(Part 1 of 3)
On the 10th of November 1483 a baby boy was born to the Luder family. They named him Martin and he grew up to be quite intelligent, so his father made sure he was on the road to become a lawyer so he could make much money. He also changed his surname to Luther as it sounded more polished and aristocratic.
Yet the young Martin Luther was quite taken with religion and very serious about it. One day, when he was 21, on his way home he got caught in a lightning storm. A bolt hit so close to him that he was knocked to the floor. He then began to pray to Saint Anne to save him, and that if he survived he would join the monastery and become a monk. He survived the storm and kept and his vow, joining the monastery.
Luther dove into the life of a monk head first, often going beyond what was required of him. Yet he continued to be troubled about his salvation and the prospect of going to heaven. Even in the prayers he said, he wasn’t sure if he meant them from the heart, and they only counted if they came from the heart. He would go to confession so often and with so much to say that he often wore out his confessors. He was terrified of God and did not understand how he could be loved by such a God.
He was sent to Rome on monastery business, where he got to see first-hand the corruption and debauchery that were being committed. Indulgences were everywhere, and people were buying relics by the handful. He left feeling even more disillusioned.
The Pope then commissioned a special indulgence and a particular man to sell it. A man called Tetzel. He went from town to town, selling the slips of paper promising immediate release from purgatory. “The moment a coin in the coffer rings; a soul from purgatory springs,” was a favoured jingle of his. The money was being used to fund such buildings as the Sistine Chapel and etc,
Luther, in the meantime, had been transferred to Wittenberg at this time and had begun his studies of the scriptures, proving a capable Bible teacher. When Luther heard of this indulgence, it tipped him over the edge. He came to the conclusion that indulgences negated the need for true repentance, so in response he wrote down 95 points for debate and against the practice. He nailed this onto the door of the church in Wittenberg (a common place for notices) on the 31st of October 1517. It was picked up and taken to the printing press and widely distributed for all to read, causing a massive stir,
This simple act, an academic activity, would begin something that Luther never could have imagined. He only took issue with indulgences, even dedicating the paper to the Pope, yet from this he was being led down the road of truth and the gospel that would change everything…
Tomorrow we look at how Luther was saved and how the Gospel was recovered