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However, Luther phrased his criticism to suggest that the pope might be ignorant of the abuses and at any rate should be given the benefit of the doubt.It provided Leo a graceful exit from the indulgences campaign if he wished to take it. Luther’s Ninety-five Theses hit a nerve in the depths of the authority structure of the medieval church.Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences. Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better.
He longed for the hope and security that only the good news can bring, and he was frustrated with the structures that were using Christ to take advantage of people and prevent them from saving union with God.
Further, Luther’s focus on the teaching of Scripture is significant, since it provided the foundation on which the great doctrines of the Reformation found their origin.
[Notice that Luther is not yet wholly against the theology of indulgences.] And even financial well-being: 46.
Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.
Luther’s attitude toward the pope is also surprisingly ambivalent.
In later years he called the pope “the Antichrist” and burned his writings, but here his tone is merely cautionary, hoping the pope will come to his senses.Additionally, we need to fully trust in God to save us from our sins, rather than relying partly on our own self-improvement.These teachings were radical departures from the Catholic orthodoxy of Luther’s day.Regarding justification, he taught we are saved solely through faith in Jesus Christ because of God’s grace and Christ’s merit.We are neither saved by our merits nor declared righteous by our good works.That fact combined with the intended audience and largely academic tone of the writing indicates Luther didn’t write the document for mass consumption. Regardless, it was translated into the common Germanic language of Saxony and was reportedly posted on the door of the Schlosskirche (the Castle Church of Wittenberg) on October 31, 1517.Luther’s Ninety-five Theses focuses on three main issues: selling forgiveness (via indulgences) to build a cathedral, the pope’s claimed power to distribute forgiveness, and the damage indulgences caused to grieving sinners.Luther is known mostly for his teachings about Scripture and justification.Regarding Scripture, he argued the Bible alone () is our ultimate authority for faith and practice.At the same time, the church became more and more uncomfortable with the radical Luther and, in the following decades, the spark that he made grew into a flame of reformation that spread across Europe.Luther was ordered by the church to recant in 1520 and was eventually exiled in 1521.