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Martin Luther was an influential German theologian who was the key catalyst of the Protestant Reformation movement in the 16th century. He was popularly known for his theological writings, particularly the 95 Theses of 1517.
See the fact file below for more information on the Martin Luther or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Martin Luther worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
- Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, County of Mansfeld in modern-day Germany.
- His father, who was a businessman, became councilor of Mansfeld, where they relocated soon after Luther was born.
- Luther first received his education at a Latin school in Mansfeld, where he learned the Latin language and prayers as well as the Ten Commandments and other statements of Catholic beliefs such as the Apostle’s Creed.
- In 1497, Luther began attending a school operated by the Brethren of the Common Life, a lay group.
- In 1501, Luther enrolled in a distinguished university in Germany: the University of Erfurt.
- He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1502 then a master’s degree in 1505 in the University of Erfurt.
- In line with his father’s wishes, he began to pursue law.
- However, he withdrew from his study of law shortly thereafter and turned to monastic life.
- His change of heart from law to life in an Augustinian monastery was a terrifying thunderstorm incident.
- He vowed to enter a monastery if he should survive the storm, and indeed he did.
- Luther dedicated himself to worship, fasting, prayer, pilgrimage, and spartan living, as part of the Augustinian order.
- In 1506, he received full admission to the Augustinian order and started to prepare for his ordination.
- His first mass was held in May 1507.
- In 1507, Luther pursued further theological studies at the University of Erfurt, then in 1508, he transferred to a monastery in Wittenberg.
- After a year, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies.
- From 1510 to 1511, Luther served as a representative of German Augustinian monasteries in Rome.
- In 1512, Luther received his Doctor of Theology.
- He became a professor in the same university he studied in at Wittenberg.
QUESTIONING THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
- Some European theologians were starting to raise questions about Roman Catholic teachings in the early 16th century.
- Luther shared two of Augustine’s beliefs: that the Bible was the utmost authority in religion and that salvation can only be achieved through God’s grace, which were not in line with Catholic teachings back then which asserted that Church officials were the ultimate religious authorities and works of righteousness earns an individual salvation.
- Prior to the Reformation period, the Catholic Church also granted “indulgences” as a means for sinners to diminish the consequences of their sins.
- In 1517, the Roman Catholic Church sent Johann Tetzel to sell indulgences in Germany as a fundraiser for the renovation of St. Peter’s Basilica.
- Luther strongly objected indulgence-selling.
THE 95 THESES & THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
- Based his objection to indulgence-selling and his beliefs, Luther wrote a list of theological questions entitled the “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which became known as “The 95 Theses.”
- The 95 Theses was the basis for the Protestant Reformation.
- He hung the provocative document on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church on October 31, 1517.
- The central idea in Luther’s theses was that Christians must seek faith and repentance as those are what truly lead to salvation, and not good works.
- Luther’s ideas spread throughout Germany and Rome.
- Luther was called to Augsburg, Germany in 1518 to defend his ideas.
- For three days, Martin Luther and Cardinal Thomas Cajetan debated.
- Cardinal Cajetan defended the indulgences, but they did not reach an agreement.
- Luther’s opinions were condemned by the pope on November 9, 1518.
- As Luther’s writings were examined, they were concluded to be heretical by Pope Leo X and a papal bull was issued against Luther’s ideas in July 1520.
- Luther was given 120 days to renounce his writings, but he refused to do so.
- Luther was then excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church on January 3, 1521.
- On April 17 in that same year, Luther appeared before the highest assembly of the Holy Roman Empire: the Diet of Worms. Still, he refused to deny his ideas.
- On May 25, Charles V ordered Luther’s writings to be burned.
- Luther went in hiding in the next year as he worked on translating the New Testament into German language.
- It took ten years for the translation to be completed.
LATER LIFE & LEGACY
- In 1521, Luther returned to Wittenberg.
- His writings became a widely known theological writing to the point that it sparked the Protestant Reformation.
- In 1525, Luther got married to former nun Katherine of Bora, with whom he had five children.
- He died at age 62 on February 18, 1546 in his hometown.
Martin Luther Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Martin Luther across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Martin Luther worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Martin Luther who was an influential German theologian who was the key catalyst of the Protestant Reformation movement in the 16th century. He was popularly known for his theological writings, particularly the 95 Theses of 1517.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Martin Luther Facts
- Who’s Martin Luther?
- Story Sequence
- Christian Vocabulary
- Luther Said…
- Reformation Review
- Who’s Who?
- Illustration Analysis
- Radical Ideas
- Luther’s Legacy
- A Letter to Luther
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Use With Any Curriculum
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