Martin Luther was born Nov. 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, and was baptized one day later, on St. Martin of Tours.
Martin’s father made great sacrifice for Martin to become a lawyer. In 1505, Martin, caught in a violent lightning storm, cried out, “Help me, St. Anne; I’ll become a monk!”
Surviving, Martin kept his vow, greatly disappointing his father.
If Martin had become a lawyer, we wouldn’t have heard of him, but he was being drawn to call the church back to God’s Word and its central teaching that souls are saved by grace through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Luther posted his 95 Theses (Oct. 31, 1517), stood before Europe’s most powerful man, Emperor Charles V, translated the Greek New Testament into German, started the modern parsonage (1525), penned “A Mighty Fortress,” authored Catechisms explaining the Christian faith (1529) and translated the whole Bible (1534).
Luther returned to Eisleben, to help settle a dispute. After successful reconciliation he fell ill. On Feb. 18, 1546, at 62, in his birth town, with two sons and pastor by his side, Luther confessed his faith in Christ Jesus and fell asleep in his Savior‘s arms.
Time/Life’s 1997 list of top 100 most influential persons in the last millennium placed Luther No. 3 behind Columbus and Edison, as have other similar lists.
If we own a Bible in our language, we can trace that back to Martin Luther.
Other Luther concepts that touch us today include education for all, appropriate separation of church and state, effectively using mass media to communicate, standing up for conscience sake against all odds.
A southern Baptist preacher was so impressed with Martin Luther that he legally changed his name to Martin Luther King Sr.
Most of us have heard of his son.