Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther
While observing the decisions you have made in your life, did you ever realize the impact that it would have on the world and also the people lives around you? Many of us can agree that we do not think about these questions and the possible outcomes on a daily basis. Martin Luther was a Christian theologian monk who teachings happened to inspire the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther became a monk in the Catholic Church because a day in 1505 he was struck by lightning and realized there is a God.
Many people believe that the start to the Protestant Reformation was because on October 31st 1517 Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg stating everything that was wrong with the Catholic Church. October 31st became known as the birthday of the Protestant Reformation. A question that many people would say they have never thought about is, what if Martin Luther had not written the 95 Theses? Where would that leave us in history today?
It all started with a man who went by the name of Johann Tetzel who agreed to work for the church and began selling indulgences. In 1517 a situation came about dealing with the collection of indulgences. The church was sending Johann Tetzel to collect indulgences from the people who have previously sinned in the past and they were looking for forgiveness. The practice of Johann Tetzel in promoting this cause provoked Martin Luther and caused him to write the 95 Theses.
Martin Luther said to Johann Tetzel that he can`t buy people out of their sins. Luther’s 95 Theses argued that the sale of indulgences was a disgusting violation of the original intention of confession and that the Christians were being told that they could find forgiveness through the purchase of indulgences. Luther could not believe that people had actually paid money for what was theirs, by right as a free gift from God.
The purpose of Luther`s 95 Theses was simply to address the Pope’s use of indulgences to raise money which was an idea that went against Luther’s understanding of scripture that said “salvation through faith alone. ” With the new invention of the printing press, these 95 Theses were able to spread out within months all over Europe. The church didn`t like Luther challenging their system of raising money and eventually Tetzel replied by publishing his own set of Theses a few years later.
While Luther continued attacking the church it happened to be the middle of creating a new religion called, Lutheranism. Luther continued fighting for his beliefs which happened to cause major conflict between himself and the church. In 1520, Pope Leo X issued a papal order and told Luther to put an end to what he was doing or else there will be a punishment of excommunication. This punishment meant that Luther would be removed and that he could not associate with any Catholics and the Catholic people could not associate with him.
Pope Leo X also specified that about 99. 9% of the people were Catholic and that nobody could deal with him. Luther didn’t pay any attention to what Pope Leo was telling him so on January 3rd 1521 Martin Luther was excommunicated. Emperor Charles V had hope that Martin Luther could change his views of the church so on April 17th 1521 Charles grants Martin a safe conduct to a hearing at the Diet of Worms.
But Luther refused to deny his views so in May 1521 it was pronounced that Martin Luther was an outlaw and a heretic and also banned his writings. Martin Luther had to confine to the German state where his new religion, Lutheranism became popular. His religion continued with three basic rules: follow the German bible, have faith in God mercy and that God views everyone equally. All in all Martin Luther`s thoughts on the church and attempting to stop the purchases of indulgences wasn`t as successful as Martin Luther wished it could be.
In conclusion after all the debates that occurred between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church, we are all well aware of the power that the Catholic Church still holds on us. What started as a rational debate then turned into the Protestant Reformation which changed the society drastically. Luther’s 95 Theses caused a major turning point in history. If Martin Luther had not put his 95 Theses to the church door then citizens of Europe would still be purchasing indulgences on a daily basis to save their souls from purgatory.