- LUTHER, Martin
- (1483-1546)one of the most important figures in Western Christianity. He was a German THEOLOGIAN and Biblical scholar who reluctantly began the PROTESTANT REFORMATION as a result of his study of the BIBLE. The family of LUTHERAN CHURCHES are named after him and follow guidelines he established for ECCLESIASTICAL organizations. Ordained as a PRIEST in spring 1507, he taught moral PHILOSOPHY at the new University of Wittenberg. In November 1510 Luther and another MONK went on PILGRIMAGE to ROME where he was shocked by the worldliness of CHURCH leaders. The SALE of INDULGENCES provoked him to search the BIBLE for religious TRUTH where he discovered the principle of JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH. Seeking an internal REFORM of the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH he taught that SCRIPTURE alone is the source of authority for the Church. Catholic theologians, led by John ECK, rejected his suggestions and began the active persecution of Luther's followers. The Reformation followed. See Luther's Works (56 Vols.) ed. by J. Pelikan and H. T. Lehmann.
Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.
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