Luther's Biography

Luther's Biography - BIOGRAPHY OF MARTIN LUTHER November...

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BIOGRAPHY OF MARTIN LUTHER November 10, 1483 - February 18, 1546 I. Luther's Intellectual Preparation to the time of His Vow (1483-1505) A. Born in Eisleben of peasant stock although his father was actually a miner who became relatively well-to-do as the owner of half a dozen foundries. B. Began Latin school at Mansfeld at age five; at fourteen transferred to Magdeburg where he made contact with the Brethren of Common Life; one year later he was transferred to Eisenach for completion of his pre-university training. C. In 1501 Luther entered the University of Erfurt, a "modernist or Occamist university, where his principle teachers were the nominalists Arnoldi and Trutvetter. Received the bachelor's degree in 1502 and the master's in 1505; destined by his father for a career in law. D. Plagued by recurring thoughts of the wrath of God, intensified by the death of a close friend and the fright of being caught in a thunderstorm, he resolved to enter the Augustinian convent at Erfurt. II. Spiritual Struggle to the Time of His Illumination (1505-1512) A. After one year as a novitiate and another in preparation for the priesthood, he was ordained in 1507. Basic courses of study in the year 1506-1507 was Biel's Expositio Canonis Misse . This emphasized for him both the character of the mass as sacrifice and his own unworthiness to "hold and proffer God." B. His continuing search for a gracious God comes to a crisis in this period in what Luther calls his " Anfechtung " ("attack," "vexation," or technically "temptation"). Of it Luther says: When he is tormented in Anfechtung, it seems to him that he is alone. God is angry only with him, and irreconcilably angry with him. Then he alone is a sinner and all others are in the right, and they work against him at God's orders. There is nothing left for him but this unspeakable sighing through which, without knowing it, he is supported by the Holy Spirit, and cries, "Why does God pick on me alone?" Then I was the most miserable creature on earth. Day and night there was nothing but horror and despair, and no one could give me help. 1. Contributing factors to his struggle: a. His failure to see the justitia Dei as a justitia passiva (Rom. 1:17) b. A defective doctrine of Christ, tracing back to a childhood which saw Christ as judge c. The notion of Biel that the precondition of grace was that man "do his very best" d. His attempt to find his own righteousness in an extraordinary religious context, viz., monasticism, where asceticism only increased his despair e. None of the medieval remedies helped for Luther. Neither the sacraments of penance and forgiveness nor the mysticism of Staupitz gave peace. 2.
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Luther's Biography - BIOGRAPHY OF MARTIN LUTHER November...

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