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Martin Luther

"In the true nature of things every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver."


Martin Luther was the first to popularize theological works for the laity.

Luther translated the Bible into the language of the people.

Luther mastered the art of writing in the vernacular of his day and a style of shortform writing that exploded his popularity.

Martin Luther quickly saw the advantages of making his vernacular treatises available cheaply to a growing body of avid lay followers.

Luther’s desire to expose the laity to his translation of the Bible and his message in other formats motivated his advocacy of universal childhood literacy.

His rebellion against the Catholic Church made him a celebrity, and it stimulated the publishing industry.

The success of Protestantism over all owed much to print.

Catholic adversaries never fully exploited the printing press.

The Bible Luther produced introduced mass media, unifies a nation, and sets the standard for future translations.

Without the printing press and Hans Lufft he could not have done it.





1517 Martin Luther nails ninety-five theses to the Cathedral door condemning the Thirty Years' War giving rise the the Refomation and the Protestant Church.

1520 Pope Leo X issued the Papal bull Exsurge Domine ("Arise, O Lord"), outlining forty-one errors found in Martin Luther's ninety-five theses.

1521 Emperor Charles V calls the Diet of Worms.

Edict of Worms decree issued on 25 May 1521 by Emperor Charles V, declares:

"We forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favor Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic."

The Edict, declaring Luther to be an obstinate heretic, banned the reading or possession of his writings.

Following the Edict of Worms Frederick the Wise has Luther kidnapped and hidden away for safekeeping in the castle at Wartburg.

Luther, a Gnostic, translated the Textus Receptus of Erasmus in eleven weeks.

1522 Das Newe Testament Deutzsch is published.

1534 Hans Lufft prints Die Propheten Alle Deudsch in Wittenberg.

Lufft prints more than 100,000 copies in the following 40 years.


"The Roman Catholic have, with great adroitness, drawn three walls round themselves.

Firstly, if pressed by the temporal power, they have affirmed and maintained that the temporal power has no jurisdiction over them, but, on the contrary, that the spiritual power is above the temporal.

Secondly, if it were proposed to admonish them with the Scriptures, they objected that no one may interpret the Scriptures but the Pope.

Thirdly, if they are threatened with a council, they pretend that no one may call a council but the Pope.

Thus they have stolen our three rods and intrenched themselves behind these three walls, to act with all the wickedness and malice, which we now witness.

If a little company of pious Christian laymen were taken prisoners and carried away to a desert, and had not among them a priest consecrated by a bishop, and were there to agree to elect one of them, born in wedlock or not, and were to order him to baptize, to celebrate the mass, to absolve, and to preach, this man would as truly be a priest, as if all the bishops and all the popes had consecrated him.

That is why in cases of necessity every man can baptize and absolve, which would not be possible if we were not all priests.

This great grace and virtue of baptism and of the Christian estate they have quite destroyed and made us forget by their ecclesiastical law.

It is, indeed, past bearing that the spiritual law should esteem so highly the liberty, life, and property of the clergy, as if laymen were not as good spiritual Christians, or not equally members of the Church.

Whence comes this great difference among equal Christians?

Simply from human laws and inventions.

It is a wickedly devised fable, they cannot quote a single letter to confirm it, that it is for the Pope alone to interpret the Scriptures or to confirm the interpretation of them.

Though they say that this authority was given to St. Peter when the keys were given to him, it is plain enough that the keys were not given to St. Peter alone, but to the whole community.

They must needs acknowledge that there are pious Christians among us that have the true faith, spirit, understanding, word, and mind of Christ.

As for their boasts of their authority, that no one must oppose it, this is idle talk.

No one in the Christian Church has any authority to do harm, or to forbid others to prevent harm being done.

There is no authority in the Church but for reformation.

If the Pope wishes to use his power to prevent the calling of a free council, to prevent the reformation of the Church, we must not respect him or his power.

If he should begin to excommunicate, we must despise this as the doings of a madman, and, trusting in God, excommunicate and repel him as best we may.

For his usurped power is nothing; he does not possess it, and he is at once overthrown by text from the Scriptures.

Let us now consider the matters which should be treated in the councils, and with which popes, cardinals, bishops, and all learned men should engage themselves day and night, if they follow Christ.

Let us rouse ourselves and stand in awe of God more than man.

Martin Luther's Address to the Christian Nobility of Germany




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