Intro: Martin Luther and the Reformation
Welcome to our blog! Today, we will be telling the story of Martin Luther and the Reformation in English. This is a historical event that changed the course of Christianity and impacted the world as we know it. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the story.
Alister McGrath says, “Religion reforms are most appropriately understood as a series of reform movements that started independently of each other.”
Protestantism, in his words, refers to all religious movements that share certain historical roots and theological resources.
In terms of the history of the Reformation, the nourishment of the Reformation had already been accumulated before Luther. This is what Herman Bavink said.
Before and after the Reformation, along with the Reformation, there were other movements, each of which in its own way was as influential as the Reformation. The discovery of the printing press, the discovery of gunpowder, the rise of the middle class, the discovery of America, the revival of literature and art, and the new natural sciences and philosophy, these important movements and events were all evidence of the awakening of self-awareness, and also evidence of the transition from the Middle Ages to the New Ages. And while the Reformation of course came from its own principles and moved toward its own purpose, it nevertheless took place under the influence and support of all these movements.
The Reformation was not the work of Luther alone.
The need for reform was apparent among humanists and some priests, especially Cisneros, one of the most prominent religious leaders in Spanish history. Luther’s theology was radical to Roman Catholics, however, it was moderate to other reformists.
Even when he found the doctrine of justification by faith in Paul’s Epistle and preached the justification of the Reformation in the Parliament of Worms, Luther did not abandon the doctrine of purgatory and did not intend to leave the church.
I think that the Reformation is the history of God, which emerged as one of the results of God’s progress in building the kingdom of God. So when talking about the Reformation, I think we must not attribute the Reformation solely to Luther.
Reforms have taken place on a voluntary basis throughout Europe. There were many outstanding figures that God used in it. In Cisneros’ reforms, the head archbishop of Spain and a Roman cardinal, orthodoxy, and new humanism were in harmony.
When we talk about the Reformation in Germany, we can’t forget Luther’s supporters, Carlstadt and Melanchton.
It was in the light of the Bible of humanists like Desideriu Erasmus and Augustine’s interpretation of the Bible that Luther was able to confirm the doctrine of justification in the Bible. If Germany had Luther, Switzerland had Ulrich Zwingli.
Luther and the Reformation
So let’s talk about the Reformation in earnest.
On October 31, 1517, on All Souls’ Day, a young priest in his mid-30s posted a document at the gate of Saint’s Church in Wittenberg with a series of propositions in church history called the Ninety-five Theses, which was circulated throughout Germany, which was the beginning of the Reformation.
The name of the priest who did this brave deed is Martin Luther. He was born on November 11, 1483, as the son of a copper miner in the small town of Eleven, Saxony. He took an oath to become an investigator into the fear of lightning.
This was while attending the University of Erfurt, the largest university in Germany at the time, and finally entering the Augustine monastery and beginning to walk the priest’s path.
But throughout his priesthood life, he was overwhelmed by the fear of death and judgment and the never-ending fire in heaven, and in a moment of confession and confession, at the recommendation of someone who was concerned about him, he was appointed as a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg.
In the fall of 1515, in his third year as a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg in Saxony, Martin Luther began teaching his students the book of Romans.
Luther learns clearly through Romans 1:16 and 17 that the central teaching of the Bible is “justification” by grace, not by works, but by faith in Christ.
Martin Luther, a priest, and professor who had been trembling in fear of judgment, realized through the book of Romans that salvation is not gained by virtue of an act of man, but by accepting the gospel presented by God as faith.
Luther’s discovery of this doctrine was largely influenced by previous writers who existed in the Christian tradition. Augustine of Hippo in particular was the most influential minister to him. Augustine says in his work as follows.
Therefore, through faith in Jesus Christ, we reach salvation, and if this salvation has actually begun very small in us, we hope that it will be completed with hope. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
This is God’s significance hidden in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament. This righteousness is called God’s righteousness because God allows this to create righteous men. As if God had saved them because he had made them healthy. And this is the beginning and the end of righteousness. In other words, we start from the faith of the proclaimers and then move on to the faith of those who obey that faith. We believe that what is lived righteously by God has been given and will be given richly through the faith of Jesus Christ. This is the faith that Christ has given us. For this reason, we are grateful to God through the reverence that only God serves.
It was the moment when the light of truth came to him, who was living in the dark. But above all, Luther himself was the one who benefited the most from the doctrine of faith. Because he was the most despairing monk who felt less guilty than anyone else.
I’d like to end with a message that Martin Luther, who started the Reformation, left in his book.
Although I lived flawlessly as a monk, I felt I was a sinner before God with an extremely confused conscience. I couldn’t believe that God had been appeased by my support. I didn’t love the righteous God who punishes sinners. No, so I hated him. And it’s not a secret blasphemy, but I mumbled that I was angry at God and said, “In fact, those miserable sinners who have been lost forever by their original sin, even if God does not add to the pain with the gospel, the gospel that threatens us with his righteousness and anger, does not seem to be enough to be crushed by all kinds of disasters by the Law of the Ten Commandments!” So I got angry with a fierce and painful conscience. Nevertheless, I hung on to Paul’s words and wanted to know very passionately what St. Paul wanted. Finally, meditating day and night on God’s mercy, I paid attention to the context in which the words appeared. “God’s righteousness has appeared and recorded, and only the righteous are said to live by faith.” There I began to understand that God’s righteousness is for the righteous to live by God’s gift or faith. And that’s what it means: God’s righteousness, which is enshrined in the gospel, by the passive righteousness of what God, who is compassionate, calls us to be righteous, which recorded, “Only the righteous shall be saved by faith,” where I felt that I had been completely reborn and entered paradise through open doors. There I was shown a completely different aspect of the whole Bible. As I immersed myself in the Bible in my memory, I found analogies in other biblical terms. God’s history as God does in us, God’s power as he strengthens us, God’s power, God’s salvation, God’s glory as he wisdoms us. With a love just as intense as I used to hate the word “God’s righteousness,” I now praise it as my sweetest word. In this way, the very phrase of Paul truly became the door to paradise for me. Later I read Augustine’s 「The Spirit and the Letter」, where I found that he interpreted God’s righteousness in a similar way, which he brought on us when he called us righteous. This has so far been incomplete and he has not clearly explained everything about imputation. However, it was a pleasure that he was nevertheless taught God’s righteousness of calling us righteous. Armed with a greater understanding of these accidents, I began to interpret the Psalm for the second time. If I hadn’t been forced to begin the annotation of the Psalm again, I would have written an extensive commentary. Because the following year, Emperor Charles V convened a congress on Worms.
And that’s the story of Martin Luther and the Reformation. We hope you enjoyed it and learned something new. If you did, please like and subscribe to our channel for more historical content.