People

Tudors

Why was Martin Luther so important for the Christian church?

BIBLE-TRANSLATION-Luther

In 1505, when he was 22 years old, Martin Luther became a monk. He entered the cloister of the strict Augustinian order in the German town of Erfurt. Unbeknown to anyone, Martin’s actions were to start a split in the medieval church which would eventually bring about the Protestant Reformation. Luther did nothing by halves. As a monk he was devoted to his duties, and always worried that he had not done enough to satisfy God. He was sure that God wanted more from him than he could provide. He tried all the ways the church then offered to help someone find peace with God.

When he was sent to Rome on business, he used the opportunity to make his visit a pilgrimage. This, he was told, would please God. He visited the churches that claimed to have sacred relics, things like the head of St Peter. He even climbed, on his hands and knees, the 28 steps in front of the Lateran church, at each step saying the Lord’s Prayer. At the top, instead of feeling a deep sense of peace, he found himself asking “But what if it doesn’t work?”  In Rome he also saw how dishonest many of the most powerful men in the Church were. He came back to Germany with two things he had to do. He had to put right the many wrong practices of the church of his time. And he had to find the way to be sure he was right with God.

Back at Erfurt, he asked for help from the monk who was his spiritual adviser. This man told him to read the books St Augustine had written. This then started Luther reading the New Testament, and Paul’s letters in particular. Here, after several years, he was to find his answer in the words: “The righteous will live by faith”.  He became convinced that people become “right with God” through faith in Jesus, not by good things they try to do. And that became the centre of what the Protestant Reformation believed.

The other thing Luther’s adviser did was to try to take Martin’s mind off his worries by giving him hard work to do. He was sent to another town, Wittenberg, to become a Professor! That was where he read St Paul’s words. And there he began to tell others what he had learned from Scripture.

Today, if you want people to talk about something, you might post an article on the Internet. Then, in Luther’s town, you nailed a list of ‘articles’ (things for discussion) to the doors of the Castle Church.

On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther nailed a list of 95 things to talk about to the door. They were about the “Indulgences” the church offered. These had come to be seen as a way for people to “buy off ” the wrong things they had done by paying money to the church. The list was soon translated from Latin into German, printed, and distributed in thousands. Luther had gone public.  Soon the debate was out in the open. And as he argued with others, Luther found himself asking bigger questions. If things like indulgences were wrong, why had the Pope allowed them? Could the the Pope be trusted? If you shouldn’t believe something just because the church told you to, what were you to trust? The answer the Reformers gave (for Luther wasn’t on his own by now) was – the Bible. And did you need a Priest to bring you to God? No, Luther reasoned, you could come directly to God through Jesus Christ.

These were the main things the Reformation stood for. The rest of Luther’s life was spent making them known to other people. He translated the Bible into German. He organized his churches. He preached, and wrote books. He did the work of ten men. And when he died, he left the world a different place.

Bookmark

Related Items

Easter Vigil

How do Catholics celebrate the resurrection of Jesus?

  • Festivals
  • Video
JESUS-RESSURECTION-TOMB

Easter Vigil

How do Catholics celebrate the resurrection of Jesus?

  • Festivals
  • Video

What is celebrated at Easter? Why is Easter seen as so important? What happens during an Easter vigil? Watch this film to see how and why Catholics celebrate Easter.

The Free Church of Scotland

What is worship like?

  • Life
  • Text
Free_Church_of_Scotland_Logo

The Free Church of Scotland

What is worship like?

  • Life
  • Text

The Free Church of Scotland has around 100 congregations all over Scotland and approximately 12,500 people attend worship each week. The Church is “Presbyterian”, which means that decisions are made by a board of elders who are chosen from the congregation. It is Reformed, which means […]

Jesus’ teaching about eternal life

What do Christians believe about eternal life?

  • Life
  • Text
Jesus Appears_11

Jesus’ teaching about eternal life

What do Christians believe about eternal life?

  • Life
  • Text

What happens to us after death has been the theme of many a book and film – it is a subject that has fascinated people from the beginning of time. Some people hope that heaven is a real place, where they’ll be reunited with loved […]

Denominations

Why are there different denominations?

  • Life
  • Text
Denomination Family tree

Denominations

Why are there different denominations?

  • Life
  • Text

Over the years, the Christian church has divided into different groups called denominations. Although they share the same basic beliefs, or creed, the way they do things can be very different. This family tree shows how each new denomination branched out from an older one. […]

Divorce

What is the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox view of Divorce?

  • Issues
  • Text
ISSUES-SEX&MARRIAGE-COMMITMENT

Divorce

What is the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox view of Divorce?

  • Issues
  • Text

A Protestant view of divorce Protestants believe that Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce in the New Testament shows the ideal way to which all Christians should aspire. They accept, however, that sometimes humans fall short of this ideal, because we live in a fallen world, […]

A Good Friday Service in a Catholic Church

How do Catholics remember Jesus' death?

  • Festivals
  • Video
Crucifixion and Burial

A Good Friday Service in a Catholic Church

How do Catholics remember Jesus' death?

  • Festivals
  • Video

What is the Lord’s Passion? What is remembered on Good Friday? Why do Catholics hold the service at 3pm? Watch this film to see how Catholics remember the events of Good Friday.

Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday

How do Catholics celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper?

  • Festivals
  • Video
JESUS-WHYDIE-LASTSUPPER

Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday

How do Catholics celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper?

  • Festivals
  • Video

What happened during the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his death? How do Catholics celebrate this meal? How do Catholics remember the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross?

  • People
  • Video
Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

Virtual Tour

  • People
  • Video

Take a virtual tour of Westminster Cathedral by clicking on the circles on the map. The Cathedral situated in Francis Street, London is the Mother Church of the Catholic community in England and Wales and the Metropolitan Church and Cathedral of the Archbishop of Westminster. It […]

Saint Peter

The First Pope

  • People
  • Video
Saint Peter

Saint Peter

The First Pope

  • People
  • Video

Saint Peter, formally Simon, was renamed by Jesus – a sign that Peter was going to be one of the founders of the Christian Church. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends and disciples – he followed Jesus with enthusiasm and zeal. However, he sometimes […]

TUDORS

What was the Reformation?

  • People
  • Text
BIBLE-TRANSLATION-Tyndale

TUDORS

What was the Reformation?

  • People
  • Text

The story of the Reformation in England is really two stories at once. The first one is a story about ordinary people. The second is about Kings and Queens, and how they made changes in the way the Church worshipped and worked. Right through this […]

William Tyndale

Why was it important to translate the Bible into English?

  • People
  • Text
BIBLE-TRANSLATION-Tyndale

William Tyndale

Why was it important to translate the Bible into English?

  • People
  • Text

Today, English has become the international language. In Tudor times, it was Latin that was used, especially amongst scholars. This meant that many books were not available in English – including the Bible. The ordinary people who did not speak Latin therefore could not read […]

The Apocrypha

Why do some Bibles have more books than others?

  • Bible
  • Video

The Apocrypha

Why do some Bibles have more books than others?

  • Bible
  • Video

At the beginning of the 5th century AD (400s), an early Christian scholar, Jerome, was given the job of translating all the books of the Bible into one common language, Latin. Amongst these books was a collection that Jerome did not believe had the same […]

History of the Early Church

How did the Church begin?

  • People
  • Text
Colosseum-2003-07-09

History of the Early Church

How did the Church begin?

  • People
  • Text

The early Christian Church began in Jerusalem and the surrounding area and grew out of the Jewish tradition. Jesus and his disciples were all Jews. The first Christians therefore did not meet in separate churches but continued to meet in the local Jewish synagogues. St […]

St. Francis of Assisi

What was the life of this amazing man like?

  • People
  • Video gallery
St Francis

St. Francis of Assisi

What was the life of this amazing man like?

  • People
  • Video gallery

Many people all over the world and throughout history have chosen to join a movement started by St Francis of Assisi, born in Italy in the 12th Century. Discover more of his story here. What makes him such an inspirational figure?

The Roman Catholic Church

What is the Catholic Church?

  • Life
  • Video gallery
Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church

What is the Catholic Church?

  • Life
  • Video gallery

The Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest branches of Christianity. Take a look at the films to learn more about life in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Pope

What does being the Pope mean?

  • Life
  • Text

The Pope

What does being the Pope mean?

  • Life
  • Text

The Pope  is the Bishop of Rome, Sovereign of the Vatican City (a city within a city) and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The title Pope comes from a Latin word that means father or dad. Catholics believe that the first Pope was St. Peter, […]

Catholic Days of Obligation

What are the special days in the Catholic Church?

  • Life
  • Text

Catholic Days of Obligation

What are the special days in the Catholic Church?

  • Life
  • Text

Catholics believe that there are some days during the year that are so special that every Catholic should go to Mass to celebrate. Every Sunday counts as one of those special days, and there are seven others. Sometimes these days are called ‘Holy Days’ – days […]

The Roman Catholic Sacraments

What are the seven sacraments?

  • Life
  • Text

The Roman Catholic Sacraments

What are the seven sacraments?

  • Life
  • Text

Catholics have seven sacraments or ceremonies that they believe God can bless people through. Baptism Penance / Confession Eucharist / Communion Confirmation Matrimony (marriage) Holy Orders (ordination) Sacrament of the Sick Most Catholics are baptised when they are babies. During the ceremony adults will make […]

Roman Catholic Mass

How do Catholics worship God?

  • Life
  • Video gallery
Catholic Mass

Roman Catholic Mass

How do Catholics worship God?

  • Life
  • Video gallery

At the centre of Roman Catholic worship is the Mass. Some Catholics go to Mass on Saturday or Sunday evening; all Catholics are supposed to go to at least one of these services. On entering a Catholic Church next to the door there is a […]

John Smyth and the Baptist Church

How did the Baptist Church begin?

  • People
  • Text
LIFE-ROP-BEL-BAP-21.jpg

John Smyth and the Baptist Church

How did the Baptist Church begin?

  • People
  • Text

For many years after Henry VIII’s reformation of the Church of England, the people with political power had strong control over religious worship. There were people, however, who wanted to do what they believed God was telling them in the Bible, rather than what the […]

The Book of Common Prayer

How did the Book of Common Prayer come about?

  • Life
  • Text
BIBLE-BOCP

The Book of Common Prayer

How did the Book of Common Prayer come about?

  • Life
  • Text

From the seventh century until the sixteenth, the only accepted church in England was the Roman Catholic church. King Henry VIII was very worried because he had no son. He thought it was because he had married a woman who had previously been married to […]

Confirmation

What happens when someone is 'confirmed'?

  • Life
  • Text
st james - confirmation

Confirmation

What happens when someone is 'confirmed'?

  • Life
  • Text

When a baby is baptised, parents and godparents make promises for them. Once they are old enough, they can decide for themselves if they wish to live as a Christian, and make their own promises in the confirmation service. Confirmation happens in Anglican and Catholic […]

Infant baptism

What happens when children are baptised?

  • Life
  • Text
infant (13)

Infant baptism

What happens when children are baptised?

  • Life
  • Text

A baby cannot decide to follow Jesus for themselves, but infant baptism – or Christening – shows that the child is included as a member of the church family. When a child is baptised the family and church members look forward to the day when […]