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Martin Luther The Great Reformer
By: J. A. Morrison
On November 10, 1483, Martin Luther was born. His parents were Hans and Margaret Luther. Martin came from a poor family. The Luther's were Germans. They lived in the Thuringian Mountains near Eisleben. Martin Luther was still a small baby when his parents moved from Eisleben to Mansfeld, where his father found work in the mines. Martin, his brother, and his three sisters didn't have the easiest childhood to grow up with. Their parents taught them religion. Luther's parents were devout Catholics and their strenuous and even unmerciful discipline of their children, they believed, was the very best for the children's welfare. So when Martin or his siblings did anything wrong, they were beat as a punishment.
Hans Luther wanted to give his children better education than he has himself growing up. They started to teach Martin as soon as they could. Even if he was at home he was always learning. But in school because the schoolteachers were ignorant, he received fifteen whippings one morning at school. Martin referred the name of "school" to "hell and purgatory". When the schoolmasters at Mansfeld were through pounding Latin into Luther with a stick, he was getting ready to go to Magdeburg for school. Because Luther was so poor to have money for his own expenses, Luther had to sing in the streets. It was common for Luther to see other students as poor as him standing in front of wealthy citizen houses. Sometimes they were invited to come in for some food. He stayed in Magdeburg for about one year before moving to Eisenach and going to a school known as The School Of St. George. Ursula Cotta heard Luther singing in the street for money. So she and her Husband, Conrad, invited Luther to come into their beautiful home and share its comforts with them. Then in about May of 1501, Luther enrolled as a student at Erfurt. Then in 1502, he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts and three years later that of Master of Arts.
Luther had been hunted by fears that God's wrath was being stored up against him. Luther didn't look to the Bible for an answer to his burning question.
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While Martin was lecturing at Wittenberg University was one of the happiest time in his life. Then a dispute started so Luther was chosen to go to Rome to talk to the Pope about this problem. Luther and John Von Mecheln of Nuremberg set off to Rome with each other. Their walk there was hard. Several times they thought that they would never make it to the great city. Luther spent four weeks in Rome. When he heard stories of the very corrupt life of Alexander VI, who had been Pope until about seven years before Luther's visit. And when he heard people who make fun of those who were trying to live holy lives. He was mad and upset. He said, "If there is a hell, Rome is built over it." When in Rome, Luther visited the chapel Sancta Sanctorum. When he was making it up the flight of stairs he never felt any better. Then he heard "The just shall live by faith." This is when Luther started to begin to see that faith in Jesus Christ and His divine power will save, and bring peace to the soul, when climbing so-called "holy-steps" fails.
Luther was made a regular professor after his return from Rome. Luther became professor of theology at Wittenberg University. He studied and took part in practical, religious, and social questions of the times, and tired to use his learning for the betterment of these departments of life. John Tatzel, who was an agent of the Pope of Rome, came up into Germany to sell indulgences everywhere. Tatzel claimed to be greater than St. Peter. He told people that as soon as there money rattled in the collection-chest, their loved ones where lifted out of purgatory. This made Martin Luther extremely furious. He was determined to do what he had to do to keep the poor people from being deceived and robbed of their money. This is when Luther wrote out his famous ninety-five theses. Some may say that on October 31,1517, (the day after the Feast of All Saints) was the day when the great Lutheran Reformation began. With a crowd of people that day Luther nailed a set of his ninety-five theses to the wooden church door. Then soon after Luther's name was a household word in all Europe.
When Pope Leo heard about the theses, he thought a drunken man had done the work and soon would realize the wrong he has done. When he found out it was Martin Luther he sent Cardinal Cajetan to tell Luther to come to the trail about his theses. The trail was to be held in Augsburg before a court of the Romish representatives. He also made it very clear that no one was to house or hide Martin or they also would be punished. When Martin heard of this he thought that he would never return alive. The Cardinal asked Luther to admit that he was wrong, and Luther refused. The Pope then decided to send Charles von Miltitz to come talk to Luther. Miltitz found out that three out of four people were in favor of Luther's movement. When Luther and Miltitz met they decided that Luther should write a note to the Pope and apologize. Miltitz was to also write to the Pope, and tell his that an adjustment had been made. All Luther had to do was keep quit. But soon Eck and Luther were debating at Leipzig. It became clear that the breach between Luther and the Roman Catholic Church was growing wider and wider. In 1520, Luther wrote his famous Address to the German Nobility. Luther quoted scriptures from the Bible to prove his point and very soon he dismissed the three walls of the Roman Catholic Church. Later, he wrote his Treatise on Christian Liberty. Luther had now broken the last cord that bound him to the Romish Church. He had assailed her doctrines, ridiculed her practices, and defied her authority.