Martin Luther: Saint or Sinner?

by Isabella Poschmann

The Religious Conversion of Royalty

Does this make him a saint or sinner?

King Henry VIII converted to Protestantism after the Catholic Church refused to let him divorce his wives. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth, converted (and started) the branch of Protestantism, Anglican. They had a powerful impact on their people. Because of this powerful influence, many people who followed them converted too. In the eyes of the Catholic Church leaders, Martin Luther is a sinner, because he influenced so many people to leave the Catholic Church, and to go to the Protestant Church.

The Catholic Reformation

Does this make him a saint or a sinner?

The Catholic Reformation was an attempt by the Catholic Church to change for the better. This happened because of the birth of Protestantism. More and more people were converting, and the Catholic Church was losing power and money rapidly. Because of the loss in followers, the Catholic Church changed to appeal to the people of Europe. They attempted to address the corruption that was caused by simony, indulgences, usury, etc. So, because of the positive impact his ideas had on the Catholic Church, Martin Luther is considered a saint.


Pictured on the left is the Council of Trent, a meeting from 1545 - 1563 that marked the beginning of the Catholic Reformation.

The Thirty Years' War

Does this make him a saint or a sinner?

The family who ruled the Catholic Church at the time were the Habsburgs. When Protestantism became popular, they attempted to shut down the Protestant Churches. In doing that, they violated the Peace of Augsburg, an agreement that gave German cities the right to choose their religion. The Thirty Years' War rose out of the broken agreement. In the eyes of the Catholic Church (or the Habsburgs) Martin Luther would be a sinner because he started the idea that led to Protestantism, which led to the loss of Catholic power and ultimately, a war.


Pictured on the left is the Peace of Augsburg, the agreement violated which led to this war.

Capitalism

Does this make him a saint or a sinner?

Capitalism is a social system based on individual rights and private ownership and the investment of money into a business to make money. So in other words, capitalism gave individual people money to spend. This happened as a result of the Protestant Reformation because the Church's power was getting weaker and weaker in England, and the Reformation took advantage of that. Martin Luther sparked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, which began capitalism, which took money from the Church and gave it to the people. In the eyes of the general public, Martin Luther is a saint.

Martin Luther's 95 Theses

Does this make him a saint or sinner?

In perspective of the Catholic Church, Martin Luther is considered a sinner. He wrote his 95 theses, which listed grievances against the Catholic Church. These opened eyes of people who despised what the Catholic Church had become. The posting of the 95 theses is a cause for riots to break out, a whole new religion to form, and power to be taken away from the Catholic Church.

Protestant Education

Does this make him a saint or sinner?

The first Protestant University was founded in Marsburg, Germany in 1527. This symbolizes the beginning of Protestant Education. This was a triumph for Protestants because it shows their religion was here to stay. It also shows Protestantism is advancing in education, power and society. In the eyes of a Protestant, Martin Luther is a saint because he began Protestantism, and Protestantism advanced.


Pictured on the left is the University in Marsburg.

Translation of the New Testament

Does this make him a saint or a sinner?

Before 1522, the Bible was written in Latin. Not many people could read it, so they only knew what the Catholic Church interpreted it as. The Catholic Church told their followers what they thought about the Bible, and because they didn't know any better, their followers believed it. When Protestantism came, people suddenly had new access to the Bible, so they could interpret it in their own way. Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German in 1522. In the eyes of everyone who believed in Christianity, Martin Luther is a saint because he made the Bible accessible for everyone.

Sects of Protestantism

Does this make him a saint or sinner?

Martin Luther inspired new branches of Protestantism to come up, such as Baptist, Presbyterian, and more. John Calvin, founder of Calvinism, would not have started a new religion if Martin Luther hadn't started the entire Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Church is rapidly losing followers and power. The Catholic Church would call him a sinner, because he is taking away power that used to be theirs.

Christian Beliefs

Does this make him a saint or a sinner?

Martin Luther revived Christian beliefs in people. While the Catholic Church ruled, the Church became more about money and power, and not enough about faith. Martin Luther preached that you don't need money to go to Heaven, you need to connect with God. In the eyes of everyone, Martin Luther is a saint for reviving beliefs about faith in people who have lost them.

The German Peasant's Revolt

Does this make him a saint or sinner?

From 1524 - 1525, thousands of German peasants revolted against the Catholic Church. They wanted an end to the Feudal system, but they also wanted the church to reform. Martin Luther's ideas were growing more and more widespread. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, Martin Luther is a sinner, because he caused people all over the world to demand better actions from the Church, and to rebel.