Did you know . . . that Martin Luther was not the first person to call for reform and to find himself in trouble with the Roman Catholic Church? Nearly 100 years before Luther posted his 95 theses, John Huss, a Czech priest, spoke out boldly against what he saw as corruption in the church. Huss was eventually executed by the church for his radical views. In the same manner, John Wycliffe believed, like Luther, that Holy Scripture should be available to the common people in their own language. Wycliffe, an English priest, also found himself embattled for translating the Bible from Latin into English and for speaking out against the church over 100 years before Luther.
So why did Martin Luther spark the reformation when Huss and Wycliffe were not able? Quite simply, it was due to “technology”. The movable type printing press was invented and came into use, in Germany, at about the time Luther (a prolific writer) was posting arguments against the church. Before long Luther’s works compiled a large part of all printed work in Germany. If he had been putting out record albums in this age, he would have had multiple “platinum” recordings! Had his work not been widely shared in printed form throughout all of Europe, the Protestant Reformation might not have taken root for decades or even centuries into the future. Luther enjoyed the Renaissance period status of a current rock star. This superstar status also garnered him protection from the higher levels of the church and certainly saved his life on more than one occasion.