Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Nail it To The Door
The picture above is the door of the Schlosskirche (castle church) to which Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses. Today is the day that he did it. Well, not today but ON this day in 1517. We have no proof of that but we do have the 95 Theses and his book that explains the theses.
It was his words, not the hammer and nail, that sparked the Reformation. Luther wasn't the first to criticize the church's use of indulgences but he certainly is the best remembered.
On his "departure" ...
On June 15, 1520, the Pope warned Luther with the papal bull (edict) Exsurge Domine that he risked excommunication unless he recanted 41 sentences drawn from his writings, including the 95 Theses, within 60 days.
That fall, Johann Eck proclaimed the bull in Meissen and other towns. Karl von Miltitz, a papal nuncio, attempted to broker a solution, but Luther, who had sent the Pope a copy of On the Freedom of a Christian in October, publicly set fire to the bull and decretals at Wittenberg on December 10, 1520, an act he defended in Why the Pope and his Recent Book are Burned and Assertions Concerning All Articles.
As a consequence, Luther was excommunicated by Leo X on January 3, 1521, in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.
The theses critiqued the indulgences greatly. HOWEVER, his offer (alternative) was the most powerful. He states (theses 62): The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
What can the theses do for us today ????
The lesson is the following: The Gospel of God's free grace for sinners through faith in Christ is central. Christians are to live their lives in response to this great news.
One key to Lutheran Theology has been expressed in the three"alone" statements. Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone. The sees of these can be found in the 95 Theses.