One of the most inspiring things to me is people who never give up. Dedication is the key to my heart. I love soldiers, I love athletes, I love people who work hard and honestly.
In my Euro AP class we learned a lot about the Catholic church and all the different political controversies its been involved in over the years, and out of said controversies some of the greatest people in history have emerged. One of them was Martin Luther.
I am not Lutheran, I'm Mormon, but I am so inspired by this man.
Martin Luther was a Catholic priest and he observed some going-ons in the church that he did not believe were right, especially the practice of buying indulgences. People would stand in lines, waiting to pay for titles in heaven and forgiveness and just about anything of spiritual value. Ever heard, "every time a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs"? This was the constant call of Johann Tetzel, the papal commissioner for indulgences. He came to Germany and this phrase robbed many poor Germans of their pennies and Martin Luther of his naivety of the church's sincerity.
Martin Luther did not believe that salvation could be bought with any amount of money. He believed that you did not have to give up everything that you had to prove that you loved God, and to earn a place in His kingdom. He believed that actions, rather then money, should determine ones standing with God. He believed in salvation by faith alone.
This fundamental difference inspired Martin Luther to make a change. He wrote the 95 Theses and posted it on the door of the church of All Saints on Halloween, 1517. This paper did not stay there for long.
It was translated from Latin to German, and soon you would be hard-pressed to find a German Catholic who had not read it, or at least heard of it. By 1519 it had widened its appeal, finding its way into French, Italian, and British homes, and beginning a revolution unlike what the Catholic church had ever seen.
The Catholic Church tried many times to get him to shut his mouth, but he would not. Martin Luther had things to say, and ways to change, and he would not stop. The Pope sent him a papal bull (Exsurge Domine) stating that he would be ex-communicated if he did not recount much of his rebellious writings, including the 95 Theses. Martin burned it.
Martin Luther was called to the Diet of Worms, held in a small town called Worms (interestingly enough) located in the Rhine. During the council his published works were laid out on a table and he was asked whether they were his? He responded that yes, they were. He was then asked whether he stood by his words. He took the night to think it over. The next day he stood before the council and said this;
"Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen."
Ringing a bell for any Mormons out there? That famous declaration by Joseph Smith Jr. in regards to the First Vision, "I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it." I love Joseph Smith, too :)
After this declaration things became dangerous for Luther. He was declared a heretic, and a warrant was out for his arrest. It became illegal to give him food or shelter. Proclamations stated that he could be killed on sight by anyone. Martin Luther was an outlaw.
On his way back to Germany, his convoy was intercepted by masked men, who took Martin Luther. This was thought to have been a kidnapping, but it had been carefully planned out and exacted by Frederick lll, Elector of Saxony, as a means to save Luther's life. He was taken to the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach where he stayed until March 1522.
During his time there he translated the New testament from its original Greek to German, because he believed that every person should be able to read the Bible, and not have to take for granted the honesty of the Catholic Priests.
But the world did not stop spinning because Martin Luther had dropped off its map. In the meantime the flame he had sparked had slowly built until one day, it burst into a forest fire. Change had touched the lives of the German people, and they weren't about to let it slip away.
Religious revolts broke out, causing the destruction of churches and many declarations against the Catholic church and much unrest. Martin Luther had never meant to inspire violence, but much of this was done in his name, and so he knew he needed to fix it.
He came back to Wittenberg March 6th, 1522, and in eight days taught eight sermons centered around the core Christian principles, which he stated as patience, love, charity, freedom, etc. He said that violence was not the road they were to take.
This calmed Wittenberg for awhile, but other places out of the reach of his voice continued to revolt against the Catholic church and any and all authority in the form of highway robberies and the destruction of church libraries and buildings. This was all done under the banner of equality, and of course the name Martin Luther.
Luther condemned such acts and wrote his feelings about it in Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants, a very telling title of its contents. His campaign to stop the revolt was successful, and he was able to continue recording and publishing his opinions on what he believed to be God's will concerning His children.
Now, why the history lesson? I just wanted to show that through all that he went through, condemnation of the very church he was a priest for, the use of his name as a rallying point for thieves and arsonists, the death threats, the title of "outlaw," Martin Luther never gave up.
He never gave up! I love that. I love how dedicated he was to his cause and that that dedication never wavered. I love that he saw something wrong and he stopped at nothing to fix it. I love that he cared about others. I love that he wrote what he meant, and he meant what he wrote.
I love Martin Luther, and if there was anyone, anyone in history that I could meet, it would be him. Because I am someone who, regardless of personal beliefs and religious affiliation, can appreciate those who honestly want to help others, and better their lives, and set wrong things right.
I love those who boldly state their opinions with purity of heart, and I am inspired by them, and one day I hope to inspire others just as Martin Luther has inspired me.