Author Says Martin Luther Legend Misrepresents the Real Man

Christians have heard the famous story of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the closest Catholic Church, kicking off the Protestant Reformation in 1517. But the real story is more complex, according to New York Times-bestselling author Eric Metaxas.

“He was a humble, obedient monk,” Metaxas said. “This was not a firebrand or a rebel of any stripe whatsoever.”

Metaxas, who has written “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” and other books about great people throughout history, wanted to get a real look at Luther and his motive for pointing out corruption in the Catholic Church.

Listen to the full clip (above) for more about Luther as we get ready for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

STU: Joining us in the studio, an author, radio host, commentator extravaganza. It's the author of Martin Luther: The Man Who Discovered God and Changed the World. Eric Metaxas.

GLENN: Good friend. I haven't seen you since I left New York.

STU: It's been a while.

ERIC: I think quite possibly.

GLENN: How are you?

ERIC: I may have seen you in Florida at some event. It is great to see you. I love you and admire you from a distance.

GLENN: Well, likewise.

ERIC: And now from a very short distance. Glenn, thanks for having me.

GLENN: Yeah. Good to see you. Your book Bonhoeffer, it just changed me. Fundamentally changed me. And you have -- you have made a career out of going in and highlighting these really amazing people that stood at critical times.

You did Bonhoeffer.

ERIC: Wilburforce.

GLENN: Wilburforce. And now Martin Luther.

ERIC: Yep.

GLENN: Martin Luther seems distant and dusty. Dust him off.

ERIC: You obviously haven't read the book, Glenn.

GLENN: I have not. I just got it today.

ERIC: This book will blow the cobwebs off any dusty recollections you have. I have to say, in all seriousness, as it is with every one of the books I've written, it wasn't my idea. I kind of didn't want to write it.

You know, Bonhoeffer -- you know the story, writing Bonhoeffer was tremendously painful and difficult for me. I had to switch publishers. It was an agony of my life. People think I'm exaggerating. It was hell. But God spoke to me, and he said, "I have my hand on this book." And he did.

But I really wasn't gung-ho to write another biography, I'll be honest with you. But some friends, I dedicate the book to them, twisted my arm and kept saying, Eric, you wrote the Bonhoeffer book. You're the guy to write the Luther book because it's the 500th anniversary. And I actually thought, well, what 500th anniversary? I'm not paying attention.

And they explained to me, 1517 is the moment when he nailed the 95 thesis to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. And that's where they trace the beginning of the Reformation, was this moment. Although, talk about blowing the cobwebs off of things. People -- we see that moment in retrospect as a heroic moment, right? He's thundering against the corrupt papacy by nailing this thing. And it's just the opposite. He was like tacking something up to a bulletin board. It was like a notice, hey, you know what, I think we're going to have a little debate, a theological debate.

GLENN: You're kidding me. Really?

ERIC: Oh, yeah. If you read that part in the book, you won't even believe what it really was. In fact, not only was he not tacking something up on a bulletin board, he may have given it to the church custodian to tack it up on the bulletin board, or he may have done it himself and used paste and not a hammer. Like we have this image of him --

GLENN: So what happened? So how did that get --

ERIC: Well, basically -- I mean, to focus on that, this seminal moment 500 years ago, he was somebody who had discovered some things theologically. But let's get it straight, he was a humble, observant monk. This was not a firebrand or rebel of any stripe whatsoever. This was a man devoted to God and devoted to the church. And he saw that what was going on with indulgences -- by the way, he was a priest. So people would come to him in the confessional and say, hey, I got a get out of jail free card. Here you go.

And he would look at this piece of paper that they had bought with their money, which they didn't have, and he would say, what kind of corruption? What kind of confusion -- these people's souls are in danger. They think they can spend money and sin and pay for it. I mean, it had become very corrupt.

But he didn't say, oh, I want to tear the church down. He thought to myself, it is my duty as a theologian, because he was not just a monk and a priest, but a fine theologian, one of the finest.

He said, I need to bring this to the attention to the academic establishment, to other theologians, because if we don't begin to deal with this issue of indulgences, it's going to bring us down.

This is one of the most terrible excesses that we've experienced. And so he said, let's have an academic debate. So in Latin, he prints up 95 statements, which when you wanted to have an academic disputation, that's kind of the way you did it. And you tacked it up some place. And people would say, oh, that's interesting. I'd like to participate. And you would gather and have an academic debate. Maybe in Latin. Probably in Latin.

So he tacks this up, having no clue that in retrospect it will look like, you know, Neil Armstrong planting the flag on the moon, Columbus planting the flag in the American soil. I mean, it's a moment in history that has grown out of all proportion. Because in retrospect, we understand the significance. That moment led to everything that followed.

GLENN: So that is bizarre. Because it is -- you do look at that as a moment of courage.

When did the moment of courage hit him?

ERIC: Well, I would say there are -- as with anybody of true courage and faith, that they're -- it's a continuum of courage. In other words, it's not like at one moment, he girds his loins and is --

GLENN: Yes.

ERIC: He is a man who -- what I talk about is that before this moment, when he had become a monk, for example -- why did he become a monk? He became a monk because he took the idea of salvation and heaven and hell so seriously that he said, I need to devote my whole life to this. And this was against his father's wishes. His father had sent him to the finest schools, wanted him to become a lawyer. And just as he begins law school, it all kind of gets to him. This is in 1505. He's 23 years old. And he kind of realizes, I don't know where I'm going to spend eternity.

Some lawyers had just died and had shared on their deathbeds, I wish I had become a monk. Where am I going now? Really, he was rattled. I think a lot of people were rattled. But he was a very intense, passionate person. Brilliant.

So he decides in a moment that -- that's his own story, that he's the middle of a lightning storm. And he fears for his life. And he blurts out to St. Anne, who is the patron saint of miners -- his father was in the mining business.

He says, St. Anne, if you save me, I'll become a monk.

But it wasn't like he just blurted it out and hadn't been think about this. Let's face it, he had been thinking about this for years. So he becomes a monk and devotes his life in the monastery to praying harder, to confessing more, to fasting more. He was skin and bones. The whole experience was, how do I earn my way?

GLENN: He must have -- he must have hated the popes.

ERIC: Well, no. Not until later.

GLENN: How? It was before Leo.

ERIC: All.

GLENN: And the one before him was also nasty.

ERIC: These dudes, they were -- I mean, every educated, devoted Catholic is properly ashamed of this period of the papacy?

GLENN: Yeah.

ERIC: It's like the church -- and people know I'm a very pro-Catholic non-Catholic. I didn't write this book to bash the Catholic Church. When you look at this history. You see, what this is the tendency? And this all goes back to what we believe about freedom and the nature of man.

GLENN: Uh-huh.

ERIC: What is the nature of any institution? It is the nature of power. It is to consolidate more power. How can I get more power?

GLENN: Yeah, yeah.

ERIC: And the church had become hugely powerful. So Luther, while he's a monk, he's not thinking about this. He is a devoted monk. He's thinking about his own salvation. All that other stuff comes later. But at this point, he's devoted to saving himself, in a way, right? And a lot of people think that's what Christianity is. You save yourself.

You work hard, you don't sin, you keep your nose clean. Don't screw it up, and you might get into heaven. So he's working the program -- right? To use a 12 steps reference, harder than anyone who ever lived, and he's becoming more miserable. He's not getting closer to God. And so he starts cracking up. Why -- if I am doing everything right.

He would confess -- at one point, he confessed six hours straight. His father confessor Staupitz, who was in the book, literally says to him at some point, enough. Bring me adultery. Bring me murder. Otherwise, get out. Leave me alone. You're torturing me.

He would confess a moment of pride. I prayed so hard, that I had a moment of pride for having prayed so hard, and I have to confess my pride.

He was driving everyone insane. So long story short, Luther kind of realizes, this is not working. I'm not getting closer to God. Do I love God? No, I hate God. God is a judge who scares me, and I'm trying to jump through these hoops to please him.

And his father Confessor Staupitz says to him, you don't think that God loves you. You think God hates you. But he loves you. I mean, it was this real conundrum.

So Luther eventually realizes that nobody is studying the Scriptures. Because as you know, the printing press wasn't invented until very recently at that point.

So Luther does what no one else is doing, almost no one else. He starts digging, digging into the scriptures. And I think of it like a guy who has a disease. And he says, I have to find the cure to the disease.

So I don't want food. I don't want phone calls. I'm just going to be looking into the scriptures because I'm trying to find the key to my problem. And so he effectively finds it around 1517. All these things coalesce. And he realizes, oh, my goodness, it's kind of like somebody tells you that, you know, you're racing up a ladder, and it's like the ladder is leaning up against the wrong building. You can come down now. You've been wasting your time. He says, what I've been looking for is given to me freely by God as a gift of grace.

The righteousness of God, which I was scared of, is God gives that to me as a loving gift. I don't need to do anything. He gave it to me.

It's in a -- in an account in my name, all I have to do is go get it. But nobody told me that it was there. You want to talk about a mind blower. This blew the mind of Luther. But this kind of was like the bomb. The explosion from this creates the future in which we live. Freedom. Everything that we take for granted in the modern world comes from that.

GLENN: And we'll get into that here in a second.

STU: He's @EricMetaxas on Twitter. And EricMetaxas.com. The book is Martin Luther. The man who rediscovered God and changed the world.

GLENN: I am so thrilled to have Eric Metaxas not only on the show, but in the studio with us. He wrote a game-changing book for me, called Bonhoeffer. If you haven't read that, you need to.

And I just last week finished some books, and I thought, I'm only going to start reading stuff that will fill me up with good, solid, rock solid information. So this couldn't come at a better time for me. Martin Luther is his latest book. The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World. Tell me how he's relatable today.

ERIC: Oh. This is the funny thing. I take kind of a perverse pride in going into these book projects, pretty darn ignorant. And I have friends, the guys I dedicated the book to, Marcus Speaker (phonetic) and my buddy Greg Thornbury, the president of The King's College in New York City was explaining to me -- because he's a theologian -- why I need to write the book, because Luther is significant in all these ways.

And the more I went into it, the more I thought, how do we not all know this? And it happens with every one of these books I write, how did I not know this?

Luther, what he did, exactly 500 years ago, opened the door to the future. I -- I titled the epilogue, where I kind of explain all this in the book, the man who discovered the future. Because this seminal moment, after 15 years of neglect in a way, that tradition -- the accretions of history and so on and so forth, had obscured the central issue, which is called the gospel. The free gift of Jesus, which makes us all be able to have a direct relationship to God. It doesn't need to be through an institution or whatever.

It's exactly what Whitfield was preaching, you know, 200 years later, which created America. Without that, you don't have anything like freedom, the freedom of the individual to stand against the state.

GLENN: It's crazy. Last week or two weeks ago, we had two people in the media, one Meet the Press and the other on NBC that said, you know, your rights don't come from God. That's this. It's direct --

ERIC: Listen -- look, somebody interviewed me recently about what Margaret Feinstein said and whatever. Our leaders -- things are so bad that our leaders in the Senate, on the Senate level, do not understand the basics. It's like trying to write a book and you don't know the alphabet. They don't understand the concept of what freedom is. Where it comes from, that it comes from God.

That at the heart of freedom is religious liberties, this idea that I can think any dumb thought I want. And it's protected. God said you have a right to think your own thoughts.

I mean, it's so fundamental. But, as you know, for 40 or so years, we have not been teaching this in schools, so even our elite journalists and our senators don't understand the building blocks of how we have everything that we have.

And this issue of having a direct relationship to God, being all equal before God -- I mean, when Whitfield preached this throughout the 18th century, up and down the 13 colonies, it was a revolution. People thought, really?

You mean if the minister is preaching something that's not right, I have the right to go to another church or to object? Or if the magistrate or the governor or the king is behaving in a way that's not right, according to God, I have the right to protest or something? This was an earth-shattering thing. And it began for sure with Luther.

And as we know, freedom comes with a price, right? Freedom is not always good in the sense that you are now free to do the wrong thing, okay? You're free to start a crazy church. You're free to start the Church of Scientology. Not just a good Protestant Church. You're free to start loony stuff and cults. That's the price of freedom. But which of us would trade that freedom --

GLENN: You have 30 seconds.

ERIC: -- for the slavery of being under an institution, that's going to tell you the meaning of truth and you cannot dissent?

GLENN: I think more and more people are getting to that point to where they're willing to do that. They're willing to trade -- they take their freedoms so for granted, they don't even really understand it. They won't until they lose it, until they lose it.

The name of the book is Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World. Eric Metaxas, the best-selling author of Bonhoeffer. Always good to have you in, Eric.

ERIC: My joy. Thanks, Glenn. Appreciate it.

GLENN: God bless.

A Colorado mother of three, Erin Lee, said her 12-year-old daughter was recruited by teachers to attend an "art club" after school, only to find it was a GSA or Gay Straight Awareness/Alliance Club. Not only was the family misled about the purpose of the club, but a guest speaker — who told the middle school students that "if they're not fully comfortable in their bodies, that means they're transgender" — also encouraged the kids to keep secrets from their parents.

Lee told Glenn Beck on the radio program Monday that her "shy, vulnerable, barely 12-year-old daughter" had just moved to Wellington Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado, when she was invited by her art and home room teachers to attend an "art club" after school.

"She texted us [and] we gave her permission for art club," Lee said of her daughter. "When she got there, it was actually GSA, or Gender and Sexuality Awareness or Alliance Club. The teacher had invited in a completely unqualified outside presenter who did unthinkable things with the children. I'll give you the CliffsNotes version. She told them, 'what you hear in here, keep in here.' She used flags to use defining words, telling them if they're not fully comfortable in their bodies, that means they're transgender. Then she would hand out the fags, and stickers, and bracelets, and other swag. She told them that 'queer' is a label for when they're still figuring out their sexuality.

She did the 'Genderbread person,' which explicitly asked kids who they're sexually attracted to, so 11, 12, 13-year-olds with peers and adults in the room, talking about their sexuality. She handed out her personal contact information and invited them to connect on teen chat platforms, like WhatsApp and Discord, where she knows that parents are not monitoring the conversation. She told them that families may not be safe, and it's okay to lie about where they are. And in fact, the art teacher, as my daughter was leaving the room that day, pulled her aside and said, 'remember, you don't have to tell your mom.'"

The outside presenter, Kimberly Chambers, is the director of SPLASH Youth of Northern Colorado, an organization that targets children as young as 5 years old, as indicated on its own website. Chambers is a paid employee of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment with access to children’s information, according to a Parents Defending Education incident report.

Lee went on to say that, after learning from her daughter what happened, she and her husband contacted the school principal, who confirmed that the meeting was, in fact, held in secret and they are always held in secret because as a public school they have to offer children a "safe space." Lee then turned to the school board, but said she was ignored "for months." Finally, she was able to meet with board member Kristen Draper, who turned out to be a close friend and "strong ally" to Chambers. Draper also volunteers for an arm of SPLASH called SKITTLES.

"FOIA emails showed that [the school] immediately colluded when I objected to what happened," Lee told Glenn. "They immediately colluded with the school board to keep me quiet. They referenced parents who find out as 'barriers' that the school board has removed. They talked about sending social services into my home because I didn't like what they did with my child," she continued.

"My daughter had never expressed gender dysphoria before. She never expressed that she'd had any trouble at home. They never spoke to me. I never spoke to any of the people that did these things before they decided to talk about calling CPS ... In the state of Colorado, if my child had said to the CPS that I wasn't affirming her transgender identity, I firmly believe they would have removed her from the home. And the people knew this when they suggested that CPS come to our home to remove our child," Lee warned. "Colorado is off the rails in particular, but this is happening everywhere."

Watch the video clip below for more details:

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The House approved a new aid package for Ukraine of nearly $40 billion, which will increase the total U.S. funding for Ukraine's war efforts to a whopping $58 BILLION since March, if the package passes in the Senate. Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before Congress that the Biden administration is considering diverting resources away from an already-struggling VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) to deal with the border crisis.

"I am not making this up -- this will [make] your head explode," Glenn Beck said in the radio program Thursday. "They are going to divert costs; the Biden administration is taking money from the VA. Now already, our veterans get seconds, and we are [considering] diverting VA funding, and doctors, and nurses, away from our vets and to the migrants at the border, so we can take money that we don't have, $58 billion, and send it to Ukraine. What the hell is wrong with us?"

"Now, some Republican lawmakers are attempting to fight this," he added. "But, most people haven't even heard of this. This is how the atrocities at the border go unchecked. Biden sweeps it all under a rug. The mainstream media covers it up. And, meanwhile, people suffer and die. And in this case, it's not only the people on the border, but it is also our veterans in VA hospitals."

Glenn went on to detail the unreported deadly consequences of Biden’s border policies which have led to enough fentanyl to kill millions of Americans pouring across the border and terrorists having found easy paths into our country.

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Corruption, greed, and death. This is what the Left’s border policy is REALLY about, not the humanitarian effort they claim it is.

On tonight's episode of "Glenn TV," Glenn Beck exposes the groups benefitting from the border chaos under the Biden administration. A leftist money supply flows to NGOs on the border that are now taking the roles that the government should be filling with immigration and helping immigrants to flood into the U.S. Glenn asks: Why is the U.N. funding the flow of migrants to our border and subverting Congress? Why are former Biden staffers working for “non-profits” that are now getting exclusive, HIGHLY irregular multimillion-dollar border contracts? Worse than that, the consequences of Biden’s border policy have now turned deadly. National Guard members at the border are dying, fentanyl from China pours across the border, and terrorists have found an easy path to enter our country.

Finally, Glenn asks Texas Rep. Chip Roy if it’s time to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas for his negligence that is costing American lives.

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To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

I can no longer relate to the modern pro-choice woman. I don’t want to shout my abortion. I want to pretend it never happened. Up until the SCOTUS leak, I had done a pretty good job of burying my 20-year secret. But the Roe v. Wade information earthquake triggered an eruption. I can no longer pretend to be ambivalent or leave it to blue-check pro-lifers to speak for me. My days of repeating the “safe, legal, and rare” mantra like a good, GenX libertarian feminist are over.

Some pro-abortion activists call their life-ending procedure “self-care,” like they just booked a hot stone massage or a facial at a spa. This is a polite euphemism many women tell themselves – not because we are cold-blooded killers, but because it’s how we survive. We HAVE to lie in order to justify what is actually taking place. Denial is a protective coating, a barrier from the truth. Remember, any woman born after Roe v. Wade has been programmed to believe that abortion is a natural-born right. “It’s legal; therefore it must not be evil. This is a medical procedure. Women do it every day.” Planned Parenthood has a nice way of describing abortion on its website: “A doctor uses a combination of medical tools and a suction device to gently take the pregnancy tissue out of your uterus.” “Gently take the tissue out.” Benign euphemisms that wrap our hearts and minds in a suffocating cocoon. Benign euphemisms to keep us in line.

I was raised in the Bible Belt and to believe that sex before marriage was the gravest of sins. You’d be better off robbing a store by pistol than to be caught fornicating with a boy. And yet I did fornicate with a boy. No boy I’d ever be proud to bring around to my parents. I never gave him the option to talk me out of it. I just demanded he pay half for the procedure and never speak of it again. I told myself it would be easier to survive the hidden shame of the abortion than wear the shame of my sin on my belly for the next nine months.

...the pill I took made an ugly, painful mess, and it didn’t finish the job.

I took the so-called “easy” way out at six weeks along and swallowed a pill I got from some abortionist who gave me the creeps. He was no medical saint like the one portrayed in “The Cider House Rules,” nobly saving women from coat-hanger abortions. The doctor in my story made a quick buck at the expense of terrified “good girls.” Years later I would learn he kept aborted fetuses in buckets and was under investigation for shady medical practices. I couldn’t leave his clinic fast enough, but at least I wouldn’t have to miss work or skip my college classes. I could finish my degree and still make my parents proud. How convenient. But the pill I took made an ugly, painful mess, and it didn’t finish the job. Now I had to see a real obstetrician, get an ultrasound, and deal with the aftermath.

This doctor’s office was nicer. It had bright lights and pink walls. Although my doctor was professional, I still felt the quiet judgment in her voice. I refused to look at the image of my tortured fetus on the screen. I knew what it would mean if I did – my feminist career ambitions would lose the battle to my soul if I looked at that baby. The doctor told me the fetus was still viable but likely mentally damaged. The “kinder” thing to do would be to finish the job at an in-clinic abortion. End the fetus’ suffering and end my own self-torture. I woke up from anesthesia to learn the abortion was complete. It’s over so quickly, but the internal conflict hangs. And hangs.

You find weird ways to cope. Not long after, I discovered an abandoned robin’s egg, still perfectly intact. I wrapped it in a sock and carried it with me for over a decade. If I couldn’t do right by my own child, maybe I could keep this unhatched egg safe. Eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact that the bird egg was dead, and I got therapy. He was a good New York psychologist. Secular, liberal, tolerant. He helped me to forgive myself, but I always knew who I really needed to ask for forgiveness …

It’s easy for a young woman with all those stockpiled eggs in her ovaries to be pro-choice. She can toss away the miracle of life like a rotten banana or a bruised apple because it is easily replaced. It wasn’t until I was forced to confront the mortality of my own fertility that I felt the full force of my regret.

But I do not write this letter to achieve redemption or to be the new face of the pro-life movement. You will not see me pleading with women outside an abortion clinic. You will not see me protesting with a cutesy, homemade sign at the March for Life. You will not see me sparring on Twitter, confronting baby-killers with cold, hard facts. For now, you will not even know my name. I suppose this is not very brave, but my story is not complete and God’s work in me is in an active state. Mine is a modest mission: Maybe if I’m honest about my own wounds, I can help other women like me to heal. Maybe I can love the terrified, knocked-up woman in the Bible Belt who believes the best worst lies our society has ever told, better than any conservative talk show host ever could.

The SCOTUS leak ripped a band-aid off a festering 50-year-old wound.

The SCOTUS leak ripped a band-aid off a festering 50-year-old wound. It’s naive to think we will fix this mess for the unborn overnight and deprogram men and women plugged into 50 years of slick, well-packaged lies. Slavery was legal in the U.S. for over 200 years before we fought a war to end it. And it was another 100 years before we ended state-sanctioned racism.

When it comes to the issue of defending innocent life, I know it’s hard to be patient. This is a clear battle of good vs. evil for many on the right, but you need allies like me – the former “safe, legal, and rare” pro-choicers who are afraid to come out of the shadows. Afraid to become a political prop in the culture wars, but willing to do the quiet missionary work in our back yards.

I hope for the day future progressives look back in horror at today’s progressives fighting to keep abortion on demand. I hope for the day the New York Times publishes the pro-life version of the 1619 Project. Maybe they’ll call it the “1973 Project,” “whose mission is to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of abortion and the contribution of the pro-life movement at the very center of our national narrative.”

Until that day, I want to help these women to be braver than me. To see beyond their impossible tomorrow. If I had allowed someone the chance to help me be brave, I might not have had the same successful career, but I would have a 20-year-old son or daughter in whom to invest this unexplained overflow in my heart.