Ninety-Five Theses Synonyms

Luther’s intention was to spark an academic debate over the current practice of indulgences in the church as was his right as professor of theology.Yet what transpired from 1517 on could in no way be predicted or anticipated. Ultimately, the point for Luther was that our assurances for saving grace come from Christ and not the pope. For Luther, it was better to give to the poor than to buy an indulgence, as thesis 45 declared, “He who sees a needy man and passes him by, yet gives his money for indulgences, does not buy papal indulgences but God’s wrath.” Similarly, Luther made it clear that it was better to care for one’s family than to waste money on indulgences. By the following year, on August 7, 1518, Luther received a summons by the pope to Rome, to [account] for his ideas and actions.Though Luther claimed that his positions on indulgences accorded with those of the Pope, the Theses challenge a 14th-century papal bull stating that the pope could use the treasury of merit and the good deeds of past saints to forgive temporal punishment for sins.

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It’s tempting to imagine Martin Luther striding to the doors of Wittenburg Church, hammer and nails in hand, emboldened to break his silence and at last declare his outrage at the abuses of Church leadership. However, many modern Christians don’t realize just how run-of-the-mill Luther’s act was.

He argued that indulgences led Christians to avoid true repentance and sorrow for sin, believing that they could forgo it by purchasing an indulgence.

They also, according to Luther, discouraged Christians from giving to the poor and performing other acts of mercy, believing that indulgence certificates were more spiritually valuable.

to the Wittenburg Church door on October 31, 1517, he wasn’t launching a fully-formed movement in a single act; he was giving voice to ideas that had been brewing in Christendom for years.

Though many Christians see that act as the launch of the Protestant Reformation, the truth is a little more complicated.

Luther sent the Theses enclosed with a letter to Albert of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz, on 31 October 1517, a date now considered the start of the Reformation and commemorated annually as Reformation Day.

Luther may have also posted the Theses on the door of All Saints' Church and other churches in Wittenberg, in accordance with University custom, on 31 October or in mid-November.

This is likely because we don’t have a similar practice in modern culture.

(After all, when was the last time you nailed criticisms of your church’s budget to the door of your pastor’s study? Mc Nutt describes how Luther’s famous act was surprisingly ordinary.


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