Luther Challenges the Church

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Historical biographies

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Luther Challenges the Church

Luther Challenges the Church

Martin Luther became a monk and a teacher instead of a lawyer, which is what his parents wanted him to become. He taught scripture at the University of Wittenburg in Saxony and his main goal was to be a good Christian, not to lead a revolution.

The 95 Theses

Luther made a public stand against the actions of the friar Johann Tetzel in 1517 because Tetzel was selling indulgences to raise money for the rebuilding of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. By doing this, many thought they were buying their way into heaven by just buying indulgences from Tetzel. Luther did not like these tactics and he wrote formal statements, also known as theses, attacking the "pardon-merchants" who were behind all this. He posted these on the door of the castle church in Wittenburg. He invited his other scholars to help him in his debate. Somebody copied his words, took them to a printer, and quickly his name became known all over Germany. What he did started the Reformation, which was a movement for religious reform and it led to the founding of Christian churches that didn't accept the pope's authority.

Luther's Teachings

Luther went beyond criticizing indulgences in no time and he wanted the full reform of the Church. The three main ideas where his teachings rested on were: "1. People could win salvation only by faith in God's gift of forgiveness. The Church taught that faith and "good works" were needed for salvation.2. All Church teachings should be clearly based on the words of the Bible. Both the pope and Church traditions were false authorities.3. All people with faith were equal. Therefore, people did not need priests to interpret the Bible for them." (Pg. 975)


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