Meditation for Sunday, October 8.

Here they are some of the 95 theses that Martin Luther posted on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, October 31, 1517

Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

  1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, in saying, “Repent ye, etc.,” intended that the whole life of his believers on earth should be a constant penance.
  2. And the word “penance” neither can, nor may, be understood as referring to the Sacrament of Penance, that is, to confession and atonement as exercised under the priest’s ministry.
  3. Nevertheless He does not think of inward penance only: rather is inward penance worthless unless it produces various outward mortifications of the flesh.
  4. Therefore mortification continues as long as hatred of oneself continues, that is to say, true inward penance lasts until entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.
  5. Christians should be taught, he who sees his neighbor in distress, and, nevertheless, buys indulgence, is not partaking in the Pope’s pardons, but in the anger of God.
  6. Christians should be taught, unless they are rich enough, it is their duty to keep what is necessary for the use of their households, and by no means to throw it away on indulgences.
  7. Christians should be taught, the buying of indulgences is optional and not commanded.
  8. Christians should be taught, the Pope, in selling pardons, has more want and more desire of a devout prayer for himself than of the money.
  9. Christians should be taught, the Pope’s pardons are useful as far as one does not put confidence in them, but on the contrary most dangerous, if through them one loses the fear of God.
  10. It is a vain and false thing to hope to be saved through indulgences, though the commissary – nay, the Pope himself – was to pledge his own soul therefore. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther

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