Ninety-Five Thesis

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Luther’s attitude toward the pope is also surprisingly ambivalent.

In later years he called the pope “the Antichrist” and burned his writings, but here his tone is merely cautionary, hoping the pope will come to his senses.

Luther is known mostly for his teachings about Scripture and justification.

Regarding Scripture, he argued the Bible alone () is our ultimate authority for faith and practice.

If people know only one thing about the Protestant Reformation, it is the famous event on October 31, 1517, when the Ninety-five Theses of Martin Luther (1483–1586) were nailed on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg in protest against the Roman Catholic Church.

Within a few years of this event, the church had splintered into not just the “church’s camp” or “Luther’s camp” but also the camps of churches led by theologians of all different stripes.[Notice that Luther is not yet wholly against the theology of indulgences.] And even financial well-being: 46.Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.At the same time, the church became more and more uncomfortable with the radical Luther and, in the following decades, the spark that he made grew into a flame of reformation that spread across Europe.Luther was ordered by the church to recant in 1520 and was eventually exiled in 1521.However, Luther phrased his criticism to suggest that the pope might be ignorant of the abuses and at any rate should be given the benefit of the doubt.It provided Leo a graceful exit from the indulgences campaign if he wished to take it. Luther’s Ninety-five Theses hit a nerve in the depths of the authority structure of the medieval church.That his concern was pastoral (rather than trying to push a private agenda) is apparent from the document.He didn’t believe (at this point) that indulgences were altogether a bad idea; he just believed they were misleading Christians regarding their spiritual state: 41.For instance, in this passage he appears to be defending the pope against detractors, albeit in a backhanded way: 51.Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St.


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