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December 26, 1520: Revoked

Luther: In Real Time

Ligonier Ministries

Religion & Spirituality, Christianity, History

4.92K Ratings

🗓️ 26 December 2020

⏱️ 9 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


When Martin Luther received an invitation to defend his case before Emperor Charles V, he knew his defense of the gospel might result in his demise. On this day 500 years ago, Luther reads a second imperial letter that has arrived -- and his heart sinks.

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It's December 26th, 1520, a dark early afternoon in Videnburg. Luther is distracted. He's received a


troubling letter. Only two weeks ago, Luther had defied the Pope and burned the letter calling Luther to the camp.


And already the whole world knows about it, including the young emperor. Only 20 years old, his


distinctively large lower jaw ran in the Habsburg family, some felt it was the result of inbreeding.


Which wasn't an uncommon practice.


One does what one can to maintain the family's control of the territories.


In November, he had sat in his drawing room reading Luther's appeal to the secular authorities


to reform the church, and as the highest-ranking secular authorities to reform the church, and as the highest-ranking secular authority in the


empire, he liked much of what he'd read.


Writing to Luther's protector, Frederick, he'd extended an invitation for Luther to be present at a forthcoming Imperial Court meeting known as a Diet.


The Diet was set for early in the New year in the German town of Worms.


Beloved Uncle Frederick, we are desirous that you should bring Luther to the Diet to be held at warms that he may be thoroughly investigated by competent persons, that no injustice be done nor anything contrary to law.


But the invitation was a controversial move and he knew it.


Luther had after all made enemies in high places.


If the Pope objected to the invitation, the Pope could at a whim place the entire imperial town of


Worms under Interdict.


People Interdict was excommunication in bulk,


damning to hell the entire populace of the city.


The Emperor's fears were not unfounded.


In Rome, on the instruction of the Pope, Jerome Alliander had written a letter to Emperor Charles the 5th.


Alliander, like Johannek, was a papal envoy.


He was the man who had overseen the burning of Luther's books in Mites at the end of November.


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