Reformation History: Martin Luther drops the H-Bomb!
In January 1519 the papal nuncio Karl von Miltiz is almost able to broker a deal between the church and Martin Luther. Luther does not have to recant, but he does not recant in silence and writes nice things about the pope.
That could have been the end of the Reformation, but Roman Catholic theologian John Eck doesn’t want silence. He challenges Luther’s co-reformer Andreas Karlstadt and Martin Luther to a debate. This match enters history as the Leipzig Debate. Eck wins against Karlstadt and through clever argumentation he even corners Luther and gets him to publicly admit heresy. The H-Bomb has dropped.
Heresy is a teaching that is in contraction to customary believes and doctrines. And if you do that you are very likely to be burned at the stake.
Luther admits heresy, because he argues that those beliefs and doctrines of the church that are in question are wrong. He suggests that the source of Christian doctrine can only be scripture; sola scriptura – scripture alone, nothing else. Not human reason, not the inspiration of the pope and not the church as a divinely ordained institution.
In the wake of the debate the emerging Reformation shines a light on all doctrinal statements of the church that are not actually in the bible.
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