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October 23, 1520: Luther vs. Eck

Luther: In Real Time

Ligonier Ministries

Religion & Spirituality, Christianity, History

4.92K Ratings

🗓️ 23 October 2020

⏱️ 11 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Two weeks have passed since Martin Luther was called to renounce his teachings. Remembering his debate with Germany's leading theologian, Luther knows that backing down now would mean surrendering the truth of Scripture. Today, Luther writes his response, and he doesn't mince words.

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It's October the 23rd, 1520.


Two weeks have passed since the Pope's envoy. 3rd, 1520.


Two weeks have passed since the Pope's envoy handed Martin Luther an official document


from the Pope.


It was called a papal bull because of its round lead seal known as a buller.


It called on Luther to renounce his teaching or face the diarist of consequences.


The man who handed Luther the bull was not unknown to him. His name is Johann Ek and he's


the foremost Roman Catholic scholar in all Germany.


Luther sits in his chamber composing his reply and he is not in the mood to back down.


I have heard that a bull against me has gone through the whole earth before it came to me because being a daughter of darkness it feared the light of my face.


For this reason, and also because it condemns manifestly the Christian articles.


I had my doubts whether it really came from Rome and was not rather the progeny of that


man of lies dissimulation errors and heresy. That monster,


the suspicion was further increased when it was said that


Ek was the apostle of the bull. Indeed the style and the spittle all point to Ek. Where Ek is the apostle, there one should


find the kingdom of Antichrist. At one point, Ek was on good terms with Luther, but he considered Luther's 95 thesis,


his attack on the practice of selling indulgences to be heretical.


And in 1519, only a year previously,


he'd engaged Luther in a series of fiery debates


in the German town of Leipzig.


How would an obscure and rather boorish monk from Saxony stand up against the theological sophistication of Johann Ek.


The head of the church militant is Christ himself and not a man.


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