Martin Luther

Easton Press Martin Luther books

The Ninety-Five Theses and Other Treatises - Books That Changed The World - 1996

Martin Luther biography

Martin Luther, born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Saxony (now in Germany), was a pivotal figure in the Protestant Reformation. His life and teachings had a profound and enduring impact on Christianity and European history. Luther was raised in a middle-class family and initially pursued a legal career, following his father's wishes. However, after a near-death experience in a thunderstorm in 1505, he vowed to become a monk and entered the Augustinian order. He dedicated himself to religious study and contemplation, eventually earning a doctorate in theology.

In 1517, Luther famously challenged the Catholic Church's practice of selling indulgences with his Ninety-Five Theses, which he nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This act marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, as Luther's ideas spread rapidly across Europe through the newly invented printing press.

Luther's teachings emphasized salvation through faith alone, rather than through good works or sacraments, as advocated by the Catholic Church. He also promoted the idea of the priesthood of all believers, arguing that individuals could communicate directly with God without the need for intermediaries like priests. Luther's bold defiance of the Catholic Church led to his excommunication in 1521 by Pope Leo X and condemnation as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. However, he found protection from sympathetic rulers and continued to write and preach, translating the Bible into German to make it accessible to the common people.

In addition to his theological writings, Luther composed hymns, catechisms, and other works that helped shape Protestant theology and practice. His influence extended beyond religion, contributing to the development of modern German language and culture. Despite his accomplishments, Luther's later years were marked by controversy and conflict within the Protestant movement, as different factions interpreted his teachings in divergent ways. He died on February 18, 1546, in Eisleben, leaving behind a legacy that continues to shape Christianity and Western civilization to this day.

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