Martin Luther (1483—1546) is the German theologian who is considered the father of the Protestant Reformation. In 1517 he nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg. He was protesting against the selling of indulgences, and wanted the Pope to proclaim the truth of the gospel — that salvation is a result of justification by faith alone. Rome demanded that Luther recant from his proclamations, as insubordinate to papal authority. Luther refused, unless he be proved wrong based on scripture and reason. He held up the Bible as the only authority in such matters. By 1520 the Pope issued a bull, threatening excommunication, which Luther burned publically. This led to his excommunication the following year.
Luther’s translation of the Bible was influential theologically, but also helped standardize the German language. It was also a significant influence on the English King James Version. His most famous hymn is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, however he is the author of many other well-written pieces. Such hymns were an effective way to teach theology to the masses. Martin Luther established congregational singing in the German church; he believed that, “Next to the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world...”
All Praise To Thee, Eternal Lord
All praise to Thee, Eternal Lord,
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood;
Choosing a manger for Thy throne,
While worlds on worlds are Thine alone.
Once did the skies before Thee bow;
A virgin's arms contain Thee now,
While angels, who in Thee rejoice,
Now listen for Thine infant voice.
A little Child, Thou art our Guest,
That weary ones in Thee may rest;
Forlorn and lowly is Thy birth;
That we may rise to Heaven from earth.
Thou comest in the darksome night
To make us children of the light;
To make us, in the realms divine,
Like Thine own angels round Thee shine.
All this for us Thy love hath done;
By this to Thee our love is won;
For this we tune our cheerful lays,
And sing our thanks in ceaseless praise.
Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: www.dsmartin.ca