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JAMES SWAN, who is involved in teaching ministry at the Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church in New Jersey, will address "MARTIN LUTHER: MADMAN, HERETIC, PROPHET, OR REFORMER?"
October 31 marks the 491st anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg Germany. Protestants all over the world mark this as the birth of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther is celebrated as a hero who stood alone against the tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther is heralded as a mighty voice proclaiming salvation by faith alone and scripture alone!
But who exactly was Martin Luther? A Madman? Modern-day psychologists speculate he was a man with mental disorders. They speculate Luther’s psychosis was inherent lust, secret vices, an overpowering sex drive, and an opposition to celibacy. These were Luther’s psychological reasons to abandon the Roman Church in his “attempt” to destroy her. Some see him as manic-depressive a product of an alcoholic parent, or a sufferer of the Oedipus complex that unknowingly pushed the reform movement forward.
Many Roman Catholics still view him as the great heretic who split the church, not only in half, but by his heresy created thousands of Protestant denominations. In his proclamation of sola fide and sola scriptura, Luther has lead countless lives away from the Roman Catholic Church. They claim God would never use such a sinful man to "reform" the Church which the gates of Hell can never prevail against.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, others have claimed Luther was a prophet. Some of the later generation Lutherans looked to him as an infallible authority in spiritual matters. Some like the Seventh Day Adventists insist Luther claimed himself to be a prophet. If Luther can claim to be a prophet, and be treated as a hero by Protestants, why can't Adventist founder Ellen White be a prophet of similar respect?
Was Luther a Reformer? Are Protestants correct when they extol the importance of his work in the 16th Century? How does one decide who exactly Luther was? Today James Swan will attempt to look at the many historical "Luthers", and give an overview of how worldviews effect historical analysis.
James is also a member of "Team Apologian", contributing articles to the blog on the web site of renowned Bible scholar Dr. James R. White's Alpha and Omega Ministries , contributes Reformation articles for Christian apologist Dr. Eric Svendsen's New Testament Research Ministries' website, and has had articles published in the Reformed periodical, The Outlook . He also runs his own daily blog, Beggars All: Reformation and Apologetics , dedicated to historical and Biblical research on the Protestant Reformation.