Reformation And Counterreformation Martin Luther

The year 1517 was a great turning point in the history of the church. On October 31 in that year, Martin Luther (1483-1546), a German Au-gustinian monk, posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the Power of Indulgences on the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany, to protest the corruption of the papacy. He was reacting to Pope Leo X's promulgation of indulgences (an official pardon for a sin committed) for building Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. He and other restorers "protested" against a variety of frustrations including the primacy of the pope, abuses like simony and nepotism, and the secularism of the papacy, especially with regard to art. He also advocated the dissolution of the monasteries. Monas-ticism was one of the most important developments in the early and medieval church. It emphasized spirituality and ascetism, the renunciation of worldly pursuits in either an eremitical, "desert" or "solitary," community or a cenobitic, "in common," community under certain vows. Luther felt that these religious communities were corrupt corporate entities more concerned with financial gain than with the virtues that the monastic life was supposed to enhance: poverty, chastity, and obedience. Above all, Luther and the other reformers wanted to restore the church to the "true gospel," to what they considered the singular and unique truth, the Bible. They substituted the authority of the scriptures for the authority of the pope and all his councils. For this reason, Protestantism has been termed

"evangelical" Christianity because it looks back to the evangelion, "good news," of the gospel.

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