How do you write about a man who lived 500 years ago and render his life relevant for today? Done.
Carefully curating widely circulated legends alongside well documented facts Metaxas paints a picture of a man as much deeply human as he was a passionate man of faith. There is no mincing of the faults of Luther, and unabashed admiration for his courage.
In the 1500’s there was one way to think and the church, in bed with the secular empire, controlled it. Martin Luther seemed to have been foreshadowed by the figures of pacifist Saint Martin of the fourth century (his namesake) and ‘heretical’ martyr Jan Hus, to whom Luther compared himself. As a scholar who revered the teachings of the Bible above the construction of man’s doctrine, he dared to say the ‘things you must not say’ and then he kept saying more of them. But not without reprisal. He raised the hackles of the powers that be and with his sharp wit and resolute refusal to recant his position he took a virtual jackhammer to the established European medieval church when it was at an epoch of corruption, so paving the way for our modern freedom of thought.
In fact it is hard to even fathom the extent of the change that Luther’s impassioned voice, the simple message of salvation through faith, transmitted and amplified through the media of the printing press had on his world and through the steady march of those ideas, on ours.
This was an informative, entertaining and at times a ‘kick in the pants’ read. Inspiring.
And yes, Eric, I did read the acknowledgements. I can see you reading this now too!
Great book for our time.