Martin Luther; Saint Or Sinner? By kat lipari

Martin Luther was a German theologian who sparked the Reformation by confronting the Catholic Church and requesting changes to become closer to God.

The Catholic Church at this time sold paper indulgences, which were papers citizens paid for to relieve their sins from the Pope. People were so afraid of damnation that they purchased papers to clear their sins, after buying these citizens were convinced they would go to heaven. The true purpose of the indulgences was to find a way for the church to make money after the Medicis had lost all of it.

Martin Luther is famous for nailing his well-known 95 Theses to the door of the castle church on October, 31 1517. These 95 Theses showed Luther's hatred for the popular indulgences. A few of these included statements such as, "Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the pope's indulgences" (Luther 21). Luther preaches that an indulgence can not save a man. He continues with, "The indulgences, which the merchants extol as the greatest of favors, are seen to be, in fact, a favorite means for money-getting" (Luther 67). He explains that indulgences are a scam and that it is sinful for merchants to praise them.

Saint Or Sinner?


Martin Luther can be depicted as a saint because he saved the Church from developing an obsession with making money rather than following the Word of God. His famous act of posting his 95 Theses showed his displeasure for the indulgences. This execution allowed others to unite with Luther and attempt to revert the Church to its old forms of confession of sins. Luther had risked his life in order to save the Church from malfeasance. His theses had sparked disturbance in the Church, in 1519, Luther was challenged by theologian Johann Eck. When defending his theses, Luther made a bold move by directly quoting the Bible. This showed how he followed the Bible rather than the Church, although the Church was expected to follow the Bible. This was a dangerous move for Luther because it could have resulted in him being deemed as a heretic. Luther continued to write and preach his ideas about scripture. Two years later Martin Luther was convicted of heresy, thus exiled from the Church. He was ordered to revoke his writings and speeches, Luther refused stating he still believed in Scripture over Popes. Luther was sentenced to death, but then saved by Frederick the Wise. Martin Luther sacrificed himself for God, the true, right beliefs of the Church and for humanity.


Martin Luther could also be viewed as a sinner because he was known for infamously going against the Church. His 95 Theses were vulgar, translating the Bible into the vernacular was viewed as a sin, and he eluded his execution given by the Church. The indulgences were so common and well liked that going against it was frowned upon. When he nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church, the churchgoers took notice. These theses were all about Luther's hatred for the indulgences, saying that God and the Bible always overruled the Pope. His ideas were considered outrageous and arbitrary. Consequentially, after he refused to apologize and annul his writings Luther was sentenced to death, but he used manipulation to escape his fate. He then again went against the Church by translating the Bible into the prevalent language. His purpose was to allow more common people to understand and join the Catholic religion, but the Church forbid this act. Luther had once again disobeyed the Church. Martin Luther's revolutionary acts were viewed as major sins and they demanded he be punished for being a sinner.

Saint; Top: Martin Luther united citizens by translating the Bible so others could join Catholicism. Bottom left: Eck and Luther have their dispute and Luther proclaims his devotion to God. Bottom right: Luther wanted the Church to revert to its original beliefs before indulgences. He wanted confession to be personal and through God.
Sins; Left: Luther is committing the sin of translating the Bible into the vernacular. Top right: Luther nails his absurd 95 Theses to the Castle Church. Bottom Right: Luther receiving his punishment, but soon he is to escape his fate and manipulate the Church.

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