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That his concern was pastoral (rather than trying to push a private agenda) is apparent from the document.He didn’t believe (at this point) that indulgences were altogether a bad idea; he just believed they were misleading Christians regarding their spiritual state: 41.
Additionally, we need to fully trust in God to save us from our sins, rather than relying partly on our own self-improvement.
These teachings were radical departures from the Catholic orthodoxy of Luther’s day.
[Notice that Luther is not yet wholly against the theology of indulgences.] And even financial well-being: 46.
Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.
Luther was calling the pope and those in power to repent—on no authority but the convictions he’d gained from Scripture—and urged the leaders of the indulgences movement to direct their gaze to Christ, the only one able to pay the penalty due for sin.
Of all the portions of the document, Luther’s closing is perhaps the most memorable for its exhortation to look to Christ rather than to the church’s power: 93.At the same time, the church became more and more uncomfortable with the radical Luther and, in the following decades, the spark that he made grew into a flame of reformation that spread across Europe.Luther was ordered by the church to recant in 1520 and was eventually exiled in 1521.For instance, in this passage he appears to be defending the pope against detractors, albeit in a backhanded way: 51.Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St.Luther is known mostly for his teachings about Scripture and justification.Regarding Scripture, he argued the Bible alone () is our ultimate authority for faith and practice.Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences. Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better.Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.Luther’s official response to indulgences came in the form of an academic document he addressed to the local archbishop, who happened to be the same Albert of Mainz who’d authorized the campaign.Significantly, Luther penned his grievance—titled “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” but known to posterity as the Ninety-five Theses—in Latin rather than in the common vernacular.