Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.

What powerful words of conviction! These are the words spoken by Martin Luther when he was standing in front of the Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 and was asked to renounce his views on the Catholic church and its practices. Luther gave a magnificent defence of his ideas. To read his full speech, go to this website: But here is the last part of his famous reply:

“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”


Recognised widely as one of the 10 speeches that changed the world, Luther’s words confirmed the schism in Western Christianity that was sparked off when he nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the University of Wittenberg. The history of Europe, and indeed the world, has never been the same again…

I’ve always been fascinated by the history of the Reformation and the world that it encapsulated, namely 16th and 17th century Europe. This was the age of Henry VIII, Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I, Charles V, Philip II, Erasmus, Calvin, Mary Queen of Scots, Zwingli; all giants in their own right! The reason my interest in this period was aroused (again!) is because I just bought a wonderfully-written book called ‘Reformation: Europe’s House Divided’ by Diarmaid Macculloch. It’s been keeping me up nights! =)

The other book I’ve been searching high and low for is Barbara Tuchman’s ‘Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century’. She is also one of my favourite historians and she writes history beautifully…I now commission myself that one of my goals in life would be to write a history book like them and win the Pulitzer or Wolfson Prize like them! =P


~ by irwin on December 4, 2008.

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