Martin Luther and the Reformation

2927 Words Nov 21st, 2001 12 Pages
Martin Luther and the Reformation A German Augustinian friar, Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. Luther grew up the son of a miner, but he did not maintain that lifestyle for himself. He lived in a period that had a widespread desire for reformation of the Christian church and a yearning for salvation. Martin Luther was born at Eisleben in Saxony. Since his father was a miner, it was a great distress on him to send Martin to school and then to the University of Erfurt. There is where he earned his master's degree at the young age of twenty-one. (Erikson, 39) Although his father wished him to study law, Martin, after being terribly frightened in a thunderstorm, vowed to become a friar. In …show more content…
Archbishop Albert needed someone to sell indulgences for him, so he hired Dominican friar John Tetzel. Tetzel made this into a business and even began to heavily advertise the sale of indulgences. He came up with catchy slogans to lure people into buying them. He even came up with a chart price to persuade people to buy the "best" or most expensive indulgences. Luther did not agree with this because people no longer saw the need for repentance and felt they could buy away their sins. He was greatly troubled that people were buying into these advertising gimmicks. Since, at the time, the church did not have an official doctrine on indulgences, Luther decided this entitled him to discuss the subject critically. In doing so Luther wrote Archbishop Albert a letter on the subject and enclosed in Latin "Ninety-five Theses on the Power of Indulgences." He argued indulgences made people believe repentance was not important, it downplayed the importance of charity in Christian life, and it competed with the preaching of the Gospel. (Boehmer, 198) Once Luther died, his disciple Philipp Melanchthon reported that the theses were also posted on the door of the church at Wittenberg Castle on October 31, 1517, although not all modern scholars are completely convinced this ever took place. (Erikson, 142) By December of 1517, the theses had all been translated to German and were read throughout the empire.
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