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What was the life and work of Martin Luther?

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βˆ™ 2011-06-20 09:25:20

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Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany on 10 November 1483, the son of a copper-mine owner. When he was 17, he entered the University of Erfurt and gained a Bachelor's degree in 1502 and a Master's degree in 1505. Because his father wished him to enter the law profession, Luther then enrolled in the law school of the University of Erfurt.

His life changed direction when he was almost hit by a lightning bolt one day in 1505. This event caused led Luther to abandon his law studies and enter a monastery, dedicated to serving God.

Luther tried to adapt to monastic life but he struggled with the Roman Catholic church's demands that favour with God could only be earned through good works. Studying the Scriptures deeply, he came to the realisation that salvation is a gift of God's grace: it is received by faith alone. He realised that trust in Christ's death on the cross is the only means to that salvation.

It was this realisation that led him to challenge the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, in particular, the nature of penance, the authority of the pope and the usefulness of indulgences. When Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on 31 October 1517, thus began the Reformation of the church. The theses contained numerous challenges and attacks on papal abuses and the sale of indulgences by church officials.

The posting of the 95 Theses caused considerable controversy. Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic church several years later for his attacks on the wealth and corruption of the papacy. In particular, his belief that salvation would be granted on the basis of faith alone rather than by works was regarded as heresy. In 1521, the same year in which he was excommunicated, Luther was summoned to appear before the Diet of Worms. The Diet was a general assembly of the estates of the Holy Roman Empire that occurred in Worms, Germany, from January to May in 1521. When an edict of the Diet called for Luther to be seized, his friends took him for safekeeping to Wartburg, the castle of Elector Frederick III of Saxony.

Here, Luther continued to write numerous theological works, which considerably influenced the direction of the Protestant Reformation movement. He also used this time to translate The Bible from the Latin of the time into German so that the common, everyday people could read it. It concerned Luther that, for centuries, the Bible had been out of reach of the common man.

2011-06-20 09:25:20
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