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Every October 31st, while much of the western world dresses up in ghoulish costumes, many Christians commemorate another important event that happened on October 31st, 1517. This was the day Roman Catholic monk, Martin Luther is traditionally said to have posted his 95 Theses (or 95 points of protest) on a church door in Wittenberg Germany. This would be considered the spark that led to the Protestant Reformation.
During his various disputes with the Roman Catholic Church, Luther debated against a man named Johann Maier von Eck in 1521 at Worms Germany. Eck's infamous question to Luther was:
Now, the premise of the question isn't necessarily wrong, especially if we believe that God sustains not only His Word but the basic understanding of His Word by His new covenant people. Eck's question should not be flippantly dismissed...not even by Protestant/Reformed Christians.
We Protestant Christians, and even outright heretics often appeal to Martin Luther as our role model for rebellion. What I mean by this is that we justify our challenges to "traditional" Christianity (however we might define that) by claiming we are merely doing as Martin Luther had done in defying the Roman Catholic Church.
Further, you may hear Protestants and especially heretics disdain the "councils and the creeds". They will say with pride; "We have no creed but Christ" or "We believe only what the Scriptures say" as if there is no interpretation required.
I thought it would be interesting to see then what Martin Luther thought of the councils. What follows is 10 points Luther makes about the councils in his work titled; On the Councils and the Church. This work was written about 7 years before Luther died, so it is after he had time to develop his understanding of theological ramifications.
Sunday October 31 is Reformation Sunday. This is the day that traditionally the German monk, Martin Luther nailed his 95 points of argumentation on a church door. This act is considered the spark of the Protestant Reformation, even though the Reformation was in the works for hundreds of years.
The video below is an historically accurate (and a bit humorous) summary of what happened on that day in 1517. For a line by line explanation, click this link. Also enjoy these other videos of churches and groups who have reproduced this witty song since first hearing it (#1, #2, #3, #4 -- let me know if your group produces a video or audio).
Among the many topics the Reformer, Martin Luther addressed was the topic of marriage. Luther, as you know came out of a culture where Papalism said that priests should remain celibate. Eventually, Luther himself did get married. I want to take some time to review a treatise by Luther titled, The Estate of Marriage.
Luther discusses who should marry and whom to marry, per the Bible and further Luther discusses whom should be celibate and why. I will review his three-part treatment in even smaller segments. Please refer to this link to see Luther's actual treatise as translated into English by Walther I. Brandt.
It is interesting that every new generation of evangelical elites, whether it be conservative Calvinists or liberal Postmodernists seem to always go through a time of rediscovery. Christianity is supposed to be an historical religion, with continuity of foundation and purpose but so much time is expended simply rehashing the same issues that had been argued and settled often centuries before. I know some people enjoy this "journey" but to me it seems a waste of time to always be resetting to zero. Why can't we, especially as Christians simply stand firm in the foundations of our Faith? Why do people think it necessary to go through years and years of doubt, as if that is some great achievement? It is like the once obese person celebrating after achieving some milestone weight reduction while it would be better that we celebrate the person who always maintained their diet and never became obese. But such is our culture, always celebrating the overcomers of failure instead of the faithful maintainers of success.
As October 31st approaches, the traditional day when Martin Luther supposedly posted on the Wittenberg Church door his 95 points of protest, I thought it would be useful to go through those points. With so many Christians, and even heretics pointing to Luther as their role model, it seems important to see and understand what it was he was trying to say.
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