Episode 12 – The Leipzig Debate

Turning Point

John Eck and Martin Luther met for a debate in Leipzig in 1519. This debate was a major turning point for the Reformation. This debate pushed Luther beyond the question of reforming indulgences towards the question of authority in the church.

John Eck was a scholastic theologian teaching at Inglostadt. Martin Luther was a professor from Wittenberg. These two men meet for the rumble in Leipzig. Two men enter, one man leaves (actually both left alive, MMA was not in play at this time).

In the fall of 1518, Cardinal Cajetan had his fatherly talk with Luther. Luther refused to recant or return to Rome for trial. Then Karl von Miltitz visited Luther, and Miltitz made a deal with him. Luther would remain quiet as long as his adversaries remained quiet, which brings us to this podcast episode of Grace on Tap.

John Eck corresponded with Luther through a document titled, Obelisks. After Eck released the Obelisks, Luther replied with something called Asterisks. These two terms refer to different type of margin notes that people would put in their books to mark areas of interest. Andreas Karlstadt didn’t want to be left out of the party. He also responded with The 370 Theses.

So let’s get ready to rumble.

On June 24, 1519, the Wittenbergers arrived in Leipzig. There was a pause at the entrance to the city because there were questions about whether their passports would be received. The fact that the Wittenberg delegation arrived as a raucous group of students and professors might have given the city some worry about their ability to keep the peace.

The debate became a turning point in the Reformation because Eck was able to draw Martin Luther into a debate on the question of papal authority. This debate publicly pushed Luther beyond the indulgence controversy, which was seen by many as a suitable topic for reform.

The Leipzig Disputation – 1519 – Carl Lessing

Listen to this podcast and discover how the Leipzig debate helped focus the discussion on authority in the church, the Word of God or the pope.

Beer Break

Our featured beer in this episode is The Live Wire from the ROAK. This is an American IPA from a brewery in Royal Oak, Michigan. It is a juicy beer with classic hoppy bitterness and little malt sweetness.

Thanks

  • Thanks to Josh Yagley for his sound engineering
  • Thanks to the people at St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI who provide us the encouragement and support to continue recording these podcast episodes

Recognition of source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  • WHT Dau – The Leipzig Debate in 1519
  • Sean Doherty – “Theology and Economic Ethics: Martin Luther and Arthur Rich in Dialogue”
  • Encyclopedia Britannica

Contact us

Come on out to our upcoming Road Trip in Clinton Twp on June 7. Details can be found on our Facebook page.

This post has been updated with an audio file that starts at the beginning.

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