Martin Luther And The Protestant Reformation

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate July 2001

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On October 31, 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther unwittingly sparked a revolution. This revolution was neither economical nor political. It was a religious revolution that came to be known as the Protestant Reformation. What was it all about? Why would such a devout man, raised in the Catholic Church, rebel against it? Most importantly, why did his beliefs catch on with so many people, resulting in the most important religious movement since the birth of Christianity in the first century AD? Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 to Hans and Margaretta Luther in Eisleben, Thuringia. In 1505, while attending law school at the University of Erfurt, Luther was nearly struck by lightning and thrown to the ground. At that moment, he vowed to become a monk if St. Anne would save him. Luther stayed true to his word. Two weeks later he entered the Black Monastery in Erfurt.

He joined the Augustinian Hermits, a strict but not terribly austere order of monks.

Luther would spend the next several years studying theology at the University of Erfurt, working towards his doctorate. He also taught at Wittenberg University where, after receiving his doctorate, he was admitted to the senate of the theology faculty. On top of all this, Luther became priest for Wittenberg's city church in 1514.

During the next three years, Martin Luther began to go through a serious modification in his beliefs. Ever since he had been a student, he had been terrified by doubt of his own salvation. With so many rules and practices in the Catholic Church that supposedly were necessary for salvation, Luther was often confused and worried. He wondered if he was doing everything right in God's eyes. While meditating one day on a section in Psalms that said, "deliver...