Martin Luther is a German monk. He has given himself up to the authority of the Catholic Church to address the charges that he is a heretical revolutionist. The year is 1520 and it is taken place in the city of Worms. Historians have said that this trial has led to the birth of the modern world. Martin Luther was on a journey to Worms when a bolt of lightening knocked Luther to the ground. Luther took the lightening to be a call from God, and to the disappointment of his father, who hoped he would become a lawyer, took vows at an Augustinian monastery to begin a profoundly Christian life.A trip to Rome in 1510 caused Luther to begin to seriously question certain Catholic practices. As he watched incompetent, flippant, and cynical clergy performing their holy duties he began to experience doubts about the Catholic Church. Encouraged by the reception to his views, Luther aimed at new targets. He challenged the power of the Church to excommunicate its members, writing that only God could sever spiritual communion. He also questioned the primacy of the Church in Rome, suggesting that there was a lack of historical support for putting its authority above that of other churches.
By holding steadfast to his interpretation of Scripture, Luther provided the impetus for the Reformation, a reform movement that would divide Europe into two regions, one Protestant and one Catholic. This set the scene for religious wars. Martin Luther is being charged on 2 counts. One, inciting members of the Catholic Church to rebel against the authority and established doctrines of the universal Christian church. Two, willful denial of the authority of the Pope and the Catholic Church.
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Opening statement: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is Elizabeth and it is my privilege to represent Martin Luther in this case before you today. You have heard the prosecutors explain what they hope to be proven, but the prosecutors did not tell you "all" of the facts. It is said that Luther was 'inciting members of the Catholic Church to rebel against the authority' but Luther was representive of his time in the sense that he articulated the widespread desire for reform of the Christian church and a deep yearning for salvation.
It has also been said that Luther has a willful denial of the authority of the pope and the Catholic Church when it is just that he arrived at a new understanding of the Christian doctrines. He became to believe that salvation comes not through external observances and penance but through a simple faith in Christ. The witnesses we will be examining is Martin Luther, Henry VIII, John Calvin, Queen Elizabeth, Jan Hus, John Wycliffe, and Anabaptist. After listening to what the witnesses have said we would ask you to keep an open mind and listen to ALL the evidence and return a verdict of not guilty. Thank you.
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