Luther and Reformatory Ideas: Schooling and Education

Luther believed that something happens to a person every time they believe in the forgiveness of sin and redemption through Christ. The individual is transformed by the triumph of the love of God and one’s fellow human beings over egoism.

This did not mean that Luther believed that human nature could be changed at a single blow. Rather, he saw the necessary education of the Christian as a constant process. It was therefore necessary for the individual to hear and learn the content of the gospel again and again. It was, of course, the responsibility of the church to ensure that everyone could hear the word of God. The preaching of the pastor was to be reinforced by daily teaching of the catechism at home and in school. The ideal of teaching Christianity to everyone was a direct extension of Luther’s ideas that the individual could only be saved by faith not deeds. This was the basis for the major role education played as a key aspect of the Reformation.

Luther himself wrote the Small Catechism and Large Catechism. The latter in particular was widely disseminated as the epitome of Christian basics. His close friend and assistant Philip Melanchthon developed the educational materials used for teaching in schools and universities. Melanchthon became known as praeceptor Germaniae - ’Germany’s master teacher’.