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95 Theses



Martin Luther's teachings caused much division in the 16th century, but they were also the catalyst inspiring reform and change for the Lutheran and Protestant traditions. The leader of the Reformation, he saw it not only as revolt against ecclesiastical abuses but a plea for the Pope to affirm the Gospel, wherein lay the doctrine of justification of faith by faith alone. Luther served as priest for Wittenberg's City Church in 1514, at a time when many of his parishioners were going to neighbouring churches in order to purchase indulgences as a bypass of confession. This commerce in salvation was detestable to Luther, and there was also rumour that the Dominican monk, Johann Tetzel, could redeem the sins of the deceased by such trade as well. Luther preached against it, and in his famous 95 Theses (1517) he wrote to his superiors asking they put a stop to the sale of indulgences. If there is one representative symbol of the Reformation, it is from the legend of Luther nailing his Theses to the door of the Wittenberg church. It is certain Luther sent his Theses to area bishops and friends. It was not long before they were in circulation in nearby Leipzig, and Nuremberg and Basel. There was much discussion and controversy surrounding them, humanists and princes approving, the Roman Catholic church denouncing. Tetzel of course was vehemently opposed and accused Luther of heresy, in the order of Jan Hus (1369-1415, Czech priest and philosopher), threatening to burn him at the stake. Emperor Maximilian denounced Luther as a heretic and in 1518 The Papal Court ordered an inquisition in Rome. Karl V continued the fight against Luther. Luther's "Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" was written in 1517.

The 95 theses, or "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" (the official title) is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the Reformation, Christian, Catholic, and Biblical history, or the man Martin Luther himself. At the time Luther wrote them, he was still a devout Catholic, and had not yet begun to question the authority of the Catholic institution. At least not publicly. He had, however, started questioning certain doctrines and practices, especially that of selling indulgences for the remittance of sin. Legend has it that when he began to question the "Power and Efficacy" of indulgences, Luther nailed his objections to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, Germany. --Submitted by SevenThousandOthers

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Reformation Day is coming soon!

Just thought I'd let you all know that the 489th Reformation Day (October 31st) is coming soon! This was the date when Luther nailed the 95 Thesis to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany.

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