The Revolt of Martin Luther

By Robert Herndon Fife | Go to book overview
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CONCLUSION

LUTHER had come victorious from his ordeal at Worms -- victorious through his own resolute adherence to his convictions, through the aid also of circumstances and the loyalty of friends and supporters. A long road still lay ahead. His weaknesses were manifest: intransigency in theological views, proneness to vehemence, narrowness of social concepts. These were to lead to intolerance of sectarian movements, pitiless harshness toward the peasants, incredibly poor judgment in the matter of Philip of Hesse. But Luther also had qualities to offset these: sincere desire for the truth, courage, determination, power of organization, an outstanding gift for identifying himself with the language and thought of the simple man. These were the qualities that permitted him to carry through what he had begun. And whatever the judgment of friend or foe, such was the power of his personality that despite the many factors which aided him in making reform possible at this time, Protestantism must forever bear the impress of his hand as the molding force which brought the existing potentialities into being and gave them their characteristic form.

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