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.

Are your kids doing well in school? They might not be doing as well as you think.

A recent study found that the majority of parents in the US think their children are doing better in school than they actually are, and we largely have COVID to thank for that.

Due to the disastrous educational and social policies implemented during the COVID pandemic, millions of kids across the country are lagging and are struggling to catch up. They are further impeded by technology addiction, mental illness, and the school system, which is trying to mask just how bad things are. However, due to continued COVID-era policies like grade inflation, your kid's report card may not reflect the fallen educational standards since 2020.

Here are five facts that show the real state of America's youngest citizens. It's time to demand that schools abandon the harmful COVID-era policies that are failing to set our children up for success.

Gen Alpha is struggling to read

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Literacy is the foundation of education. Being able to read and write is paramount to learning, so when a young student struggles to gain literacy, it severely impacts the rest of their education. According to a 2021 report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP):

In 2019, some 35 percent of 4th-grade students and 34 percent of 8th-grade students performed at or above NAEP Proficient.

This means that 65 percent of 4th-graders and 66 percent of 8th-graders performed below NAEP proficient. As to be expected, the effects of this lack of literacy are still being felt. A 2024 report called the "Education Recovery Scorecard" created by Harvard and Stanford researchers found that in 17 states, students are more than a third of a grade level behind pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, in 14 states, students are more than a third of a grade level behind in reading specifically.

Grade inflation

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If you thought the U.S. dollar was the only thing suffering from inflation, you would unfortunately be mistaken. Grades are also being inflated, caused by more lenient grading practices that began during the pandemic and have yet to return to normal. While students undoubtedly love this practice at the momentafter all, who doesn't like an easy A?in the long run, it only makes their lives more difficult.

This practice has seen attendance and test scores drop while GPAs rise, making it more difficult for colleges to decide which students to accept, as more and more students have 4.0s. Students are also less prepared for the increased workload and stricter standards they will face when they start college. Overall, there has been a decline in preparedness among students, which will inevitably cause issues later in life.

Failure is no longer an option (literally)

To mask just how ill-prepared students have become, some universities have decided to double down on their grading system. Some schools, like Oregon University, have decided that they will no longer give students failing grades. Instead, if a student fails a class, they will simply receive no grade, thus keeping their academic record blemish-freebecause heaven forbid a student should face the consequences of their own actions.

These universities are doing a real disservice to an entire generation of students. To cover up their failures, they are waving students through their programs, failing to prepare them for the world they will face.

Addiction to tech

Tech addiction has been a concern for parents since before the pandemic, but unsurprisingly, the lockdowns only made it worse. A 2023 study showed that internet addiction in adolescents nearly doubled during the lockdowns when compared to pre-pandemic numbers. This doesn't come as a surprise. Forcing kids to stay inside for months with the internet as their sole connection to the outside world is the perfect recipe for addiction to tech.

Mental illness

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The mental health crisis has been growing across the world for decades now, but it took a turn for the worse during the pandemic. Both a study from Iceland and Australia recorded a decline in the mental health of their youth during the pandemic, and a study out of San Francisco measured physical changes to the brains of children that resembled the brains of people who suffered childhood trauma.

5 SURPRISING ways space tech is used in your daily life

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Is your vacuum cleaner from SPACE?

This week, Glenn is discussing his recent purchase of a Sputnik satellite, which has got many of us thinking about space and space technology. More specifically, we've been wondering how technology initially designed for use outside Earth's atmosphere impacted our lives down here on terra firma. The U.S. spent approximately $30 billion ($110 billion in today's money) between the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the Moon Landing in 1969. What do we have to show for it besides some moon rocks?

As it turns out, a LOT of tech originally developed for space missions has made its way into products that most people use every day. From memory foam to cordless vacuums here are 5 pieces of space tech that you use every day:

Cellphone camera

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Have you ever seen a photograph of an early camera, the big ones with the tripod and curtain, and wondered how we went from that to the tiny little cameras that fit inside your cellphone? Thank NASA for that brilliant innovation. When you are launching a spaceship or satellite out of the atmosphere, the space onboard comes at a premium. In order to make more room for other equipment, NASA wanted smaller, lighter cameras without compromising image quality, and the innovations made to accomplish this goal paved the way for the cameras in your phone.

Cordless vacuums and power tools

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When exploring the moon, NASA wanted astronauts to use a drill to collect samples from the lunar surface. The problem: the moon has a severe lack of electrical outlets to power the drills. NASA tasked Black & Decker with developing a battery-powered motor powerful enough to take chunks out of the moon. The resulting motor was later adapted to power cordless power tools and vacuums in households across America.

Infrared ear thermometer

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What do distant stars and planets have in common with your eardrum? Both have their temperature read by the same infrared technology. The thermometers that can be found in medicine cabinets and doctors' offices across the world can trace their origins back to the astronomers at NASA who came up with the idea to measure the temperature of distant objects by the infrared light they emit.

Grooved pavement

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This one may seem obvious, but sometimes you need a massively complicated problem to come up with simple solutions. During the Space Shuttle program, NASA had a big problem: hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is dangerous enough when you are going 70 miles an hour in your car, but when you're talking about a Space Shuttle landing at about 215 miles per hour, it's an entirely different animal. So what was NASA's space-age solution? Cutting grooves in the pavement to quickly divert water off the runway, a practice now common on many highways across the world.

Memory foam

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If you've ever slept on a memory foam mattress, it probably won't come as a shock to find out that the foam was created to cushion falls from orbit. Charles Yotes was an astronautical engineer who is credited with the invention of memory foam. Yotes developed the technology for the foam while working on the recovery system for the Apollo command module. The foam was originally designed to help cushion the astronauts and their equipment during their descent from space. Now, the space foam is used to create some of the most comfortable mattresses on Earth. Far out.

5 most HORRIFIC practices condoned by WPATH

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Whatever you know about the "trans movement" is only the tip of the iceberg.

In a recent Glenn TV special, Glenn delved into Michael Schellenberger's "WPATH files," a collection of leaked internal communications from within the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Glenn's research team got their hands on the WPATH files and compiled the highlights in Glenn's exclusive PDF guide which can be downloaded here. These documents reveal the appalling "standards" created and upheld by WPATH, which appear to be designed to allow radical progressive surgeons to perform bizarre, experimental, and mutilating surgeries on the dime of insurance companies rather than to protect the health and well-being of their patients. These disturbing procedures are justified in the name of "gender-affirming care" and are defended zealously as "life-saving" by the dogmatic surgeons who perform them.

The communications leaked by Schellenberger reveal one horrific procedure after another committed in the name of and defended by radical gender ideology and WPATH fanatics. Here are five of the most horrifying practices condoned by WPATH members:

1.Trans surgeries on minors as young as 14

One particular conversation was initiated by a doctor asking for advice on performing irreversible male-to-female surgery on a 14-year-old boy's genitals. WPATH doctors chimed in encouraging the surgery. One doctor, Dr. McGinn, confessed that he had performed 20 such surgeries on minors over the last 17 years!

2.Amputation of healthy, normal limbs

BIID, or Body Integrity Identity Disorder, is an “extremely rare phenomenon of persons who desire the amputation of one or more healthy limbs or who desire a paralysis.” As you might suspect, some WPATH members are in favor of enabling this destructive behavior. One WPATH commenter suggested that people suffering from BIID received "hostile" treatment from the medical community, many of whom would recommend psychiatric care over amputation. Apparently, telling people not to chop off perfectly healthy limbs is now considered "violence."

3.Trans surgeries on patients with severe mental illnesses

WPATH claims to operate off of a principle known as "informed consent," which requires doctors to inform patients of the risks associated with a procedure. It also requires patients be in a clear state of mind to comprehend those risks. However, this rule is taken very lightly among many WPATH members. When one of the so-called "gender experts" asked about the ethicality of giving hormones to a patient already diagnosed with several major mental illnesses, they were met with a tidal wave of backlash from their "enlightened" colleges.

4.Non-standard procedures, such as “nullification” and other experimental, abominable surgeries

If you have never heard of "nullification" until now, consider yourself lucky. Nullification is the removal of all genitals, intending to create a sort of genderless person, or a eunuch. But that's just the beginning. Some WPATH doctors admitted in these chatlogs that they weren't afraid to get... creative. They seemed willing to create "custom" genitals for these people that combine elements of the two natural options.

5.Experimental, untested, un-researched, use of carcinogenic drugs 

Finasteride is a drug used to treat BPH, a prostate condition, and is known to increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer as well as breast cancer. Why is this relevant? When a WPATH doctor asked if anyone had used Finasteride "to prevent bottom growth," which refers to the healthy development of genitals during puberty. The answer from the community was, "That's a neat idea, someone should give it a go."

If your state isn’t on this list, it begs the question... why?

The 2020 election exposed a wide range of questionable practices, much of which Glenn covered in a recent TV special. A particularly sinister practice is the use of private money to fund the election. This money came from a slew of partisan private sources, including Mark Zuckerberg, entailed a host of caveats and conditions and were targeted at big city election offices— predominantly democratic areas. The intention is clear: this private money was being used to target Democrat voters and to facilitate their election process over their Republican counterparts.

The use of private funds poses a major flaw in the integrity of our election, one which many states recognized and corrected after the 2020 election. This begs the question: why haven't all states banned private funding in elections? Why do they need private funding? Why don't they care about the strings attached?

Below is the list of all 28 states that have banned private funding in elections. If you don't see your state on this list, it's time to call your state's election board and demand reform.

Alabama

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Arizona

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Arkansas

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Florida

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Georgia

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Idaho

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Indiana

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Iowa

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Kansas

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Kentucky

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Louisiana

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Mississippi

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Missouri

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Montana

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Nebraska

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North Carolina

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North Dakota

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Ohio

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Oklahoma

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Pennsylvania

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South Carolina

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South Dakota

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Tennessee

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Texas

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Utah

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Virginia

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West Virginia

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Wisconsin

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