The German painter Anton von Werner (1843-1915) painted this painting “Luther at the Diet of Worms” in 1877. The occasion being portrayed is Martin Luther’s response to the Diet of Worms on April 18, 1521. A diet is a deliberative assembly of the Holy Roman Empire, and Worms is a city in western Germany. While there were a number of different Diets of Worms, the most famous one is this one.
What do I really know?
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was accused of 41 counts of heresy over his writings. These writings addressed a number of theological and church government issues. It is believed that On the Freedom of a Christian is one of those writings.
Luther’s response was 1) Some of his writings were well received even by his enemies, 2) if he failed to rebuke the abuses he observed, he would be a complicit accomplice in them, 3) he admitted a certain undue harshness of tone in his writings (such as calling Pope Leo X the antichrist in 1520), but only agreed to recant in response to proof of his error from Scripture.
Martin Luther’s response to his request to recant was as follows: “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason — I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other — my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”
I consider Martin Luther to be a human being, even as we are. What do I really know? On that day in 1521, Martin Luther really knew something. And that knowing reverberates and echoes to this day. 493 years later, the Lutheran World Federation has 144 member church bodies (denominations) in 79 countries, representing 72 million Lutherans. That knowing reverberates and echoes to this day.
Imagine my delight when I came across a quote by Vincent Van Gogh, who said, “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
Vincent Van Gogh
So I chose his famous painting “The Starry Night” for my Step 3 photo quote.
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