About the Book
Author: Martin Luther
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical Theology
Release Date: August 8, 2017
In 1517, an unknown Augustinian monk, informed by his growing belief that salvation is by faith alone, published and distributed a stark criticism of papal abuses in the Catholic Church. In doing so, Martin Luther lit the spark for what would become the Protestant Reformation.
What became known as the “95 Theses” was a series of statements expressing concern with corruption within the church, primarily the selling of “indulgences” to the people as a means of releasing them from acts of penitence.
For the five hundredth anniversary of Luther’s revolutionary writing, This volume combines each thesis with an excerpt from one of his later works to provide a convenient way to understand the ideas and concepts that became the seeds of the Protestant Reformation.
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Print out a fun Luther mask here.
Martin Luther (1483–1546) was a German monk, priest, professor of theology, and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the sale of indulgences, the church’s practice of selling pieces of paper that guaranteed freedom from God’s punishment for sin. In 1517, Luther directly confronted this and other papal abuses by publishing his “95 Theses.” In 1534, Luther published a complete translation of the Bible into German.
Having grown up getting a taste of many different types of churches, from the quiet, humble worship of Lutheran (went to Lutheran school for 8 years) to the boisterous, joyous worship of Pentecostal, I am not ignorant of Martin Luther, his 95 thesis and the uprising that came from them. I did learn a few new things, such as at the time he wrote the Thesis, he still believed in purgatory, which later he renounced. He also seemed to believe in confession to a priest, but he hated it being used for extortion. Much of his upset against the Pope and the priests is that they were extorting people, basically selling entry into Heaven. But Martin Luther knew his Bible and knew that the only way to Heaven is the acknowledgment of Jesus’s death for forgiveness of sins and that Jesus (and Jesus alone, not Pope, priest or saints) stands as the advocate and intercessor for those who believe, against the wrath of God, and NO money could buy that for those of us who believe.
As for the format of the book, it was interesting as, each thesis was matched with a later writing of Martin Luther. The reading was a bit tedious, but that’s mostly because it is old style writing. It just makes you slow down and think about what you are reading. Don’t be discouraged by that, if you need a dictionary or your computer nearby, use them, the spiritual encouragement from little gems throughout Luther’s writing is well worth the extra time to look up a few words.
I received this book as a gift, with no obligations. My opinions are my own.
Guest Post from Whitaker House Publishing
In 1517, a thriving new industry was sweeping northern Germany. Begun a few centuries earlier, its reappearance in the 16th century was perhaps the cleverest abuse of church power to date. Church officials strapped for cash decided to offer remission from the punishment for sins, or “indulgence,” to German believers in return for a commensurate amount of money. The slick church salesmanship of indulgences incensed one young priest, who believed that faithful Christians were being manipulated and the Word of God misinterpreted. He wrote a pamphlet comprised of 95 claims that he hoped would inspire scholarly debate. Titled Disputation of Dr. Martin Luther Concerning Penitence and Indulgences, it went down in history as “The 95 Theses.”
Most historians believe that Martin Luther did not intend to spark a public debate. It was written in Latin, the language of scholars, and pinned to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church which served as a “bulletin board” of sorts, where Luther knew fellow theologians would see it and perhaps engage in a discussion on the topic.
Luther’s pamphlet, however, was not another piece of paper flapping in the wind. Someone translated into German, and distributed it to the public with the help of a recent invention—the printing press. Luther tried to retrieve his work, but the damage was done. Within weeks, the debate that began in Wittenberg spread throughout Germany, and within months, all of Europe.
Five hundred years later, Whitaker House presents each of Luther’s 95 Theses paired with an excerpt from his many writings. Not every excerpt directly relates to the accompanying thesis, but we endeavored to select passages in which Luther was expounding on the same subject. Where further explanation was thought necessary to contextualize his words, a footnote is included. We hope you find 95: The Ideas That Changed the World an accessible and fascinating look into the ideas of this groundbreaking priest who stood up for God’s Word, the grace of the gospel—and made history.
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To celebrate the tour, Whitaker House is giving away
Grand Prize: 95: The Ideas That Birthed the Reformation by Martin Luther, KJVER Sword Study Bible/Personal Size Large Print-Burgundy Genuine Leather ($60 value), Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book.
First Place: 95: The Ideas That Birthed the Reformation by Martin Luther, “This is The Day” ceramic mug from Christian Arts Gifts, Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book
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