History for the Rest of Us

95 Theses – Martin Luther

95 Theses – Martin Luther

Oct 31, 2012

Widely regarded as the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses was a protest against abuses related to the sale of indulgences. Luther, a German monk, proposed that they violated the original intent of confession and penance. He argued that Christians were being falsely told that God’s punishment for sin could be avoided through the purchase of indulgences. On October 31, 1517 Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Below is an English translation of the 95 theses: OCTOBER 31, 1517 Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter. In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance. 2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests. 3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh. 4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. 5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons. 6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God’s remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven. 7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same...

Diet of Worms

Diet of Worms

May 25, 2012

Diet of Worms The Diet of Worms lasted for nearly three months, beginning January 28, 1521 and ending May 25. Sounds appealing. A Diet in this case was a general assembly of the Imperial States of the Holy Roman Empire, and this particular Diet occurred in Worms, Germany. The assembly was presided over by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and was convened specifically to address Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Luther was summoned to address the Diet on April 16th to either renounce or reaffirm the controversial views he had put forth in his 95 theses. Journey to Worms Luther began his journey to Worms on April 2, 1521. While those conducting the Diet may have hoped he would find the opportunity for repentance as he journeyed to Worms, the trip actually gave him additional courage. He was welcomed enthusiastically in the various towns he entered. Testimony Once at the Diet, Luther was asked to testify before the Emperor twice. He was asked to recant each time. He refused saying, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me.” Kidnapping After leaving the negotiation room, he recognized the danger he had put himself in and said “I am finished”. He left for home on April 25. Prince Friedrich knew Martin Luther was in danger as well and had him kidnapped. He protected him in Wartburg Castle. This action helped protect Friedrich, who could have been held liable for protecting an outlaw and heretic, and allowed the Reformation to stabilize and strengthen itself. Luther began his German translation of the Bible while staying in the castle. Edict of Worms On May 25 the Diet of Worms concluded and the Edict of Worms was issued. The Edict declared: “…we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favour the said Martin Luther…we want him...