Martin Luther


People wonder how one man could cause such a massive reform in history. Martin Luther was an ordinary man with one main goal, to reform the Church. He was not anything out of the ordinary, just a man with a plan. His life can be divided into four major phases. The first phase of Luther\'s life which encompasses his childhood, university studies and his time as an Augustinian monk is characterized by his search for religious understanding. When he finally reached the understanding he was searching for, he realizes that there are many problems in the world and the church. He rebels against the abuses of the church and his actions spark strong reactions. Luther hides at the Wartburg on the orders of his Elector, Fredrick the Wise. The Reformation has caught on with some of the most powerful people and is unstoppable. Luther is able to return to Wittenberg to fight his adversaries and put his ideas into practice. During the last years of his life, Luther is no less active, but resignation and an inclination towards sudden outbursts of rage can be seen in the works and speeches of the aging reformer (Andrea, THR, 5).


Martin Luther, born as Martin Luder, was born on November 10, 1483, into an extremely tense world. Great changes were waiting around the corner, and Luther, too, would take his part in these changes. Luther\'s father, a farmer\'s son, moved from Eisleben to Mansfeld shortly after Luther\'s birth in 1484 to try to better the family\'s financial situation by mining copper. Luther\'s mother, Margarete Luder, had many children to look after and was a harsh disciplinarian. Martin attended the Latin school in Mansfeld where barbaric teaching methods of the Middle Ages still reigned. Luther had been described as a quiet, reserved yet talented student who was intimidated by the strict order. The University or Erfurt , founded in 1392 was one of the best German universities at this time. During Luther\'s time, before one could study a specific field, you had to learn the7 Liberal Arts. Luther did this, received his Baccalaureate in 1502 and then received his Master\'s degree in 1505. Luther, as the legend goes, swore to become a monk on July 2, 1505 while he was caught in a terrible storm. He did this, to his friends surprise who knew him as full of the joys of life and his parents anger; he entered the Mendicant order of the Augustinian monks in Erfurt.


This time molded Luther, he found a close relationship to the Bible which characterized his later life and work. In 1507, Luther was ordained as a priest and started studying Theology at the University. He came in contact with the ideas of Humanists and began to study the Bible in its original Hebrew and Greek. After receiving his doctorate in Theology in 1512, Luther took a position as Theology Professor at the Wittenberg University \'Leucorea\'. He gave lectures over the Psalms (1514-15), Letter to the Romans (1515-16), Letter to the Galatians (1516-17), and Letter to the Hebrews (1517-18) (Spaeth, 10).


From 1514 Luther was not only theology professor at Wittenberg University but also the priest at the City Church in Wittenberg. So he was also responsible for the salvation of his parish. Luther observed that many people in Wittenberg were not coming to him for confession any more. They were going to towns in Brandenburg or Anhalt to buy Indulgences. The practice of buying indulgences, which quasi replaced confession and allowed people to buy their salvation, was completely repulsive to Luther. He strongly believed that one lived a life of humility in order to receive God\'s grace.


Prior to October 31, 1517, Luther had preached against the indulgence trade. After reading an instruction manual for indulgence traders, he wrote a letter to his church superiors hoping to get rid of this abuse. In this letter he included 95 Thesis which were to be used as the basis for a discussion on the topic. That Luther hammered his thesis to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg belongs to legends. Luther sent his 95 Theses to a few bishops and some friends; therefore he did not expect or receive a prompt response. By the end of 1517, however, copies