A Sinful Saint By: Lauren Zebra

The individual Martin Luther, the catalyst for the Protestant movement that separated the church in two. Was he a saint or a sinner? The events depicted below will provide the evidence. Which side will you condemn the man Martin Luther to?

Let the bad come first, then the good will come later. Martin Luther was a sinner because not only threaten the ideals of the church, he insulted the people that ran it. In the 95 theses, Luther continued to criticize the Pope, at this time Leo X, as depicted in the painting. In that document, Luther went so far as to blame all the other grievances he has with the Church, before thesis 91, on the Pope. Luther believed that the Pope was not doing his job correctly. Because of this Martin Luther is a sinner because he is not respecting the Pope, the leader of the Church as well as the spokesperson for God on Earth. That, in turn, means he is criticizing God's ideals and wishes on how the Church is run. By putting his own input above God's word, he is implying that he thinks himself better than God, which is in disregarding to the second commandment. Therefore, Luther is committing a mortal sin and is, by definition, a sinner.

On to the second reason...........

The second reason Martin Luther should be considered a sinner is also something that he spoke of frequently in his 95 theses, the practice of selling Indulgences, an example of which is in the picture behind this paragraph. Although Martin Luther had a sound reason for objecting to the practice, since it had evolved into the Church charging people for forgiveness, making those who bought it automatically free of all sin, he forgot the reason indulgences had existed in the first place. They were originally used as certificate to prove a person did the penance needed to be absolved from the sins they confessed to, and not immediate forgiveness. By getting rid of Indulgences, Luther was denying people their proof that they served out the punishment needed to be forgiven of their sins. It was also a way for a priest to give someone who had already committed enough penance for their sins absolution without need of an extra penance. Martin Luther criticized something that was proof of people's hard-earned forgiveness as well as make people that had already had a severe enough penance do extra in order to be forgiven. For making people suffer more than they should, Martin Luther should be a certified sinner.

The third and final reason Martin Luther was a sinner........

The third reason is captured in the painting, a moment when Martin Luther is preaching to a group of peasants about his opinions and beliefs. This proves he is a sinner because he did not only endanger himself with his beliefs, he also endangered others. Luther even inspired others, like the anabaptist, to follow some of his teachings and split off from the Church. Some of his teachings included his ideas on the Pope and indulgences, as well as others that were deemed unacceptable by the Church. The clergy already ruled that Luther's ideas would condemn an individual to eternal suffering in Hell. The fact that Martin Luther, through his teachings, turned people down to the path to Hell with him made him the worst possible sinner of them all, responsible for other people's sins as well as his own.

Now for why Martin Luther is a saint...............

Martin Luther, a saint. Like the picture might suggest, the first reason that proves Luther's sainthood is his German translation of the Bible. Martin Luther spent most of his days after his excommunication translating the Bible from Latin to German. By doing this, he made it possible for the common people to understand the words in the Bible, and to form their own opinions on how to interpret it. This is a direct blow at the Church's foundations, but the fact that Luther helped the people following the Church become more educated and aware on how the Church works. It also helped people become more aware of how a Catholic is supposed to live. Instead of just being told how to live, for the first time the common people had the tools to fully understand, Thanks to Martin Luther and his German Bible, he helped people understand their own beliefs, and should therefore be a saint.

The second reason.......... what he caused.

Not all of Martin Luther's ideas in his teachings and the 95 theses were considered sinful. Even the Church knew that some of its actions were not exactly true to what the Church stood for. Out of this development there sprung a group of priests that decided in order to change the Church for the better and keep the Church from losing its member to the fad of Protestantism, they had to accommodate some of Luther's ideas. The man in the picture behind this paragraph is an example of that group, called the Jesuits. It was because of Martin Luther that this group was created, in response to his 95 theses and his teachings thereafter, and was indirectly responsible for all the good works this group performed in order to improve the Church's image and set a good example for every Catholic to live by. Martin Luther proved his sainthood by indirectly causing people to rise up and do good for other people, and to also change the awful things happening inside the Church.

The third and final reason... he was for the people.

A Saint is usually a selfless individual, and one that is willing to stand up for what he or she believes in. Martin Luther did just that. All his actions were not devised for his own personal benefit, but for others. Even the translating of the Bible into the common people's vernacular to the alleged hammering of the 95 theses on the church's door, which is depicted in the painting behind this paragraph, were acts not in his own benefit, but so others knew and were carrying out God's will. He did not abandon his beliefs when he was on trial in the Diet of Wurms, not even when he was excommunicated from the church. Martin Luther has shown true character by losing everything in order to help those around him understand God and change in order to be better examples of what God intended. Martin Luther has shown true selflessness and devotion to his beliefs, and by definition is a saint.

The verdict? Up to one' s opinion. At least now there is enough information to decide if the monk Martin Luther is a saint.........or a sinner?


Created with images by Mark Morgan Trinidad B - "Etching of Heaven and Hell Chatsworth" • Cea. - "[ R ] Raphaël - Portrait of Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de' Medici and a Luigi de' Rossi (1518)"

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