Martin Luther—God’s Man for the Hour -- By: Erroll Hulse

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 01:1 (Winter 1992)
Article: Martin Luther—God’s Man for the Hour
Author: Erroll Hulse


Martin Luther—God’s Man for the Hour

Erroll Hulse

More has been written about Martin Luther than any other man in human history, with the exception of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why? What made this man so unique, so important in his era, and, in the estimation of many, still very important today?

Luther was God’s choice instrument. He was colorful, and he was singular. His life helped end the old passing era, and it signaled and promoted a new epoch as well.

Martin Luther was essentially a theologian, a preacher, and a faithful pastor. Because he was involved in a titanic struggle to emancipate his people from papal tyranny, he could not escape involvement in the major political issues of his time. In many of these matters, thrust upon him as they were, he fell short of the highest Christian expectations. This was especially the case in his dealings with the peasants, who had serious grievances with the nobility of his age, and with both Anabaptists, whom Luther plainly misunderstood, and Jews, whom he spoke none too kindly of in his writings. Even though we can make some allowances for Luther’s being a child of his own age we cannot, indeed must not, praise him in these things. Yet in his wielding of the Scripture as the very Word of God he has no peer in German history. As we survey the history of other nations it is difficult to find anyone who can match the formative influence of the converted monk!

Luther translated the Bible into the language of his people. He preached, plainly and powerfully, the message of justification by grace through faith alone. He provided moving and impressive music for the church, equipped congregations with a still useful catechism, and gave to the people of his time a model of good home life. In addition, he provided significant Biblical exposition, which forms the larger part of the content of fifty-seven volumes of his complete works. From the age of forty, when he began to write, until his death at age sixty-three, he produced, on

average, a modest sized book every fortnight. The number of pamphlets issued in German during the four years from 1521–1524 exceeds the quantity for any other four years in German history until the present day. These were tracts illustrated with cartoon drawings. Though not all were totally Luther’s work, his influence is felt in most of them. As for his books, large numbers were sold—sometimes as many as 300,000. Today, 10,000 copies of an evangelical book is a virtual “best-seller.” His writings reflect the indefatigable zeal and prodigious output of his work. It is safe to say that he did the work of ten normal men. From 1512 until his death in 1546 he lectured in the University of ...

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