children together. As time goes on, he gains many health problems and dies at the age of 62 on February 18, 1546.
Through personal enlightenment and rebellion, Martin Luther started the transformation of the Christian church and many of its practices today. By refusing the deception of the church, he leads a revolt against the church and sets the example of strong, unshakable faith. Luther’s impact on religion didn’t stop in the 1500s, and is still standing firm and modeling the religion of society now.