Martin Luther’s Influence on Physical Education

Martin Luther’s Influence on Physical Education

Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, in Eislebe, Saxony Germany. He was a theologian as well as a religious reformer and led the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century. Luther is a significant person in the history of Christianity because through his words and actions there arose a division between the Roman Catholic doctrines and the modern day protestant denominations (Hendrix, 2015). Traditionally the protestant denominations that arose after his actions included Calvinism, Lutheranism, Anabaptists as well as Anglican Communion. Luther Moved to Mansfield after his father became the town’s councillor in 1942.

He enrolled at a Latin School in that town in 1488 where he learned basic Christianity training such as the Ten Commandments, the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. While on this school he attended morning and evening prayers and he was transferred to another school in 1497 (Hendrix, 2015. This school that was located in Magdeburg and run by Brethren of the common life. It is believed that the institution shaped the beliefs of Luther since the teachings were on personal piety. He later joined the University of Elfurt to study Liberal Arts and graduated in 1502. He later enrolled for a master’s degree and graduated three years later. His father wanted him to venture into law which he did, but after less than six weeks he dropped the program and enrolled in the monastery.

Luther explained that he had vowed to be a monk after surviving a terrifying thunderstorm experience. Although his father was opposed to the idea of his son becoming a monk, he pursued the career path, and by mid-15th Century the Augustinian Order had divided with half of the monks seeking reforms while the other half wanted the strict order to be maintained (Leppin, 2017).  Luther became a community novice in 1505, and his daily work was to worship. He did not live a luxurious life but rather his room contained only a chair and a table. Luther was a strict follower of Monastic rule, and he strictly observed the canonical hours.

By 1506 he was admitted to serve and was waiting to be ordained as a priest. Luther first mass took place in 1507, but as per his recollections, he was in fear. Luther had found a passion for Christian teachings, so he decided to study theology. He pursued further studies in the same field, but this was interrupted as he was to represent the observant German Augustinian Monasteries in Rome (Mattes, 2018). This meant that he had to stop studying between 1511 up to the spring of 1511. The mission that he was sent to carry out went on well although it left a negative impression of him. In Rome, he realized that their little spirituality and after returning from Rome he continued with his studies. He graduated in 1512 and became a professor basing his teachings on the Augustinian order.  He rose in command in the monastery and became an author whereby he published theological writings such as the 95 theses. These theses were displayed in Wittenberg church in October 1517, and it contained the differences between the Catholic and the Bible.

Luther was expected to recant the views that he presented, but he was not willing to do so; therefore, he was excommunicated. His friends helped him by making copies of the theses and helped spread them in the European continent within a few months (Mattes, 2018). The controversy spread and was aided by the printing press which has been invented at the time. After he was excommunicated, he had to hide in Wartburg Castle, and while there he was busy translating the New Testament into Germany language. His translated version became a bestseller and was translated into other languages such as Tyndale’s English Bible. His central doctrine that he spread was justification by faith which he believed was the main doctrine in Christian life.  He believed that faith is a gift given by God and is what Christians should base their beliefs in. Luther’ teachings were based on biblical books such as psalms, Galatians and Romans.

Luther opposed the ideology spread by Johann Tetzel who made Christians believe that by acquiring a letter of indulgence their sins were forgiven. This is what made him come up with the 95 theses that he shared in the University to promote a debate on the issue (Schilling, 2017).  He gave a copy to Tetzel superior and requested him to caution Tetzel to stop his teachings which according to Luther were misleading to the Christians. The indulgence controversy spurred Luther change in the understanding of the gospel. One of the beliefs in which he changed was in salvation whereby it was believed that a Christian has to do something so that they can receive God’s salvation. Luther, however, was of a contrary belief that there is nothing a person can do to receive God’s salvation.

God saves people through his divine Grace and not because they have done anything to deserve it.  His teachings had to be examined, so he had to appear in Rome, but through the intervention of his ruler, he was summoned in German City (Schilling, 2017). Frederick intervened on Luther’s behalf because he believed that it was his duty to ensure that he receives a hearing that was fair because he was his subject. Rome agreed to the request made because they needed the support of finances for a military campaign that was planned to deal with the Ottoman Empire.

The discussion took three days, and the leaders were not ready to continue with the interrogation but instead required Luther to recant, and since he was not willing to do, so he was taken to Rome for further interrogation (Schilling, 2017). It was established that the views that he presented were different from those of the church and this attracted the attention of different people who had different opinions on the issue of the authority that the church has as well as the pope. It was decided that his teaching contradicted those of the Roman Catholicism and since the church and pope had authority Luther had to be excommunicated.




Hendrix, S. H. (2015). Martin Luther: visionary reformer. Yale University Press.

Leppin, V. (2017). Martin Luther: A Late Medieval Life. Baker Academic.

Mattes, M. (2018). Martin Luther: A Christian between Reforms and Modernity. Lutheran Quarterly32(3), 365-370.

Schilling, H. (2017). Martin Luther: rebel in an age of upheaval. Oxford University Press.