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
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.
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.
against the Catholic Church made him a celebrity, and it stimulated the
The success of Protestantism over all owed much to
Catholic adversaries never fully
exploited the printing
The Bible Luther produced introduced mass media, unifies a
nation, and sets the standard for future translations.
printing press and
Hans Lufft he could not have done it.
Martin Luther nails ninety-five theses to the Cathedral door condemning the
Thirty Years' War giving rise the the Refomation and the Protestant
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.
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."
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.
Gnostic, translated the Textus Receptus of Erasmus in eleven weeks.
1522 Das Newe Testament Deutzsch is
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.
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
Thirdly, if they are threatened with a council, they pretend that
no one may call a council but the Pope.
have stolen our three rods and intrenched themselves behind these three walls,
to act with all the wickedness and
malice, which we
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
great grace and
virtue of baptism and of
the Christian estate they have quite destroyed and made us forget by their
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
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
must despise this as
the doings of a madman, and,
trusting in God, excommunicate and repel him
as best we may.
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
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