Fun Facts From Church History: The Anniversary of the Edict of Worms

It was the 8th of May, 1521, that the imperial denunciation of Luther was promulgated.

lutherThe Edict of Worms was a decree issued by The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V banning the writings of Martin Luther and labeling him a heretic and enemy of the state (see The 95 Theses of Martin Luther). The Edict, issued on May 25, 1521, in the city of Worms in southwest Germany, was the culmination of an ongoing struggle between Martin Luther and the Roman Catholic Church over reform, especially in the sale of indulgences. However, there were other deeper issues that revolved around both political and theological concerns. On a political level, Luther had challenged the absolute authority of the pope over the Church by maintaining that the sale of indulgences, authorized and promoted by the pope, was wrong. On a theological level, Luther maintained that salvation was by faith alone (sola fide) not through the legal mechanisms of the church or by what people did to earn it. He had also challenged the authority of the Church by maintaining that all doctrines and dogmas of the church should be accountable to the teachings of Scripture (sola scriptura).

To protect the authority of the pope and the Church, as well as to maintain the profitable sale of indulgences, church officials convinced Charles V that Luther was a threat and persuaded him to authorize his condemnation by the Empire. Luther escaped arrest and remained in seclusion at Wartburg castle for several years where he continued to write and translate the Bible into German.

While the Edict was harsh, Charles was so preoccupied with political and military concerns elsewhere that it was never enforced. Eventually Luther was allowed to return to public life and became instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Protestant Reformation. -Dennis Bratcher

Thanks to that miscreant and tool of the devil named Constantine, such political intrusions into the life of the Church were a sad and demonic reality.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
This entry was posted in Church History, Luther, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.