|On October 31, 1517 (495 years ago, this week) |
Dr. Martin Luther, a Theology professor at the University of Wittenburg, in Germany posted 95 Theses on the Castle Church door- challenging Christians to discuss and debate what he believed to be errors and corruption in the church of the time.
Especially the sale of "indulgences," documents promising to keep people out of Hell and/or Purgatory. Profits of the sales of these indulgences often went to line the pockets of rich Bishops, cardinals and the Pope and probably helped pay for opulent palaces, chapels and Renaissance decorations in Rome.
Luther's hope was to reform the Church, not to start a new one.
His main teachings were based on Romans 3:22 "...righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe," and Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
Whatever his own faults or those of "Lutherans" who came after him, Luther's legacy is one that focuses Christians on that fact that we are saved by Grace alone (the free gift of what Jesus did on our behalf and in our stead on the cross), Faith alone- not by anything we have to do or try to refrain from doing, but only by trusting in what Jesus did- and we know these truths thanks to Scripture alone, not by philosophers or teachers or some new revelations given only to some magical and infallible representative of God- like the Pope, or like the Mormon's Prophet or any human leader- but only from God's Word itself, the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."