What Was Martin Luther's Impact on the German People  Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

life of Martin Luder (Luther) and how he discovered the truth behind the Church of Rome and its corruption. It also looks at the way he helped the German people during the revolt of 1525.

Bibliography cites five sources APA format.

Martin Luther

Religion throughout the years has had many preachers and evangelists who have talked and called for a new wave in the way many have come to follow Christ, for example many years ago the famous evangelical churches of England and Canada were stating that the Holy spirit was coming like a tidal wave, yet few turned to Christ.

With there methods being somewhat questionable and with the lack on evangelical attitudes what is their left for the church to argue and what ammunition or work can they utilize to provide a positive attitude for members of the church. Today the view of the church and how it looks upon religion is still as important.

However, what is more important is the ability to speak freely and openly regarding a person's own religious spiritual path, in this way there have been many men within the religious world who have influenced the way religion has developed. One of these is Martin Luther.

Born Martin Luder in 1483, the son of a miner who had successfully worked his way from the pits to owning shares in several small mines; his father was one of those shrewd men who had the sense of making money through spending money. As a result of this new fortune he intended that his son would be educated as a lawyer and gain a strong holding within the rich and powerful populace (Radford, 2002).

At first he was sent to a grammar school where he learnt the classics in Latin, he was also forbidden the use of his native German tongue. At the middle school he was sent begging for money to help finance the school (Radford, 2002). He then attended his finishing school in his relatives' home town, from there he attended university at Erfut; it was here that he studied liberal arts and law (Radford, 2002). Although his schooling was not of a high quality, after his education he stated that he was never taught geography or natural science and regretted these omissions. Luther and his chosen subject of law were not a compatible combination; he finally sold his books and entered an Augustinian Monastery to train as a priest (Radford, 2002).

His father was angry with his decision but Martin stood by this and continued with his service he wanted to the answers to questions such as whether he was going to heaven or not. Luther studied hard in the monastery and many of his students called him the second Paul for humour, he also struggled through the traditional catholic Bible which was written in the Latin of St. Jerome (Radford, 2002).

However, it was still a rare thing to have a fully educated priest, when he was ordained at the age of 25 he was sent to the University in Wittenburg in Saxony to be assistant professor, an become a lecturer in modern philosophy. As both a priest and a monk he was able to carry out duties for his order. On one occasion he was sent to Rome on the business of his order (Radford, 2002).

Luther was not shocked by this news, there was little moral or ethical behaviour at this time and there were many prostitutes who had set up their trades in the arches near the university, Dr. Faust had even put on magical displays in the town (Radford, 2002). What Luther did not relish or enjoy were the constant bickering and snickering behind the backs of those in power, he was also revolted by the constant battles the Pope was in and his aim at trying to enlarge his secular domains, through his time in Rome Luther became a very wise and learned man in the ways of the church (Radford, 2002).

Luther returned to Wittenburg and began to preach within the monastery, he also attained his doctorate and was given a chair at the university for theology. Whilst at university he was required to give lectures in Latin, however if he was to preach to the public it meant preaching in German. This preaching for him was a serious responsibility and he took great pride in his work. So much so that he began to publish his own religious works in German to reach a larger audience (Radford, 2002).

His first book was a simple collection of sermons that were written by a preacher named Tauler, these sermons were close to the mystical. His own works were on a more rigorous aspect. The original Greek bible was used for sources and his own approved commentaries were used to ensure his own orthodoxies, however these eventually led him astray, the Church had deliberately mistranslated the bible into Latin (Radford, 2002). In looking at this he discovered that the phrase which meant a change of heart was translated into repentance, a more restricted meaning (Radford, 2002).

With this wording change by the Church Luther discovered that the church was misleading the congregation and that through the abuse of God's words the people could change their ways through other ways and not through that of the Church of Rome. Furthermore, the Church of Rome had brought in the simple and corrupt way of buying their freedom through paying the Church for absolution.

The New Testament as we see it and in many ways the same as how Martin Luther would have seen it was only put together in 325 at the well-known council of Nicea. Constantine the Great convened this council in order to settle many disputes that were raging about the nature of the church and Christ. It was also at this council that the holy trinity was established as the orthodox Christian belief (Baigent et al., 1983).

In looking at the content of the New Testament and its 'editing' then we can see how the work was motivated by political reasoning in order for the power to rest with those who currently held that power. The political background to this was one where there may well have been manipulation, but this cannot be proven (Metzger, 1992).

There were many gospels being considered for inclusion or exclusion. It was decided that the Gospels which were being considered, we do not know how many, but possibly in excess of two hundred, were to be put under a table within the locked Council Hall. All then vacated the room and the door was locked behind them (Metzger, 1992).The bishops prayed for the entire night that the right Gospel version would come onto the top of the table. The following morning, the Gospels favoured by Alexander's representative; Athanasius, were found on top of the table. No record remains of who kept the key to the room that night. In thus we must recognise that as well as a religious book, it is also a political one (Metzger, 1992).

So by the Roman translation of the Bible it was a simple way of gaining power over the ignorant masses, in this way the Church of Rome could do its own powerful things and no one could deny them as far as they were concerned it was the Law of God (Metzger, 1992).

Martin Luther objected to the way the church gained its power and corrupted the masses, he argued that any indulgences should be kept separate unless conditionally expressed by the benefactor in his acceptance of God. Moreover he also argued that the way to Salvation should not come through work alone or by purchasing the indulgence but from a true faith in the divine (Radford, 2002).

Luther then did the ultimate challenge to the Roman Catholic authority, he became a Protestor, he nailed a set of topics for discussion upon the bulletin board of the university, the door of the church in Wittenberg and also passed around the information amongst some of his peers and scholars with an aim to defending his views (Radford, 2002).

However, his list was copied by someone in German, Luther was shocked in a pleasant way to find that it was not only the scholars that were invited that turned out for the meeting but also a lot of the population of the town (Radford, 2002).

The Archbishop was advised of the debate and also sent a copy of the list, however, Luther did not fully understand the hierarchy's views at the time. The Pope was allegedly taking in revenues for a new cathedral, however the funds raised were being shared with the archbishop (Radford, 2002).

Out of the 95 topics listed by Luther only one of these could be considered slightly heretical and even then it was debatable, Luther was too orthodox in his ways to be heretical and therefore could not be openly attacked by the Church of Rome for his lists…

Sources Used in Document:

Wiles Maurice,; (1974). 'The Remaking of Christian Doctrine, The Hulsean Lectures, 1973', London: SCM Press

Metzger, B. (1992).'The Text of the New Testament; Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration', (3rd ed). New York, Oxford University Press;

Radford, B (2002) Luther [online] accessed at http://home.inforamp.net/~radfordr/1550d.html

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