Martin Luther & The Diet of Worms | Episode 23 | Lineage


Luther had been called to trial and he arrived in Worms
on the 15th of April, 1521 and he caused quite a stir. People were dying to see him, and his place of residence was constantly full of people
who wanted to spend a few moments with this brave man who was willing
to take on the whole church all on his own. Luther’s very appearance was a victory in itself,
for to be condemned and excommunicated and then be given a voice in trial undermined
the authority of the one who excommunicated him. [music] It must be noted that Luther,
at this stage of his life and ministry, still had no intention of breaking away from the church. He commented that nothing could be gained through
schism, and he hoped to reform the church from within. One of the key principles of the Reformation
that Luther accepted and held on to resolutely was that the Bible was the foundation
of all Christian belief and practice. Thus, when accused of error and heresy, he simply asked his accusers to show him
from the Bible where his error was. [music] As he was about to enter the room,
a few people spoke words of encouragement to him, in particular one army general who told him
that he was about to make a more noble stand than he and any of his captains
had made on the battlefield. He told him that if his cause was just,
and he was sure of it, to go forward in the fear of God. [music] At the trial, Luther was asked two things. Firstly, were the books his,
and secondly, whether he would retract his opinions. Luther responded and said that the books were his, but he asked for some time in order to craft his response
as to whether he would retract or not. This convinced the assembly
that he was not acting from impulse, and would later give further weight to his answers. [music] The next day when Luther responded,
he divided his writings into three different sections. In the first section he dealt with faith and works, and even his enemies declared that these
were not only harmless, but also beneficial. In the second class of books he denounced the corruptions of the papacy, and to revoke these would
strengthen the tyranny of Rome. And in the third class of books he denounced
those who defended these very evils. While Luther admitted that perhaps he could have been
a little bit less harsh in his responses, even these he was not willing to retract. At this point Luther had spoken only in German,
and he was now asked to give his response in Latin. Despite being tired, he was able to do this
and it gave further weight to his response, as everyone in the chamber heard
what he said for the second time. The spokesman now pushed him for an answer, asking
him the question, ‘Will you or will you not retract?’ [music] Standing here on this very spot, Luther gave a response
that has become famous over the centuries. ‘Unless I am convinced by scripture and plain reason, I cannot accept the authority of popes and councils,
for they have often contradicted each other. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.
So God help me. Amen. [music] The assembly stood in amazement,
speechless at what they had just seen and heard. He was again asked if he would retract,
to which he responded, ‘May God be my helper, for I can retract nothing.’ [music] The courage that Luther spoke with at this trial
has inspired many people since then then to stand for God in the face of opposition
and against the odds. In Mark 13 verse 9 the Bible tells us that one day
we may have to stand before kings and rulers. May we be faithful to God, that if we have to stand, we would do so with
boldness and unflinching courage in the face of trial.

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