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Martin Luther - Courage and Conviction by Brandon and Mindy Withrow

Martin Luther - Courage and Conviction by Brandon and Mindy Withrow

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A selection on Martin Luther from Courage and Conviction - Volume 3: Chronicles of the Reformation Church by Brandon and Mindy Withrow (CF4K, 2009).
A selection on Martin Luther from Courage and Conviction - Volume 3: Chronicles of the Reformation Church by Brandon and Mindy Withrow (CF4K, 2009).

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Published by: Christian Focus Publications on Oct 31, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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33
Martin Luther: A consciencecaptive to the Word of God
MAY 1521. GERMANY, ON THE ROAD TO ERFURT.THE WOODS FADED into darkness as the sundisappeared behind the trees. Soon only moonlightilluminated the forest path, the nighttime shadowsmimicking the shapes of unnatural beasts. A lightwind skittered through the trees. The night was quietexcept for the snapping of twigs under horses’ hoovesand the rhythmic squeaking of wagon wheels.The occupants of the wagon rode in silence.Traveling through the woods at night was dangerous— especially if your cargo was a convicted heretic.In the wagon bed, the heretic sat with his eyes closed, tryingto rest. He hadn’t slept in days, and with the wagon bouncing as itwas, it was obvious he wouldn’t be sleeping tonight either. A chillygust of night air made him shiver. He bundled up some of his booksin his cloak, hoping to block the wind.He jumped when a screeching cry and a fluttering of wings barreled through the branches above the trail. “What was that,Amsdorf?” he said in a loud whisper.
Courage and Conviction reprint2009.indd 33
Courage and Conviction reprint2009.indd 33
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03/09/2009 11:46:23
 
34Courage and Conviction
“It was the devil coming for you, heretic,” growled Amsdorf from the corner of the wagon, where he was serving as sentry.A third man shook his head. “It was just a hawk,” saidPetzensteiner, shifting on the rough wooden planks. “And no moretalking. Voices carry in the woods at night.The heretic settled back into his corner and pulled his hoodover his face, feeling his heart rate slow as his eyes grew heavy. Hewas drifting into uncomfortable sleep when he heard the rush of hoofbeats and the shouts of riders.The carriage jerked to a sudden halt, throwing the hereticforward and shaking him awake. In the moonlight he could justmake out that they had stopped in a clearing next to the ruins of atiny chapel. Dark figures on horses surrounded the wagon.“Where is the heretic?” shouted one of the riders.The heretic shrank back in the corner. Amsdorf unsheathed hisknife.“I said, where is Martin Luther?” the hooded rider demandedagain. His band of horsemen closed in on the wagon, and now theycould see a dozen crossbows pointed at their heads.The wagon driver wrenched around in his seat. “There! That’shim!” he cried, pointing a shaking finger at the man behind him.The heretic drew himself to his feet in the wagon. “I am MartinLuther. And you, sir, are in danger for stopping this transport, as Ihave been guaranteed safe passage by the emperor.”“There has been a change of plans,” replied the horseman. “Wewill take you the rest of the way.”“My friends are armed,” Martin warned.“I see the little knife this one is clutching,” he said with a laugh.“Perhaps your friend thinks his dagger is faster than a crossbow?”He turned on his horse. “Grab the heretic and his condemned books!” he ordered his men.With bows pointed at their chests, Amsdorf and Petzensteinercould only watch as the horsemen plucked Martin from the wagon.
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Courage and Conviction reprint2009.indd 34
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35History Lives
Martin kicked and shouted as they tied up his legs and arms. Theyshoved a hood over his head and hoisted him onto a horse.In moments the woods were quiet again. Martin’s friends wereleft staring at each other.“Get this wagon moving!” Petzensteiner shouted to the driver.“Take us to the closest village so we can form a search party.”Martin bounced on the back of the horse for hours. Theycrossed open fields, splashed through streams, and tore throughforests. Finally, they stopped. Martin could hear the chains of adrawbridge lowering and the clatter of cobblestones as his horsecrossed to the other side. By then, Martin was so sore that he slidto the ground as soon as they untied his legs.“Get up, heretic. We’re not carrying you up those stairs!” hiscaptors declared.At the top of the stairs, Martin’s hood was removed. After thedarkness of the shroud, he blinked in the light of a single candle. Ittook a moment for his eyes to refocus. He recognized the amusedface staring back at him.“Hans von Berlepsch? Is that you?”Hans chuckled. “Welcome to Wartburg Castle, Herr Luther. Iam so pleased this good knight could deliver you safely.”“Glad to be of service, Herr von Berlepsch,” said the knightwith a bow.“He could have done it less painfully!” said Martin, rubbing hisshoulder. “Does the elector know I’m here?”“Elector Frederick knows you’re safe, but not that you’re righthere in his own castle,” explained Hans. “He had to be believablewhen he told the pope’s legate, Aleandro, that he had no ideawhere you were.”“Spalatin wouldn’t even tell
me
where I was going,” saidMartin.Hans shrugged. “It was for your own protection. After your safepassage by the emperor expires, you will be facing any number of 
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Courage and Conviction reprint2009.indd 35
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03/09/2009 11:46:23

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