Comparison Charts
Fast Facts
Practices and Rituals


Items and Things

New and Featured in Christianity Section

What is Easter?

What are the Seven Deadly Sins?

New and Featured On Religion Facts

Compare Sunni and Shia Muslims

Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism Comparison Chart

Religion Facts offers

downloadable charts

Christian books

New Release

The Great Reformer

by Austen Ivereigh

New Release

40 Questions about the Historical Jesus

by Marvin Pate

Best seller

Jesus on Trial

by David Limbaugh

New Release

New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating

by Andy Stanley

New Release

by Ruth Soukup

Article Info:
published: 3/17/04
updated: 8/14/14

Martin Luther

Who was Martin Luther?

Martin Luther portrait
Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach, 1529.

Martin Luther is known as the man who ignited the Protestant Reformation. He was born in 1483 into a strict German Catholic family. His parents intended him for a law career, but he became a monk and a theology professor instead. A sensitive soul, he struggled mightily with a guilty conscience and an intense fear of God and hell until he realized the doctrine of "justification by faith" while studying the book of Romans.

This doctrine, with his conviction that the Bible should be the basis of religious life and available to all, became the theological foundation of Protestantism.

Luther was not the first or the only churchman to come to these conclusions, but arrived in a time of rising nationalism and, thanks to the recently-invented printing press, unprecedented written communication. With his 95 Theses against the abuses of indulgences, Martin Luther unwittingly sparked religious and political reform in Germany and founded the Lutheran branch of Protestantism.

With a strong and often abrasive personality, Martin Luther took up the weapons of pen and pulpit against the corruptions of Catholicism on one side and the extremes of the Radical Reformation on the other. He spoke out against clerical celibacy, papal abuses, the denying of the scriptures and the communion wine to non-clergy, the cult of the saints, salvation by works, and other Catholic doctrines. Yet Martin Luther retained many traditional and liturgical elements of the church that other reformers rejected.


Strongly influenced by the writings of Augustine, Martin Luther stressed humanity's sinfulness, God's grace, and the sufficiency of faith in Christ for salvation.

He translated the New Testament into German and formulated catechisms in the vernacular, making a major contribution to the development of written German.

History remembers Martin Luther as the "Father of the Reformation."

Luther is much less admired for his violent anti-Jewish sentiments, which were later used as anti-Semitic propaganda by the Nazis and have been formally denounced by number of Lutheran bodies.

Luther's larger-than-life personality doesn't fit onto one page - please click on a link below for more detailed information on the German Reformer.

Fast Facts on Martin Luther

Get specifics on key dates and locations about Luther's life.

Timeline of Martin Luther

Put the important events of Luther's life in order.

Biography of Martin Luther

Learn more about Luther's story.

Works of Martin Luther

Discover the writings of Luther.

Recommended for You

More on Christianity

More Religious Facts

World Religions - Main pages

Christian beliefs

Christian denominations

Christian history

Christian holidays

Christian biographies

Christian practices

Christian symbols


Bahai facts

Buddhism facts

Christianity facts

Hinduism facts

Islam facts

Jainism facts

Jehovah's Witnesses facts

Judaism facts

Mormonism facts

Sikhism facts






Jehovah's Witnesses



© 2004-2015 ReligionFacts. All rights reserved. | About Us | How to Cite | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Advertising Info
Site created with Dreamweaver. Web hosting by Blue Host. Menu powered by Milonic.
Religions: Religion Comparison Chart | Bahá'í | Buddhism | Chinese Religion | Christianity | Confucianism | Hinduism | Islam | Jehovah's Witnesses | Judaism | Mormonism | Rastafarianism | Scientology | Shinto | Taoism
Features: Big Religion Chart | Religions A-Z | Religious Symbols Gallery
ReligionFacts provides free, objective information on religion, world religions, comparative religion and religious topics.