What Has Erfurt to Do with Rome?

Posted on Posted in Ruminations

So, let’s face it, when you think of the famous cities connected with Lutheranism, Erfurt is not usually the first to come to mind. You think Wittenberg—the place Luther taught, issued the 95 Theses, and got married. You think Augsburg—the place where the Augsburg Confession was written and signed. You think Worms—the place Luther was on trial and famously said “Here I stand.” But Erfurt? Why Erfurt?

Well, for reasons of sheer historical accuracy, Erfurt is the place to start this pilgrimage because that’s where Luther started. In 1510 he was still living in the Augustinian house in Erfurt, where he’d first entered when he took his vows. (By the way, technically speaking Luther was not a monk. He was a friar.) It’s where he did his university training to become an Old Testament professor. Here is where he came under the tutelage of his beloved teacher John Staupitz, whom Luther later said was the one who opened up the gospel for him against the pangs of his scrupulous conscience and fear of the judgment of Christ. It’s as important a place as any in Luther’s history—and well deserves to be put back on the map.

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