Martin Luther - Lesson 3

His Life and Times

Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.

Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther
Lesson 3
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His Life and Times

His Life and Times

Luther, the Pastor: Psalm 23:1

I. The Increase of Power of European Monarchies under the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V over Ecclesiastical Authorities

A. France

1. 14th Century Campician Kings

2. King Phillip crushed the Knights of Templar

3. Effects of the Hundred Years war with England

4. France's national identity began to superscede regional loyalties

B. England

1. Hundred Years war centralized the power from Royal Kingdoms

2. Power consolidated into the hands of the King

3. Under Edward I Parliament's power increased

4. Established the Tudor Monarchy

C. Spain

Isabella of Spain and Ferdinand of Aragon combined Kingdoms to form modern Spain

D. Germany/Italy

1. Power not yet formally centralized as in above examples

2. Independent regional administrative units comprised the area of modern day Germany and Italy


II. Money and Print Reach New Hands

A. Emerging of the Guilded class

1. Skilled craftsmen began acquiring increasing amounts of money

2. New class empowered by mobility, financial independence, literacy and autonomous thought

B. Printing Press

1. 1450 Guttenberg's Printing Press

2. Cheaper paper developed


III. The Rise of Anti-Clericalism

A. The Great Schism (1378-1417) - after 3 Popes had claimed authority of The Church, people began to question a single authority.

B. The Council of Constance (1414-1417)

C. The Renaissance Popes


IV. The Flourishing of Popular Religion

A. Endowed Mass and Pilgrimages

B. Confraternaties

C. Rituals Surrounding Death

All Lessons
  • Introduction to the life and theology of Martin Luther.

  • Luther expressed his views in a way that was shaped by his theology and the culture.

  • Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.

  • When Martin Luther posted the 95 theses, his intention was to discuss and debate the misuse of indulgences, but it was interpreted by the church heirarchy as an attack on the power of the papacy.

  • Luther's writings demonstrate his ability to understand and articulate issues that are at the core of the nature of God and man. His theology is distinct from philosophy and consists of many comments on passages in Psalms and Romans.

  • Faith alone justifies. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore a person does good works because they cannot remain idle.

  • The work of Christ when he allowed himself to be crucified on the cross, teaches us about God's nature, our nature and our relationship to God.

  • Luther's fourfold sense of scripture focused on historical (literal), allegorical (figurative), tropological (moral), and anagogic (future).

  • Luther's view of the atonement differs from classical views taught during his time and view held by the scholastic tradition.

  • Luther's teaching on justification by faith is central to his theology.

  • Theology of the cross assumes bondage and moves to freedom.

  • Four positions on predestination include the Calvinist, neo-Protestant, intuitu fidei, and Gnesio-Lutherans.

  • Luther's commentary on Galatians is an attempt to set "Law" in its proper setting.

  • The sacraments are an external expression of an internal reality.

  • Luther's teachings on the importance of baptism and arguments for infant baptism.

  • Luther's view of the theological and personal significance of the Lord's Supper.

  • The kingdom of God and secular government have areas of unity and areas of differences.

  • Luther gives a definition of the church and describes characteristics of the church.

  • Luther developed a catechism to help people focus on the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith.

  • Martin Luther's writings can encourage people to pursue their relationship with God on a deeper level.

This course is an introduction to the life and writings of the great German reformer, Martin Luther. There are 20 lectures totaling approximately 18 hours. These lectures were given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.