Why Was Luther Summoned to the Diet of Worms

Why Was Luther Summoned to the Diet of Worms.

Martin Luther’southward speech at the Diet of Worms (also known every bit the
Here I Stand Speech communication) is considered ane of the greatest pieces of oratory in world history. Information technology was given in response to the council’southward questions on whether Luther would stand by his doctrine or recant. His refusal to recant is a classic defense of personal freedom.

Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms

Martin Luther at the Nutrition of Worms

Emile Delperée (Public Domain)

Martin Luther (l. 1483-1546) was a German language theologian, priest, monk, and professor at the Academy at Wittenberg, who began to question the policies of the Roman Catholic Church at a time when the Church building’s dominance was absolute. He was not the first to practise and so as there had been before movements and figures such as John Wycliffe (fifty. 1330-1384) and Jan Hus (l. c. 1369-1415) advocating for church building reform. The Church was able to silence these proto-reformers simply could non practice so with Luther owing to his brilliant use of the press printing, which enabled widespread dissemination of his views, and his personal power as a speaker and writer.

Luther never initially intended to interruption with the Church, merely to ameliorate what he saw as abuse and abuse, but when the Church attempted to silence him, equally it had with Hus, he stood his footing and, supported by peasants and some powerful nobles, inspired and informed the motion that became the Protestant Reformation. His speech communication at Worms is central to the start of that movement.

Luther & Worms

Luther first came to the attention of the Church as a potential trouble when his
95 Theses
were translated from Latin to High german and published in 1518. Martin Luther’southward 95 Theses were ninety-five disputations offered for scholarly debate past Luther to boyfriend clergy and, according to the traditional account, posted on the door of the Wittenberg church on 31 October 1517. Luther’s supporters translated and published the work in Germany, which was then part of the Holy Roman Empire, in early 1518, and it was then translated and spread to other countries by 1519.

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The Diet of Worms was non called specifically to bargain with Luther, but information technology has come to be synonymous with Luther’south vision & the Reformation.

Luther’s views were challenged by the Church repeatedly between 1518-1520, but he remained true-blue to his vision, claiming he would gladly recant if he could be proven incorrect by scripture. Around 1513, he had become convinced that ane only needed the Bible and one’s faith to commune with the divine and the Church’s policies were unbiblical and cocky-serving. In January 1521, he was excommunicated and called to appear before the Diet of Worms.

The Diet of Worms (an purple assembly at the city of Worms, Germany) was not called specifically to bargain with Luther, his case was only one of many matters to be dealt with, but it has come to be synonymous with Luther’s vision and the Protestant Reformation. It was convened by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (r. 1519-1556) and was a secular assembly which, yet, included church building officials because the Church building was securely involved in secular affairs at the time. Further, the Church required representation to bargain specifically with Luther. He had been granted safe passage to and from Worms by the nobleman Frederick III (the Wise, fifty. 1463-1525) of Saxony, who secretly supported him, as did a number of others. The assembly convened in January 1521, only Luther did non appear until April.

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On 17 April 1521, he was asked if the books, whose titles had been read aloud past the quango were his and whether he would stand by their contents – some of which was considered heretical and a threat to the Church’southward authorization – or recant. If he chose to recant and apologize of the works, he could be welcomed back into the Church; if he refused, he would be branded a heretic and could be burned at the stake.

Joseph Fiennes as Luther

Joseph Fiennes as Luther

Eikon Motion-picture show and NFP Teleart (Copyright)

Luther requested an adjournment to codify a response, and the Nutrition reconvened the next twenty-four hour period. The papal nuncio, Aleander, who questioned Luther, had been careful to formulate the examination to prevent Luther from making a speech. Luther’s tactic of the adjournment negated Aleander’s in that Luther was now expected to provide a longer answer. In a remarkable display of courage and conviction, Luther delivered his speech communication, first in German language and then in Latin, on 18 Apr 1521, refusing to recant and conspicuously stating what he stood for and why.

The Text

The post-obit translation comes from
The History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century
past Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigne (50. 1794-1872), translated by David Dundas Scott. Slight changes have been made in spelling and punctuation and passages clarified by Lyndal Roper’s
Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet
and Roland H. Bainton’south
Here I Stand up: A Life of Martin Luther. Biblical citations are from the original text.

Most Serene Emperor, Illustrious Princes, Gracious Lords:

I this twenty-four hour period appear before you in all humility, according to your command, and I implore your Majesty and your august highnesses, by the mercies of God, to listen with favor to the defence of a cause which I am well bodacious is just and right. I ask pardon, if by reason of my ignorance, I am wanting in the manners that befit a court; for I have not been brought up in king’southward palaces, but in the seclusion of a cloister and I claim no other merit than that of having spoken and written with the simplicity of mind which regards nothing simply the glory of God and the pure instruction of the people of Christ.

Two questions were yesterday put to me by his imperial majesty; the first, whether I was the author of the books whose titles were read; the second, whether I wished to revoke or defend the doctrine I have taught. I answered the first directly, and I adhere to that answer: that these books are mine and published by me, except so far as they may have been altered or interpolated by the arts and crafts or officiousness of opponents. As for the second question, I am now nigh to reply to information technology and I must first entreat your Majesty and your Highnesses to deign to consider that I have composed writings on very different subjects. In some, I have discussed faith and adept works, in a spirit at in one case so pure, clear, and Christian, that fifty-fifty my adversaries themselves, far from finding annihilation to censure, confess that these writings are profitable, and deserve to be perused past devout persons. The pope’s bull, violent as it is, acknowledges this. What, then, should I be doing if I were now to retract these writings? Wretched man! I alone, of all men living, should be abandoning truths approved by the unanimous vote of friends and enemies, and should be opposing doctrines that the whole world glorifies in confessing!

I have composed, secondly, sure works against the papacy, wherein I have attacked such as by false doctrines, irregular lives, and scandalous examples, afflict the Christian earth, and ruin the bodies and souls of men. And is not this confirmed by the grief of all who fear God? Is it not manifest that the laws and man doctrines of the popes entangle, vex, and distress the consciences of the true-blue, while the crying and endless extortions of Rome engulf the property and wealth of Christendom, and more particularly of this illustrious nation? Nonetheless it is a perpetual statute that the laws and doctrines of the pope exist held erroneous and reprobate when they are contrary to the Gospel and the opinions of the Church fathers.

If I were to revoke what I have written on that subject, what should I do but strengthen this tyranny and open up a wider door to so many and flagrant impieties? Bearing downwardly all resistance with fresh fury, we should behold these proud men great, foam, and rage more than ever! And not only would the yoke which now weighs down Christians exist made more grinding past my retraction, it would thereby become, so to speak, lawful, for, by my retraction, it would receive confirmation from your almost serene majesty, and all the States of the Empire. Great God! I should thus be like to an infamous cloak, used to hide and cover over every kind of malice and tyranny.

In the tertiary and concluding identify, I have written some books against private individuals, who had undertaken to defend the tyranny of Rome by destroying the faith. I freely confess that I may accept attacked such persons with more than violence than was consistent with my profession every bit an ecclesiastic; I do non call up of myself every bit a saint, simply neither can I retract these books. Because I should, by so doing, sanction the impieties of my opponents, and they would thence have occasion to crush God’southward people with still more than cruelty.

Nevertheless, as I am a mere man, and not God, I volition defend myself afterward the example of Jesus Christ, who said: “If I have spoken evil, evidence against me; but if well, why doest thou strike me?” (John 18:23). How much more than should I, who am just dust and ashes, and so prone to error, want that everyone should bring forward what he tin confronting my doctrine. Therefore, about serene emperor, and y’all illustrious princes, and all, whether high or depression, who hear me, I implore you past the mercies of God to show to me past the writings of the prophets and apostles that I am in error. As soon every bit I shall be convinced, I will instantly retract all my errors, and will myself exist the first to seize my writings and commit them to the flames.

What I take just said will, I recall, conspicuously bear witness that I have well considered and weighed, not only the dangers to which I am exposing myself, but besides the parties and dissentions excited in the world by means of my doctrine, of which I was yesterday and so gravely admonished. Simply far from being dismayed by them, I rejoice exceedingly to run into the Gospel this 24-hour interval, as of old, a cause of disturbance and disagreement; for such is the character and destiny of God’s Word. “I came not to send peace unto the earth, merely a sword,” said Jesus Christ. “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother and the daughter-in-police force against her mother-in-law and a human’s foes shall be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)

God is wonderful and terrible in His counsels. Allow us have a care, lest in our endeavors to arrest discords, nosotros be leap to fight against the holy discussion of God and bring down upon our heads a frightful drench of inextricable dangers, nowadays disaster, and everlasting desolations. Allow us take a care that the reign of the young and noble prince, the Emperor Charles, on whom, next to God, we build and so many hopes, should non but commence, but continue and terminate its course, under the most favorable auspices.

I might cite examples fatigued from the oracles of God. I might speak of Pharaohs, of kings in Babylon, or of Israel, who were never more contributing to their own ruin than when, by measures in appearances most prudent, they thought to constitute their authority! God removeth the mountains and they know non (Job 9:5). In speaking thus, I practice not suppose that such noble princes have need of my poor judgment; merely I wish to acquit myself of a duty whose fulfillment my native Frg has a correct to expect from her children. And so, commending myself to your baronial majesty, and your most serene highnesses, I beseech y’all in all humility, not to permit the hatred of my enemies to pelting upon me an indignation I have non deserved. I have done.

[At this point in the hearing, Luther was asked by Charles Five to repeat what he had said in German in Latin. He was told to answer only, and without the art of oratory, whether he would retract his statements or stand past them. He so concluded with the nigh famous passage of his speech.]

Since your most serene majesty and your highnesses crave of me a simple, clear, and direct respond, I will give one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the council, because it is articulate that they have fallen into error and even into inconsistency with themselves. If, then, I am not convinced by proof from Holy Scripture, or by cogent reasons, if I am not satisfied past the very text I have cited, and if my judgment is not in this way brought into subjection to God’southward word, I neither tin nor will retract anything; for information technology cannot exist either safe or honest for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God assistance me. Amen.

“Here I Stand” Line

The now-famous concluding sentence – “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise” – is thought by modern scholars to take been added later, but this merits continues to be debated. Scholar Lyndal Roper notes, “If he did not say these words, this was the phrase that soon became famous. It certainly encapsulated the spirit of his advent” (172). Scholar Roland H. Bainton comments:

The earliest printed version [of the speech communication] added the words: “Here I stand. I cannot practice otherwise.” The words, though non recorded on the spot, may withal be genuine, because the listeners at the moment may have been too moved to write. (182)

Bainton could well be right as the power of the speech was recognized when it was given and prompted Charles V to personally write a refutation of it that aforementioned night. Luther’s eloquent refusal to recant, and defense of his vision, was bold defiance of both secular and ecclesiastical potency, elevating his stature to that of whatsoever great saint or legendary heroic medieval knight.

Luther at the Diet of Worms

Luther at the Diet of Worms

Anton Werner (Public Domain)


Luther, always aware of the value of the dramatic, and encouraging this view of himself, is said to have concluded his speech by raising his arm in the traditional gesture of salute given past a knight afterwards winning a bout. He was briefly questioned on whether this was his last argument and replied he had naught more than to add and would not recant. He then left the assembly as it adjourned, remaining in Worms a little over a week before setting out on his return to Wittenberg. During that fourth dimension, a number of clerics suggested that Charles V revoke Luther’due south safety passage, arrest him, and have him executed as a heretic – the same as had been done with Jan Hus at the Council of Constance in 1415 – merely Charles V refused, noting such an act would be dishonorable.

Luther, meanwhile, had left Worms and was abducted by a group of soldiers nether Frederick Three’s command, posing as highwaymen. But one among Luther’due south traveling companions knew this was a ruse and that Luther would be brought safely dorsum to Frederick Iii’s castle at Wartburg; the rest believed he had really been kidnapped by bandits. If Frederick III had not intervened, it is about certain that Luther would have been taken by the authorities and executed sooner or later considering, on 25 May 1521, Charles 5 issued the Edict of Worms charging Luther with heresy and branding him a “notorious heretic” and outlaw. The edict meant he could be killed without any legal consequences for the murder. The Edict of Worms was never enforced, however, because Luther had become too popular and was protected by powerful nobles similar Frederick 3.

As with his
95 Theses, Luther’s speech communication at Worms was printed and published, along with pamphlets depicting him as a champion of Christianity standing against the forces of darkness of the Church building, which Luther and his supporters cast as anti-Christ. Later on Worms, challenges to the Church’s authority increased in Federal republic of germany and elsewhere through the Protestant Reformation.

The “Here I Stand” spoken communication has remained 1 of the nigh pop and well-respected pieces of oratory since its 1521 publication, compared favorably with the greatest orations of all time, and it continues to inspire people in the present day. Although Luther had actively criticized the pope, policies, and ecclesiastics previously, his speech at Worms was the decisive blow that validated his vision in the eyes of his followers, eventually resulting in the finish of the monolithic authority of the medieval Church.

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This article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to bookish standards prior to publication.

Why Was Luther Summoned to the Diet of Worms

Source: https://www.worldhistory.org/article/1900/luthers-speech-at-the-diet-of-worms/