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What is the Reformation?
If we were to be transported by a time machine to the early 1500’s, or for that
matter if Christians from the year 100 A.D. were to be transported to the early
1500’s, we would not recognize the Christian Church.
First of all, there were no multiple denominations. The Catholic Church was the
only Christian Church. Secondly, the Church started basically making their own
rules, such as selling of indulgences. Although Luther and other reformers had
many complaints about the Catholic Church of the early 1500’s, the practices of
selling indulgences, raised the most opposition. An indulgence was a payment to
the Church that purchased an exemption from punishment (penance) for sin.
In other word’s, a man might confess to a priest that he had committed adultery
and the priest would say, “For that, you go to Hell but if you pay the Church X
amount of money, your sin will be washed away.” People were even paying for a
loved one who perhaps was a hanged horse thief. If you would pay enough
money, you could get him out of Hell or Purgatory.
On October 31st 1517, Martin Luther (not yet 35 years old) nailed his 95 theses to
the door of the Wittenberg Church. This was a list of all the errors that he saw of
the Church and would welcome a debate concerning them.
On this 499th anniversary, let us remember and be grateful for Martin Luther and
others who not only read and knew what the Bible said but had the courage to
point out the errors of the Church.
Happy Reformation