The Man Who Started It All

The Reformation was all started by one man named Martin Luther. He was an average man like everyone else in his time, although his family was poor. He grew up in a small town called Eisleben that adopts the religion of Saxony in modern Germany. It was under the political control of the Roman Emperor and the Pope. Neither he nor his mother knew what year he was born, but based off one of the Melanchthon’s statements, he was born on November 10, 1483, shortly before midnight. Due to Luther not knowing his official birth date, he did not care for astrology and horoscopes. Luther got his first name Martin, the day after he was born when he was baptized in St. Peter and Paul Church. He was given the name of the saint that same day by the pastor who baptized him, Bartholomew Rennebecher. His parents’ names were Hans and Margarete.

Although there are conspiracies that Luther was not an only child and that he might have had an older brother that had passed it is said that Luther was the oldest child out of his seven siblings living in the peasant middle class of Germany. Luther came from a family of farmers and frequently mentioned that he was a farmer’s son and a peasant. Although he was not a farmer’s son, his father was not entitled to the farm, his younger brother Heinz was. It was said that Luther was married to Katharina Von Bora ‘Martin Luther found peace when he married an ex-nun named Katherine von Bora in 1525′ (Martin). There marriage was unconventional from the beginning, it is rumored the Katharina Von Bora was the one to propose to him. There is not much known about Kathrina; however, it is said that she played a big part in the reformation and an avid supporter of his beliefs.

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The couple had six children: Johannes, Magdalene, Martin, Margarete, Paul, and Elizabeth. However the family went through great sadness when Luther witnessed the death of Magdalene in his arms in the year of 1542, Magdalene also died within months of her birth. When Luther was still young, his father moved them to Mansfield. Soon thereafter Luther had begun his schooling where he learned Latin. At school is where Luther’s interest in the Monastery and his infatuation of the religion began. His infatuation overtook his life, so he left the school he was attending at the time and moved to a new one where he could further indulge in his studies in which he earned a higher degree. His father, Hans Luther was very determined to get his son the best education he could and even urged for Luther to become a lawyer at the age of 7. Hans was in the mining business and he also performed as an ore smelter, he hurried the move from Eisleben to Mansfield where he bought ore deposits. Luther attended the University of Erfurt, where he earned his Master of Arts degree when he was 21. Luther enjoyed art and was passionate about the subject because he wanted to be a teacher.

Back then art was not considered an extra thing to do for fun or enjoyment, then it was a major subject like math and English. Although art was his passion he wanted to do as his father wished and entered law school. In 1501 Martin changed his name from Luder to Luther before he went to the University of Erfurt. As time progressed, he continued working towards his career. He received his M.A. from the School of Philosophy the University of Erfurt. Before the reformation children originally celebrated Christmas on December 6th, however, the birth of Jesus was not celebrated St.Nicholas was celebrated. However Luther was against St. Nicholas so he rebelled against him, He began to encourage the birth of Christ, which turned into the modern day, Christmas Eve. This is what began Luther’s rebellious behavior. Less than a year later Luther was leaving during a pitiful storm which is when he was almost struck by lightning. It was a Wednesday, July 2, when he was leaving his parents’ house in Mansfield on his way to the University of Erfurt. Luther was not very from Erfurt, ‘he was six kilometers away from Erfurt where the road skirted the Stollberg hills near the village of Stotternheim’ (Martin). When the lightning struck near Luther it only knocked him down to the ground and hurt his legs physically, but mentally at that moment he instantly changed his perspective on life. Luther was born into Roman Catholicism, they focus on purgatory, hell, demons, sins, angles, judgment, and the saints. Roman Catholicism also believes that ‘Jesus was depicted as an unapproachable, terrifying judge, but believers knew they could call upon the Blessed Virgin and other saints to intercede on their behalf ‘(Martin).

Therefore, Luther was talking to an angel named Anne after he was almost hit by lightning instead of God, ‘he cried out in desperation to the patron saint of miners: ‘Help me, St. Anne, and I’ll become a monk!'(Reston). The near-death experience made him believe that it was a wakeup call from God and he vowed to be a monk which sparked his religious journey. After that, Luther was still petrified by the power of God and went to the church to confess twenty more sins. Still terrified from God and the near-death experience Luther confessed sins twenty times a day and punished his own body by sleeping on a cold concrete floor. Because Luther was so scared he had performed his first Mass with trembling hands. By the time Luther was twenty-seven, he had his doctorate in theology. Luther had to travel to the holy city of Rome to represent his monastery because that is what he was assigned to do to shorten his time in purgatory. As he went throughout the journey he began to question the teachings of the Church regarding relics and merits. Although he kept his vow to become a monk, he did not abandon his love for his studies. Luther used his studies to influence his beliefs, furthermore, Luther continued his studies and was awarded a doctorate in biblical studies. The information he obtained further molded his views on Christianity.

One day while Martin Luther was pursuing his studies he noticed that the Catholic church was selling indulgences, which he felt to be unjust and decided to rebel against it. Astonishingly, for the time, Luther decided to write 95 theses about why this was ungodly and posted them all around the commons. Originally Luther wrote 97 theses which included points that emphasized the importance of vow to God and only God, Luther, however, did not choose to include the final two theses in his final draft. He exemplified his scholar behavior when he transformed his version of the Bible from Greek to German in just 11 weeks. Furthermore, Luther wanted to express the importance of a selfish love to ones’ savior, God. Luther’s impact was exponential for the time period and it was something that had never been thought of. The rebellion against the church was not something that many people couldn’t fathom doing with the cruel punishments that were available. Luther was not the only Christian to come to these conclusions about the Catholic Church however he entered in a time of nationalism and the press which expedited the delivery of the message and the outrage of the townspeople.

This jump-started the belief system of the Protestant people whom unlike the Catholics believe that there are many Churches and that there is no one true Church. The Protestant people believe in the Invisible Church which is a blend of all religions in which believe and confess in Jesus Christ. Luther’s theses were the primary reason for the fractionalization of the Church. Luther met with the head of the Catholic Church who attempted to compel him to recant the statements. However, Martin Luther refused to recant until someone proved him wrong in the scriptures of the Church, ‘Luther had come to believe that Christians are saved through faith and not through their own efforts. This turned him against many of the major teachings of the Catholic Church’ (Kristen). This was the tipping point for what is known today as the Reformation. Although this infuriated the Church, he continued to write more, which then sparked the belief that there is not one true Church. Furthermore, throughout his whole life and religious journey he picked up ‘jewels’ along the way that shifted his view on the Catholic religion. Martin Luther believed strongly in his new ideology of the Catholic religion.

Luther believed in the idea of salvation that could only be reached through the belief in faith and furthered his religious beliefs by becoming a monk who was ordained by a priest. Martin Luther was a fragile man who battled daily with a guilty conscience. Luther was deathly afraid of God and Hell while studying the Roman book he realized the concept of faith by jurisdiction. Martin Luther’s mentor, Saupitz, pleaded with him to stop trying so hard and worrying and just love God. Luther faced an internal war because he was unsure how to love someone in which he feared so greatly. The primary reason Luther earned a doctorate in theology is that of Staupitz. Luther was furthered intrigued by his studies and religion because of his mentor, Staupitz. Luther found safety in his faith knowing that his faith was all he needed to get through the trials and tribulations his life presented him with. Shortly thereafter something called a ‘Counter-Reformation’ which was started to go against the Protestant Reformation. The leaders of this movement were very adamant about the impact that education would have on the world. However, the Renaissance time period was highly criticized because of the decisions made by the Pope.

The Catholic Reformation wanted to create the proper training of the priests in areas such as theological traditions, measures were taken against a luxurious living, and appointing family and friends to Church leadership positions. They also strived to create a deeper foundation with the followers and God. During this time religion and politics were very closely tied the Catholic Church took the political approach by attempting to reconvert known Catholic areas such as Sweden and England. Luther was shunned by the Church by Pope Leo X, shortly thereafter he was required by the Pope to come in front of the court and recant his theses. Luther was defiant to this notion and refused to recant. Due to his defiance, a Protestant Church was formed. Although many people followed Luther his defiance empowered some to create their own denominations of the Protestant Church, known as the Calvinists and Anabaptists. This created even more denominations which are known more to the common person, such as the Puritans, etc. The idea that a certain interpretation of the Bible is superior to another created tensions between all the denominations. Shortly before all of this happened, Luther attended the Diet of Worms, which was an assembly all this Empire called into session by King Charles. This meeting took place at the Garden in Worms. This meeting addressed the rebellion of Martin Luther and the effects of his Reformation on the Catholic Church. Martin Luther’s impact was astronomical, he influenced people all around the world.

For example, he influenced John Calvin. Calvin was born in France, he went through similar struggles as Martin Luther, however, he was also an educated man. He took inspiration from Martin Luther when it came to saving one’s soul by faith which became very popular in Calvin’s hometown. Calvin also published his writings on the new technology of the century and printed it out making it easier for people to access it. Many people were influenced by both Martin and Calvin’s teachings and their influence spread globally. Martin Luther passed away at the age of 63, on February 18th, 1546 in Esteban. Luther was called back to his hometown because he was supposed to mediate an argument between two brothers. Many people believed that Luther was going to spend his final days in Wittenberg because that is where he accomplished the majority of his life goals. Although Luther’s passing was devastating to the revolution it was not a surprise. Luther suffered from various conditions such as arthritis, heart problems, and digestive problems. Luther reflected his pain and misery through his writings. So much is known about Luther’s death because someone was there to record in detail his final hours in order to rebuttal any rumors that could have been started. One of the many rumors that spread about Luther was that he died suddenly, in the Catholic Religion they believed that he went to hell because he died in a state of terror. It was said Luther knew in the weeks leading up to his death that he was going to die because his writings began to exemplify that death was greater than life. Martin Luther impacted the renaissance time period drastically.

Martin Luther was not the richest man or even the smartest but his goal was to make a change and he did not allow any obstacles to stand in his way. The way that Martin Luther rebelled against the church was not only unimaginable but it was unheard of for the time period. The printing press is the new technology of the time period and helped transform the world in what it was today. Martin Luther’s impact was astronomical and helped mold the future for religions. Many religions went off of Martin Luther’s these and his beliefs. The current platform for the Christian religion known today was influenced tremendously by Martin Luther. Although the platform has changed slightly it would not be the same if it wasn’t for the help of Martin Luther. The protestant revolution impacted the people, the revolution expanded the way of thinking for the everyday person and allowed citizens to make a choice which in turn allotted the patchwork of democracy, making Martin Luther one of the most influential leaders of the time period.


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The Man Who Started It All. (2022, Feb 15). Retrieved from