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A son was born to Hans and Margarethe Luder in Eisleben in 1483. Being baptized on November 11th, the festival day of St. Martin of Tours, they their son Martin. Martin was a bright kid throughout his education. His father, a leaseholder of mines, paved the way for his son to attend law school. At the age of 19 having received his Masters Degree, Luther made his transition to study law. However, on July 2 of 1505, Luther is caught in a massive thunderstorm. In the midst of thunder and lightening crashing all around him and he cries out, “St. Anne, help me.” St. Anne, along with being Mary’s mother, is also the patron saint of miners and as such was Martin's family’s patron saint. Martin survives the storm and enters the Augustinian monastery on July 17,1505. Two years later he was ordained a priest and went on to earn a doctorate in theology in Wittenberg.
In Wittenberg, Martin began taking exception to the Church’s practice of buying and selling of indulgences. Indulgences were slips of paper that one could purchase so that either the purchaser or someone he might name, could be released out of purgatory. Martin’s critique took the form of the 95 Theses which he posted on the Church door in Wittenberg. Unbeknownst to him, his theses, thanks to the advent of the printing press, spread like wildfire. So much so that, he drew the attention and ire of Pope Leo X and in 1520 Leo excommunicated Martin. Yet that did not stop Luther’s preaching and teaching and search for the reform of the medieval Church.
Luther throughout his life authored volumes of theological treatises, biblical commentaries, and hymns. The current number of volumes of Luther’s writings available in English is 79 and more yet to be released. His chief writings that we continue to treasure today are his Small and Large Catechisms that simply, but richly teach the Christian faith. Apart from his influence on the Church, Martin's effects had political, social, and even linguistic ramifications. His translation of the Bible into German became a building block for the German language itself. Luther's greatest strength apart from his mind was his beloved Katharina Von Bora. Katharina, an escaped nun, wooed the German bachelor reformer who said he'd never marry. Katharina was Luther's rock and we still have some copies of their letters to each other. Upon his death in 1546, Martin left everything to Katharina something that was not done at the time.
The Book of Concord is the foundational source of what Lutherans teach, confess, and believe. It was first published in 1580 at the leadership of Martin Chemnitz, affectionately referred to as the "Second Martin," after Luther that is. It contains the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, the Augsburg Confession along with its Apology (Defense), the Small and Large Catechisms of Luther, the Treatise on the Primacy and Power of the Pope, the Smalcald Articles, and the Formula of Concord. These binding documents held Lutheranism together during the 16th century in Germany and continue to be foundation for our Lutheran life of faith.
The Constitution of the NALC says this about these documents, "2.04 The Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of the Church.
2.05 The Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel,
acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
2.06 The other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church."