In lecture nine, Dr. Trueman discusses the third treatise of Luther, “The Appeal to the German Nobility.” Here Luther answers the question regarding what a reformed church should look like. The Roman Catholic Church had appropriated powers that we would consider the purview of the state. Luther believed the church-state relationship needed to be reworked, and he had hopes that his ideas for reform would be adopted. But by 1520, the prospects of this ever happening looked bleak.
At the same time, Luther’s appeal was growing among peasants and nobility alike. In the midst of these turbulent events, Emperor Maximillian dies, Charles V takes his place, the Pope issues the infamous Papal Bull of excommunication “Exurge Domine,” and Luther enjoys the acclaim of a local hero in Electoral Saxony.
Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod. (Pope Leo X, Papal Bull condemning Martin Luther, Exsurge Domine, June 15, 1520)