Martin Luther Reformation Essay

This essay has a total of 2082 words and 8 pages.

Martin Luther Reformation


Martin Luther: Reformer

Martin Luther was born in Eisieben, Germany, on November 10,1483, St. Martin's Day. He was
the son of Has Luther, a coal miner, and Margarethe. Martin's parents were of the middle
class and were unbending in their disciplinary acts. He attended the best schools in his
region but all of them held to the barbaric discipline system of the times. This had a big
impact on Martin's personality. But he did receive some positive influence from his home
environment. His parents were very pious people and brought him up to be one too. His
parents also gave him a strong sense of superstition. At the age of 14 Luther went to
grammar school at Magdeburg. There he got attracted to the Church and particularly the
Lollards. Then in 1498 he moved to Eisenach and came in contact with a warmer church life
than he was use too. He also made some important friends here including Fran Ursula Cotta.
He really started going into the Church works when he attended the University at Erfurt.
He was a very diligent student and quickly rose through the academic ranks. Meanwhile his
father upon hearing of his son's achievements had great hopes for him. Luther was
preparing to be a lawyer to some prince or town after he received his degree in
philosophy. But halfway through his training he decided to quit and take up life
permanently in an Augustine monastery.

Historians speculate on why such a successful young man would want to join the monastery.
Historians believe a string of events led Luther to choose the path of the Church. Being
superstitious, Luther might have thought that this was god trying to get him to join the
monastery. Luther made hid decision to go into the monastery during a thunderstorm. A bolt
of lightening hit just a few feet away from him and threw him up into the air. He saw this
as an act of god and joined the monastery. Later he and his father would look back and
wonder whether it was God or the devil.

His methods of teaching were a bit unorthodox but had a natural talent for speaking to the
masses that listen to him. He often used vulgar language in his classes and had liberal
ideas that he preached. His vulgarity came from a few things. First of all he was
constipated and often talked about it in class. He related dirt to sin and obsessive about
being clean.

He like many other people of his time was driven by worries of being saved. He always felt
that he did not do enough to receive salvation. He felt unworthy of receiving salvation
and this left him unsure of his afterlife. He looked for ways to prove his worthiness to
the Lord. He thought that no mere mortal could approach the majesty and holiness of God.
There for he thought one couldn't obtain salvation from doing many good works, but rather
through faith in the almighty. This revelation of Luther's gave him great relief. It told
him that the God freely gives people his grace if only one has faith. So Luther stopped
worrying about doing penance for his sins. He came to an understanding of salvation called
'justification by faith';. As he meditated on his new philosophy he thought of all the
ideas that would later pit him against the Catholic Church.

Luther was one of the greatest contributors of the Reformation. He posted his 95 theses on
the Church door for the world to see. He was not afraid of the Church and openly spoke out
against its evils. He didn't take back his word when it was certain he could die during
his appearance before the emperor at the Diet of Worms. He started Lutheranism and
inspired others to speak out against the Church.


Bad Popes

Leo X
Pope Leo X was born in 1475 and died 1521. His birth name was Giovanni de' Medici, a
member of the powerful family de' Medici. He was the son of Lorenzo de' Medici. His father
used the family riches to bribe his son's way through the Church. Giovanni was made an
Abbot at the age of 8 and a cardinal at the age of 14. Innocent VIII felt that Giovanni
was too young to be entering the College of Cardinals so he made him wait for 3 years.
After he entered the College of Cardinals. While he was a cardinal he refused to sell his
vote to Rodrigo Borgia and consequently fled from Rome. After Rodrigo died he came back
and was made Pope after Julius II. While he was a cardinal Giovanni obeyed all his fathers
commands but when he was made pope he ignored them all. Leo X was the main target of
Martin Luther's protests against the Church. That was because Leo had worked out a deal
with Albert of Mainz to sell indulgences in which the profits would be split 50/50. Albert
hired a man named Johann Tetzel to do the selling and when Luther heard of Tetzel selling
indulgences he began to think of ways to reform the church. Leo wanted to use the money to
rebuild the Basilica of St. Peter's in Rome. Leo also had a taste for fine arts and hired
Pope Julius II favorites including Raphael and Michelangelo. He held lavish feasts and the
feast he held to celebrate the marriage of his brother cost over 150,000 Ducats. Cardinals
led by Alfonso Petrucci plotted to poison Leo and replace him with Cardinal Riario. Leo
found out about the plot and had Alfonso thrown into Sant' Angelo and tortured for names
of other conspirators. Leo had Alfonso killed but didn't kill Riario because of Riario's
many connections. At one time Leo created 31 cardinals and each position was up for grabs
if the price was right.


Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI was pope from 1492 to 1503. His birth name was Rodrigo Borgia. His Uncle
Calixtus III was pope at the time and allowed him to climb up the ranks in the church. He
was made a Cardinal at age 26. During this time he had many orgies but his superiors
overlooked these with some influence from his uncle. He was made vice-chancellor of the
Church by his uncle and made a lot of money to finance his later exploits. His family was
Spanish and many Romans hated this. The Romans eventually chased his uncle out of Rome.
After his uncle was chased out Innocent VIII took the papacy much to the dismal of
Rodrigo. He used his position as vice-chancellor to make wholesale distribution of pardons
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