Martin Luther 95 Theses Essay
Martin Luther 95 Theses
The Ninty-Five Theses was written by Martin Luther in 1517 and is broadly regarded as the major catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther was an ambiguous German monk and radiant theologian. Martin Luther started a rebellion against the church’s authority which caused the collapse of religious unity of Christendom. The Roman Catholic Church, centered in Rome, extended its influence into every aspect of European society and culture. Due to the increasing power, wealth, and selfishness, a squall of criticism against the church broke out during the Late Middle Ages.
Martin Luther and his Lutherans followers led a revolt against the Roman Catholic Church which helped with the creation of The Ninety-Five Theses. The beginning of the European religious problems came in the fourteenth century, when the King, Pope, and Clergy began to gain massive amounts of power and wealth. The idea of medieval Christendom was a newer concept which is basically a Christian commonwealth led by the papacy. As the church tried to create this Christendom, theorists argued that the church was only a spiritual body and therefore its power did not extend to the political realm.
The theorists along with the people said that the state needed no guidance from the papacy and that the clergy was not above secular law. The church was becoming more corrupt by the day, which included: nepotism (appointing ones relative to office), pursuit of personal wealth by the bishops, and sexual indulgence of the clergy. Theologians attacked the churches authority by arguing that the church did not control an individual’s destiny, instead by accepting God’s gift of faith. I think this is a very important move by the theologians, because they are sharing similar beliefs to me.
I think my church and preacher are very important but not more important the God. With the advent of Lutheranism, personal faith, rather than adherence to the practices of the church, became central to the religious life of European Protestants. The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century ushered in a spiritual revolution that had a great impact on the western world. The starting point for the reformation was Luther’s attack in 1517 on the church’s practice of selling indulgences. The Roman Catholic Church taught hat some people go directly to heaven or hell, while others go to heaven only after spending time in purgatory (a period of expiation necessary for those who have sinned excessively). Later in 1517, a Dominican friar named John Tetzel was selling indulgences in the area near Wittenberg. Luther launched his attack against Tetzel and the selling of indulgences by tacking his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg castle church. Luther’s theses, or propositions, challenged the entire concept of selling indulgences not only as a fraudulent practice but also as a theologically unsafe postulation.
At the heart of Martin Luther’s argument in The Ninety-five Theses was the belief that the individual achieves salvation through central religious feeling, a sense of repentance for sins, and a faith in God’s mercy, and that the church attendance, fasting, pilgrimages, charity, and other works did not earn salvation. The church held that both faith and good works were necessary for salvation. Luther insisted that every individual could discover the meaning of the Bible unaided by the clergy. This again was a contradicting idea of that of the Roman Catholic Church, as they believed only the clergy could read and interpret the Bible properly.
I think these early defining ideas from Martin Luther were very powerful. I think a lot of people bought into these theses not only because they were believable, but because they could witness the wrongs that the church were committing. Luther argued that each person could directly and freely receive faith from God. Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses had a major effect on religion and culture in early western civilization. I do not think religion would be like it would today if Martin Luther hadn’t led his Lutherans and present his theses.
In the fourteenth century, religion was basically all formed into one, especially in Europe. I think all societies in Europe, were part of the Catholic Church. Religion might not have ever broke apart and became their own version of faith with multiple Gods and ideas, if not for Martin Luther. If Martin Luther did not have the courage to act and speak out against something as important as religion, then Catholics, Baptists, Protestants, and Lutherans might very well be completely different or even nonexistent. I ike how Martin Luther wrote his theses by quoting scriptures and adding facts to support his campaign and show Europeans what they had believed and witnessed for so long, but lacked valor to reform. I think it is very significant for people to know about the ninety-five theses and how it helped change and shape religion in early European culture. I really enjoyed reading and writing about Martin Luther and his reformation because I have a strong belief in freedom of religion. I do not think religion should ever be force on someone, and that it should only be something chosen to participate in.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 27 September 2016
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