Category Archives: Martin Luther and the Reformation

Martin Luther, Part 8: The Accused (continued)

The Summons from the Emperor

Luther had dared to defy the pope. What would happen now? On January 3, 1521, Pope Leo X announced the formal excommunication of Martin Luther and his followers. The pope thereby decreed that everyone was to consider Luther and his supporters heretics and heathen. The church had excommunicated Luther, but that was where its power ended. It could not imprison him or punish him by death. Continue reading

A Letter from the Editor of Reformation 500

Dear Brothers in Christ,

As you are reading this post, it will already be December. For pastors that means Advent and the getting-ready-for-Christmas season. Even so, I would like to take the opportunity to talk a little about Reformation 500. Such an anniversary comes along only once every five hundred years (obviously), and because this is such a milestone anniversary, we will think about, celebrate, and thank God for the blessings he has given us through the Reformation–but not only on one day or for one month in the fall of 2017. More than usual, the Reformation and what it means for us will be on our minds throughout the entire next year. Continue reading

Martin Luther, Part 6: The Reformer (continued)

Luther’s Call for Reformation

Luther returned to Wittenberg with renewed determination to do all he could to combat the spiritual evils that had plagued the people for so many years. The cell in the Black Cloister was his workshop. There his mind and pen worked tirelessly to produce tracts, pamphlets, and books. In one year alone the printers published 133 of his writings, for which he refused to receive any royalties. It is hard to understand how he could do all that writing in addition to attending to his regular duties as professor and pastor. He said, “God has given me a swift hand and good memory. When I write, it just flows out. I don’t have to press and squeeze.” His writings were circulated far and wide and were eagerly read. Luther recognized the printing press as a God-given means to bring the truth to thousands who could not be reached by his voice. And it was mainly through his publications that support for his cause continued to grow, not only in Germany but also in many other countries. Continue reading

Martin Luther, Part 5: The Reformer (continued)

The Leipzig Debate

Luther returned to Wittenberg and concentrated on his lectures and his study of God’s Word. He published nothing that related to his differences with the church. But his enemies did not keep silent. Before long, Luther found himself in a dispute that marked the parting of the ways between him and his followers and the Catholic Church.  Continue reading

Martin Luther, Part 4: The Reformer (continued)

Luther Meets with Cardinal Cajetan

On September 25, 1518, Luther set out on foot for Augsburg. He traveled with a friend, Brother Leonard Beier. Although he had a letter of safe conduct, Luther was troubled. He knew what it could mean for him. He said, “I have the stake before my eyes constantly.” In Weimar a Franciscan monk warned him, “Dear doctor, the Italians are learned men. I fear that you will not be able to stand your ground against them and that you will be convicted and burned.” Luther replied, “Even in Augsburg in the midst of his enemies, Christ reigns.”  Continue reading

Martin Luther, Part 3: The Reformer

During the months that followed the posting of the theses, Luther quietly continued to do his work as teacher and pastor. He knew that his theses were being read and discussed throughout Europe, but little did he realize that soon he would have to contend and do battle with the most powerful organization on earth—the Roman Catholic Church. Continue reading

Martin Luther, Part 2: The Professor and Preacher (continued)

The Evil of Indulgences

As the pastor of a congregation, Luther was responsible for the spiritual welfare of its members. He felt that some things were practiced and permitted in the church that were wrong and harmful to the people. One such matter was the misuse of indulgences. Originally an indulgence was a letter or certificate issued by the church that released a person from earthly punishment for certain sins that he had committed. For example, an indulgence might release a As we begin Reformation month and move toward the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, NPH is happy to bring you a 13-part blog series based on “The Life and Faith of Martin Luther.” Check out part 1 here:person from an obligation to make a pilgrimage to a holy place, such as Rome or Jerusalem, or from an obligation to fast for a certain number of days. Continue reading