Home > Commemorations/Sanctoral Cycle of the Church Year > Commemoration of Johann Staupitz, Luther’s Father Confessor

Commemoration of Johann Staupitz, Luther’s Father Confessor

November 8th, 2013
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staupitzJohann von Staupitz (ca. 1469–1524), was vicar-general of the Augustinian Order in Germany and friend of Martin Luther, was born in Saxony. He studied at the universities in Leipzig and Cologne and served on the faculty at Cologne. In 1503 he was called by Frederick the Wise to serve as dean of the theological faculty at the newly founded University of Wittenberg. There he encouraged Luther to attain a doctorate in theology and appointed Luther as his successor to professor of Bible. During Luther’s early struggles to understand God’s grace, it was Staupitz who counseled Luther to focus on Christ and not on himself.

Was Staupitz ever “converted” to Luther’s views? It is debatable. His last letter to Luther that we have, from 1524, laments the disunity of the Church brought about by the Reformation. On the other hand, his books on predestination, faith, and love were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books. So, his personal beliefs and convictions remain somewhat unclear, though there is no doubt that he was supportive of Luther’s general emphases and shared many of Luther’s concerns about the state of the Church.

Staupitz “motto verse” from the Scriptures was Psalm “I am yours, save me.” (Psalm 119:94), a text he shared and pressed on Luther when the young monk was despairing of God’s grace.


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  1. Terry Maher (Past Elder)
    November 8th, 2010 at 20:44 | #1

    An absolutely fascinating figure. My read, which could be entirely wrong, is that he struggled to find, and did not find, a reconciliation between right teaching and the visible unity of the church.

    I might add, two years before his death he became a Benedictine, becoming abbot of Stift Sankt Peter, in Salzburg, to which I might also add many Salzburg professors were from Kloster Metten, to which my abbey and university traces its roots (via a hell of a lot of money from Ludwig I centuries later to come to Minnesota!)

  2. Richard
    November 8th, 2011 at 14:10 | #2

    Speaking of Luther, I heard a particularly fine sermon on Luther’s love of music, given by Dr. Al Mohler; you can find the sermon here: “Satan Cannot Sing: Martin Luther’s Celebration of the Gospel in Christina Hymn” for 10/31/2011. Worth a listen.

  3. November 8th, 2012 at 10:01 | #3

    Interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Leslie McConachie
    November 11th, 2013 at 08:21 | #4

    Where can the sermon be found? @Richard

  5. November 12th, 2013 at 08:48 | #5

    Pastor McCain,

    Do you know of Lutheran scholar’s who have looked very closely at Staupitz’s work? The Issues ETC interview the other day with Dr. Posset raised all kinds of questions for me. I just did a post on it at my blog theology like a child, but if you go here, you can see what Schaff said about Staupitz, which is quite different from what Posset said:

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc7.ii.ii.viii.html

    +Nathan

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