Martin Luther

First Protestant Reformer

Early Life

Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Saxony. He was the second of eight children. His father started out as a copper miner, but eventually gained an elected position. His father wanted him to study law, but instead Luther joined the Augustinians Friars in 1505. Apparently Luther decided to join the monastery after a traumatic experience. He was almost struck by lightening and made a vow that if he lived through the storm he would devote his life to God. His life in the monastery was not all happy. He struggled with scrupulosity, the habit of imagining sin when none exists or grave sin when the matter is not serious. This caused Luther to see God as strict and a brutal ruler.
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Major Teachings

In the beginning Luther just pointed out wrongs that the Catholic Church was doing, such as selling Indulgences. He posted the 95 Theses, which attacked the selling of indulgences, on the door of the church at Wittenberg. Luther believed in Justification through faith. Through this idea he developed four major theological principals which were Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, and Christ alone. The Scripture alone principal rejected tradition's role in its close link with the scriptures, the authority of the councils and the pope, and the idea that the Holy Spirit continues to dwell and teach through the Church. The faith alone principal dismissed the value of corporal and spiritual works of mercy as a means to attaining righteousness. The grace alone principal held that every good action is a direct result of God's saving grace since it is beyond human capacity to do good. The Christ alone principal says that Christ must be the sole content of the scriptures, the mediator of grace, and the subject of faith. He also believed in Consubstantiation, the belief that the body and blood of Christ is present in the Eucharist with the bread and the wine, instead of Transubstantiation, which is the belief that the bread and wine are transformed into Jesus' body and blood.

The Reasons Behind Those Teachings

Many of Luther's ideas could be traced back to John Wycliffe, William of Ockham, and Jan Hus. He also taught what he did because of his sever experiences with God. He saw God as a brutal ruler and wanted to please him.

Early Church Teachings

The early Church did participate in the selling of indulgences, which Luther spoke against. This was the right things, but most of is other teachings were not good. His principal of Scripture alone was against the pope, which Jesus himself told us was in charge. His principal of faith alone was against the Church teaching of corporal and spiritual works of mercy being a good and important thing. His principal of grace alone was against the Church teaching of us having the free will to choose the right thing. His principal of Christ alone was against the book in the bible that were not focused only on Christ. These books were out in the bible by the councils and the pope with the guidance of God. Jesus told us that the bread and blood was his body and blood and Luther taught differently.


Luther started out doing the right thing and trying to point out the Church's wrongs, but then things got out of hand he he began to preach heretical things. His 95 Theses were good, but his four principal were heretical and against Scripture. His other teachings were also against Scripture and the history of the Church.