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Martin Luther Essay

1557 words - 7 pages

“Forgive me Father for I have sinned!” is a common prayer within the Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church was known for the practice of teaching it’s parishioners that sin is forgiven through the process of asking the bishops and priests. This practice known as confession or atonement was performed during a Reconciliation ceremony. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, a sinner would confess his sins to the priest, who in turn would give him a prayer to recite, tell him his sins are forgiven and everything is satisfactory between him and the church. During the Middle Ages, a common monk questioned the authority of the leaders in the Roman Catholic Church. This doubt brought ...view middle of the document...

In 1498 at the age of fifteen years old, Martin Luther began a comparison of his life experiences in what he considered purgatory and hell because of the brutality that was inflicted upon him by his parents. By the time he turned eighteen years old in 1501; he had enrolled in the University of Erfurt and began to study to become a lawyer at the request of his father. According to Biography.com, Luther had a “life-changing experience” when he was caught in a horrific thunderstorm in 1505. He feared for his life and cried out to St. Anne, the patron saint of miner, “Save me, St. Anne, and I’ll become a monk!” The storm passed over and he was saved (Biography.com, 2014). Because of his fear of God’s rage and questions about his own salvation, Luther did in fact enter an Augustinian monastery in Erfurt, Germany.
Martin Luther did not find the spiritual answers he was searching for until he had been in the monastery for a couple of years. Although Biblical studies were a requirement in the monastery, it is written that he accidentally discovered the Bible in the library and began reading it. Luther is quoted as saying “until he turned twenty years old, he had never seen a Bible” (Ganss, 1910). Martin Luther’s early years as a monk and scholar were spent in seclusion. After a brief sabbatical, ‘Luther returned to Germany and enrolled in the University of Wittensberg to further his studies’ in theology (Ganss, 1910). In the year 1507, he was ordained to the priesthood. Through his studies of scripture, Martin Luther finally gained the religious enlightenment he was seeking.
Throughout his first thirteen years of service, Luther worked his way through a variety of promotions within the priesthood. His duties were numerous and his life was busy with lecturing on the Bible, writing letters all day, preaching in the monastery as well as provincial churches. There was little time for anything else in his life. Luther was so devoted to his studies that at times he would barricade himself in his cell which caused him to neglect his monastic duties. It is written that while Martin Luther was preparing a lecture on the book of Romans, he came across a scripture that caused him to stop and think about what was going on around him: “….the just will live by faith” Romans 1:17 (The Holy Bible). During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church taught that in order to receive salvation believers had to perform some type of righteous deeds that was pleasing to God. After studying the aforementioned Bible verse, Luther concluded that “key to spiritual salvation was to fear God or be enslaved by religious doctrine” (Ganss, 1910). At the age of twenty seven, around 1510 while representing the church at a conference in Rome, Luther became disheartened and dejected when he witnessed the immoral acts among the Catholic priest.
In 1517 the church introduced new indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica. An indulgence is the “extra-sacramental...

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