The 95 Theses

Saturday, November 4                  

From the time Luther became a monk, he was obsessed with his sin.  He was a model monk, but as he studied the Scriptures, he felt that God demanded perfection, that he could never measure up, and he was bound for hell.  He shared his concerns with his superior, who neither understood his problem nor had a solution for it.  In this miserable dilemma, he began to hate God for his strict standard and inevitable judgment.  But he kept studying the Scriptures.  He eventually came to realize that the answer was grace through faith.  That changed his life.  He discovered that the Church was faulty in their practice as a natural result of their faulty theology.  He did not want to rebel against the Church or abandon it; his goal was to expose the problems so the Church would return to Biblical truth.  While in the midst of this struggle, Johann Tetzel appeared in Wittenberg to sell plenary indulgences, meaning that by paying a hefty sum, one could have all of his sins absolved.  This was revolting to Luther and prompted him to write the 95 theses which thoroughly denouncing the practice of selling indulgences.  Posting the theses on the door of the church was not a rebellious act; it was to invite debate on the subject.  The statements were written in Latin so as to attract theologians.  The 95 theses somehow got printed in the German language and distributed throughout the country.  Within two weeks the “common people” all over Germany were reading them.  And, yes, it triggered the Reformation.

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