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Luther remained there for most of therest of his life.
We first approach the subject of the inward man, that we may see by what means a man becomes justified, free, and a true Christian; that is, a spiritual, new, and inward man. It is certain that absolutely none among outward things, under whatever name they may be reckoned, has any weight in producing a state of justification and Christian liberty, nor, on the other hand, an unjustified state and one of slavery. This can be shown by an easy course of argument.
Martin Luther, professor of moral theology at the University of Wittenberg and town preacher, wrote the Ninety-five Theses against the contemporary Luther's 95 Theses, Christian Church Doctrine, Christianity Read Luther's 95 Theses online.
Martin Luther's 95 Theses The 95 Theses.
Whilst the seed which Luther had sown on German soil began to produce a magnificent harvest, and he himself was busy at the Wartburg, under the disguise of with various religious writings, but more especially with the great work of his life, the translation of the Bible from the original text, some of his adherents began to precipitate matters at Wittenberg under the leadership of the impassioned Carlstadt. A time of general dissolution suddenly came on, in which there was a violent rupture with the past. Mass was abrogated, monks left their convents, and priests married. Holy images were destroyed, and nearly all the usages of the Roman Catholic Church were abruptly abolished. Other innovations were introduced, and the movement tended towards the introduction of a Christian socialism, or rather communism. If Luther had not been absent, the movement would never have broken out, and Melanchthon, who was present, was quite perplexed and not energetic enough to be able to stem the surging tide of the Revolution. The Prince Elector, too, looked on quite bewildered, and, imbued with a sense of unbounded tolerance, he fancied that, after all, the revolutionary “saints” might be right.
When Luther heard of the local excesses at Wittenberg, he suddenly left his “Patmos,” in order to find out for himself the real state of things. In travelling to and from Wittenberg, where he stayed a few days only, he had to pass the territory of his great opponent, the Duke of Saxony. This was at the beginning of December, 1521, consequently only a few months after the publication of the Edict of Worms, and his conduct shows both his moral courage, of which he has given so many striking proofs, and his anxiety for the cause of the Reformation.
What are the 95 Theses of Martin Luther?
During the first few months after the departure of Charles from Germany the work of the Reformation went on undisturbed. The Edict of Worms found, in general, no responsive reception there. Its effect quite vanished before the impression made by Luther’s manly, nay heroic, conduct in presence of the Diet. The rumour which had got abroad that he had been captured by an enemy of the Elector Frederick and perchance killed, rather promoted than damaged his cause. It aroused warm sympathy for the Reformer and increased the hatred against his enemies, who were alleged to have resorted to brutal force, because they could not disprove his arguments. In fact, the adoption of the Reformation was now so general, that Luther’s antagonists hardly dared to denounce them openly. It is well known, that the Elector of Mentz would not give permission to the Minorite monks to preach against Luther. The Edict of Worms was thus practically set at defiance, and in spite of its prohibition not to publish any thing in favour of the Reformation, numerous writings in its favour issued from the German printing presses.
Several of the religious innovations introduced during the absence of Luther were quite in accordance with his views, but he chiefly objected to the violent manner in which the established usages were thrown over. Thus he approved the abolition of the but considered that it ought not to have been done in a way which was vexatious to another portion of the Christian community. The secular authorities should have been consulted and everything done in a legal manner. Luther was, besides, tolerant in the highest degree. He did not wish to force others to adopt his theories; he merely wanted to convince them. His mode of acting was concisely summed up in the following words, which contain the keynote of his activity as a Reformer: “I will preach about it, speak about it, write about it; but I will compel and drive no one by force; for belief is to be accepted freely and spontaneously. Take me as an example. I have opposed the Indulgences and the Papists, but not with force. I have only worked, preached, and written the Word of the Lord; else I have done nothing . . . have done nothing; the Word has done and accomplished everything. If I had wished to proceed turbulently, I could have caused great bloodshed in Germany, and I might have played such a game at Worms, that even the Emperor would not have been safe,” etc.
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Why did Martin Luther write the ninety five theses?
It is an amiable trait in human nature, though frequently bordering on weakness, to endeavour to find out the good side of any evil. Thus it has been considered a propitious coincidence that the German Empire had some “claims” on certain territories in Italy. For it was, in a great measure, in consequence of this fact, that the war broke out between the Emperor of Germany and the King of France, which necessitated the absence of the former from his German domains for several years and gave the Reformation time for its consolidation and expansion. We will not deny the advantages which resulted from that political combination, but it is to a certain extent counterbalanced by the ill which it produced. Without the contingency of that war, Charles V. would have had no occasion for leaguing himself with the Pope, the Edict of Worms would, in all probability, never have been issued, and the pressing demand for a General Council would have been acceded to. Luther would not have been obliged to hide himself at the Wartburg, and the subsequent troubles at Wittenberg would certainly never have broken out; and finally the firm hand of a sovereign residing in the country would have stemmed the torrent of the Peasants’ War at the outset. Another drawback resulting from the absence of Charles V. was his utter estrangement from Germany, whose aspirations he neither cared for nor understood.
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(Or read a summary of the 95 theses.) Luther's 95 Theses (A.
These words, which Luther uttered in his celebrated sermons preached after his return to Wittenberg, not only fully reveal to us one of his principal characteristics as a Reformer, but contain at the same time a full revelation of the cause of the peaceful course of the Reformation during his lifetime. He held the reins in his firm hands, and it would only have required an encouraging signal on his part, and the furies of civil war would have been at once let loose. But those words also confirm the charge which has been brought forward against the Imperial Estates, that they had betrayed the cause of the Reformation at the Diet of Worms. They had the German people at their back, and the Emperor, with all his Spanish and Italian courtiers and Papal Legates, would have been powerless. Had only some of them given signs of energetic opposition, the Emperor would, in all probability, have yielded. That the Princes did not fully answer Luther’s expectations caused him considerable grief, and now he had experienced another disappointment in the conduct of the middle classes—the people proper—a portion of whom eagerly supported the violent innovations of the extreme reformers. But the greatest disappointment with regard to the healthiest class of the people—the peasants—was yet in store for him.
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