The Centrality of Christian Freedom in Protestant Theology

melanie7 (Posted by) Level 3
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On Christian Freedom is one of three monumental treatises of the Reformation written by Martin Luther in 1520. The work was foundational in defining the theological emphases of the Protestant Reformation, of which Luther himself was a key figure. The work contains one of the central tenets of the emerging Protestant movement: the relationship between faith and works. Luther recognized something that had been lost and that needed to be restored. And it remains a central and significant part of Protestant proclamation today.

The other two treatises published in 1520 were an Open Letter to the Christian Nobility and the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. They each clarified Luther’s ideas and spread them throughout Germany. The popular response was enthusiastic. One papal legate wrote, “All Germany is in revolution. Nine tenths shout ‘Luther!’ as their war-cry; and the other tenth cares nothing about Luther, and cries: Death to the court of Rome!”[1] By 1521 Luther was brought before the young emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms. He had already been excommunicated, and now he stood before the highest secular authority in the land.

Debate - Recantation - Response - Conscience - Luther

It was not a theological debate. They asked for his recantation. Luther gave his famous response and appealed to scripture and conscience. He could not recant.[2] Luther was sent away just before they condemned him, but was kept secure in the Castle of Wartburg by Fredrick the Wise. During this time he worked on a German translation of the Bible. Once reform efforts got out of hand, Luther returned to Wittenberg and began the long process of reforming the church and creating a new form of Christian worship and expression.

The principal theme in Luther’s work, On Christian Freedom, is the effect of grace on the soul of a person who has faith in Christ for forgiveness of...
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