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December 10, 1520: Time’s Up [Rebroadcast]

Luther: In Real Time

Ligonier Ministries

Religion & Spirituality, Christianity, History

4.92K Ratings

🗓️ 5 November 2021

⏱️ 11 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Martin Luther has put up a good fight against Pope Leo X. But if the monk does not renounce his teachings now, there can be no turning back. Today, join Luther on the day of reckoning in the snowy streets of Wittenberg.

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It's December 10th, 1520. Snow has fallen overnight in Vittenburg.


Exactly two months ago to the day, Luther had received the papal bull condemning him as a heretic


and calling him to recant of his teaching within 60 days or face excommunication.


Luther's time is up.


He stands in front of a large bonfire. His eyes fixed on the flames.


Just behind him, it looks as if the entire town are coming to join him.


Father, please guide and protect your servant.


Please grant me courage to declare the truth boldly as I should.


Standing alongside Luther as the crowd begins to gather is Philip Malanthan,


his colleague and friend from the university. 23 years old and 14 years Luther's junior,


Malanthan has become Luther's close friend and theological ally.


All of Vittenburg is here and many of our good colleagues at the university.


I see Professor Armstrong and there is Chancellor Karlstad.


Two and a half years earlier, Luther's students and all Vittenburg had gathered in this same place in front of another bonfire.


Johann Tetzel, indulgent salesman that he was, had taken offense at Luther's 95th thesis.


In fact, he had personally threatened to burn Luther as a heretic.


Tetzel also oversaw the publication of 106 counter-theses in defense of the Pope's authority to sell indulgences.


But when copies of the work arrived in Vittenburg, Luther's students were indignant.


They built a bonfire outside the Elstegate just as they have done today and through the work in the flames.


Luther steps onto an upturn barrel in front of the fire.


Facing the crowd, he feels the heat on his back.


For a moment comforting and then disquieting.


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