Top 10 Facts about Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German lecturer of religion, composer, priest, monk and an influential figure in the Protestant Reformation. He was born in Eisleben, Germany, in 1483 and ordained to the priesthood in 1507. However, despite this, he came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Of all the teachings found in the practice, he disputed the view on indulgences. Luther did not stop there; he went on to propose an academic discussion of the practise and efficacy of indulgences. He did so through his ‘Ninety-five Theses’ of 1517. His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his ex-communication by the pope and censure as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor. Let’s take a look at the top 10 facts about Martin Luther as we get to know him better.
1. Luther was born to into a religious home
Martin Luther was born to Hans Luder (later, Luther) and his wife Margarethe on 10 November 1483 in Eisleben, County of Mansfeld in the Holy Roman Empire. Luther was baptized the next morning following his birth on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. His family moved to Mansfield in 1484, where his father was a leaseholder of copper mines and smelters and served as one of four citizen representatives on the local council; in 1492 he was elected as a town councillor. The religious scholar Martin Marty describes Luther’s mother as a hard-working woman of “trading-class stock and middling means” and notes that Luther’s enemies later wrongly described her as a whore and bath attendant.
2. His Father Intended for him to be a Lawyer
Hans Luther was ambitious for himself and his family, and he was determined to see Martin, his eldest son, become a lawyer. He sent Martin to the best schools; Latin schools in Mansfeld, then Magdeburg, where he attended a school operated by a lay group called the Brethren of the Common Life, and Eisenach in 1498. The three schools focused on the so-called “trivium”: grammar, rhetoric, and logic. In accordance with his father’s wishes, he enrolled in law but dropped out almost immediately, believing that law represented uncertainty. Luther’s rediscovery of “Christ and His salvation” was the first of two points that became the foundation for the Reformation. His railing against the sale of indulgences was based on this.
3. He is said to have set off the Protestant Reformation
On October 31, 1517, the fable has it that the priest and scholar Martin Luther went up to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nailed a piece of paper to it containing his 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation.
4. He is famous for his 95 theses
In his theses, Luther damned the excesses and dishonesty of the Roman Catholic Church. He was specifically not pleased with the papal practice of asking payment in exchange for forgiveness of sins; the practice known as “indulgences. Prince Frederick III the Wise had banned the sale of indulgences in Wittenberg, many church members traveled away to purchase them. Upon their return they showed the pardons they had bought to Luther claiming they no longer had to repent for their sins. Luther’s frustration with this practice led him to write the 95 Theses. It was quickly picked up, translated and dispersed far and wide.
5. The Pope hoped Luther had committed heresy
Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz and Magdeburg did not reply to Luther’s letter which he presented containing the Ninety-five opinions. He had the theses verified for heresy and in December 1517 forwarded them to Rome. He needed the revenue from the indulgences to pay off a papal dispensation for his benefice, as Luther later noted, “the pope had a finger in the pie as well, because one half was to go to the building of St Peter’s Church in Rome”.
6. Luther translated the New Testament into German
During Luther’s stay at the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach, which he referred to as his ‘Patmos’ (a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea where a vision was given to the disciple John in the Book of Revelation and where the book itself was written), Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German. While here he also refuted the Argument of Latomus an orthodox theologian from Louvain.
7. Luther married a nun
Martin Luther was married to a lady by the name Katharina von Bora. Katarina was one of 12 nuns Luther had helped to escape from the Nimbschen Cistercian convent in April 1523. At the time of their marriage, Katharina was 26 years old and Luther was 41 years old.
8. He is the founder of Lutheranism
Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther. His writings spread internationally and divided Western Christianity.
9. Luther Developed Catechism
Luther developed the catechism as a method of imparting the fundamentals of Christianity to the worshippers. In 1529, he wrote the ‘Large Catechism’, this is a manual for pastors and teachers, as well as a synopsis. He wrote the ‘Small Catechism’, to be learned by heart by the people themselves.
The catechisms provided easy-to-understand instructional and devotional material on the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. Luther incorporated questions and answers in the catechism so that the basics of Christian faith would not just be learned by rote (a memorization technique based on repetition. The idea is that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more one repeats It), but understood.
The catechism is one of Luther’s most personal works. The ‘Small Catechism’ has earned a reputation as a model of clear religious teaching. It remains in use today.
10. ‘Exsurge Domine’ was written in response to Luther’s opinions
Exsurge Domine, which is Latin for ‘Arise O’ Lord’ is a papal bull (a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Catholic Church) broadcast on 15 June 1520 by Pope Leo X. The papal bull was written in response to Martin Luther’s theses opposing views of the Church. It censured forty-one propositions extracted from Luther’s Ninety-five Theses and subsequent writings and threatened him with excommunication unless he renounced within a sixty-day period beginning upon the publication of the bull in Saxony and its adjacent regions. Luther declined to renounce and countered instead by creating polemical tracts lashing out at the papacy and by publicly setting ablaze a copy of the bull. As a result, Luther was excommunicated in 1521.
Now you know the top 10 facts about Martin Luther. I hope you enjoyed reading this article.