On All Hallow's Eve in 1517, in the town of Wittenberg, Germany, a young monk named Martin Luther posted a document he hoped would spark an academic debate, but that instead ignited a conflagration that would forever destroy the world he knew.
500 years after Luther's now famous Ninety-Five Theses appeared, Eric Metaxas, acclaimed biographer of the bestselling Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, now takes as his subject the pious monk who would kick-start the Reformation and upend the world in which he lived.
Historically, Martin Luther is often painted as a rebel. The two iconic moments – the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, and the Diet of Worms, where he bravely stated, "Here I stand, I can do no other" – seem to point to a man who was bold, defiant, and eager to watch the Catholic Church crumble under the weight of its own sins. But in his searing biography, Metaxas brings to life a much more complicated and fascinating figure. Luther was in fact a vigorous champion of the Church and wanted nothing more than for Rome to avoid the fate it eventually succumbed to – the fate that, ironically, he helped bring about.
Author Eric Metaxas talks with Gordon Robertson about his new book, Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, on Friday's 700 Club.
In Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, Metaxas dispels popular myths about the legendary monk, while tracing his life and influences, and the slow burn that was the Protestant Reformation. In many ways, Luther was the first celebrity of modern culture – the quirky genius of Wittenberg, a hero to the common man, willing to speak truth to the highest seats of power. His decision to publish in German, rather than in Latin, was an unprecedented move that allowed him to communicate his ideas to ordinary citizens, invinting them into important discussions about the world in which they lived and the institutions that shaped their lives.
Written in riveting prose and impeccably researched, Martin Luther tells the searing tale of a humble man who, by bringing ugly truths to the highest seats of power, caused the explosion whose sound is still ringing in our ears. Luther's monumental faith and courage gave birth to the ideals of liberty, equality, and individualism that today lie at the heart of all modern life.