This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Each year the last Sunday in October is set aside as Reformation Sunday to commemorate the Reformation and the role it played in shaping the church. The following are snippets of an article by Ben Howard I found helpful and hopefully you will    appreciate too.

The church door

According to the well-known story, on October 31, 1517, a young monk and professor of moral theology named Martin Luther nailed a list of arguments against corruption in the Catholic Church to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This list, better known as the Ninety-Five Theses, was    distributed far and wide, along with Luther’s fiery sermons that followed, with the aid of a new  technology called the printing press. This event and the controversy that followed provided the spark    for what one scholar calls “the most significant event in Western Christian history.”

Luther’s grievance with the Catholic Church was based in concerns about the selling of indulgences, which were essentially  pardons for sins in exchange for money. However, Luther’s arguments also extended beyond questions of corruption into theological concerns about salvation, grace and the role of the laity in the church.Luther enthusiastically embraced the idea of the priesthood of all believers, which meant that Christians didn’t require an   intermediary to commune with God. He believed it was the duty of each individual Christian to enter into a personal relationship with God. In the pursuit of this task, Luther translated the Bible into German, the language of the people, along with worship services that had historically only been conducted in Latin. Faith was no longer going to be controlled by gatekeepers; it would be freely available to the masses.

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