500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses
When Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses, he was hoping to get people talking about the sale of indulgences – promises of escape from punishment for sin in exchange for money – which he believed were a corrupt practice. Instead the publication of the Theses marked the start of the Protestant Reformation, which saw large numbers of Christians split away from the Roman Catholic church to form Protestant churches.
The Protestant Reformation is considered to have begun on October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, which makes October 31 of this year, 2017, the 500th anniversary.
Teachings that infuse the modern church
Martin Luther went on to call for other reforms to the church of his day, and many of these infuse the beliefs of our modern church. For example:
- Christians must look to the scriptures, rather than to priests, for the definitive source of Christian doctrines.
- Ordinary people should be able to read their Bibles, hence the Bible should be available in the language of the people.
- People gain entry into heaven through God’s grace alone. Doing good works cannot grant you entry into heaven.
Here at St. John’s, we will mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation during the Sunday services on October 29 with reflections by the clergy on the legacy of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.