Ninety-Five Theses Definition

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" Answer: The “95 Theses” were written in 1517 by a German priest and professor of theology named Martin Luther.

His revolutionary ideas served as the catalyst for the eventual breaking away from the Catholic Church and were later instrumental in forming the movement known as the Protestant Reformation.

Hidden in one of Frederick’s castles, Luther began producing a translation of the Bible into the German language. It was in 1529, some 12 years after Luther had nailed his Theses to the church door, that the word “Protestant” became a popular term describing those who supported Luther’s protests against the Church.

These opponents of the Church declared their allegiance to God and protested any loyalty or commitments to the emperor. We assert on the contrary that both this and every other Pope has greater mercies to show: namely, the Gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc.

Although Luther did not know the details of the agreement the Pope and Archbishop Albrecht had made with the Fuggers, he was familiar with the papal bull that had announced the jubilee indulgence, and with Archbishop Albrecht’s official instructions to the indulgence salesmen.

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Tetzel was authorized to promise that this indulgence would grant plenary remission of temporal sin and its penalties in Purgatory upon absolution by any priest the purchaser chose.“As soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].” Luther felt that these church officials were teaching people that they could literally buy their way into the kingdom of God or buy God’s favor.His belief was that the papacy had deteriorated to the point that the people were being led to believe in man-made doctrines. Given the variety of contributors, the emphases and approaches vary throughout and there may even be some overlap.It is our hope these multiple perspectives will only serve to enrich the reader’s consideration of this document.The Pope had the power to limit or do away with penances imposed by the clergy, but he did not have the power to bring about the interior contrition that leads to salvation. Indulgences are positively harmful, according to the Theses, since they induce a false assurance of peace, and cause the recipients to neglect true repentance.Luther published his “95 Theses” fully realizing that he faced excommunication and even death for protesting the traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Church. Luther’s “95 Theses” became highly sought after by the populace and were soon translated into German for the common people to read.One of the major issues that concerned Luther pertained to the matter of church officials selling “indulgences” to the people as a means of releasing them from having to exact penitence for their misdeeds.Indulgences were also claimed by the Church to limit the amount of time the purchaser’s loved one would have to spend in Purgatory.The printing press then enabled the wide distribution of the Theses, provoking in the people more disenchantment with the ways of the Catholic Church.In 1521, Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther from the Catholic Church and declared him a heretic.


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