Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Legacy of Martin Luther

It is October, 2017, the month of the Reformatin's 500th anniversary. The Reformation is considered to have begun when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door — a kind of social media of the time, and not an act of vandalism. He wanted debate, or serious discussion, on some matters that had been troubling him about the Roman Catholic Church, faith, the Bible, and more.

A movement does not typically happen in an instant, and Luther was a priest and a monk who had been pondering some things for a long time, including his own salvation. He learned some things from Scripture that brought problems into focus, and his writings caused him a heap of trouble, and he was investigated for heresies at the Diet of Worms in 1521. We've heard and read about it a great deal lately. It sounds like a California fad eating style, but actually a diet back then was a formal assembly, and this was conducted in the city of Worms. Now the term makes sense, doesn't it? It's interesting to note that the Protestant Reformation made use of modern technology: the printing press. We use our modern technologies extensively, some for good, some for evil, some for silly pictures.

For people who want to dig deeper, read about John Wycliffe, who laid some of the groundwork that influenced the Reformation.


Martin Luther did not intend to start the Protestant Reformation, but he has a tremendous legacy
Luther at the Diet of Worms, Anton von Werner, 1877
There are people who point to some of Luther's character flaws and views, such as his antisemitism. That does not mean that we should reject everything he taught, that would mean remaining Roman Catholic, which is contrary to God's Word.

Something else that we seem to hear about these days is a legacy, how people will be remembered. Martin Luther did not intend to start a world-changing movement, but the Protestant Reformation eventually ran at full gallop, and others joined in. When you hear about "the Reformers", it was not just Luther and a few friend in Germany, but people in other areas as well. This lasted for several years. Luther wanted the truth of Scripture available to people in their language, and translated the Bible into German. He also took the foundational book, Genesis, very seriously. Many other important considerations were brought to the fore as well.

To learn more, I hope you'll read "Luther's Legacy". For some biographical and historical information, I recommend "Martin Luther: the monk who shook the world".

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