Martin Luther King Jr.'s Contribution to the Church and the Reformation

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The Reformation is a broad term used to describe the period of time beginning around 1500 A.D. extending through the mid-seventeenth century, with roots dating back to around the fourteenth century. Society was in something of an upheaval at the time and the church was faced persistent heresy. A wave that would become known as the Protestant Reformation started in Germany in the early 1500’s and moved throughout the German speaking countries to Scandinavia to the French and finally to England and Scotland. Differing from the Renaissance, the Reformation made an impact in most every European's life and forced people to make the decision between the old way and the new. In the early stages of the Reformation there was a man, the pioneer of that Protestant Reformation that swept over Europe, a man who ventured into a new arena of thought in relation to how the Church, his name was Martin Luther.[1] The following writing will be a short biographical work of Martin Luther showing some of the events of his life and how through them, he changed the Church as well as contributed to the progress of the Reformation concluding with a look at his life in a way to show more of who Luther was as opposed to what he did. Martin Luther was born in Eisleben Germany on November 10, 1493 before moving to Mansfield in 1484 where he attended school before moving on to Magdeburg with the Brethren of the Common Life. From there he entered the University of Erfurt in 1501 where he was introduced to nominalist philosophy which taught the inability of natural reason to establish articles of faith. It was here that he also furthered his linguistic skills in the classical tongues, and graduated with his B.A. in 1502 and his M.A. in 1505. The winds of the Reformation had already begun to whirl as Luther was growing up. He had been studying law, before being caught up in the religious revival that had been heading across Western Europe.[2] That July he was knocked to the ground by lightning and the combination of those events, the death of a friend and issues inside himself he entered the chapter house of the Hermits of St. Augustine[3] in Erfurt monastery of the Augustinian Eremites. At this time he was given his very first Bible, which he studied relentlessly, studying carefully Romans and Galatians. He was also deeply into the works of Augustine as well as William of Occam and carried with himself the reputation of being a man of singular piety, devotion and monastic zeal.[4] To the objection of his father he took the vows in September 1506, was selected to study for the priesthood, and was made a deacon in February of 1507 and ordained a priest on April 4 of that same year. His father attended his first Mass where he rebuked Martin for disobeying his parents.[5] At the monastery, Luther practiced ascetic excesses to try to achieve some sense of inner peace. Johann von Staupitz helped him away from his life of standing fearfully in front of a Deity to responding in joy to the loving forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. In 1510 he went on a business trip to Rome to the Vatican where he was shaken and disturbed by the commercial, showy splendor of the Vatican. In 1512, Luther began lecturing as a doctorate of theology at Wittenberg, a position he would hold for the rest of his life. For the following two years he lectured heavily on the Psalms before shifting to Romans, Galatians, Hebrews and Titus in 1516. It was after these studies that Luther became convinced that salvation is a new relationship with God, and that it was not a merit-based system but rather it came through placing trust in the promises of God. Humans would still sin, but would live life as a forgiven sinner as a result of their relationship with Jesus Christ. It was also through these studies that Luther had his Gospel epiphany in 1516 while reading in Galatians 3 that "the just shall live by faith." At this time that Luther was released from...
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