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History of the Reformation

[October 31, 2017 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
Reformation commemorations are often tied to October 31, the date when tradition states Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to that church door in Wittenberg. But in many ways, a better case could be made for celebrating it on June 25, the presentation-date of the Augsburg Confession.
Emperor Charles V had invited the electors of Germany to Augsburg for an imperial Diet to begin April 1530. John the Steadfast, elector of Saxony since the death of his brother Frederick the Wise in 1525, saw this as an opportunity to …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, History of the Reformation, Reformation 500

[September 18, 2017 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
As far as Martin Luther was concerned, the Wartburg castle was more a prison than anything else. He had been spirited away to this place in May 1521 following his appearance at the Diet of Worms. This was a subterfuge of Frederick the Wise, who knew it was dangerous for Luther to go home now that he was under the imperial ban.
But Luther’s safety came at a price. Isolated from his friends and coworkers, he suffered intense loneliness. What is more, he had to live with the knowledge …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, History of the Reformation, Reformation 500

[July 19, 2017 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
For Martin Luther, the road seemed destined to lead to martyrdom. He had been summoned to appear before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Imperial Diet of Worms to answer allegations of heresy. And so he left for Worms on April 2, 1521. It would be another 14 days before he would reach the city and stand before the emperor.
A year earlier, Rome had pronounced judgment on Luther’s theology in a papal bull outlining Luther’s purported errors. But the Pope was not in Germany. If his …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, History of the Reformation, Reformation 500

[May 9, 2017 | One Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
What began in 1517 as a theological argument over the nature of indulgences quickly kindled to far greater flame. By July 1519, Luther was publicly denying at the Leipzig Debate that the pope (or councils, for that matter) had authority to create new doctrines of faith. Scripture alone, he argued, had that power. He was also defending Jan Huss, who had been burned at the stake in 1415 as a heretic for denying the primacy of the pope, among other supposed errors.
This was enough for John Eck—Luther’s opponent …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, History of the Reformation, Reformation 500

[February 28, 2017 | No Comment | ]

by Mathew Block
The day was July 6, 1415. The place was Constance, an imperial city in southern Germany. The Czech theologian Jan Huss had arrived here in early November to face charges of heresy. Despite the promise of safe conduct, he had been imprisoned only a few weeks later. On June 5 he was brought to trial. He was given no chance to defend himself; he was simply asked to recant. Now he stood a condemned man, the flames before him. “Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, History of the Reformation, Reformation 500