Duke George regularly attended the debates in his castle hall. He was very interested in the theological discussion. But, not being a student of the Word and seeing no political advantage to siding against the papacy, following the Leipzig debate Duke George became Luther’s enemy. For the most part, the cities and towns, along with their universities and monasteries, in Duke George’s realms were against the Reformers.
There were some honest, seekers for truth within their ranks, however. Doctor Eck’s secretary, Poliander, was won over to the Reformation by the clear light of truth shining from the Bible. Soon afterward, Poliander preached the Gospel in Leipzig. A professor of Hebrew at the University of Leipzig was a fiery opponent of the Luther’s teachings until the debate at Leipzig. His name was John Cellarius. After attending the debates however, his conscience was pricked and he, like the noble Bereans (Acts 17:11) searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Luther taught was actually true. He found it was. He left the University of Leipzig and became a student of Luther’s in Wittenberg! Later he became a Gospel minister and carried the Word of God to people who were hungering for it.
Among the converts was a young prince, only 12 years old. He was a keen student and loved the truth. The church offered to make him a bishop, but he turned down the offer. He collected all of Luther’s writings. In adulthood, he himself, preached the Gospel to his subjects. His concern was their eternal salvation.
Leipzig’s Empty Classrooms
On top of all this, students left the University of Leipzig in droves and enrolled at the University of Wittenberg. The number of students at the University of Wittenberg doubled what it had been.
It was at Leipzig, too, that Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s friend, committed himself to the Reformation and Bible doctrines. Until this time, his greatest interest had been books, not the Book of books. After the Leipzig debate, Melanchthon became a defender of the truth and devoted himself to studying God’s Word.
Finally, Luther himself was affected by the debate at Leipzig. It was there that his heart pulled away from the Catholic Church once and for all. He seemed to see even more clearly than before the errors that were part of that system. “Oh, what thick darkness!” he cried.