George Major, whose full name was Georg Major, was a prominent German theologian and reformer of the 16th century. He was born on September 25, 1502, in Nuremberg, Holy Roman Empire (present-day Germany).
Major studied at the University of Wittenberg, where he became a student of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, two key figures in the Protestant Reformation. Major embraced the teachings of Luther and became deeply involved in the reform movement. He became known for his expertise in theological matters and his commitment to promoting Luther’s ideas.
Major’s theological contributions were significant. He played a crucial role in developing and defending the theological positions of the Lutheran Reformation. He was particularly involved in the debates surrounding the doctrine of justification by faith alone, which was a central tenet of Lutheranism. Major emphasized the primacy of faith and grace in the process of salvation and argued against the Catholic Church’s teachings on works-based righteousness.
In 1524, Major was ordained as a priest and began his career as a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg. He lectured on various theological subjects and became known for his rigorous and systematic approach to teaching. Major’s influence extended beyond the academic realm, as he also actively participated in the practical aspects of church reform.
Major was involved in several important theological controversies of his time. He engaged in debates with theologians who held different views, including Andreas Osiander and Johannes Brenz, among others. Major’s theological expertise and sharp arguments made him a respected voice in the religious discussions of the era.
In addition to his academic and theological pursuits, Major also contributed to the development of educational reforms. He advocated for improved schooling and the establishment of educational institutions that would uphold Lutheran teachings. Major recognized the importance of education in nurturing a well-informed and spiritually grounded society.
George Major passed away on November 28, 1574, in Wittenberg. His theological writings and teachings played a significant role in shaping Lutheran thought and the Protestant Reformation. Major’s emphasis on justification by faith and his commitment to the authority of Scripture contributed to the formation of Lutheran doctrine. His legacy as a theologian, educator, and reformer continues to be recognized and appreciated within the context of the Reformation and its enduring impact on Christianity.