Lazarus Ratschriber Spengler was the brother of Jordan’s 15th great-grandfather (which makes him the 15th great uncle) He played a somewhat a small role during the time of the Reformation.
Born: March 13, 1479, Nürnberg, Germany.
Died: September 7, 1534, Nürnberg, Germany.
Lazarus was the 9th of 21 children of Georg and Agnes Spengler; his father was a clerk in the Imperial Court of Justice. Lazarus entered the University of Leipzig in 1491, but on the death of his father in December 1496, returned to Nürnberg, obtained a position in the town clerk’s office, and in 1507 himself became the town clerk (Raths Syndikus).
He met Martin Luther in 1518, when Luther passed through Nuremberg. Spengler became an ardent supporter, publishing Schutzred supporting Luther in 1519. He was active in reforming the church in Nuremberg, which drew unfavorable attention from religious conservatives. Spengler was one of Luther’s supporters mentioned by name in Pope Leo X target=”blank”‘s bull Exsurge Domine target=”blank”, issued on June 15, 1520, threatening to excommunicate target=”blank” Luther and his followers if they did not submit to the pope. With the support of the Nuremberg town council, Spengler refused to submit to the pope, and was subsequently excommunicated along with Luther by the pope on January 3, 1521, by the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem. In April 1521, Nuremberg sent Spengler as a delegate to the Diet of Worms.
He was largely responsible for the design of the Luther rose ( The Luther seal or Luther rose is a widely recognized symbol for Lutheranism. It was the seal that was designed for Martin Luther at the bequest of John Frederick of Saxony in 1530, while Luther was staying at the Coburg Fortress during the Diet of Augsburg.)
The Luther Rose
Letter from Martin Luther to Lazarus Spengler, Coburg, July 8, 1530
Grace and peace in Christ!
Honorable, kind, dear Sir and Friend! Since you ask whether my seal has come out correctly, I shall answer most amiably and tell you of those thoughts which (now) come to my mind about my seal as a symbol of my theology.There is first to be a cross, black (and placed) in a heart, which should be of its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For if one
believes from the heart he will be justified. Even though it is a black cross, (which) also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its (natural) color (and) does not ruin nature; that is, (the cross) does not kill but keeps (man) alive. For the just man lives by faith,
but by faith in the Crucified One. Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace; in a word it places the believer into a white joyful rose; for (this faith) does not give peace and joy as the world gives and, therefore, the rose is to be in a sky – blue field, (symbolizing) that such joy in the Spirit
and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy; it is already a part (of faith), and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifested. And around this field is a golden ring, (symbolizing) that in heaven such blessedness lasts forever and has no end, and in addition is precious beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most
valuable and precious metal.
May Christ, our dear Lord, be with your spirit until the life to come.
Lazarus Spengler is also remembered as the author of several hymns, some of which remain in Lutheran hymn books to this day.
One of these, “Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt” (All Mankind Fell In Adam’s Fall), is quoted in the Book of Concord, the official Lutheran confession
ALL MANKIND FELL IN ADAM’S FALL
All mankind fell in Adam’s fall,
One common sin infects us all;
From sire to son the bane descends,
And over all the curse impends.
Thro’ all man’s powers corruption creeps
And him in dreadful bondage keeps;
In guilt he draws his infant breath
And reaps its fruits of woe and death.
From hearts depraved, to evil prone,
Flow thoughts and deeds of sin alone;
God’s image lost, the darkened soul
Nor seeks nor finds its heav’nly goal.
But Christ, the second Adam, came
To bear our sin and woe and shame,
To be our Life, our Light, our Way,
Our only Hope, our only Stay.
As by one man all mankind fell
And, born in sin, was doomed to hell,
So by one Man, who took our place,
We all received the gift of grace.
We thank Thee, Christ; new life is ours,
New light, new hope, new strength, new powers:
This grace our every way attend
Until we reach our journey’s end!