Is Martin Luther due all the credit given him for the genesis of the Reformation? Perhaps, but one has to look at a few other factors that certainly set the stage for Luther. Hardly ever does one person come along and, without any preparation, change the cultural traditions let alone a whole world.
Sometimes a leader is just lucky; the timing is right. For Martin Luther to reform religion it took a bit more than just luck. It took intelligence, skillfulness, and education. Martin Luther had all three of these and the luck of timing. There were, however, some people and events that set the stage for Luther and the reformation movement. The humanistic movement was one, very important factor.
Humanism already had strong, healthy roots in Western Europe and was the philosophy under which Martin Luther studied. It could be said that this movement was the true ignition of reformation although without Luther to fan its flames, reformation would have taken many more years to become the fire that burned through Catholicism with a vengeance.
Aside from the humanist movement there were a few men: John Wiclif, Jan Hus, and Erasmus would play important roles in the very beginning before Martin LutherÃÂs time. Between these three men: biblical translations, teachings that the bible was for the individual, questioning authority, ridicule of the gross misconduct and improprieties of the papacy, and martyrdom can be found. (Greer 409-412) These acts are not to be ignored when contemplating the foundation of reformation.
With the acts of these three men, all the props on Martin LutherÃÂs stage were in place. The bible became accessible to all members of the congregation, and reading it was strongly encouraged. Erasmus showed that the papacy was not only to be wrong, but ridiculously so.