Luther (Lancaster Pamphlets) by Michael Mullett

By Michael Mullett

Luther presents a transparent exposition of the country of German politics at the eve of the Reformation. Dr Mullett concentrates really at the evolution of Luther's suggestion and its critical preoccupation with re-aligning the church's theology with that of the hot testomony.

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The answer was at first meandering and donnish: the books had to be classified into those that were evangelical and consensually Christian, those condemning the abuses of the papalists (this provoking a sharp ‘No’ from Emperor Charles), and those that, admittedly, did go too far in attacking particular persons. But then, in reply to a pressing question from the official responsible for handling the Church’s case on the floor of the Reichstag, Luther produced one of the world’s classics of epoch-making oratory—worth quoting at a little length: Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason…my conscience is captive to the Word of God.

In addition, there were recurrences of the old depressiveness, especially as he contemplated a Germany whose moral faults his Reformation had not reformed and a Christendom to whose unity he had brought schism. His greatest failure—the other architects of the Lutheran Church seem hardly to have been conscious of it as failure—was his inability to bring the whole of Christendom over to his reform of what he had hoped to hold together as a united and Catholic Church, minus the pope. In the mid-1540s the papacy was far from vanquished and was, in fact, preparing a great council that was to reform the Roman Catholic Church.

Eck was an impressive debater for whom Luther had a high Luther 22 admiration. The debate arose out of an earlier argument between Eck and Carlstadt over free will. It was scheduled to take place in the other part of the Saxon lands, ducal Saxony, under the chairmanship of a cousin of Luther’s prince, the conservative-minded Duke George. In his intensive preparation for the debate Luther undertook useful study, which helped to give further shape to his ideas on Church history and Church law. The debates followed the traditional medieval format: skilled oral duels, in Latin, stretched over several weeks.

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