Martin Luther: Saint or Sinner

By Izzy O'Brien

Was Luther a Saint?

Martin Luther can be seen as a saint for many reasons. One reason is because he helped the people remember how they should see God. In the first image, he is shown holding the holy bible. This represents that everything he believed was straight from the bible and that the rules of the church should be according to the bible. This is why he wrote his ninety-five theses, to bring back the biblical aspect of the church. Also, he was a strong believer in maintaining the fear of God in order to do good and truly make it to Heaven, rather than buying a slip of paper that the pope told granted salvation. In doing this, the people no longer felt as strong of a need to do good deeds in their life or avoid sin because they thought that by simply buying an indulgence, all of their sins would be forgiven by God and they had a ticket to heaven, either for them or for a deceased loved one.

Martin Luther can also be seen as a saint because he helped to reform the Catholic church in so many ways for the sake of the people and faith. He is even shown on the stained glass windows of some churches, like in the second image. He noticed that the church was corrupt, so Martin Luther stepped up to fight for what he believed in, disregarding possible consequences. Previously, Catholics were afraid to stand up to the leaders of the church to fight for what was right due to fear of damnation and persecution. Luther risked his life to show the other Catholics how corrupt the church had become due to unreliable leaders that tricked their followers for money and a larger population. His speaking out helped to save people from false information and hope. He essentially started a revolution in the beliefs of the Catholic church in order to keep the religion how it was written in the bible.

Martin Luther is also a saint because he changed the people's rights. He gave them more freedom and made the people of the church more equal. In his ninety-five theses that Luther is shown posting on the church door in the third image, he roughly stated that the priest and the pope do not have the right to fully forgive sins, only God can do that. This showed that the pope had too much power over the people with things like indulgences and the fact that he can change the rules of the church because he was so trusted by the people. By showing how corrupt the church was with his theses, he also gave the people the right to freedom of religion. Although this was a major setback for the population of the church, many new religions started to form and the people could choose what they wanted to believe rather than being tricked by a bad Catholic pope.

Was Luther a Sinner?

Martin Luther can be seen as a sinner, as well. This is because he went against the current beliefs of the church and tried to prove the leaders wrong, which can be classified as heresy. Luther is shown publishing his ideas of corruption on the door of a church so that anyone could be exposed to his ideas, making people lose trust in Catholicism and Catholic leaders. He pointed out everything that was wrong with the church, and many people, especially the pope and bishops, did not appreciate it very much. In fact, Luther was excommunicated by the church and sentenced to death by the pope due to accusations of heresy, and had he not hid from officials, he would have been killed. Many people did not like that he went against the religion and shared his beliefs with Germany, although others were relieved. By proving the rules of the church were unjust and causing a revolution in beliefs, Luther had committed a sin. Luther was also a sinner because he made many people convert from Catholicism to different religions like Lutherans and Anabaptists that had beliefs similar to the Catholics, but not all the same. He proved the leaders, especially the pope, wrong in giving the people false information. He is even seen trying to burn a letter from the pope in the second image.Many people converted to Protestantism, which started to grow larger than the Catholic population. This is a sin because Luther basically convinced people to go against the beliefs of the Catholic church and caused it to lose many followers. Many different religions resulted from the revolution that Martin Luther started with his ninety-five theses that proved the Catholic church corrupt by its powerful leaders.

Another reason that Martin Luther was a sinner is because although he believed in strictly following the bible, he also believed in medical and scientific advances. This can be shown in the third image where he is readong from the bible, yet supports ideas that are not in the bible. Luther was one of the few Catholics that supported this advancement because it was against the bible to perform these studies. According to the people, God created and controlled everything and everyone's fate was determined by Him, but scientific discoveries proved otherwise.

Works Cited

cwoznicki (2014) Posts about martin luther on CWoznicki think out loud. Available at: http://cwoznicki.com/tag/martin-luther/ (Accessed: 23 December 2015).


Luther’s 95 theses (no date) Available at: http://www.saintmlc.com/luther-s-95-theses.html (Accessed: 23 December 2015).


Martin Luther (2015) in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther (Accessed: 22 December 2015).


Simpson, J. (2008) English fundamentalism and the reformation. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/non_fictionreviews/3670320/English-fundamentalism-and-the-Reformation.html (Accessed: 23 December 2015).


Taylor, J. (2012) What was Luther doing when he nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door?. Available at: http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2012/10/31/what-was-luther-doing-when-he-nailed-his-95-theses-to-the-wittenberg-door/ (Accessed: 23 December 2015).


Title-page / print (1993) Available at: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1424195&partId=1&people=116563&peoA=116563-1-7&page=1 (Accessed: 22 December 2015).