Nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church in October, 1517 to provoke a discussion concerning papal indulgences, this is one of the most significant documents in Christian history. Luther simply wanted to debate the practice of granting indulgences (allowing people to pay money to receive forgiveness for their sins instead of doing penance), but his list of 95 topics of debate was soon published and distributed across Europe. The debate in Wittenberg never took place, but these 95 Theses have surely made their impact on Christianity as many believe this particular document to be the spark that gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. The Logos edition provides the text of the 95 Theses in parallel English and Latin translations.
“The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.” (source)
“Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.” (source)
“Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.” (source)
“Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.” (source)
“there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh” (source)
Martin Luther (1483–1546), one of the most significant figures in Western history, was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation. Over the course of his life, Luther was a monk, a priest, a professor of biblical literature, a Reformer, a husband, and a father.
Luther is most noted for his Ninety-Five Theses (1517), in which he argued that indulgences were not acts of penance which could replace true repentance. His refusal to retract all his writings, demanded by Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521, resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the emperor.
Luther has been both praised and vilified for what he preached and wrote. Luther’s translation of the Christian Bible into the vernacular greatly influenced the church. His works continue to impact all Christians and animate the movement that bears his name. Luther’s Works (55 vols.) contains many of Luther’s writings, including commentaries, sermons, and lectures.