Martin Luther’s Spirituality Law for Change in the Church
Martin Luther was a noted Christian theologian whose unorthodox teachings not only inspired but also influenced the doctrines of Protestant and other Christian traditions. Martin Luther was born to Hans and Margaretha Luder on 10 November 1483 in Germany and was baptized the next day on the feast of St. Martin of Tours and he was thus named Martin. Luther’s clarion call to the Church to return to the teachings of the Bible led to the formation of new traditions within Christianity and the Counter-Reformation in the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1505, Martin Luther received his Master’s degree and in keeping with his father’s wishes, he enrolled in the law school of that university. But his destiny was rewritten when a lightening bolt struck near to him as he was returning to school. Terrified, he cried out, “Help, St. Anne! I’ll become a monk!”. Martin was saved of his life, but regretting his words, Martin Luther dropped out of law school and entered the monastery. Martin fully dedicated himself to monastic life and began his efforts to noble deeds to please God and to serve others through prayer. He indulged in fasts and long hours in prayer, undertook pilgrimages, and constant confession. The more he tried to devotedly work for God, the more aware he became of his own sins. In 1507 Luther was ordained to the priesthood. In 1508 he began teaching theology at the University of Wittenberg. Luther earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies on 9 March 1508 and a Bachelor’s degree in 1509. On 19 October 1512, the University of Wittenberg conferred upon Martin Luther the degree of Doctor of Theology. After earning the doctorate in theology, Luther instead of settling down to a scholarly monkish life or an uneventful university career teaching theology, began to develop his own personal theology, when he protested the use of indulgences in his ‘95 Theses’.
Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora, a former nun and with it began the tradition of clerical marriage within several Christian traditions. Luther’s translation of the Bible also helped to develop a standard version of the Bible in German language. Luther’s hymns were responsible for the development of congregational singing in Christianity. The compulsion of priesthood and the demand for delivering lectures prompted Martin Luther to study the Scriptures in greater depth. Luther engrossed himself in the teachings of the early church and began researching on them. The uproar and tumult started with the publication of his 95 Theses and the controversy that was let loose brought even more pressure on Martin Luther to more intensely study the Bible. This intensive study convinced him that the Church had lost sight of several central truths the Bible contained.
Luther’s first writing was ‘The Sermon on Good Works’, in which he argued that good works do not benefit the soul but only faith could do that. Things took a turn for the worse when Pope Leo declared 41 articles of Luther’s teachings as heretical teachings, and Luther’s books were publicly burned in Rome. This made Luther more indignant in his effort to reform the church. His treatise, “Address to the Christian Nobility of Germany,” exhorted the German people to use military means to force the church to discuss grievances and reform. Luther initially saw himself as a great reformer of the Catholic Church, and though a simple monk thought the force of his ideas would redirect the Leviathan of the church. But in the end, however, he divided Christianity into two separate churches and the second division came to be known as Protestantism.