Who Has Become the Change?

This is an announcement of the new series I plan to post over the next month or two, called "They Became the Change." I hope to write at least five articles highlighting innovative leaders from the past and present who exhibit the meaning of positive change and provide an example of how to become that change. If you recall hearing of someone having these qualities, please leave a comment mentioning him. After researching your suggestions, I may expand the series to highlight more exceptional personalities.

Martin Luther: He Became the Change

Martin Luther became the change that he saw as necessary during the European Renaissance. Luther was born November 10, 1483, and was baptized into the Catholic Church the next day. He entered college in 1501 and completed his Master's degree by 1504. This German college student became an Augustinian monk only one month after his famous vow made during a thunderstorm in 1505.

Five years later, Martin Luther walked with several other monks to Rome where he realized that many church leaders were corrupt and that works of penance alone could not save him. Dr. Luther became a professor at the University of Wittenberg in 1512. He was so highly respected that he was elected as a district vicar of monasteries in 1515. Only two years later, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. This is often cited as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, when Luther became a Protestant.

The next year, Dr. Luther wrote to the Pope protesting a papal bull allowing the sale of indulgences. In 1519, he gathered a group of students and faculty who held a large bonfire to burn books including Catholic doctrines with which they did not agree. After Luther admitted that some Hussite opinions were Biblical in a debate with another Catholic, he was summoned to the Diet of Worms, which began on January 21, 1521, and lasted for four months before Luther finally left. As he traveled home, a German prince who chose to hide Martin Luther in Wartburg Castle for several years kidnapped him. While there, Dr. Luther wrote a German translation of the New Testament as well as papers on the Peasants' Revolt and the errors inherent in vows monks and nuns were forced to make. He became the change he thought necessary when he left his priesthood in 1521 and when he married a former nun, Catharine von Bora, on June 13, 1525. They had several children, and Martin Luther continued to lead the German Reformation until his death in February of 1546.

Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546) saw several unscriptural doctrines being preached and practiced within the Roman Catholic Church. He became the change by challenging these doctrines in the Ninety-five Theses and by refusing to live by his former monastic vows. As a result, Luther began the Protestant Reformation and became the change he sought within the Catholic Church. More than five hundred years later, we still remember Martin Luther because he became the change.

Learning from History

"Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?"--Voltaire

Let each of us resolve to be "[one] so wise."

No comments:

Post a Comment