Subscribe via RSS Feed

The Impact of Martin Luther and the Reformation on Modern Revivalism

 

What can the Reformer teach us about revival?

 

The emphasis by Martin Luther and other Reformers on the ultimate authority of Scripture and the priesthood of all believers opened the way for all the great revivals of the modern era. Luther’s work broke the paralyzing hold of a religious hierarchy that claimed final authority over the people, quenched the work of the Holy Spirit in their midst, and confined Biblical knowledge to the priesthood. His emphasis on the priesthood of all believers unleashed the masses to pray and expect answers from God. If there had been no Luther, there would have been no Methodist revival, no Great Awakenings, no Cane Ridge, and no Pentecostal-Charismatic revival.

 

Luther’s Early Life

One of the monastic cells at the Augustinian Cloister in Erfurt, Germany where Luther lived from September 1505, until he left to take up his position as a professor at the University of Wittenberg in 1511. Few monks lived in such a cell permanently. Image: Paul T. McCain June 2006

Luther was born into a poor, peasant German family where he was taught to pray to God and the saints, to revere the church and the priests, and was told frightful stories about the devil and witches. One day, at the age of 22, he was caught outdoors in a terrible thunderstorm and feared for his life. In a state of panic, he made a vow to become a monk if his life was spared. True to his vow he entered the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt that same year of 1505.

As a monk, Luther’s chief concern was to become a saint and earn a place in heaven. He, therefore, observed the minutest details of discipline, living a very austere life and learning the principles of mystical prayer and meditation. His days were spent in reading and studying, prayer and fastings, night watches, and self-mortifications. His fellow monks held him up as a model of sanctity and envied his self-denial. He later said, “If ever a monk got to heaven by monkery, I would have gotten there.” However, in spite his austere lifestyle and many religious works he found no peace with God.

While a monk, Luther continued his studies and in 1507 he was ordained to the priesthood and celebrated his first mass. In 1511 he was sent to Wittenberg to be the professor of Bible at the newly formed university there, and, in the same year, he received his doctor of theology degree. He began to lecture in the vernacular on the books of the Bible and, to do so intelligently, he began to study the Bible in the original languages. It was while teaching through the New Testament, particularly Romans and Galatians, that Luther began to see the truth of justification through faith in Jesus alone.

Pin It
Page 1 of 712345...Last »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Church History, Summer 2009

About the Author: Eddie L. Hyatt, D.Min. (Regent University), M.Div. and M.A. (Oral Roberts University), serves the body of Christ around the world by teaching with academic excellence and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He has authored several books, including 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity. His passion is to see authentic spiritual awakening transform the Church and impact the world in the Twenty-first century. www.eddiehyatt.com

  • Connect with PneumaReview.com

    Subscribe via Twitter 1237 Followers   Subscribe via Facebook Fans
  • Recent Comments

  • Featured Authors

    Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degree...

    Jelle Creemers: Theological Dialogue with Classical Pentecostals

    Charles Carrin, D.D., has served the body of Christ for over 65 years. Educated at University of Georgia and Columbia Theological Seminary, he denied, in belief and practice,...

    Interview with Charles Carrin about his book Spirit-Empowered Theology

    Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. (Duke University), is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is author of many books<...

    Listening for God’s Voice and Heart in Scripture: A conversation with Craig S. Keener

    William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major w...

    Exorcism in Public Places