Happy Reformation Day!
October 31, 2011 1 Comment
Just time for a quick post reminding you all that the 31st October is the anniversary of Martin Luther kicking off the Reformation by nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther had been outraged at the corruption in the Roman Catholic church which had been taking money from the peasants of Saxony (amongst other places) with the promise that their relatives would be released from purgatory. This was the system of selling ‘indulgences’ – a letter/certificate which confirmed the early release of your dead loved one from the final penalty for their sins. Luther’s theses included:
#6. The pope cannot remit any condemnation, but only declare and confirm the remission of God…
#36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.
#37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.
#76. The indulgence of the pope cannot take away the smallest daily sin, as far as regards the guilt or the offence.
To read through the 95 theses now, there are some I’d struggle to agree with, but the general tenor (certainly of those quoted above) is spot on. We need to also bear in mind that at this point in time Luther had no concept of splitting from the established church, and his theology was still a work in progress. However, as unaware of it as he was, this day in 1517 was the start of a mighty work which re-established the Christian faith founded on such principles as:
Scripture as the only source of authority in matters of the church – the traditions of men are man-made; the Bible is the Word of God.
Salvation by faith alone in Christ alone
Each believer has the right to come with boldness into the presence of God – requiring no earthly mediator.
A believer has freedom of conscience within the bounds of the Word of God – no-one can demand anything of him that the Word of God does not.
All precious truths to be held very dearly…