The Great Controversy: Luther before the Diet

November 1, 2023

… a 5 minute read

The Great Controversy
~ enlightenment begins in Europe ~
Martin Luther – part two

Diet: an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire: Britannica… Diet of Worms

“A new emperor, Charles V, had ascended the throne of Germany, and the emissaries of Rome hastened to present their congratulations and induce the monarch to employ his power against the Reformation. On the other hand, the elector of Saxony, to whom Charles was in great degree indebted for his crown, entreated him to take no step against Luther until he should have granted him a hearing. The emperor was thus placed in a position of great perplexity and embarrassment. The papists would be satisfied with nothing short of an imperial edict sentencing Luther to death. The elector had declared firmly that “neither his imperial majesty nor any other person had shown that Luther’s writings had been refuted;” therefore he requested “that Dr. Luther should be furnished with a safe-conduct, so that he might appear before a tribunal of learned, pious, and impartial judges.”—D’Aubigne, b. 6, ch. 11.

~ attention of all parties was now directed to the assembly of the German states which convened at Worms soon after the accession of Charles to the empire
~ important political questions and interests were to be considered by this national council
~ for the first time the princes of Germany were to meet their youthful monarch in deliberative assembly
~ from all parts of the fatherland had come the dignitaries of church and state: secular lords, princely ecclesiastics, courtly knights and their armed retainers; and ambassadors from foreign and distant lands – all gathered at Worms
~ yet in that vast assembly the subject that excited the deepest interest was the cause of Martin Luther

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Martin Luther

~ Charles directed the elector to bring Luther with him to the Diet, assuring protection, and promising a free discussion, with competent persons, of the questions in dispute
~ Luther was anxious to appear before the emperor. His health was at this time much impaired; yet he wrote to the elector:

“If I cannot go to Worms in good health, I will be carried there, sick as I am.
For if the emperor calls me, I cannot doubt that it is the call of God Himself.
If they desire to use violence against me, and that is very probable
(for it is not for their instruction that they order me to appear),
I place the matter in the Lord’s hands. He still lives and reigns who preserved
the three young men in the burning fiery furnace. If He will not save me, my life is of little consequence.
Let us only prevent the gospel from being exposed to the scorn of the wicked,
and let us shed our blood for it, for fear they should triumph.
It is not for me to decide whether my life or my death will contribute most to the salvation of all….
You may expect everything from me… except flight and recantation. Fly I cannot, and still less retract.”

Ibid., b. 7, ch. 1. 

~ general excitement was created as news spread the Luther would appear before the Diet
~ the papal legate, Aleander, to whom the case had been specially entrusted, was alarmed and enraged, he saw that the result would be disastrous to the papal cause
~ to institute inquiry into a case in which the pope had already pronounced sentence of condemnation would be to cast contempt upon the authority of the sovereign pontiff
~ Aleander was apprehensive that the eloquent and powerful arguments of this man might turn away many of the princes from the cause of the pope
~ in the most urgent manner, Aleander remonstrated with Charles against Luther’s appearance at Worms
~ it was about this time the bull declaring Luther’s excommunication was published, coupled with the representations of the legate, induced the emperor to yield. He wrote to the elector that if Luther would not retract, he must remain at Wittenberg
~ Aleander labored with all the power and cunning at his command to secure Luther’s condemnation
~ Aleander urged the matter upon the attention of princes, prelates, and other members of the assembly, accusing the Reformer of “sedition, rebellion, impiety, and blasphemy.”
~ but the vehemence and passion manifested by the legate revealed too plainly the spirit by which he was driven
~ with zeal Aleander urged upon the emperor the duty of executing the papal edicts, but under the laws of Germany this could not be done without the concurrence of the princes
~ overcome at last by the legate’s importunity, Charles bade him present his case to the Diet
~ with all the power of learning and eloquence, Aleander set himself to overthrow the truth
~ charge after charge he hurled against Luther as an enemy of the church and the state, the living and the dead, clergy and laity, councils and private Christians
~ he endeavored to cast contempt upon the adherents of the reformed faith

With such weapons the advocates of truth in every age have been attacked.
The same arguments are still urged against all who dare to present,
in opposition to established errors, the plain and direct teachings of God’s word.

~ The Reformation did not, as many suppose, end with Luther. It is to be continued to the close of this world’s history. Luther had a great work to do in reflecting to others the light which God had permitted to shine upon him; yet he did not receive all the light which was to be given to the world. From that time to this, new light has been continually shining upon the Scriptures, and new truths have been constantly unfolding.

To read more, click on the link below…

source: The Great Controversy by EG White

Events found on this timeline:

  • The Cross (timeline)
  • The Apostles (timeline)
  • Jerusalem destroyed
  • Persecution (first centuries)
  • An era of spiritual darkness begins
  • Reformation in Europe begins
  • The Mayflower

The Great Controversy timeline

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