Martin Luther is best known as the father of the Protestant Reformation. Born into a peasant family in Eisleben, Germany, Luther sought to better himself by becoming a scholar. However, at the age of twenty he suffered a deep anxiety about his own salvation and entered an Augustinian monastery to soothe his religious conscience. Soon afterward he felt called into the priesthood and was ordained in 1507. While serving as a professor of biblical literature at Wittenberg in 1512, he lectured on Paul's letter to the Romans, an exercise that shaped his theological thinking—especially concerning salvation. In 1517 he composed the famous ninety-five theses and nailed them on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, registering his complaints with the Roman Catholic church and providing the impetus for the Protestant Reformation.
Luther was not only a brilliant theologian but also a man of deep piety. He was deeply influenced by the writings of St. Augustine and Bernard of Clairvaux. Luther's faith was lively, earthy, and practical; his logic was powerful; and his leadership skill unparalleled. He is considered one of the most influential men in the history of the Church.