The Latter Years of Martin Luther
Martin Luther wanted to work within the Church to bring about change but they kicked him out
Martin Luther intended to work out his ninety-five theses within the Church leadership. However, once the masses read and heard them in their own language—through no fault of Martin’s—an internal Church discussion became impossible. A revolution brewed. The people, poised for change, saw to that.
But the leaders of the Church had a different reaction. They saw Luther as a threat. His views opposed them, their power, and their profit motives.
Yes, Martin wanted a reformation. But he wanted it to occur in an orderly fashion, to work within the Church and discuss his concerns with its leaders. He loved the Church and desired to remain part of her. He never planned to create a new church and certainly never wanted a Lutheran denomination named in his honor. To him there was one church, the church of Jesus, which Martin sought to fine-tune.
Later Luther would seek to reclaim key doctrines that had fallen away: biblical authority, justification by grace through faith alone, preaching the good news of Jesus, the true meaning of communion, the priesthood of believers, faith in Jesus, and the universal church, as well as others.
He also began to question the addition of new practices that lacked biblical support. These included papal infallibility, the practice of Mass, penance, and indulgences. In addition, he objected to the absolute authority accorded to the pope, along with the secularization and corruption of the Church’s upper leadership. To communicate his concerns, Martin spoke often and wrote volumes about these issues.Martin Luther didn’t desire to leave the Church, but to correct her errors. Click To Tweet
Luther didn’t desire to leave the Church, but to correct her errors. For several years he and his followers toiled to do just that. They believed their efforts would restore a pure Christian community. He persisted despite the Church’s personal attacks on his character. Their opposition escalated to physical threats on his freedom and risks to his very life. Even after his church labeled him as a heretic and expelled him, he still hoped-for reconciliation.
Read more about Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation in Peter DeHaan’s book 95 Tweets: Celebrating Martin Luther in the 21st Century. Buy it today to discover more about Martin Luther and his history-changing 95 theses.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.