Beginning at 11 PM EST, will undergo routine maintenance. During this time, the website will be unavailable. The site will be back up at 6 AM EST. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Martin Luther’s Visit to Rome

from Oct 20, 2018 Category: Ligonier Resources

Martin Luther’s visit to Rome was one of the most disappointing episodes of his entire life. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul takes us back to Luther’s moment of crisis on the “sacred steps.”

This Reformation Month, watch a short video every day on the history and insights of the Protestant Reformation. And don’t forget that for a donation of any amount this month only, you can also receive a copy of Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer, a documentary featuring interviews with R.C. Sproul and several Ligonier Teaching Fellows, on DVD. Offer ends 10/31/18.


500 years ago an obscure Augustinian monk from the monastery in Erfurt Germany had a crisis experience on this very spot. This is right across the street from the St. John Lateran Church and this portion of the building houses the Scala Sancta, that is the sacred steps which were part of the journey that Jesus made during his interrogation and trial under Pontius Pilate. Now in 1511, when Luther came here, like all the rest of the pilgrims, he had to ascend the staircase on his knees until he got to the top of the stairs. And in a wave of doubt, he stood up and said aloud, ‘who knows if it is true?’ Luther’s visit to Rome was one of the most disappointing episodes of his entire life. He was overwhelmed by the obvious presence of corruption among the clergy here in the city, and all the attempts that he had made to find peace with God through his work in the monastery were dashed in the smithereens with the disillusionment that the experienced here.