Main   Terms   People   Interviews   Resources   Events

Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Although many religious reforms in Europe preceded those of Martin Luther, he is considered to be the initiator of the Protestant Reformation. In the year 1517, outraged by the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church (see Reformation), Luther, posted on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany, his now-famous 95 theses. In the theses, Luther railed against the Catholic Church and what he saw as its excesses and hypocrisies, clearly exemplified in its selling of indulgences to the common masses.

Prior to his Reformation activities, Luther, a German, was a student of philosophy at the University of Erfurt, where he received his Bachelor's degree (1503), and then two years later, his Master's degree. Though his father wished him to study law, Luther's unsettled soul and the sudden death of a close friend caused him to enter an Augustinian cloister in 1505. As a monk, Luther began a more thorough study of the Bible and theology, particularly Augustine and the Christian mystics. In 1507, he was ordained a priest.

In 1508, Luther was appointed professor of philosophy at the newly-established University of Wittenburg. After becoming disillusioned with the philosophy of the time, Luther made preparations to attain higher degrees in theology. In 1509, he received his Bachelor's degree, and in 1512 the Doctor of Theology degree. Following this, Luther began to lecture on the Bible and preach against what he saw as the corruptions of the papacy. When Luther encountered Johann Tetzel, a Dominican commissioned in 1502 by the pope to preach and sell indulgences in Germany and the Scandinavian kingdoms, he resolved to counter not only the sale of indulgences, but also the entire theological and economic systems of the Catholic Church.

Like all other Protestant refomers, Luther placed heavy emphasis on the Scripture, particularly the New Testament. In opposition to the priestly hierarchy of the Catholic Church and its supposed infallibility, Luther came to see each individual as having access to the Truth preached by the Christ. As such, Luther coined the phrase "justification by grace, through faith," making evident his belief in each individual human's spiritual authority and access to soul healing, or salvation.

Related Topics:


Contributed by: CTNS

To return to the previous topic, click on your browser's 'Back' button.

Topic Sets Available

AAAS Report on Stem-Cells

AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
Theology and Science: Current Issues and Future Directions
Unscientific America: How science illiteracy threatens our future
Will ET End Religion?

Current Stats: topics: >2600, links: >300,000, video: 200 hours.