A History Lesson From Martin Luther
I’ve heard that those in the millennial generation did not learn history when they were in school. Instead they learned bits and pieces of it, but not what lied behind the actions and wars, taken by one country onto another.
If you don’t know your country’s history, the whole of it, then you are doomed to repeat it. What happened in our history, right or wrong is what we as human beings stand on today. We stand on the progress (or loss) of what everyone before us made.
We make forward progress because of what was handed to us. For example, computers came into being back in the 19th century through the work of Charles Babbage, a mathematician. He invented a machine called the Atanasoff-Berry Computer. From these initial beginnings, many others built upon what he did and in 1977 the Apple Computer came out, created by Steve Wozniak. Come forward some more and we run into Microsoft Corporation and all of their software used for computers.
My point is that we built upon what has come before us. We can’t make history, we can’t make progress with science or medicine, or any field unless there is a base upon which we stand and move forward upon.
A Piece of Christian History
Within the Christian beliefs, we owe more than any of us could pay back our eternal gratitude, to our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us and made a way for us to go to heaven after we die. Then St. Paul was responsible for spreading the gospel in the early years of the church.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a reformer by the name of Martin Luther. Do you know who he is? Without him standing up against the corrupt Catholic Church, Christianity would not be where it is today. Martin Luther stood up and nailed his 95 theses on the doors of the Wittenberg Church on Oct. 31, 1517. With that he started the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Church called him a heretic and eventually kicked him out of the Church.
He was called before the Conference in Worms, Germany to defend himself. He spoke against the Catholic Church’s requirement of ‘indulgences’ which was as corrupt as it could be. He ended his defense by stating that he believed in ‘scripture alone’ (sola scriptura). And on scripture alone his conscience was clean.
The Beginnings of the Protestant Reformation
When he had ended his defense, he left the conference. Little did he know that he had just erupted a movement across Europe called the Protestant Reformation. With the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid 1400s, scripture was finally able to be put into the common person’s hand to be read. As Martin Luther was confronting the evils of the Catholic Church, William Tyndale and John Wycliffe were busy translating scripture into English and then having these translations printed.
No longer could the Catholic Church hold the populace captive by their ‘indulgences’ or doing ‘good works’, or their saying scripture was only for the learned and/or church leaders. Now the common people had scripture for themselves and they could read it and understand it.
And from this humble beginning, scripture has been printed and given to everyone who wants it. Due to Martin Luther asking himself questions as to what he truly believed and then coming across Rom. 1:16.17 which states the righteous shall live by faith not good works, made him realize how wrong the Catholic Church was, and from this he came away with the true intent of scripture. We will never be the same.
We stand on his shoulders and the shoulders of every other Christian reformer, missionary, or evangelist who has ever gone before us. May we never forget this.
Below is a quick overview of the important of how Martin Luther changed the world as we know it: