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Martin Luther was a German monk during the 16th century. Martin Luther was born November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, and is known as the Father of Protestantism. He had studied to become a lawyer before becoming an Augustinian monk in 1505, and he was ordained a priest in 1507. While studying for a Doctor of Theology degree, he discovered large differences between what he read in the Bible and the theology and practices of his church.

Luther wrote text, gave lectures and delivered sermons designed to point out these differences. Others soon began protesting church practices and called for churchwide reform. By the late 1500’s the Reformation was all throughout Europe. Many began calling Martin Luther and his followers, “Lutherans”.

On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the church door at Wittenberg University to debate 95 theological issues. His intent was that the church would reform its practice and sermons and instruction would be more consistent with the Word of God as stated in the Bible. He believed that people are saved by the grace of God alone -- not by anything they do; Salvation is through faith alone and the Bible is the only the only true standard for teachings and doctrines.
Because of Luther’s challenge, debates became angry and emotions carried the day. As a result, Lutherans did not reform the church but separated from it. Lutheran beliefs spread throughout Germany , Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. Later Lutherans took their faith with them all over the world.

Martin Luther died February 18, 1546 in Eisleben, Germany. Today, Luther's Small Catechism, which contains teachings on the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, Confession and Absolution, Holy Communion and Morning and Evening Prayers, is still used to introduce people to the Lutheran faith, as is the Augsburg Confession.