Authority and Luther

Who has the right to make decisions. This is really what lies behind Luther’s reformation. It is 500 years today since Luther nailed his theses to the door. Disestablishmentism, the possibility of the separation  of church and state, secularism, the rise of nationalism and so on, pushed forward by advances in printing which unified german language, arguably paved the way for Shakespeare, established ideas of individualism and led to general agreements on spelling and grammar. New technology, democracy and so on.

That said, Luther’s sense of humour, general manner and anti-semitism do not commend him much. It is entertaining to reflect that in writing against Luther (or getting Thomas More to write against Luther), Henry VIII earnt the crown the title “Defensor fidei” from Leo X in 1521, something retained today by the present queen (by an act of parliament to Edward, his son) and printed on all our coins. Ironic that having earnt this title by writing of the value of the 7 sacraments, most of them would be ditched in the established Anglican church. When Luther responded to henry’s initial book, Thomas More certainly wrote the reply, “Responsio ad Lutherum”.

martin luther theses by TIM

 

Mrs Merkel Martin Luther by TIM

 

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