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.
About the Author
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.
This thorough compilation of Martin Luther’s writings is fascinating and certainly does enable one to understand how this led to the Protestant Reformation! With great candor and Biblical certainty, Luther lays out his arguments against several common practices of the Catholic hierarchy of his time. In regards to the increasingly common practice of the Roman Catholic practice of selling “indulgences,” Luther was calling for a thoughtful debate on the questionable relationship between money and religion.
95 Ideas is a book that is better sipped than gulped. This extensive volume provides an excellent combination of Luther’s original 95 Theses with additional material from others of his writings. Thesis 86 states unequivocally Luther’s concern and distrust of the common practice of selling “indulgences” (remission from punishment for sins) to raise funds for various reasons. He states, “Why does not the pope, whose riches are at this day more ample than those of the wealthiest of the wealthy, build the one Basilica of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with that of poor believers?”
As a Biblical history buff, I have enjoyed this book and will continue to refer to it from time to time. I would encourage others to read 95 as a means of furthering their understanding of church history that led up to the Protestant Revolution. This would make a thoughtful addition to any personal, public or church library,
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book. A favorable review was not required, no compensation was received, and all views expressed 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.
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
Second Place: 95: The Ideas That Birthed the Reformation by Martin Luther, Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
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