Martin Luther/ John Calvin Biography
Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben Germany. His father was Hans Luther, a miner married to Margarete Luther, Martin’s mother. Hans was determined for Martin to study law and eventually become a lawyer.
Martin attended grammar school and once he graduated fulfilled his fathers wishes by attending law school. He then proceeded to drop out of law school, the story goes he was in a bad storm and was afraid he was not going to survive, he dropped to his knees and said “Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk! ”. This story may or may not have happened but nevertheless Martin did in fact become a monk.
Luther fully dedicated himself to monastic life, devoting himself to fasting, long hours of prayer, and frequent confession. But during this time Luther was not happy, he felt he had lost touch with Christ and his religious values. He informed his superior Johann von Staupitz of this and in response Staupitz sent Luther to study theology in college. In 1512 he was awarded his Doctor of Theology, and he then joined the senate of theological faculty at the University of Wittenberg. In 1516 Johann Tetzel, a friar who went to Germany to sell indulgences to raise money for the rebuilding of St.
Peter’s Basilica in Rome. A year later Luther wrote to his bishop to protest the sale of indulgences and other church practices he disagreed with, this became The Ninety-Five Theses the document Luther is most famous for. Luther never meant to confront the church, he merely viewed his arguments as scholarly objection, he just wanted to state his opinion on church practices. Whether he wanted to confront the church or not some of his theses did have a challenging tone, in one of them he suggests that the Pope use his own money rather than taking money from the poor through indulgences.
The famous story about Luther is when he took a hammer and nail, and posted his theses on the door, once again there is no proof to say he actually did this, it is simply another legend. Two years later the Ninety-Five Theses was translated from Latin to German so the public could read the document. Luther’s Protestant views were condemned as heretical by Pope Leo X in the bull Exsurge Domine in 1520. Consequently Luther was summoned to either renounce or reaffirm them at the Diet of Worms on 17 April 1521. When he appeared before the assembly, Johann von Eck, by then assistant to the
Archbishop of Trier, acted as spokesman for Emperor Charles the Fifth. He presented Luther with a table filled with copies of his writings. Eck asked Luther if he still believed what these works taught. He requested time to think about his answer. He was granted an extension to think about his answer. When the counselor asked the same question to Luther the next day, the Luther apologized for the harsh tone of many of his writings, but said that he could not reject the majority of them or the teachings in them.
Luther stated, “Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen. ” On May 25, the Emperor issued his Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw. Luther had powerful friends among the princes of Germany, one of whom was Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony. The prince arranged for Luther to be seized on his way from the Diet by a company of masked horsemen, who carried him to the castle of the Wartburg, where he was kept about a year.
He grew a wide flaring beard; took on the garb of a knight and assumed the pseudonym Jorg. During this period of forced sojourn in the world, Luther was still hard at work upon his translation of the Bible. During his translation, Luther would make forays into the nearby towns and markets to listen to people speak, so that he could put his translation of the Bible into the language of the people. John Calvin John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509 at Noyon, France. His father, Gerard Calvin was a church leader holding offices for the lordship of Noyon.
Calvin’s mother was Jeanne le Franc, the daughter of an innkeeper. John Calvin’s father destined him from the start for a career as a priest, and paid for his education in the household of the noble family of Hangest de Montmor. In May 1521 he was appointed to a chaplaincy in the cathedral of Noyon. He lived with his uncle and attended as an out-student the College de la Marche. From the College de la Marche he moved to the College de Montaigu. John Calvin speedily outstripped all his competitors in grammatical studies, and by his skill as a student of philosophy, and debate.
Although not yet ordained, Calvin preached several sermons to the people. After some time, Calvin changed his mind about becoming a priest. He had fallen out of favor with the cathedral chapter at Noyon. On the advice of his relative, Pierre Robert Olivetan, the first translator of the Bible into French, Calvin began to study the Scriptures and to disagree with the Roman Catholic Church. Calvin agreed with his father’s suggestion to move from Paris to Orleans in March of 1528, and change his career to a study of law.
Calvin’s progress in the study of law was quick, and he was soon and frequently called upon to lecture. Other studies, however, besides those of law occupied him while in this city, and moved by the humanistic spirit of the age he eagerly developed his classical knowledge. From Orleans, Calvin went to Bourges in the autumn of 1529 to continue his studies. There, by his friend Wolmar, Calvin was taught Greek, and introduced to the study of the New Testament in the original language. The conversations of Wolmar may also have been of use to him in. is consideration of the doctrines of the Reformation, which were now beginning widely diffused through France. From this time forward he became very well known, and all who had accepted the Reformed doctrines in France turned to him for instruction. Calvin moved to Basel, Switzerland, where he was welcomed by the band of scholars and theologians who had conspired to make that city the Athens of Switzerland. There Calvin now gave himself to the study of Hebrew. When Calvin was 28, he moved again, to Geneva.
Switzerland, and he stayed in Geneva, with the exception of a brief trip, for the rest of his life. While staying in Strassburg in 1540, Calvin met and married Idelette de Bure, whom Calvin had converted from Anabaptism. In her Calvin found, to use his own words, “the excellent companion of his life,” a “precious help to him amid his manifold labours and frequent infirmities. ” She died in 1549, to the great grief of her husband, who never ceased to mourn her loss. Their only child Jacques, born on the 28th of July 1542, lived only a few days.
In his later years, Calvin was afflicted with fever, asthma, and gout. On. the 6th of February, 1564 John Calvin preached his last sermon, having with great difficulty found breath enough to carry him through it. He was several times after this carried to church, but never again was able to take any part in the service. On the 25th of April, 1564, Calvin made his will. He spent much time in prayer and died quietly, in the arms of his faithful friend Theodore Beza, on the evening of the 27th of May 1564.