Episode 6

The Spiritual Tribulations of Martin Luther: the Devil & Salvation

Ep. 6 Martin Luther & the devil with Noah Garcia

Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Grace Alone.  These are some of the abiding principles of the Protestant Reformation as first articulated by Martin Luther. It was his great protest on October 31, 1517 that began the new Protestant expression of the Christian faith. Yet, in addition to those “sola” statements of the Lutheran Reformation, there was another inspiration for Luther’s Protest: Evil.

More specifically, so much of Luther’s conduct in the Reformation related to his struggle with Satan, with the personification of evil in the form of the Devil. The development of Luther’s theology and perspective on the Bible was a part of his wider interaction with the problem of evil in his own life. It is impossible to understand Luther and Protestantism without understanding the role of the Devil in Luther’s early theological development.

This project explores Luther’s ongoing struggle with the Devil, his personal vexation with his own sinfulness, and, ultimately, the hope in Christ that Luther found through it all. 

Lucas Cranach the Younger,
“The True Church and the False Church”
Woodcut around 1540


Primary Sources

Martin Luther. Table Talk.  trans. William Hazlitt, Esq. Philadelphia: The Lutheran Publication Society, 2004.

Secondary Sources

Carlos M. N. Eire. Reformations: The Early Modern World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018.

Heiko A.Oberman. Luther: Man between God and the Devil. trans. Eileen Walliser-

Schwartzbart, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.

Jeffrey Burton Russell. Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986.

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