COMMEMORATING THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION

In 2017 the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of the Ninety-Five Theses will be commemorated throughout the world.  To a considerable extent, this act triggered the movement that has become known as the Reformation.   Lutheran churches in particular will reflect on this formative time in their history.

THE BACKGROUND TO THE NINETY-FIVE THESES

According to tradition, the Ninety-five Theses were nailed by Dr Martin Luther to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on the eve of All Saints Day (31 October) 1517.  Although the Theses, which were brief assertions, dealt with several different matters, they were particularly prompted by what Luther felt were the abuses prevalent in the sale of letters known as 'Indulgences', which were said to shorten the length of time spent by departed believers in purgatory.  Luther was an Augustinian monk who lectured in biblical theology in the new university in Wittenberg, and who had wrestled with the twin problems of how to reconcile his growing understanding of the Bible’s teachings with the traditional teachings of the church, and a more personal struggle with his own spiritual standing in the eyes of God.  At some point, he came to understand that human beings are reconciled to God by God’s grace, apprehended in faith, rather than by their good works. Within days, the Theses, which were written in Latin for use by theologians, had been translated into German and were being printed and widely distributed throughout the many different territories of Germany.  Traditionally, the posting of the Theses on 31 October 1517 is seen as the date when 'The Reformation' started, although there had been movements towards reform also during the preceding centuries.

 

The Lutheran Council of Great Britain
30 Thanet Street London WC1H 9QH
Registered Charity No. 232042

COMMEMORATING THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION

In 2017 the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of the Ninety-Five Theses will be commemorated throughout the world.  To a considerable extent, this act triggered the movement that has become known as the Reformation.   Lutheran churches in particular will reflect on this formative time in their history.

THE BACKGROUND TO THE NINETY-FIVE THESES

According to tradition, the Ninety-five Theses were nailed by Dr Martin Luther to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on the eve of All Saints Day (31 October) 1517.  Although the Theses, which were brief assertions, dealt with several different matters, they were particularly prompted by what Luther felt were the abuses prevalent in the sale of letters known as 'Indulgences', which were said to shorten the length of time spent by departed believers in purgatory.  Luther was an Augustinian monk who lectured in biblical theology in the new university in Wittenberg, and who had wrestled with the twin problems of how to reconcile his growing understanding of the Bible’s teachings with the traditional teachings of the church, and a more personal struggle with his own spiritual standing in the eyes of God.  At some point, he came to understand that human beings are reconciled to God by God’s grace, apprehended in faith, rather than by their good works. Within days, the Theses, which were written in Latin for use by theologians, had been translated into German and were being printed and widely distributed throughout the many different territories of Germany.  Traditionally, the posting of the Theses on 31 October 1517 is seen as the date when 'The Reformation' started, although there had been movements towards reform also during the preceding centuries.

 

The Lutheran Council of Great Britain
30 Thanet Street London WC1H 9QH
Registered Charity No. 232042