Home » Lifestyle » Post Martin Luther: The Church is focusing on binding the divisions – The Trumpet
Post Martin Luther: The Church is focusing on binding the divisions – The Trumpet

Post Martin Luther: The Church is focusing on binding the divisions – The Trumpet

Five hundred years ago, a previously unknown German monk, Martin Luther, supposedly posted a set of statements on the door of a church in Wittenburg, writes The Trumpet. “Historians still debate whether this actually happened, but it is a potent symbol of the start of the Protestant Reformation, which split the Catholic Church and led to numerous, vicious wars.

Luther’s document was the “95 Theses.” It was a collection of statements intended to expose the corruption of “indulgences.” These infamous indulgences granted sinners time off their eternal punishment in return for acts of service to the church, including cash payments.

Luther complained that indulgences, the “remission of temporal sins,” had devolved from a “spiritual exercise into a monetary transaction.” One friar who provoked Luther was Johann Tetzel, who said his indulgences were so effective that one could have raped the Virgin Mary and still be assured remission from purgatory. His now famous saying was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”

Luther’s message spread quickly. The movement became so large that Luther was called to a trial of his belief at the Diet of Worms. If proclaimed a heretic, his punishment would be burning on the stake. He went and was proclaimed a heretic, but was quickly whisked away into hiding. While in hiding, others took over the cause, accusing the Catholic Church of even further errors. By the end of his life, Luther was calling the pope the antichrist.

Meanwhile, in Britain, King Henry viii used the issue of his divorce to break from the Catholic Church and form the Anglican Church. French theologian John Calvin formed the basis of the Reformed movement, believing that the Catholic Church was a false church: “The worship of God has been deformed by a diverse and unbearable mass of superstitions. Doctrine (apart from which Christianity cannot stand) has become entirely buried and driven out.” (Pew Research Religion graphics)

Such was the intensity of the split. The participants believed life and death, even eternal salvation, were at stake.

Five hundred years later, Catholics and Protestants no longer hold these views. Pope Benedict xvi declared that Luther was not a heretic; Protestants no longer believe that the pope is the antichrist.

Around the world today, Catholics and Protestants will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, together.

At the 100th anniversary in 1617, Catholics and Protestants “celebrated” by writing polemics condemning each other. At the 500th anniversary, they are focusing on binding their divisions.
At the 100th anniversary in 1617, Catholics and Protestants “celebrated” by writing polemics condemning each other. At the 500th anniversary, they are focusing on binding their divisions.

In the lead-up, thousands of events have been organized to commemorate the date. A quick look through the LutheranReformation.org “Events” page shows a seemingly endless list of anniversary activities including lectures, seminars, symposiums, concerts, dinners, movies, artwork displays and even tours retracing the steps of Luther in Germany. Many of these events invite Catholics to join in the anniversary.

While some Lutherans still label the events as celebrations, those involved in uniting the churches prefer to use the term “commemoration.” It is their way of acknowledging that there were terrible horrors committed by both sides.”

Read the full article in The Trumpet.

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