Category Archives: Reformation

Martin Luther on Monastic Vows

“There is no doubt that the monastic vow is in itself a most dangerous thing because it is without the authority and example of Scripture.  Neither the early church nor the New Testament knows anything at all of the taking … Continue reading

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Winning Hearts and Minds

On March 6, 1522, Martin Luther returned permanently after an approximately ten-month stay in the Wartburg Castle.  The electoral duke of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, had sent Luther to the Wartburg after the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, issued the … Continue reading

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Arise O Lord: The Political Origins of Luther’s Reformation

In his sermon given at the funeral of Duke John of Electoral Saxony (John the Steadfast) in 1532, Martin Luther stated, “a prince is also a human being and always has ten devils around him where another man has only … Continue reading

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Flattery Gets You Nowhere

“I prefer to be frank and not have anyone misled by flattery. I can testify that although my shell may be hard, still my kernel is soft and sweet.  I wish no one harm, but desire everyone to carefully consider … Continue reading

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Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms

On April 14, 1521 Martin Luther wrote the following words in a short letter to Georg Spalatin from Frankfurt-am-Main: I am coming, my Spalatin, although Satan has done everything to hinder me with more than one disease.  All the way … Continue reading

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The Perversity and Ingratitude of the World

“For the perversity and ingratitude of the world is so great that it often repays evil to those who have deserved good from it and sometimes even treats them very rudely; on the other hand, it elevates and honors the … Continue reading

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Burning the Bull

“Greetings.  On December 10, 1520, at nine o’clock in the morning, all the following papal books were burned in Wittenberg at the eastern gate near the Church of the Holy Cross: the Decretum, the Decretals, the [Liber] Sextus, the Clementines, … Continue reading

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The Origin of Indulgences

A close reading of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses demonstrates that he was calling into question not only the doctrine of indulgences but also the late medieval sacrament of penance. Luther focused on the interior nature of repentance instead of sacramental penance … Continue reading

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Defy Everything: Martin Luther in 1520

“Let us…commit the affairs of men to God in faithful prayer, and be calm.  What can they do? Will they kill [me]?  Will they revive [me] again in order to kill [me] again? Will they brand me [me] a heretic?  … Continue reading

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Faith Works: Martin Luther’s Treatise on Good Works

Lutherans should celebrate the 500th anniversary of 1520 as a much more significant event than publication of the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.  The Indulgence Controversy and the image of Luther’s hammer has captured everyone’s imagination for a long time.  However, … Continue reading

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