2017 marks the 500-year anniversary of the launch of the Reformation. Martin Luther is credited for being the leader of the movement that effectively created the Protestant sect of Christianity. This week, I will be posting blurbs on the life of Martin Luther. It is one of many special series I plan to share during 2017 to commemorate this fantastic series of events that led to separation from the Roman Catholic Church.
The father of Martin Luther – Hans – wanted Martin to become a lawyer, which is why at the age of seventeen, Martin entered the University of Erfurt Law School. EU (Erfurt University) opened in 1492 and is still in existence today … 617 years later! Perhaps, it is one of the most important schools in church and world history, because another of its pupils was Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press!
Luther never completed his studies in law, because he was quite uncomfortable with the heavy emphasis the school put on reason and experience. EU devalued the science of studying the Scriptures and elevating one’s experience as truth. Luther wasn’t happy with this education.
As the story goes, on July 2, 1505 – at the age of twenty-one – after visiting his parents over the weekend, he was returning to school in the middle of a lightning storm. A lighting bolt struck near the path he was walking and out of fear of God’s judgment, he screamed, “Help me, St. Anne! And I will become a monk!”
St. Anne was, according to Catholic tradition, the mother of the Virgin Mary or Jesus’ grandmother. Luther vowed to God if his life was spare that he would enter the monastery.
Two weeks later on July 17, 1505, Luther kept his vow and entered a monastery. Luther’s father did not approve of this monk-life; in fact, he thought it was a sin and “not worth a farthing.” He told Martin to honor his father and mother by not joining the monastery. His father wanted him to become a lawyer.
Luther refused his father’s request and pressed on towards getting a religious education.
In tomorrow’s post, we consider Luther’s life in the monastery.