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What is the importance of the Ninety-five Theses?

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Quick Answer

The Ninety-five Theses, written by Martin Luther in 1517, are considered by historians and theologians as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The theological debate they began is the beginning of Lutheran, Anabaptist and Reformed theology within the Christian religion. As an expression of his displeasure with the church, Luther nailed this document to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

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Luther's primary concerns surrounded indulgences that the Roman Catholic Church was selling. The church sold indulgences as a fundraising campaign commissioned by Pope Leo through a Dominican priest, Johann Tetzel, in Germany. Tetzel and others were gathering money for the renovation of St. Peter's Basilica. Luther felt it wrong that penance for sin had become a commercial transaction rather than a change of heart. The Ninety-five Theses was Luther's outline of what he planned to discuss in a lecture at the University of Wittenberg that aimed to expose what he felt was a fraud to the people .

Whether Luther actually nailed his theses to the church door is widely debated. Scholars agree that he, at the very least, would have mailed the document to the pope, the Archbishop of Mainz, friends and other scholars. In February 2007, there were media reports of a handwritten note by Georg Rorer, Luther's secretary, affirming the traditional account of the story.

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Related Questions

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    Why did Martin Luther write "The Ninety-Five Theses?"

    A:

    Martin Luther wrote "The Ninety-Five Theses" because he was dissatisfied with several practices of the Roman Catholic Church, including the sale of indulgences, the abuse of priestly power and the power of the Pope. He also argued that faith, not deeds, is the path to salvation. By making these arguments public, he sparked a religious revolution that came to be known as the Protestant Reformation.

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  • Q:

    What are the basic beliefs of Lutherans?

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    Lutheranism is a denomination of the Protestant religion and is founded on the religious principles of a German friar in the Augustinian order named Martin Luther. Lutherans believe in the teachings of Luther and the reformers with a particular focus on three phases: Grace Alone, Faith Alone and Scripture Alone.

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    What happened during the Reformation?

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    During the Reformation, several key leaders including John Calvin, Henry VIII and Martin Luther challenged the authority of the Catholic Church and created what became known as Protestantism. The Reformation came about as these leaders felt that there was not a fair distribution of power among the people in the church and that some of the teachings of the church could not be justified using the Bible. A key point of the Reformation occurred when King Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church and established the Church of England.

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    Why did Martin Luther object to the selling of indulgences?

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