Lesson 28B Preview: Film “Martin Luther Reluctant Revolutionary”; Michael Haykin Lecture “Martin Luther”
Martin Luther Reluctant Revolutionary:
PLEASE NOTE: The classic film (1953) Martin Luther, has been added to the Luther Library in the Bonus Lesson.
Let us turn to another fine lecture from Michael Haykin: The Life of Martin Luther (Click on title to access the sermonaudio.com website where you can play or download this lecture.)
A Quote for Your Consideration: “This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes. Therefore I want to carry out my service and, with this preface, provide an introduction to the letter, insofar as God gives me the ability, so that every one can gain the fullest possible understanding of it. Up to now it has been darkened by glosses [explanatory notes and comments which accompany a text] and by many a useless comment, but it is in itself a bright light, almost bright enough to illumine the entire Scripture.” [Martin Luther, from the Preface to Romans]
If you wish to read the entire Preface to Romans, please click here.
More Luther curriculum – Click here for the Bonus: The Luther Library for additional audio, video and print material. Please Note: Paul Tillich delivered five lectures on Luther and related reformation leaders in Lectures 31,32, 33. 34 and 35. The text of these lectures are incorporated into the Luther Library at the bottom of that page.
Questions for Discussion:
1. Early on Luther demanded that the Catholic Church provide evidence of his supposed heretical views. The Church responded with threats of excommunication if he did not recant. What did excommunication mean at this time – in its full ramifications? What insights do we gain into Luther through his subsequent presentation at the Diet of Worms, called in the video the “pinnacle of his life”, which followed receipt of the Bull of Excommunication?
2. Luther wrote a pamphlet To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation that reflects his strategy for a reformation of the church. What was his goal in writing this pamphlet? What were the implications of the document for the peasantry? How did Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, respond, on the level of political tactics, to Luther’s writings?
3. Luther concluded his testimony at the Diet of Worms with a rejection of the offer to recant the ideas in his books: He finished with “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” This statement has been pointed to as a turning point in Western civilization’s advance beyond the middle ages. Why? On what basis can historians celebrate the larger significance of what this event portends for society?
4. Luther had a dark side that events elicited. Can you describe these events in his life that were the catalyst triggering this darkest side of his nature? How was this expressed theologically?
5. During the episode of extreme fright while caught in a thunderstorm as a young man, Luther’s response was to cry out to Saint Anne to protect him. Why would this saint be the one to come to mind? (Listen carefully to Dr. Haykin’s Life of Luther.)
7. What were the typical coercive measures used in the Roman Catholic Church of Luther’s day to compel compliance with Papal decrees?
8. A new student in your Sunday school class comments in class, “At the last church I attended – it wasn’t Lutheran – the pastor said of the Lord’s Supper that it offers believers the opportunity to partake of bread and wine that represents Christ’s body and blood. These are just symbols.” How should you respond to this observation?
Glossary of Names and Terms: Please click on the concept and you will jump to a source document.
6. Saint Anne
10. Johann Tetzel, salesman and poet “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs.”
13. Martin Bucer
14. Johann Eck
15. Diet of Worms
18. Zwickau Prophets