Martin Luther – Rebel for God!
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is October 31, 2017. (And you thought that date was only good for getting candy and scaring people!) 500 years ago, Martin Luther had had enough of what the Catholic Church was cooking! Back in that time, a Dominican priest named Johann Tetzel, acting on commission of the Archbishop of Mainz and Pope Leo X, was in the middle of a huge fundraising campaign in Germany to finance renovations to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Roman Catholic Church spread the word that forgiveness of sins could be obtained by purchasing "indulgences".
Martin Luther was so fed up with the Church's actions, he wrote the 95 Theses and nailed them to the front door of the Church! Copies of his document were quickly translated from Latin to German and distributed throughout the region. A copy made its way to Rome, where efforts failed to convince Luther to come around to the dark side. So, in 1521 Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther from the Catholic Church. Luther didn't let that get him down though, in fact, it spurred him to refuse to recant his writings before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Germany. Charles would not be outdone and issued the famous Edict of Worms (what a title!) which declared Luther an outlaw and a heretic and gave permission for anyone to kill him without repercussions.
Luther snubbed that edict because he was employed by Prince Frederick the Wise of Saxony who protected him. Frederick chose not to enforce the Edict of Worms and allowed Luther to translate the Bible to German over the next 10 years in the safety of his Wartburg Castle.
In a final effort to get to Luther, Charles V revoked the provision that allowed any ruler of a German state to choose whether they would enforce the Edict of Worms. But by that time, a number of princes and other Luther supporters issued a protest declaring that their allegiance to God trumped their allegiance to the emperor. These folks were the first "Protestants"! How about that? And Reformed Theology was unleashed with the heart of the message being "Jesus is the only Way to Salvation! You can't buy it, God gives it to all who believe in Him!"
Happy Reformation Day (Oct. 31) !