Monday, October 31, 2016

Reformation Day - October 31, 2016


This year is the 499th anniversary of the day Martin Luther was supposed to have nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Germany - or at least have sent them in letter form to Albert, the Archbishop of Mainz, under whose authority indulgences were being sold,  It was a bold stand against the abuse of indulgences and against the Catholic church.  The Catholic church at the time demanded that its members not only repent of sin to avoid eternal hell, but also, they had buy indulgences to lessen temporal punishment, which culminated in having to spend time in purgatory.  Around 1514, Martin Luther began preaching that indulgences cheapened grace because this practise did not require true repentance.  Depending on the territory and the Pope's wishes for its local economy and church, an indulgence could potentially cover a myriad of sins from adultery to theft.  A kind of "jingle" of the day may have been,

 "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs."

What do the 95 These really say?  You can read them all here (<<click link to


Many say that the posting of the 95 Theses began the Protestant Reformation, which is why October 31, is known as Reformation Day. Originally, Luther's purpose may have just been to begin an academic debate; however, God used his bold stand to spark a revolution.

Archbishop Albert, along with theologians at the University of Mainz, labeled Martin Luther as a threat to the Catholic church.  This began the Reformation that would touch all of Europe and ground an entirely new denomination.  Blood was spilled, and Luther and his followers were pursued and persecuted.  In the end, the Germans received a Bible written in their own language, translated by Luther from the Latin, while he was in exile at the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany.  He also wrote tracts, catechisms, and hymns.  And Martin Luther actually actually ended up living until age 62 when he died of ill health to include heart problems.

This is just a very briefest of explanations of Reformation Day.  There is so much more detail to be learned.


(Luther statue at the city center)

Wittenberg, Germany - officially called Lutherstadt (Luther-city) Wittenberg) - is in the Saxony-Anhalt region of Eastern Germany.
My husband and I were privileged to visit here in October of 1997.  Wittenberg is located about 60 miles southwest of Berlin.

(door of All Saints church, now a bronze memorial to the 95 Theses)


2003 movie LUTHER, starring Joseph Fiennes (rated PG-13):

(source:  amazon)

Called historically accurate, the 1953 movie LUTHER is also one I recommend and enjoy.

(source:  amazon)

Of course, there are MANY books and websites with much more in depth information about the life of Martin Luther.  I am excited that one of my favorite authors Eric Metaxas is writing a biography of Martin Luther, due out in early 2017 (in honor of the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses).  

Some of my information was taken from

As a Christian, I am thankful that I do not rely on indulgences to pay my sin debt - Jesus already did that on the Cross - COMPLETELY.  And His gift of eternal life is mine - by faith through grace.  Alone. 

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