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October 16, 1520: The Wild Boar

Luther: In Real Time

Ligonier Ministries

Religion & Spirituality, Christianity, History

4.92K Ratings

🗓️ 16 October 2020

⏱️ 8 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In the eyes of Pope Leo X, Martin Luther is a boar running wild in his vineyard, and this pest needs to be hunted down. Today, Leo turns to Luther's patron, Frederick, to help him take the rebel captive.

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It's October the 16th, 1520.


Nearly a week has passed since Martin Luther received an official letter from the Pope, denouncing Luther and his teaching and giving him 60 days to recant.


The Pope had written,


Arise, O Lord.


And judge thy cause.


A wild boar has invaded thy vineyard.


Arise, O Peter, as he reads the letter again,


Luther knows who the wild boar is supposed to be,


and he knows what it will mean if he doesn't recant, condemnation and excommunication,


and then execution and as far as the church is concerned, the fires of hell. The Pope's letter lists 41 places in


Luther's writings that the Pope deems to be heretical, scandalous, offensive to pious ears.


Our pastoral office can no longer tolerate the pestiferous virus.


The Pope's reference to Luthera's a wild boar is no accidental turn of phrase. Four months earlier, Pope Leo had completed a draft of the letter while he was at his hunting lodge, preparing to hunt wild boar.


It had previously been reported that the Pope was dismissive of Luther.


This Luther is a drunken German.


He will feel different when he is sober.


But by the fall of 1520, Luther has shown no sign of sobering up.


His thinking has only become more developed, his writing more


pointed in its criticism of the Pope. Pope Leo decides he has no choice. He calls for the destruction of all Luther's writings.


His books are piled up in the piazza Navona in Rome and set a blaze. Even Desiderius Erasmus, the great philosopher and scholar who is loyal to the Pope feels


the wording of the Papal Bull is too much.


The inclemency of this Papal bull ill comports with the moderation of the Pope.


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