Full Text for Church History 2- Volume 20 - Did the German Princes Support Luther after His Excommunication? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CHURCH HISTORY 02 May 27, 2005 20 CH2 CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY: CAPTION FIRST, INC. P.O. BOX 1924 Lombard, IL 60148 1 800 825 7234 * * * * * This is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in Order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings * * * * >> As you have noted, Luther was at the Wartburg because he had been declared an outlaw by the emperor at the Diet of Worms. Did the German princes continue to support him? >> Well, many did continue to support him in spite of the obvious opposition of Emperor Charles V and despite of the Edict of Worms. If you look, for example, at the Augsburg Confession in the Book of Concord, go to the end of that document and you'll find the signatures that were appended to it when it was presented to the emperor in 1530. And that gives you a sense of the territories and the cities that had embraced the Lutheran reformation following the edict of Worms. In addition to those listed there, there is another major territory that became Lutheran in 1525. This was Prussia. Prior to that point, it had been the territory of the Teutonic Knights, one of the military orders of the Middle Ages. But in 1525, the grandmaster of that order decided to become a Lutheran, and he shifted that territory from being a kind of church state to being just a secularized state like many other principalities in Germany. Now, I mention that one specifically because you always see this mix of political advantage and genuine conviction when you talk about the spread of the reformation in the 1520s and 1530s. There were certain many princes, many leaders of cities who were genuinely convinced that Luther was correct in his understanding of the Gospel and wanted to reform the church. But that reform of the church also brought with it some material advantages. Luther himself pointed some of these out in his 1520 "Appeal to the Christian Nobility." He reminded the princes that if they embraced the reformation, they would no longer have to send so much money to Rome. They could keep it in their territory where it might do a little more good. In the same way, this territory of Prussia was now the property of the grandmaster and could be passed down from him to his sons and to their sons rather than remaining the property of the order. So, again, we see this mix of politics and religion, a mix of material advantage and genuine conviction. It's also important, though, to realize how the reformation is spreading at this time. In my previous discussion of Luther's Bible translation, I mentioned the importance of printing. And I've been talking during these lectures about a number of different treatises Luther wrote. As fast as Luther could write something, very often, it was taken up by the printers, printed up and distributed. And so Luther's ideas received a wide dissemination throughout Europe as they were printed and sold. And many times even translated into other languages. In addition to that, Luther and Melanchthon had become famous as university teachers. And the University of Wittenberg had become famous for embracing humanist ideas of education. The university of Wittenberg grew rapidly in the late teens and 20s. Students from all over Europe came to sit at the feet of Luther and Melanchthon and learn theology. Then, of course, they went back to the places they had come from, and they began to preach and teach what they had learned at Wittenberg. So in this way, reformation ideas began to spread throughout Europe. So even where territories didn't officially become Lutheran, there was very often a Lutheran influence, both from Luther's writings and from professors and pastors who had been trained in Wittenberg. There were also, during the 1520s, people who were inspired by Luther but end up breaking with him and going off in a different direction. And I know that later on, Professor McKenzie will be talking about some of these. And in the 1520s, we think especially of Zwingly and some of the Anabaptist leaders in that category. * * * * * This is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in Order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings * * * *