October 31, 1517 - The Reformation

Martin Luther was born in 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony, which is now Germany. He followed in his father’s footsteps, went to school and university, but in 1505 a significant event greatly impacted his life. He was in a thunderstorm that frightened him so greatly that he would become a monk if he survived. Martin Luther survived and became a monk that very year. He was dedicated to his studies and followed all the rigorous regiments that being monk entailed. Luther went above and beyond his fellow monks. He would put his life at such a risk that he needed to be saved all by becoming closer to God through the church. He was asked by his monastery to take a trip to Rome as a way to reign in his actions. Martin Luther saw what the church had become and how they were selling indulgences to people only for profit. Luther had been following this organization that had taken a toll on his life, that he was now starting to question. He became a professor in biblical studies and even learned a new language to interpret the Bible. He came to question the church even more after his studies.
After learning this, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther wrote, and “95 theses.” The Theses stated that salvation could be reached through faith and by divine grace only, and that one did not have to go through the church to reach salvation. It is said that Martin Luther pinned the document on Wittenberg Castle church, although this is likely not the case. Martin Luther only sent this document to his colleges to spark discussion, but he may have been after more change. The document got published, and thanks to the printing press, it made its way all around Germany. People began to question the church and their ideals; an organization people had been blindly following for centuries. Luther was targeted by the church but refused to recant his writings.
Luther’s central idea, that God intended believers to seek repentance and that faith alone, and not deeds, would lead to salvation were his first two lines in the 95 theses, and those lines struck the most people. Luther also made infographics for those who were illiterate as a way to spread his ideas. These efforts speak to the point of how Luther was starting a reformation. Luther’s writing led to the protestant reformation, a new branch of Christianity that also weakened the church’s power. The church previously influenced the lives of almost all the people in Europe, but in the protestant faith, peasants did not have to comply with the church’s way of life anymore. Luther’s ideas contributed to ending the feudal system in Europe as well, even though he stated those were not his intentions. The 95 Thesis and Martin Luther mainly changed the world we live in by creating a new religion that millions of people follow, and by taking power away from an organization that was controlling all of Europe.

Photo credit: Evolution News

https://www.history.com/topics/reformation/martin-luther-and-the-95-theses

https://www.biography.com/religious-figure/martin-luther

https://www.britannica.com/event/Ninety-five-Theses

By Robby Meek