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Martin Luther's "On Christian Liberty" Essay

2935 words - 12 pages

Overview: Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation (1483 - 1546). Luther's reforms not only brought about another religion but also a new era. At this time period, if one spoke out against the church, he/she was considered to be an outsider, which is what Luther eventually became. Trying to change the bad habits and rid the Church of its bad reputation, Luther's ideas were in conflict with the Church and mounting support made him a well-known revolutionary. On September 6, 1520, Luther persuaded to write On Christian Liberty to assure Pope Leo X that his efforts to split the church were not a personal attack. His legacy continues today in the Lutheran denominations around the world.

Interpretive Questions:

1) What motivated Luther to take on his plight? Did he consider himself to be a preacher, a teacher, or a mediator?
* "To make the way smoother for the unlearned - for only them do I serve - I shall set down the following two propositions concerning the freedom and bondage of the spirit: A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian if a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all." (Luther, Page 2).
* "Let us then consider it certain and firmly established that the soul can do without anything except the Word of God and that where the Word of God is missing there is no help at all for the soul. If it has the Word of God it is rich and lacks nothing since it is the Word of life, truth, light, peace, righteousness, salvation, joy, liberty, wisdom, power, grace, glory, and of every incalculable blessing. This is why the prophet in the entire Psalm [119] and in many other places yearns and sighs for the Word of God and uses so many names to describe it." (Luther, Page 6).
* "To return to our purpose, I believe that it has now become clear that it is not enough or in any sense Christian to preach the works, life, and words of Christ as historical facts, as if the knowledge of these would suffice for the conduct of life; yet this if the fashion among those who must today be regarded as our best preachers." (Luther, Pp. 30 - 31).
* "Therefore, although it is good to preach and write about penitence, confession, and satisfaction, our teaching is unquestionably deceitful and diabolical if we stop with that and do not go on to teach about faith." (Luther, Page 45).

2) What various contradictions were introduced by Luther and why? Perhaps to illustrate that although contradictory, they serve as a unified front? Does this parallel Luther's own actions of separating from the Catholic church?
* (Separately contradicted but unified serve a purpose) "These two these seem to contradict each other. If, however, they should be found to fit together they would serve our purpose beautifully. Both are Paul's own statements, who says in 1 Cor. 9[:19], "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all," and in Rom. 13[:8], "Owe no one anything, except to love one another."" (Luther, Page...

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