Today is Protestant Reformation Day. It is a day set apart in Germany to remember the 95 theses of Martin Luther against certain teachings, especially as regards indulgence and the forgiveness of sins in the Catholic Church.
Luther was then a Catholic priest and an Augustinian monk who was also a professor of moral theology at the University of Wittenberg, Germany.
The Theses is today considered to have launched the Protestant Reformation in the Church and Protestantism, despite various proto-Protestant movements having existed before it.
In the 95 theses, Luther accused the Roman Catholic Church of selling plenary indulgences. Sins cannot be forgiven by paying money, Luther argued.
In the Theses, Luther also insisted that the “repentance required by Christ in order for sins to be forgiven involves inner spiritual repentance rather than merely external sacramental confession.”
Luther sent his theses, enclosed with a letter, to Albert of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz, on October 31, 1517. Today is therefore considered the start of the Reformation. It is commemorated annually as Reformation Day.
That was not the whole story. On October 31, 1517, Luther also posted the Ninety-five Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church and other churches in Wittenberg.
Luther was excommunicated by the Catholic Church in 1521. With his excommunication, the church divided in Germany and across Europe. To date, Christianity in Germany is mostly divided between Catholics and Evangelicals/ Protestants (supporters of Luther).
Luther had no intention of dividing the Church. His intention was to address some church teachings that he considered to be wrong.
A happy Reformation Day to our “Protestant” brothers and sisters all over the world.