By that preaching, Luther emoted to Albrecht, "O great God! The souls committed to your care, excellent Father, are thus directed to death (Sobolewski,2001, pg 57-58)."
To present his position to the church, Martin Luther met with the Augustinian Order in Heidelberg (Sobolewski,2001). This became known as the Heidelberg disputation. During this disputation Luther was told that he needed to retract the statements made in the theses. However Martin Luther refused to take back any of the positions that he presented. The catholic authorities were very dismayed by his decision and he was viewed as a traitor and eventually he was excommunicated (Sobolewski,2001).
In addition to being excommunicated Martin Luther was labeled a heretic and criticized severely for the stances that he took. At the time of his assertions and throughout the centuries following his death, Martin Luther was viewed by many as a heretic who had no respect for authority or the teachings of the Catholic Church (Sobolewski,2001). His stance on the aforementioned issues was viewed as a revolt against the Church. Luther was even accused of being possessed with demonic spirits because of his positions on the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. One author asserted that "His revolt was caused by monkish envy of the Dominican, Tetzel; he lusts after wine and women, is without conscience, and approves any means to gain his end. He thinks only of himself. He is a liar and a hypocrite, cowardly and quarrelsome (Sobolewski, 2001-page 18)."
Importance in reformation and the development of Christian thought
Although Martin Luther was chastised and punished for the theories he had concerning Catholic teachings, he also paved the way for reformation and the development of Christian thought (Ritter & Riches, 1963). The manner in which Martin Luther questioned the long held beliefs of the church led to reformations throughout Christian denominations. Martin Luther has played an essential role in Church history
In fact the theology of the cross is now generally accepted by most Christian denominations. The idea that salvation is a gift and not something that is earned is often a central theme of evangelism and evangelistic movements since the time of Martin Luther. Martin Luther seemed to be instrumental in perpetuating the idea that religious authorities or institutions could and should be questioned, regardless of how solidified their theologies may be (Ritter & Riches, 1963). His willingness to question commonly held beliefs forever changed the trajectory of the Catholic Church and the Christian church in general.
The purpose of this discussion was to provide a biography of the martin Luther and to explain his importance in reformation and the development of Christian thought. The research found that Martin Luther was born in eastern Germany in the 15th century. The research discovered that Martin Luther originally studied to become a Lawyer but had a near death experience which influenced his decision to become a monk. While living in a monastery and studying theology Martin Luther came to certain revelations concerning the nature of salvation. He was so compelled but his new found perceptions on salvation and other issues that he developed the 95 theses that spell out these issues. When the theses was presented to the church authorities, it was rejected and Martin Luther was asked to recant his assertions. His refusal eventually led to his excommunication and the churches rejection of his beliefs at the time.
Throughout the centuries Martin Luther's assertions have been challenged and he has often been referred to as a heretic. However the theology of the cross that he presented so many centuries ago has now become commonly accepted as fact. In addition, his theology of the cross has been studied and upheld by many theologians in and outside of the Catholic Church.
Overall Martin Luther's thoughts challenged conventional ways of thinking associated with Catholic teachings. Although Martin Luther was not the first or the last to challenge the doctrines of the Catholic church, he was certainly one of the most vocal and his dedication to his beliefs were instrumental in the reformations that eventually took place throughout Christendom.