In these sermons, he hammered home the primacy of core Christian values such as love, patience, charity, and freedom, and reminded the citizens to trust God's word rather than violence to bring about necessary change.
Do you know what the Devil thinks when he sees men use violence to propagate the gospel? He sits with folded arms behind the fire of hell, and says with malignant looks and frightful grin: Let them go on; I shall reap the benefit.
I delight in it. The effect of Luther's intervention was immediate. After the sixth sermon, the Wittenberg jurist Jerome Schurf wrote to the elector: Martin's return spread among us! His words, through divine mercy, are bringing back every day misguided people into the way of the truth. Luther next set about reversing or modifying the new church practices. By working alongside the authorities to restore public order, he signalled his reinvention as a conservative force within the Reformation.
Despite his victory in Wittenberg, Luther was unable to stifle radicalism further afield. There had been revolts by the peasantry on a smaller scale since the 15th century. Luther sympathised with some of the peasants' grievances, as he showed in his response to the Twelve Articles in May , but he reminded the aggrieved to obey the temporal authorities. In Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants , written on his return to Wittenberg, he gave his interpretation of the Gospel teaching on wealth, condemned the violence as the devil's work, and called for the nobles to put down the rebels like mad dogs:.
Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay, and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel For baptism does not make men free in body and property, but in soul; and the gospel does not make goods common, except in the case of those who, of their own free will , do what the apostles and disciples did in Acts 4 [: They did not demand, as do our insane peasants in their raging, that the goods of others—of Pilate and Herod—should be common, but only their own goods.
Our peasants, however, want to make the goods of other men common, and keep their own for themselves. Fine Christians they are! I think there is not a devil left in hell; they have all gone into the peasants. Their raving has gone beyond all measure. Luther justified his opposition to the rebels on three grounds. First, in choosing violence over lawful submission to the secular government, they were ignoring Christ's counsel to "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's"; St.
Paul had written in his epistle to the Romans This reference from the Bible forms the foundation for the doctrine known as the divine right of kings , or, in the German case, the divine right of the princes.
Second, the violent actions of rebelling, robbing, and plundering placed the peasants "outside the law of God and Empire", so they deserved "death in body and soul, if only as highwaymen and murderers. Without Luther's backing for the uprising, many rebels laid down their weapons; others felt betrayed. Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora , one of 12 nuns he had helped escape from the Nimbschen Cistercian convent in April , when he arranged for them to be smuggled out in herring barrels.
Some priests and former members of religious orders had already married, including Andreas Karlstadt and Justus Jonas , but Luther's wedding set the seal of approval on clerical marriage.
Not that I am insensible to my flesh or sex for I am neither wood nor stone ; but my mind is averse to wedlock because I daily expect the death of a heretic. Luther and his wife moved into a former monastery, " The Black Cloister ," a wedding present from the new elector John the Steadfast — They embarked on what appears to have been a happy and successful marriage, though money was often short.
By , Luther found himself increasingly occupied in organising a new church. His Biblical ideal of congregations choosing their own ministers had proved unworkable.
If he were forced to choose, he would take his stand with the masses, and this was the direction in which he moved. From to , he established a supervisory church body, laid down a new form of worship service , and wrote a clear summary of the new faith in the form of two catechisms. Luther's thought is revolutionary to the extent that it is a theology of the cross, the negation of every affirmation: To avoid confusing or upsetting the people, Luther avoided extreme change.
He also did not wish to replace one controlling system with another. He concentrated on the church in the Electorate of Saxony , acting only as an adviser to churches in new territories, many of which followed his Saxon model. He worked closely with the new elector, John the Steadfast , to whom he turned for secular leadership and funds on behalf of a church largely shorn of its assets and income after the break with Rome.
The elector authorised a visitation of the church, a power formerly exercised by bishops. For example, the Instructions for the Visitors of Parish Pastors in Electoral Saxony , drafted by Melanchthon with Luther's approval, stressed the role of repentance in the forgiveness of sins, despite Luther's position that faith alone ensures justification. In response to demands for a German liturgy , Luther wrote a German Mass , which he published in early Some reformers, including followers of Huldrych Zwingli , considered Luther's service too papistic, and modern scholars note the conservatism of his alternative to the Catholic mass.
Luther and his colleagues introduced the new order of worship during their visitation of the Electorate of Saxony , which began in Luther devised the catechism as a method of imparting the basics of Christianity to the congregations.
In , he wrote the Large Catechism , a manual for pastors and teachers, as well as a synopsis, the Small Catechism , to be memorised by the people themselves.
The catechism is one of Luther's most personal works. For I acknowledge none of them to be really a book of mine, except perhaps the Bondage of the Will and the Catechism. Luther's Small Catechism proved especially effective in helping parents teach their children; likewise the Larger Catechism was effective for pastors. He rewrote each article of the Creed to express the character of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit.
Luther's goal was to enable the catechumens to see themselves as a personal object of the work of the three persons of the Trinity, each of which works in the catechumen's life. That is, Luther depicted the Trinity not as a doctrine to be learned, but as persons to be known. The Father creates, the Son redeems, and the Spirit sanctifies, a divine unity with separate personalities.
Salvation originates with the Father and draws the believer to the Father. Luther's treatment of the Apostles' Creed must be understood in the context of the Decalogue the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer , which are also part of the Lutheran catechetical teaching. Luther had published his German translation of the New Testament in , and he and his collaborators completed the translation of the Old Testament in , when the whole Bible was published.
He continued to work on refining the translation until the end of his life. Paul urgently require and demand it. For in that very passage he is dealing with the main point of Christian doctrine, namely, that we are justified by faith in Christ without any works of the Law. Luther's translation used the variant of German spoken at the Saxon chancellery, intelligible to both northern and southern Germans.
Published at a time of rising demand for German-language publications, Luther's version quickly became a popular and influential Bible translation. As such, it made a significant contribution to the evolution of the German language and literature. His tool of choice for this connection was the singing of German hymns in connection with worship, school, home, and the public arena. Luther's hymns were frequently evoked by particular events in his life and the unfolding Reformation. This behavior started with his learning of the execution of Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes , the first individuals to be martyred by the Roman Catholic Church for Lutheran views, prompting Luther to write the hymn " Ein neues Lied wir heben an " "A new song we raise" , which is generally known in English by John C.
Messenger's translation by the title and first line "Flung to the Heedless Winds" and sung to the tune Ibstone composed in by Maria C. Luther's hymn, adapted and expanded from an earlier German creedal hymn, gained widespread use in vernacular Lutheran liturgies as early as Sixteenth-century Lutheran hymnals also included "Wir glauben all" among the catechetical hymns, although 18th-century hymnals tended to label the hymn as Trinitarian rather than catechetical, and 20th-century Lutherans rarely used the hymn because of the perceived difficulty of its tune.
Luther's hymnic version of the Lord's Prayer , " Vater unser im Himmelreich ", corresponds exactly to Luther's explanation of the prayer in the Small Catechism , with one stanza for each of the seven prayer petitions, plus opening and closing stanzas. The hymn functioned both as a liturgical setting of the Lord's Prayer and as a means of examining candidates on specific catechism questions.
The extant manuscript shows multiple revisions, demonstrating Luther's concern to clarify and strengthen the text and to provide an appropriately prayerful tune. Other 16th- and 20th-century versifications of the Lord's Prayer have adopted Luther's tune, although modern texts are considerably shorter. Luther wrote " Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir " "From depths of woe I cry to You" in as a hymnic version of Psalm and sent it as a sample to encourage his colleagues to write psalm-hymns for use in German worship.
In a collaboration with Paul Speratus , this and seven other hymns were published in the Achtliederbuch , the first Lutheran hymnal. In Luther developed his original four-stanza psalm paraphrase into a five-stanza Reformation hymn that developed the theme of "grace alone" more fully.
Because it expressed essential Reformation doctrine, this expanded version of "Aus tiefer Not" was designated as a regular component of several regional Lutheran liturgies and was widely used at funerals, including Luther's own. Along with Erhart Hegenwalt's hymnic version of Psalm 51 , Luther's expanded hymn was also adopted for use with the fifth part of Luther's catechism, concerning confession. He wrote two hymns on the Ten Commandments , " Dies sind die heilgen Zehn Gebot " and "Mensch, willst du leben seliglich".
He wrote for Pentecost " Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist ", and adopted for Easter " Christ ist erstanden " Christ is risen , based on Victimae paschali laudes. He paraphrased the Te Deum as " Herr Gott, dich loben wir " with a simplified form of the melody. It became known as the German Te Deum. Luther's hymn " Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam " "To Jordan came the Christ our Lord" reflects the structure and substance of his questions and answers concerning baptism in the Small Catechism.
Luther adopted a preexisting Johann Walter tune associated with a hymnic setting of Psalm 67 's prayer for grace; Wolf Heintz's four-part setting of the hymn was used to introduce the Lutheran Reformation in Halle in Preachers and composers of the 18th century, including J.
Bach , used this rich hymn as a subject for their own work, although its objective baptismal theology was displaced by more subjective hymns under the influence of lateth-century Lutheran pietism. Luther's hymns were included in early Lutheran hymnals and spread the ideas of the Reformation. He supplied four of eight songs of the First Lutheran hymnal Achtliederbuch , 18 of 26 songs of the Erfurt Enchiridion , and 24 of the 32 songs in the first choral hymnal with settings by Johann Walter , Eyn geystlich Gesangk Buchleyn , all published in Luther's hymns inspired composers to write music.
In contrast to the views of John Calvin  and Philipp Melanchthon ,  throughout his life Luther maintained that it was not false doctrine to believe that a Christian's soul sleeps after it is separated from the body in death. In his Smalcald Articles , he described the saints as currently residing "in their graves and in heaven.
The Lutheran theologian Franz Pieper observed that Luther's teaching about the state of the Christian's soul after death differed from the later Lutheran theologians such as Johann Gerhard.
Luther's Commentary on Genesis contains a passage which concludes that "the soul does not sleep anima non sic dormit , but wakes sed vigilat and experiences visions". In October , Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse , convoked an assembly of German and Swiss theologians at the Marburg Colloquy , to establish doctrinal unity in the emerging Protestant states. The theologians, including Zwingli , Melanchthon , Martin Bucer , and Johannes Oecolampadius , differed on the significance of the words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper: Zwingli, for example, denied Jesus' ability to be in more than one place at a time.
Luther stressed the omnipresence of Jesus' human nature. Citing Jesus' words "The flesh profiteth nothing" John 6. This is Hesse, not Switzerland. Despite the disagreements on the Eucharist, the Marburg Colloquy paved the way for the signing in of the Augsburg Confession , and for the formation of the Schmalkaldic League the following year by leading Protestant nobles such as John of Saxony , Philip of Hesse, and George, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach.
The Swiss cities, however, did not sign these agreements. Some scholars have asserted that Luther taught that faith and reason were antithetical in the sense that questions of faith could not be illuminated by reason. He wrote, "All the articles of our Christian faith, which God has revealed to us in His Word, are in presence of reason sheerly impossible, absurd, and false.
Contemporary Lutheran scholarship, however, has found a different reality in Luther. Luther rather seeks to separate faith and reason in order to honor the separate spheres of knowledge that each applies to. He saw the Turks as a scourge sent by God to punish Christians, as agents of the Biblical apocalypse that would destroy the antichrist , whom Luther believed to be the papacy, and the Roman Church.
This is absolutely contrary to Christ's doctrine and name". In , Luther read a Latin translation of the Qur'an. Based on this sermon and others by Agricola, Luther suspected that Agricola was behind certain anonymous antinomian theses circulating in Wittenberg. These theses asserted that the law is no longer to be taught to Christians but belonged only to city hall. In his theses and disputations against the antinomians, Luther reviews and reaffirms, on the one hand, what has been called the "second use of the law," that is, the law as the Holy Spirit's tool to work sorrow over sin in man's heart, thus preparing him for Christ's fulfillment of the law offered in the gospel.
The Ten Commandments, and the beginnings of the renewed life of Christians accorded to them by the sacrament of baptism , are a present foreshadowing of the believers' future angel -like life in heaven in the midst of this life. From December , Luther became implicated in the bigamy of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse , who wanted to marry one of his wife's ladies-in-waiting. Philip solicited the approval of Luther, Melanchthon, and Bucer, citing as a precedent the polygamy of the patriarchs.
The theologians were not prepared to make a general ruling, and they reluctantly advised the landgrave that if he was determined, he should marry secretly and keep quiet about the matter. However, Philip was unable to keep the marriage secret, and he threatened to make Luther's advice public.
Luther told him to "tell a good, strong lie" and deny the marriage completely, which Philip did during the subsequent public controversy. Luther wrote negatively about the Jews throughout his career. Therefore, in any case, away with them!
Luther spoke out against the Jews in Saxony, Brandenburg, and Silesia. Throughout the s, riots led to the expulsion of Jews from several German Lutheran states. Luther was the most widely read author of his generation, and within Germany he acquired the status of a prophet. Heinrich Himmler albeit never a Lutheran, having been brought up Catholic wrote admiringly of his writings and sermons on the Jews in On 17 December , seven Protestant regional church confederations issued a statement agreeing with the policy of forcing Jews to wear the yellow badge , "since after his bitter experience Luther had already suggested preventive measures against the Jews and their expulsion from German territory.
At the heart of scholars' debate about Luther's influence is whether it is anachronistic to view his work as a precursor of the racial antisemitism of the Nazis. Some scholars see Luther's influence as limited, and the Nazis' use of his work as opportunistic.
Johannes Wallmann argues that Luther's writings against the Jews were largely ignored in the 18th and 19th centuries, and that there was no continuity between Luther's thought and Nazi ideology. Hillerbrand agreed that to focus on Luther was to adopt an essentially ahistorical perspective of Nazi antisemitism that ignored other contributory factors in German history. His position was entirely religious and in no respect racial.
Probst, in his book Demonizing the Jews: Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany , shows that a large number of German Lutheran clergy and theologians during the Nazi Third Reich used Luther's hostile publications towards the Jews and their Jewish religion to justify at least in part the anti-Semitic policies of the National Socialists. Some scholars, such as Mark U. Edwards in his book Luther's Last Battles: Politics and Polemics —46 , suggest that since Luther's increasingly antisemitic views developed during the years his health deteriorated, it is possible they were at least partly the product of a state of mind.
Edwards also comments that Luther often deliberately used "vulgarity and violence" for effect, both in his writings condemning the Jews and in diatribes against "Turks" Muslims and Catholics. Since the s, Lutheran denominations have repudiated Martin Luther's statements against the Jews and have rejected the use of them to incite hatred against Lutherans. Geary noted, based on his research, that the Nazi Party received disproportionately more votes from Protestant than Catholic areas of Germany.
The years of struggle with Rome, the antagonisms with and among his fellow reformers, and the scandal that ensued from the bigamy of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse incident, in which Luther had played a leading role, all may have contributed. In , he began to suffer from kidney and bladder stones , arthritis , and an ear infection ruptured an ear drum.
In December , he began to feel the effects of angina. His poor physical health made him short-tempered and even harsher in his writings and comments.
His wife Katharina was overheard saying, "Dear husband, you are too rude," and he responded, "They are teaching me to be rude. His last sermon was delivered at Eisleben , his place of birth, on 15 February , three days before his death. And so often they do. Luther's final journey, to Mansfeld, was taken because of his concern for his siblings' families continuing in their father Hans Luther's copper mining trade. Their livelihood was threatened by Count Albrecht of Mansfeld bringing the industry under his own control.
The controversy that ensued involved all four Mansfeld counts: Albrecht, Philip, John George, and Gerhard. Luther journeyed to Mansfeld twice in late to participate in the negotiations for a settlement, and a third visit was needed in early for their completion. The negotiations were successfully concluded on 17 February When he went to his bed, he prayed, "Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God" Ps. He thanked God for revealing his Son to him in whom he had believed.
His companions, Justus Jonas and Michael Coelius, shouted loudly, "Reverend father, are you ready to die trusting in your Lord Jesus Christ and to confess the doctrine which you have taught in his name? An apoplectic stroke deprived him of his speech, and he died shortly afterwards at 2: He was buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg , beneath the pulpit.
A piece of paper was later found on which Luther had written his last statement. The statement was in Latin, apart from "We are beggars," which was in German. Do not assail this divine Aeneid ; nay, rather prostrate revere the ground that it treads. The tomb of Philipp Melanchthon , Luther's contemporary and fellow reformer, is also located in the All Saints' Church. Martin Luther's Death House , considered the site of Luther's death since However the building where Luther actually died at Markt 56, now the site of Hotel Graf von Mansfeld was torn down in Casts of Luther's face and hands at his death, in the Market Church in Halle.
Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, the site where Luther posted his Ninety Five Theses, is simultaneously his gravesite. Luther's tombstone beneath the pulpit in the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther made effective use of Johannes Gutenberg 's printing press to spread his views. He switched from Latin to German in his writing to appeal to a broader audience. Between and , Luther's works represented one fifth of all materials printed in Germany.
In the s and s, printed images of Luther that emphasized his monumental size were crucial to the spread of Protestantism. In contrast to images of frail Catholic saints, Luther was presented as a stout man with a "double chin, strong mouth, piercing deep-set eyes, fleshy face, and squat neck. In , the treatise On good deeds presented salvation through grace and considered faith as the only good deed.
In , Luther published his Prelude on the Babylonian captivity of the Church , in which he dealt with the sacraments: In , Luther published a treatise in German On the estate of marriage to setting out and explaining rules on marital status, which he considered far more important than cloistered life. He praised marriage and arbitrated on possible divorce cases.
Concerning baptism Luther was opposed to the Anabaptists who refused to baptise young children. For those who took part in the Last Supper, the bread and the wine, along with the promises of salvation, were at the same time the body and the blood of Christ. In the Schmalkaldian Articles, written in , Luther reasserted his points of view on justification through faith, on the secondary role of deeds, on condemning mass as a sacrificial ritual and on the harmful effects of cloistered life.
They were extremely critical. The judgement on monastic vows was published in , three years before Luther left the Augustinian Order. It was a voluminous text against monasticism.
In , Luther received his doctorate and became a professor of biblical studies. In early 16th-century Europe, some theologians and scholars were beginning to question the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It was also around this time that translations of original texts—namely, the Bible and the writings of the early church philosopher Augustine—became more widely available.
Augustine — had emphasized the primacy of the Bible rather than Church officials as the ultimate religious authority. He also believed that humans could not reach salvation by their own acts, but that only God could bestow salvation by his divine grace. Indulgence-selling had been banned in Germany, but the practice continued unabated.
In , a friar named Johann Tetzel began to sell indulgences in Germany to raise funds to renovate St. Committed to the idea that salvation could be reached through faith and by divine grace only, Luther vigorously objected to the corrupt practice of selling indulgences.
Popular legend has it that on October 31, Luther defiantly nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. The reality was probably not so dramatic; Luther more likely hung the document on the door of the church matter-of-factly to announce the ensuing academic discussion around it that he was organizing.
The 95 Theses, which would later become the foundation of the Protestant Reformation, were written in a remarkably humble and academic tone, questioning rather than accusing. The overall thrust of the document was nonetheless quite provocative. The other 93 theses, a number of them directly criticizing the practice of indulgences, supported these first two.
Why does not the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?
The 95 Theses were quickly distributed throughout Germany and then made their way to Rome. In , Luther was summoned to Augsburg, a city in southern Germany, to defend his opinions before an imperial diet assembly.
A debate lasting three days between Luther and Cardinal Thomas Cajetan produced no agreement. Refusing again to recant, Luther concluded his testimony with the defiant statement: I can do no other.
Luther hid in the town of Eisenach for the next year, where he began work on one of his major life projects, the translation of the New Testament into German, which took him 10 years to complete. Luther returned to Wittenberg in , where the reform movement initiated by his writings had grown beyond his influence.
MARTIN LUTHER'S WRITINGS: Sermons, Commentary & other Works Within his writings you can access other study helps [ bible, theology, commentary, sermons, and more ].
Writings of Martin Luther at Project Wittenberg [External Site] Writings of Martin Luther: This page has a selection of the writings of Martin Luther. Martin Luther's 95 Theses  Small Catechism Large Catechism. Sermons of Martin Luther Enemies of the Cross of Christ.
Index Verborum-- Martin Luther's German Writings is an one-of-a-kind reference work provided at Boston College. This on line concordance to works of Luther between the years , provides the location of a word in the Weimar Ausgabe printing of the original texts. I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, Special 75th Anniversary Edition (Martin Luther King, Jr., born January 15, ) Apr 29, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther was born to Hans Luder (or Ludher, later Luther) and his wife Margarethe (née Lindemann) on 10 November in Eisleben, County of Mansfeld in the Holy Roman Empire. The county was a small territory geographically located near the Electorate of Saxony to which it was eventually mediatized in ; the county was included in the Upper Saxon Circle. Martin Luther: Martin Luther, German theologian and religious reformer who initiated the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Through his words and actions, Luther precipitated a movement that reformulated certain basic tenets of Christian belief. Learn about his life, education, writings, excommunication, and legacy.