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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

- World History -
The Protestant Reformation
Martin Luther


Lutheranism
Martin Luther
Martin Luther, by Lucas Cranach - 1529

Martin Luther (1483 - 1546)
Martin Luther was a German monk and teacher of theology. He troubled about the possibility of not going to heaven. He led a strict life, but was worried about sin. Luther read the writings of early Christian theologians, including St. Augustine, and the Bible. He found the answer he was looking for in Paul's Letter to the Romans (Romans 1:17 - "The righteous shall by his faith.") Only faith (in the ultimate goodness of Jesus), not good deeds, could save a person. No good works, rituals, etc. would save a person if they did not believe.

Martin Luther prepares to burn papal bull
Martin Luther prepares to burn the papal bull.

Overall, Luther was a rather crude man. He had no trouble with talking about taking up arms against those who opposed him. He also saw fit to use foul language to combat evil. For example, he dismissed the Jewish rabbis' interpretations of Scripture as "Jewish piss and sh_ _." He thought his physical ailments were caused by the devil, who was trying to stop him. Before Martin Luther died, when he was very ill, he told his wife, "I am fed up with the world, and it with me. I am like a ripe stool, and the world is like a gigantic anus, and so we're about to let go of each other."


The Beginnings

Indulgences
Tetzel, a friar, sold indulgences. Doctrines of indulgences taught that Christ and the saints had stored up a treasury of merit. Indulgences could reduce the amount of time spent in purgatory; did not bring forgiveness of sin. Indulgences were sold to raise money for the church's increasing expenses. (They were like car salesmen, and lied about them.)

Desiderius Erasmus
ALBRECHT DURER: Engraving of Desiderius Erasmus.

(Although Erasumus fiercely attacked philandering and corruption among the clergy, his dislike of violent reform made it impossible for him to give anything but qualified support to Martin Luther. He remained loyal to the Church of Rome and wrote: "I laid a hen's egg; Luther hatched a bird of quite a different species.")

The 95 Theses
Luther questioned indulgences and corruption. On October 31, 1517 Luther posted, on a church door in Wittenburg, his 95 theses saying salvation is achieved through faith alone. He just wanted the church to clean up their act, but the church didn't want to. (Posting things on the church door was really no big deal, that is where people posted all kinds of notices.) The church basically laughed at him, but the people didn't laugh.) The Church was mad, but the people followed Luther. These people became known as "Lutherans."

95 ThesesRaphael, Pope Leo X
Left: Excerpt from the 95 Theses.
Right: RAPHAEL: Pope Leo X (Medici) with two cardinals - 1518

Diet of Worms
In 1520 Pope Leo X ordered Luther to give up his beliefs. Luther burned the order in front of a cheering crowd and was excommunicated by Leo X. In 1521 Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, declared Luther an outlaw when he wouldn't give up his views. Martin Luther went into hiding in a castle (castle of Frederick of Saxony, a German Prince) and translated New Testament into German, making it possible for more people to read the Bible.

Charles V, Confession of Augsburg
1530 - Charles V, far left, discusses a point of dispute in the Confession of Augsburg.
(The last Protestant attempt to reconcile with the Church of Rome)

Martin Luther, German Reformers
LUCAS CRANACH THE YOUNGER: Martin Luther (far left),
Philipp Melanchthon (near left), and other German reformers gather
around John Frederick I, elector of Saxony - 1540s

Acceptance of Reforms
Some local German churches accepted Luther's ideas. Lutheranism won enormous support and spread throughout Europe because:

People didn't like all their money going to Rome.

They didn't like the Italians controlling all church property.

German princes saw a chance to get church property. In 1529, German Princes issued a formal "protest" against efforts by the Church to suppress the reforms.

The reformers came to be known as "Protestants."


1. What Was the Renaissance?

2. Personalities of the Italian Renaissance

3. Renaissance Art

4. The Protestant Reformation

5. Martin Luther, Lutheranism

6. John Calvin, Calvinism

7. Anglicanism and King Henry VIII

8. French Huguenots,
Summary of the Protestant Reformation

9. Renaissance and Reformation Quotes

10. Most Important Invention of the Renaissance

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Historical Periods of
World History Class Study

| Prehistory | Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
| Ancient Egypt | Greece | Rome |
| Medieval History | The Renaissance and Reformation |
| Exploration | National Monarchies |
| The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment |
| Colonial America and American Revolution |
| The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era
|

 

   
 

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