1st NOVEMBER, 1517
On this day in 1517 the people of Wittenberg, Germany, awoke to find a proclamation nailed to the Door of the Castle Church. This posting was to set in motion a chain of events that would verberate throughout the whole of the Catholic World culminating in the Protestant Reformation.
The man responsible for this was the 33 year old Doctor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg- Martin Luther.
Luther disputed over the corruption that was rife in the Church of Rome at the time, particularly over the ignominious practice of the sale of St. Peter’s Indulgences. Roman Catholic theology stated that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man; justification rather depends only on such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man. The benefits of good works could be obtained by donating money to the church.
The sale of Indulgences was one means by which Rome would extract money out of people in order to raise money to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Luther saw this as corrupt and wrote to his Bishop (Albert of Maintz) to complain. Luther argued, “Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?”
He insisted that, since forgiveness was God’s alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.
True Christian believers everywhere owe an immense debt of gratitude to this corageous man of God who was not afraid to challenge the peddlers of false hope-even if these were the most powerful of men in the world.
May we never tire in our opposition to the dogmas of Rome.
May we, as have so many, NEVER capitulate and grow weary in the fight!
May we, like Luther, have the guts to stand up, be counted, and proactively oppose any (and every) form of dogma and doctrine that stands to undermine the truth of Paul’s teaching that SALVATION IS BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH WITHOUT WORKS!!!!!
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5)
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, IF ANY [MAN] PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL UNTO YOU THAN THAT YE HAVE RECEIVED, LET HIM BE ACCURSED. (Galatians 1:8-9)
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