On this date, February 20, 1546, Martin Luther’s body arrived in Wittenberg for burial. The actual burial was on February 22. I wrote about him a few days ago and you can read that entry here.
It wouldn’t surprise you that not everybody was happy with the message of the Reformation. The Roman church was unhappy, And the propositions that were nailed to the door of Castle Church, eventually gave way to an assembly room in the city of Worms. Luther had been summoned to appear before the newly crowned king. He is flanked by his advisor who is a representative of the pope. As Luther enters the room, he is faced with a table on which is stacked books and pamphlets. He recognizes them because they’re his.
Then comes the question.
Martin Luther, you have written and you have preached this “heresy”. Will you recant? Will you take back everything you have said?
Luther asked for an evening to pray and he was granted it. The next morning he strode back into the assembly room. John Eck, the spokesman for Rome said, “Martin Luther, will you recant?”
All eyes were on him, and all ears were straining to hear. And the words that he uttered are some of the most famous words ever spoken and recorded.
“Unless I shall be convinced by the testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear reason, I neither can nor will make any retraction, since it is neither safe nor honorable to act against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other.”