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Here I Stand: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther is a detailed and intimate biography of Martin Luther. Following his life and work in the church, this film shows just what Luther did in the church and how he impacted future generations. His discovery of the true Gospel and what he believed to be true religion broke away from the standards of the Catholic Church, causing him to be labeled as a heretic. Though he was met with fierce opposition, he did not back down and continued his work in discovering and proclaiming the truth. Here I Stand: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther paints a wonderful picture of what his life was like and what he accomplished.
Here I Stand: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther shows his break from the Catholic Church and his quest for truth. Before he started becoming a voice for the Protestant revolution, he was deeply entrenched in the Catholic Church. His beliefs were whatever the Church believed, and he was comfortable. However, he started to notice the flaws in their theology and began to have some moral qualms with their beliefs and practices.
The thing that made Luther begin to question the Church was the selling of indulgences. These were sold for a large sum of money and would supposedly shorten one’s time in purgatory. These could be bought to reduce one’s own punishment, as well as purchased for a loved one who was already did. Many people bought into the false teachings presented by the selling of indulgences, and they truly believed that purchasing one would reduce the punishment for their sins. Luther, however, saw what the Church was really doing. Because he was inside the workings of the Church, he knew that money and power were held dear by those who ran things. He knew their motivation was not to save the souls of the people, but to gain more money. This greatly bothered him and he began investigating other practices and long-held beliefs of the church.
After carefully studying the Bible, Luther saw that only God could save people from their sins. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was what redeemed his people. The Church could not possibly forgive the sins of the people by selling a piece of paper that said it would. Luther became very uncomfortable with this fact and decided that he needed to stand up and say something.
Taking action, he wrote to Bishop Albert of Mainz, objecting to the sale of indulgences. He had no intention of slandering the Church or calling them out. He simply wanted people to know the truth and wanted the Church to know what Jesus had to say on the matter of forgiveness of sins. He publicly encouraged Christians to not blindly follow the church but to investigate their beliefs for themselves and follow Jesus.
As he found more and more things in the Catholic Church that did not line up with the Bible, Luther decided to do something about. He wrote and published his ninety-five theses, which circulated among believers. Soon, his ideas were spread all throughout Europe and many people came to hear him speak.
Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz got ahold of Luther’s ninety five theses and sent them to Rome to be checked for heresy. What was found by the Church was a huge breach with their beliefs. Pope Leo X was calm about Luther’s outright conflict with the church, and responded with great care. He was very used to dealing with heretics and reformers, so he did not overreact. Instead of taking immediate and irrational action, he dispatched different papal envoys and theologians to try and reform Luther. However, the more of these he came into contact with, the more he was sure that his ideas were in line with the Bible. He became even more opposed to the Catholic Church, which did not please Pope Leo.
Luther was questioned by papal legate Cardinal Cajetan, in order to try and reform him. However, he defended his ninety five theses and did not shy away from his beliefs. Cardinal Cajetan thoroughly debated the topic of selling indulgences with Luther, and the questioning ended with the two men shouting at each other. Both were very passionate about their beliefs and were unwilling to bend. This confrontation led the pope to view Luther as an enemy of the church. Cajetan was supposed to arrest Luther, but failed to do so. Because of this, he was able to slip out of the city one night.
One papal authority member made a deal with Luther. If he vowed to remain silent on his beliefs, they would leave him alone. Luther did not want to accept this deal unless the Church also vowed to stay silent on their beliefs. They agreed, and everyone believed there would be peace. However, Johann Eck, a theologian, began to openly slander Luther and tear apart his beliefs. This caused Luther to break his deal and speak up for what he knew was the truth. Eck called Luther a heretic and became determined to get rid of him forever.
On June 15th, 1520, the pope sent Luther a papal bull as a warning. If he did not recant 41 statements made in his writings, including the ninety five theses, he was going to be excommunicated from the church. This statement did not scare Luther, and drove him even farther away from the church. Filled with a righteous anger, Luther set fire to the papal bull and the edicts sent forth by the pope. Because of this, he was excommunicated from the church.
Here I Stand: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther shows the courage and bravery of Luther as he broke away from the Catholic Church. Though faced with great opposition, he did not back down from what he knew to be true. He became a huge force for the Protestant reformation and started the search for truth apart from the Church.