October is a very special month for those of us in the Protestant tradition and Lutherans in particular. Every October, on the last Sunday of the month, we celebrate the anniversary of an event which has been called the beginning act of the Protestant Reformation. On that date in the year 1517, Martin Luther posted his “95 theses” on the door of the University Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
Over the years, many legends have developed over the purpose of this act and the content of these theses.
In taking this action, Luther was following a tradition still practiced today in academic institutions of higher leaning. He was calling for a debate on various points of contention he had with the medieval church of his day. Those involved traditions established by the church as well as the responsibility for interpretation of Scripture.
Luther, who had spent years as an Augustinian monk, had recently become professor of theology at the university and wished to have an intellectual discourse on matters that concerned him and his students.
Although legend has credited this as the act that broke official ties with Rome, that would not actually take place until 13 years later in the city of Augsburg, Germany.
Many reformers would follow Luther all throughout Europe, each bringing their own particular religious philosophy and attracting their own unique following.
But the fundamental questions faced by Luther then are ones we still struggle with today and thus are worth continued consideration and thoughtful, respectful dialogue. Let me pose what I consider the three most important.
For the complete article see the 11-07-2012 issue.
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