GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & The Reformation Succeeded because of the Printing Press. Today’s #eReformation is following a similar trajectory with some churches embracing new avenues to make disciples.

by Joshua J. Mark, World History Encyclopedia, 5/24/22.

… There Were Reformers before Martin Luther

Before Martin Luther’s 95 Theses sparked the Reformation, other attempts had been made to correct what were seen as abuses and false teachings of the Catholic Church. The Paulicians and Waldensians had advocated reform while the Catharsseparated themselves completely from the Church. The two best-known proto-Reformers, however, are the English theologian and priest John Wycliffe (l. 1330-1384) and the Bohemian priest Jan Hus (l. c. 1369-1415). Wycliffe inspired Hus, whose efforts were the driving force behind the Hussite Wars (1419 to c. 1434) and the Bohemian Reformation (c. 1380 to c. 1436), two of the earliest attempts at reform. Martin Luther would later reference Hus, who was executed in 1415 as a heretic, as a role model for Christians in pursuing a true relationship with God based solely on faith and one’s own interpretation of scripture. Contrary to legend, however, Hus never ‘predicted’ Luther’s activism; this story is a later invention by Luther’s followers.

The Reformation Succeeded because of the Printing Press

… The Reformation succeeded, while earlier efforts at reform had failed, primarily because of the invention of the printing press c. 1440. Wycliffe and Hus made many of the same points later articulated by reformers but lacked the technology to share their views with a wider audience. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses were popularized through print, as were his other writings which were then translated and printed elsewhere, inspiring a wider movement outside of Germany… Translations of the Bible, commentaries on scripture, and attacks on the Catholic Church – as well as by the Church on Protestant sects – were all made possible by mass-produced books and pamphlets. The popularity of these religious works in print contributed to a rise in literacy in Europe, which is an aspect of the Reformation often highlighted.

Read more at …

WOMEN LEADERS & An introduction to Katie Luther, First Lady of the Reformation

Commentary by Professor B.: An engaging book by Ruth Tucker reveals the often overlooked life of Martin Luther’s wife, Katharina von Bora, who oversaw a boarding house with dozens of rooms, organized a farm and was a brewer while

9780310532156, Katie Luther, First Lady of the Reformation : The Unconventional Life of Katharina von Bora, Ruth A. Tucker

simultaneously nurturing a large family.  Ruth Tucker artfully tells her story while demonstrating how she rose above disingenuous cultural expectations.  Read this book for more insights.

Product description:

Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther, was by any measure the First Lady of the Reformation. A strong woman with a mind of her own, she would remain unknown to us were it not for her larger than life husband. Unlike other noted Reformation women, her primary vocation was not related to ministry. She was a farmer and a brewer with a boarding house the size of a Holiday Inn – and all that with a large family and nursing responsibilities. In many ways, Katie was a modern woman – a Lean In woman or a modern-day version of a Proverbs 31 woman. Katharina’s voice echoes among modern women, wives and mothers who have carved out a career of their own.

Decisive and assertive, she transformed Martin Luther into at least a practicing egalitarian. Katharina was a full partner who was a no-nonsense, confident and determined woman, a starke Frau who did not cower when confronted by a powerful man.

Ruth Tucker invites readers to visit Katie Luther in her sixteenth-century village life – with its celebrations and heartaches, housing, diet, fashion, childbirth, child-rearing and gender restrictions – and to welcome her today into our own living rooms and workplaces.

CHURCH HISTORY & 10 Facts About the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther

by Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian Magazine, 10/31/17.

…To learn more about Luther’s contribution to Christianity and the development of the modern world, peruse these 10 fascinating facts about his life and legacy.

Luther’s fate mirrored the life of the saint he was named for

When baby Luther was baptized on November 11, he was given the name of the saint whose feast day fell on that date—Martin. The resemblance between their two life paths was uncanny. Saint Martin, a 4th-century soldier in the Roman army, declared that killing people contradicted his Christian beliefs and was arrested. Ultimately the battle didn’t happen, and Martin was released and chose to become a monk. As Metaxas writes, “Eleven centuries from when this first Martin took his Christian stand against the Roman empire, the second Martin would take his Christian stand against the Holy Roman Empire—in exactly the same place [the city of Worms].”

A summer thunderstorm sealed Luther’s religious fate

Before he set out on the path of religion, Luther was training to be a lawyer. Yet his life at that time was also fraught with near-death accidents. In 1503, while traveling home for Easter, the sword he was carrying cut his leg and severed a main artery. He nearly bled to death before a doctor could be found to sew up the wound. Then, in 1505 and on the verge of becoming a lawyer, he was caught outside in a terrible thunderstorm. Luther called out to Saint Anne to save him and promised to become a monk if she did. He survived the storm and entered the Augustinian cloister of Erfurt several weeks later, despite his friends’ efforts to convince him not to.

He disguised himself as a knight to avoid persecution by the Catholic Church

After Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517, he continued writing scandalous tracts against the Catholic Church, and later declared a heretic. In 1521, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, contacted Luther and promised safe passage to attend the 1521 Diet of Worms—a council of religious and political leaders—and stand on trial. Once there, religious leaders asked if he stood by the opinions he had previously espoused. Luther said that he did, knowing it might mean he would be tortured or burned at the stake. To help Luther escape these fates, Frederick III of Saxony staged Luther’s kidnapping and placed him at Wartburg Castle. Luther disguised himself as a knight named Junker Jörg and spent his time translating the New Testament from Greek into German so common people could read it.

The scandal of the century: an ex-monk marrying an ex-nun

Katharina von Bora spent more than a decade of her early life cloistered in convent schools and then as a nun herself. But in early 1523, she and other nuns were smuggled out of their convent by a merchant delivering herring. After making her way to Wittenberg, von Bora married Luther in 1525, scandalizing Catholics and opening up the possibility for married clergy in Reformation churches. But von Bora’s contribution to Luther’s work hardly ended there. She also had six children, managed the household and their finances, and participated in scholarly gatherings Luther held at their home—something unheard of for the time. Luther even named his wife his sole inheritor, something so unusual that judges ruled it illegal after Luther’s death…

Read more:

CHURCH HISTORY & Reformation Myths: 5 Centuries of Misconceptions & (some) Misfortunes

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Over the years one of my favorite researchers has been Pulitzer Prize nominee and Baylor U. professor Rodney Stark. He recently released (just in time for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation) a book titled, Reformation Myths: Five Centuries of Misconceptions and (some) Misfortunes. To better understand how the history of the Reformation has been screwed and politicized over the years, students of Church history should read this book. Stark points out that the Reformation was for many people about politically breaking with the ruling powers, not spiritual growth or piety. Unlike the revivals of the Wesleyan’s and Methodists 200 years later, these earlier attempts at reformation downplayed personal piety and a up-played political provincialism. Read this important book for a better understanding in your preaching, teaching and knowledge about the Reformation on its 500 anniversary.