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The Reformation was one of the most momentous turning points in world history. It was led by men of strong faith, deep convictions, great intelligence, high moral standards and tremendous courage. Towering above all these great Reformers, Martin Luther stands out as the most courageous, controversial and influential Reformer of all time.
Luther has been alternatively described as the brilliant scholar who rediscovered the central message of the Bible, a prophet like Elijah and John the Baptist to reform God’s people, the liberator who arose to free his people from the oppression of Rome, the last medieval man and the first modern man. Zwingli described him as: “the Hercules who defeated the tyranny of Rome.” Pope Leo X called Luther: “A wild boar, ravaging his vineyard.” Emperor Charles V described him as: “A demon in the habit of a monk!”
Martin Luther was born 10 November 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony. His father, Hans Luder, had worked hard to climb the “social ladder” from his humble peasant origins to become a successful copper mining entrepreneur. Hans married Margaretha Lindemann, the daughter of a prosperous and gifted family that included doctors, lawyers, university professors and politicians. Hans Luder owned several mines and smelters and he became a member of the City Council in Mansfield, where Martin was raised, under the strict discipline typical of that time.
9 November, marks the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
A speech at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, 5 March 1946, declared that “An Iron Curtain has descended across the continent”. From Stettin in the North to Trieste in the South barbed wire and barricades, walls and machine gun towers were going up, sealing off the captive nations occupied by the Soviet Union from their neighbours in the West. The Iron Curtain divided a continent and trapped hundreds of millions of people under communism.
The Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, declared that the Second World War was not a disaster but “a great opportunity” to extend communism into the very heart of Europe.