Luther Lesson 9 Posting the 95 Theses
- Friday, September 15, 2017
- By Ian Goligher
“The Festival of All Saints was a very important day for Wittenburg and, above all, for the church the elector had built there and which he had filled with relics. On that day the priests used to bring out these relics, ornamented with gold, silver, and precious stones, and exhibit them before the people who were astonished and dazzled at such magnificence. Whoever visited the church on that festival and made confession obtained a rich indulgence. Accordingly, on this great anniversary, pilgrims came to Wittenberg in crowds.
On October 31, 1517, at noon on the day preceding the festival, Luther walked boldly toward the church, to which a superstitious crowd of pilgrims was repairing, and posted upon the door ninety-five theses, or propositions, against the doctrine of indulgences. Neither the elector, nor Staupitz, nor Spalatin, nor any even of his most intimate friends had been made acquainted with his intentions.
Luther therein declared in a kind of preface, that he had written these theses with the express desire of setting the truth in the full light of day. He declared himself ready to defend them on the morrow, in the university, against all opponents. Great was the attention they excited: they were read and passed from mouth to mouth. Ere long the pilgrims, the university, and the whole city were in commotion.
We give some of these propositions, written with the pen of the monk and posted on the door of the church of Wittenberg:
1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ says repent, He means that the whole life of believers upon earth should be a constant and perpetual repentance.
4. Repentance and sorrow—that is, true penance—endures as long as a man is displeased with himself—that is, until he passes from this life into eternity.
6. The pope cannot remit any condemnation, but only declare and confirm the remission of God, except in the cases that appertain to himself. If he does otherwise, the condemnation remains entirely the same.
8. The laws of ecclesiastical penance ought to be imposed solely on the living, and have no regard to the dead.
21. The commissaries of indulgences are in error when they say that by the papal indulgence a man is delivered from every punishment and is saved.
27. They preach mere human follies who maintain that as soon as the money rattles in the strongbox, the soul flies out of purgatory.
32. Those who fancy themselves sure of salvation by indulgences will go to perdition along with those who teach them so.
THE TRIUMPH OF TRUTH M.L. D’Aubigne pgs. 81-82.