Luther : Man Between God And The Devil Essay

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Heiko Oberman’s book, Luther: Man between God and the Devil, explores Martin Luther’s life, theology and legacy. Oberman does not simply focus on Luther’s actions and behaviors as a Reformer, nor does he evaluate Luther from a purely Protestant or Catholic point of view. Instead, the book examines Luther’s continual battle with the Devil. In order to truly understand Luther, it is important “to grasp the man in his totality-with head and heart” (Oberman, 1989, xix). Luther is not merely a monk, professor, heretic or a reformer, but he was a man who 's spiritual struggle with the Devil deeply affected his life, as well as the Church. Oberman argues the Devil’s attacks on Luther affected his health, as well as his theology. For example, while attending the Diet of Worms, Luther describes the Devil’s attack on his body and mind. Luther said he had to “…defend himself against the concentrated power of the Devil. He felt he was being subjected to a[n]… attack. First, the Devil had assaulted his body, wanting to weaken him through illness. Even more dangerous was the assault on Luther’s soul: he was plagued by despondency and haunted by fear” (Oberman, 1989, p. 198). Furthermore, while in hiding at Wartburg Castle after being excommunicated, Luther wrote, “…how fatal the effect of sustained solitude was to one’s spiritual life. The Devil likes to have the Christian alone, for then he can heap him with worries and depression; I know Satan well, “know the tricks he likes to play
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