The Beginning of the Protestant Revolution

Martin Luther was a Catholic, Augustinian Monk (a very strict man in the seminary). He questioned the catholic beliefs though and thought the religion needed a reform. He posted his 95 Thesis on a German Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517 and this marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

The Catholic Church had taken some things way too far and it seemed that the whole religion had been corrupted. In the beginning, indulgences were used to help fund the church’s essential needs and were considered as a nice donation. It grew into being able to pay someone’s way into heaven. That meant a poor person was either going to hell or purgatory to suffer. Martin Luther believed that needed to change. “…But desiring that the abuses which have become connected with them… be amended and corrected, it ordains… that all evil traffic in them, which has been a most prolific source of abuses among the Christian people, be absolutely abolished…” (Andrea, THR, 13)

Indulgences were only a small part of the corruptions in the church; they went from paying to get in to heaven to paying to get into office. Simony became a big problem. The Holy Roman Empire was being run by corrupt bishops and even popes that had bought their way into office. Martin Luther new this had to be changed as well.

Since simony and indulgences were considered “ok”, then the people only had to go to church on Sundays and buy their way to a good soul and conscience. Martin Luther said that to reach heaven, it cannot be done with faith alone. People must also do good works and mean them. “He that goes from the gospel to the law, thinking to be saved by good works, falls as uneasily as he who falls from the true service of God to idolatry; for, without Christ, all is idolatry and fictitious imaginings of Gad, whether of the Turkish Quran, of the pope’s decrees, or Moses’ laws; if a man think thereby to be justified and saved before God, he is undone.” (Andrea, THR, 7) The same passages in the bible were used against each other on each reform debate. Martin Luther used it to say that people must perform good works as well.

The people thought that going to church on Sundays and buying indulgences made everything ok. They would still sin during the week and just ask God for forgiveness. Concubinage was a huge sin committed by the people. It was even a problem with the priests because they were not allowed to marry. “…and the papists, who reject married life, and yet have many mistresses; if they need to scoff at matrimony, let them be consistent, and keep no concubines.” (Andrea, THR, 9) Martin Luther this topic needed to be addressed and reformed.

Martin Luther’s beliefs sparked the Great Schism of world religion. The Protestant Reformation was with his very own 95 Thesis. The Catholic Church has reformed very much with the power of the Council of Trent and has helped all the Christian religions be a better people to God.

Andrea, Overfield. The Human Record. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.