January 1526 (age 42) Luther published Deutsche Messe und Ordnung Gottis Dientis (German Mass and Order of Divine Service), a collaboration by Luther, Conrad Rupff and Johann Walther. It was written in German for common people and was based on the Catholic service. But everything that hinted of sacrifice was omitted. It allowed for a longer sermon; communion included both bread and wine. Luther blasted those who criticized his concept of real presence in the communion elements:
It is precisely the same devil who now assails us through the fanatics by blaspheming the holy and venerable sacrament of our Lord Jesus Christ, out of which they would like to make mere bread and wine as a symbol or memorial sign ...They will not grant that the Lord's body and blood are present, even though the plain, clear words stand right there: Eat, this is my body, Drink, this is my blood.
June 7, 1526 - Johannes Luther II, known as Hans, was born. Per ancient custom, Hans was bound in a tightly wrapped cloth. Luther said, "Kick little fellow. That is what the Pope did to me, but I got loose."
Hans is beginning to cut his teeth and making a joyous nuisance of himself. These are joys of marriage of which the Pope is not worthy.
August 1526 - The First Imperial Diet of Speyer
made Protestant reforms legal. Local rulers were able to decide how
much reform they wanted within their territory. The Diet suspended
the Edict of Worms. New forms of church organization begin to
Luther suffered heart problems and dizziness (possibly Meniere's disease) in addition to his perennial digestive and intestinal difficulties.
April 1527 - Luther wrote Whether these Words: This is My Body.
May 1527 - Instead of fighting the Ottoman Turks, emperor Charles’s Spanish troops and his German mercenaries marched against the pope, his enemy since the establishment of the League of Cognac. Mutinous and with their pay in arrears, they entered and looted the defenseless city of Rome.
1527-1529 - Sometime between 1527-1529 Luther wrote the music and lyrics of "A Mighty Fortress is our God" (German, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott). The words are a paraphrase of Psalm 46. (Luther is credited with thirty-seven hymns.) The hymn was popular with the common people of reformation Germany, being sung continually in the streets and chanted by martyrs as they awaited their grim fate.
Handwritten draft of A Mighty Fortress is Our God signed by Luther.
The Devil hates music because he cannot stand gaiety, and Satan can smirk but he cannot laugh; he can sneer but he cannot sing.
One writer said that Luther translated the Bible into German so God could speak directly to the people; and provided the hymn so that the people could answer God in their songs.
Mid summer 1527 - Plagued by ill health Luther
suffered from depression. He felt powerless to help those of his
followers suffering for their faith.
August 2, 1527 - Black death struck Wittenberg. Elector John evacuated the university to Jena, but Luther remained in Wittenberg to minister to the plague victims. His son Hans contracted the plague but survived.
December 1, 1527 - Elizabeth Luther was born, but she was not well, possibly because of Katharina's exposure to the black death while pregnant.
By the end of 1527, Saxony was, for all practical purposes, entirely Protestant.
May 4, 1528 - Elizabeth Luther died.
June 1528 - Luther encouraged Protestant rulers to
banish rather than execute Anabaptists in their territory.
February 21, 1529 (age 45) - Second Diet of Speyer (held through April 22) set aside the first Diet's judgment. The Catholics believed it to be a fair compromise. The Lutheran princes felt that "Christ was again in the hands of Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate."¯ They refused to accept the decree and drafted a document that began, “We protest..." hence the terms "Protestant" and "Protestantism."
Teaching the Faith
March 1529 - Luther published the Small Catechism to help families learn the basic truths of the Christian faith. It contained explanations of the Apostles' Creed, Ten Commandments and Lord's Prayer.
The deplorable condition in which I found religious affairs during a recent visitation of the congregations, has impelled me to publish this Catechism, or statement of the Christian doctrine, after having prepared it in very brief and simple terms. Alas! What misery I beheld! The people, especially those who live in the villages, seem to have no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine, and many of the pastors are ignorant and incompetent teachers. Martin Luther, Wittenberg, 1529
April 23, 1529 Luther's Large Catechism published for use by teachers and preachers. It covered the same ground as his Small Catechism, but in greater detail.
May 4, 1529 - Magdalena Luther born.
October 1-4, 1529 - Marburg Colloquy (conference) convened. Luther met with Ulrich Zwingli at Marburg Castle. German and Swiss theologians attempted to hammer out a theological statement they both could agree on, hoping for unity between the Protestants.
After agreeing on 15 articles of faith (infant baptism, the word of God, grace, confession, etc.), the discussions focused on the nature of the Lord's Supper. Luther maintained that the consecrated bread and wine were united to the true body and blood of Christ for all participants to eat and drink "this is my body, this is my blood"). Zwingli considered bread and wine only symbols of the body and blood of Christ.
(How could anyone deny infant baptism after watching their own child die unexpectedly, as Luther had to do with his 5-month-old daughter Elizabeth}.
The conference ended without an agreement, but did
lead the way to later agreements, for example, the Schmalkaldic League
of 1531 and the Wittenberg Concord of 1536.
April 1530 (age 46) - In an effort to restore
church unity and rally support against a Turkish invasion, Emperor
Charles V called on the German Princes to explain their religious
convictions at a second Diet of Augsburg. Luther and his fellow
reformers had already discussed a confession of faith that might be
presented at the Diet and agreed upon part of its contents, though
its final form had not been determined.
April 16, 1530 - Luther arrived at the Coburg Castle, where he resided during the Diet of Augsburg. (He remained under the ban of the Empire and was not welcome at the official meeting, four days' journey away.) He received periodic updates from Melanchthon and other Protestant participants. Luther's 165 days at Coburg Castle were strikingly parallel to his 11 months at the Wartburg. But now he had a family.
May 1, 1530 - While Luther was at Coburg he received word that his father Hans had died.
This death has certainly thrown me into sadness, thinking not only of nature, but also of the very kind love, for through him my Creator has given me all that I am and have.
June 20, 1530 - First meeting of the Diet of Augsburg was held.
June 25, 1530 - Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. The Diet of Augsburg was adjourned to a smaller venue to reduce the size of the crowd and perhaps prevent a riot. But, it was a hot day. The windows were opened and a reader was chosen who could speak loudly enough to enable those gathered around the building to hear. The Augsburg Confession, written by Melanchthon and approved by Luther, was read before the imperial diet. Perhaps it was the heat, maybe the length, but Emperor Charles fell asleep. It was a moderate Lutheran confession of faith divided into 28 articles. Excerpts:
Lutherans believe that good deeds of Christians are the fruits of faith and salvation, not a price paid for them.
Lutherans believe that there is one holy Christian church, and it is found wherever the gospel is preached in its truth and purity and the sacraments are administered according to the gospel.
The Word and the Sacraments are always valid because they are instituted by Christ.
Faith causes us to good works as a sign of our justification (or salvation), not a requirement for salvation.
First edition of the Augsburg Confession.
Over the next three months, Johann Eck and other theologians wrote the Confutatio Pontificia stating the Catholic position on the 28 articles of the Augsburg Confession. Eck's first draft was so wordy and "vicious" that the Catholic princes refused to submit it to emperor Charles until it was twice edited and toned down.
Their Confession in the sixth article that faith should bring forth good fruits is acceptable and valid. But in the same article their ascription of justification to faith alone is diametrically opposite the truth of the Gospel by which works are not excluded.
The seventh article of the Confession, wherein it is affirmed that the church is the congregation of saints ... this article of the Confession is in no way accepted.
November 19, 1530 - Diet of Augsburg ended but participants were unable to achieve a compromise. Charles V declared that the Lutheran confession had been repudiated and reinstated the Edict of Worms, which condemned reform and outlawed those who advocated it. He threatened military force if the reformers didn't consent to return to Catholic practices by April 15, 1531. Although the negotiations failed, the Augsburg Confession survived to became the authoritative profession of Lutheran faith.
1531 (age 47) - Luther wrote Warning to his Beloved Germans, discussing the rightness of armed resistance to the emperor. He left the choice to take up arms to the Protestant rulers.
February 27, 1531 - Schmalkaldic League established by Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, and John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, the two most powerful Protestant rulers at the time. It originated as a defensive alliance, with the members pledging to defend each other should their territories be attacked by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. But, the League quickly became a territorial political movement, as breaking from the Catholic Church offered significant economic advantages. In December 1535, the league admitted anyone who would subscribe to the Augsburg Confession.
Marketplace in Schmalkalden, today a town of some 18,000 in central Germany
June 30, 1531 - Margarethe Luther (Martin's mother) died.
November 9, 1531 - Martin Luther, Jr. was born. Luther said, "If you become a lawyer I will hang you on the gallows. You must be a preacher, baptize and dispense the sacrament, visit the sick and comfort the sorrowful." (Martin did study theology, but he devoted his time to scholarly pursuits and never had a regular parish call.)
1532 (age 48) - Religious Peace of Nurnberg granted German Protestants free exercise of religion until further notice.
1533 (age 49) - Luther helped reform the theology faculty at the University of Wittenberg.
January 1533 - King Henry VIII of England married Anne Boleyn. Three months later she gave birth to a daughter, Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth I). Pope Clement VII responded to the marriage by excommunicating Henry.
January 29, 1533 - Paul Luther was born.
1534 (age 50) - After twelve years Luther finished translating the Old Testament into German.
There are some who have a small opinion of the Old Testament, thinking of it as a book that was given to the Jewish people only…but Christ says, 'Search in the scriptures, for they give testimony of me' ... therefore the Old Testament is to be highly regarded.
1534 - Luther's first full Bible translation into German, including the Old Testament, was published in a six-part edition. It was a collaborative effort of Luther, Johannes Bugenhagen, Justus Jonas, Caspar Creuziger, Philipp Melanchthon, Matthäus Aurogallus, and Georg Rörer. Before Luther died Hans Lufft printed thirteen editions of this Bible; 253 editions were published outside of Wittenberg. A completely revised edition appeared in 1541. The illustrations in some copies were later hand-colored. The initial printing of 3,000 sold out within three months.
Luther's Bible was not a word-for-word literal translation. Luther used the variant of German spoken in Saxony, intelligible to both northern and southern Germans. He intended to make the Bible accessible to everyday Germans, "for we are removing impediments and difficulties so that other people may read it without hindrance."¯
Germans everywhere bought Luther's Bible, not only for the salvation of their souls, but for prestige. It was the must-have book. Everyone read it or listened to it being read. Its phrasing became the people's phrasing, its speech patterns their speech patterns.
Hans Lufft, whose printing press was set up in the basement of the Luther home, published almost 100,000 copies of Luther’s Bible translation. nearly 180 million pages! There were no copyright laws; Luther received no royalties.
1534 - Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) with the purpose of preaching and winning over new converts to the Catholic church. Jesuits dedicated themselves to teaching and stressed the importance of preaching and obedience to the Pope; believed it was essential for Christians to unite and that Protestant theology was flawed.
September 25, 1534 - Death
of Pope Clement VII.
October 13, 1534 - Succeeded by Pope Paul III (father of three illegitimate children).
March 21, 1536 (age 52) - Wittenberg Concord, a conference of Lutheran and Zwinglian theologians, meet at Luther's home. They achieved some compromise but very little understanding or respect for each other.
1537 (age 53) - In preparation for an intended ecumenical Church council Elector John Frederick "the Magnanimous" of Saxony asked Luther to prepare a summary of Lutheran beliefs for presentation at a meeting of the Schmalkaldic League.
February 9-20, 1537 (age 53) - Bundestag at the city of Schmalkaldenic. Luther attended but suffered from kidney stones. The league determined not to adopt the articles Luther wrote. They were influenced by Philipp Melanchthon who was concerned that his writing would be regarded by some as divisive. Instead, Melanchthon wrote a clear statement on the papacy. It was adopted at the meeting as the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.
The Roman Pontiff claims for himself that by divine right he is above all bishops and pastors.
Secondly, he adds also that by divine right he has both swords, i.e., the authority also of bestowing kingdoms [enthroning and deposing kings, regulating secular dominions etc.].
And thirdly, he says that to believe this is necessary for salvation. And for these reasons the Roman bishop calls himself the vicar of Christ on earth.
These three articles we hold to be false, godless, tyrannical and pernicious to the church.