Date assignment is due
Trial of Martin Luther at Diet of Worms
Martin Luther (1483-1546), a Catholic monk before being rejected from the church, was a 15th century reformer who took upon himself to speak against some of the practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He was himself a catholic who after visiting the church’s headquarters in Rome and noting some of the incompetence of the clergy, decided to address the bad deeds he perceived of the church. Martin Luther returned to Germany where he publishes books that questioned some of the practices of the middle-ages church. It should be noted that at that time the authority of the papal was considered unquestionable (Brecht, 36). In fact, the pope was considered very holy and close to God than any other person. One can therefore notice that as a mere monk, Luther was putting himself in a tricky position. No one dared question the supremacy of the church during this time except Martin Luther (Althaus, 43). Luther had based his argument on Paul’s gospel after a deep analysis of the Bible. He therefore refused to disown this belief and proceeded to attack the Catholic Church. Even when Pope Leo the 10th threatened him with sixty days to rethink his position, Luther did not change his position on that matter.
The Prosecution Question 1
Doctor Luther, you claim that faith alone, and not good works, is the requirement of a Christian to live according to the will of God? This is not according to the teachings of the church. Do you agree you taught this and if so, are you willing to rebuke your teachings?
Martin Luther’s Response to Prosecution Question 1
Your majesties, it is my strong belief, through the teachings of the Bible, that faith alone counts above any other sacrifice. St, Paul’s teachings on faith also say the same about this teaching. By our own action we cannot be considered holy or righteous, only God knows the righteous. Only God sees through our souls. It is through grace, mercy and faith that we are counted children of God. Our Lord Christ himself through the parable of the rich young man, also showed this .Therefore I maintain my stand that faith alone, not good works, lead to heaven.
Prosecution Question 2
Dr. Martin Luther, you are also being accused of publishing books that teach unacceptable doctrine that misguide people from that which is holy, right and acceptable by the church, thus misleading part of the church. The books in question are all here in front of you. Do you agree these books are yours, and if so, do you agree to speak against the false doctrines that the books spread? Do you also offer to help the church in destroying them?
Martins Response to Prosecution Question 2
Your Majesties, I agree the books are mine. However, as pertains to rejecting the doctrines, which I teach through the books, I humbly say that I will not deny what I wrote by withdrawing from that which I believe in with a passion. Gracious emperor, as to the question whether I will withdraw the opinions I have given forth, a question of faith which are directly my own eternal salvation, from free preaching of the holy word, that word that knows no master either on earth or in heaven, and which we are all bound to live by, is a word I cannot abandon. It is the word of God. If the books are as they were when I published them, then I choose to continue believing in them. The teachings are based on my good interpretation of the holy Bible and if there is any clause, phrase, or sentence that appears not to agree with the teachings of the Bible, then I ask to be shown. If found to be exactly so as I published them, then I will not sit back to paint wrongly the true gospel of Christ. I was careful not to make God angry by publishing articles that do not agree with the Bible. I maintain my stand (Lindburg, 52).
Prosecution Question 3
Doctor Martin Luther, you are also being charged with inciting loyal members of the Catholic Church to rebel against the authority of the church and established rules of the universal Church. This is an unacceptable. Are you ready to stop doing this? (The Diet of Worms, 3)
Luther’s response to prosecution question 3
My Lords, I do not remember specifically asking the Catholic faithful to rebel against the church. If it is by reading my works that, they come to realize the church is not operating as expected of it, then it does not imply that I incited them. Their decision to stop believing in the teachings of the Catholic Church is out of their own volition. Matters of religion should be left to the free will of individuals my Lords.
Questions to ask and possible answers
Possible Question one from Luther
Your majesties, allow me ask a question in my defense. The Pope claims that he has the powers to deliver souls after death. Is he able, as a man, to see through souls of men to know the good and the bad ones?
The leadership of the church was given to Peter by Christ himself. He gave Peter powers to decide what is acceptable on earth, and that anything acceptable on earth shall also be acceptable in heaven. That leadership has been passed down the generations through Popes up to Pope Leo X currently.
Possible Question two from Luther
To my fellow priests, Christ said that He is the way, the truth and the life. No one goes to the father but through Him. In addition, when he taught the disciples how to pray to the father, He promised them that whatever they ask with faith in His name shall be given to them. Therefore, is it wrong for a Christian to pray directly to the heavenly father ?
The Bible says that a prayer of a righteous man is like perfume to God while the prayer of a sinful man is like noise unto the Lord Dr. Luther. It is therefore good that people pray through the holy servants of God rather than directly to him.
Possible question three from Luther
With your permission your majesties, I would like to ask whether men have to pay money so that their sins are forgiven. In applying such principle of forgiveness of sins through material payment to the church, does it mean that the poor shall never be forgiven their sins because they cannot afford money to pay for the forgiveness of their sins?
Everyone has a right to be forgiven their sin if they confess to the father through the priests Dr. Luther. How can a blind man lead himself? Will he not fall into a pit?
Althaus, Paul. The Theology of Martin. Augsburg: Fortress Publishers. 1966.
Brecht, Martin. Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation.Augsburg: Fortress Press. 1985
Famous Trials: The Trial of Martin Luther. Retrieved from http://law2.umkc. edu/faculty/ projects/ftrials/luther/lutherhome.html, December 20th , 2011.
The Diet of Worms: Martin Luther on Trial. Retrieved from http://www.christian-history. Org /diet-of-worms.html, December 20th, 2011.
Cater, Lindburg. The European Reformations. New York: Wiley-Blackwell. 2009