Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Celebrating Reformation (Part II)

(Continued from Part I)

Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk who struggled deeply with his condition before a Holy God. He observed all of the ordinances of the Catholic Church and was a model monk practicing asceticism and living in poverty. Yet, he could not find peace. His superiors sent him to the town of Wittenberg to be a professor of theology. During his intense studies of the Scripture Luther discovered, for the first time, that salvation comes by grace through faith alone.

He was awakened not only to the precious Word of God but also to the deep distortions and corruption within the Church. He was particularly incensed at the practice of selling indulgences. Why, Luther wondered, when the Church supposedly has access to a treasury of merit would the Pope extort money from believers rather than dispense the grace freely? Luther considered this practice a horrible perversion of God’s grace. He expressed his specific objections to the practice in a document he entitled the 95 Theses and, on October 31, 1517, nailed it to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

This single act was the spark that touched off a firestorm with an intensity Luther could not have anticipated. It is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

(Continued in Part III)


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