Skip to comments.What are the 95 Theses of Martin Luther?
Posted on 10/18/2019 3:39:19 AM PDT by ealgeone
In case no one has ever actually read what Luther wrote. Some additional background is available at the link provided.
Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, in saying, "Repent ye, etc.," intended that the whole life of his believers on earth should be a constant penance.
2. And the word "penance" neither can, nor may, be understood as referring to the Sacrament of Penance, that is, to confession and atonement as exercised under the priest's ministry.
3. Nevertheless He does not think of inward penance only: rather is inward penance worthless unless it produces various outward mortifications of the flesh.
4. Therefore mortification continues as long as hatred of oneself continues, that is to say, true inward penance lasts until entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.
5. The Pope will not, and cannot, remit other punishments than those which he has imposed by his own decree or according to the canons.
6. The Pope can forgive sins only in the sense, that he declares and confirms what may be forgiven of God; or that he doth it in those cases which he hath reserved to himself; be this contemned, the sin remains unremitted.
7. God forgives none his sin without at the same time casting him penitent and humbled before the priest His vicar.
8. The canons concerning penance are imposed only on the living; they ought not by any means, following the same canons, to be imposed on the dying.
9. Therefore, the Holy Spirit, acting in the Pope, does well for us, when the latter in his decrees entirely removes the article of death and extreme necessity.
10. Those priests act unreasonably and ill who reserve for Purgatory the penance imposed on the dying.
11. This abuse of changing canonical penalty into the penalty of Purgatory seems to have arisen when the bishops were asleep.
12. In times of yore, canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before, absolution, as tests of true repentance and affliction.
13. The dying pay all penalties by their death, are already dead to the canons, and rightly have exemption from them.
14. Imperfect spiritual health or love in the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the less this love is, the greater the fear it brings.
15. This fear and horror - to say nothing of other things - are sufficient in themselves to produce the punishment of Purgatory, because they approximate to the horror of despair.
16. Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven seem to differ as perfect despair, imperfect despair, and security of salvation differ.
17. It seems as must in Purgatory love in the souls increase, as fear diminishes in them.
18. It does not seem to be proved either by arguments or by the Holy Writ that they are outside the state of merit and demerit, or increase of love.
19. This, too, seems not to be proved, that they are all sure and confident of their salvation, though we may be quite sure of it.
20. Therefore the Pope, in speaking of the perfect remission of all punishments, does not mean that all penalties in general be forgiven, but only those imposed by himself.
21. Therefore, those preachers of indulgences err who say that, by the Pope's indulgence, a man may be exempt from all punishments, and be saved.
22. Yea, the Pope remits the souls in Purgatory no penalty which they, according to the canons, would have had to pay in this life.
23. If to anybody complete remission of all penalties may be granted, it is certain that it is granted only to those most approaching perfection, that is, to very few.
24. Therefore the multitude is misled by the boastful promise of the paid penalty, whereby no manner of distinction is made.
25. The same power that the Pope has over Purgatory, such has also every bishop in his diocese, and every curate in his parish.
26. The Pope acts most rightly in granting remission to souls, not by the power of the keys - which in Purgatory he does not possess - but by way of intercession.
27. They preach vanity who say that the soul flies out of Purgatory as soon as the money thrown into the chest rattles.
28. What is sure, is, that as soon as the penny rattles in the chest, gain and avarice are on the way of increase; but the intercession of the church depends only on the will of God Himself.
29. And who knows, too, whether all those souls in Purgatory wish to be redeemed, as it is said to have happened with St. Severinus and St. Paschalis.
30. Nobody is sure of having repented sincerely enough; much less can he be sure of having received perfect remission of sins.
31. Seldom even as he who has sincere repentance, is he who really gains indulgence; that is to say, most seldom to be found.
32. On the way to eternal damnation are they and their teachers, who believe that they are sure of their salvation through indulgences.
33. Beware well of those who say, the Pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to God.
34. For the forgiveness contained in these pardons has reference only to the penalties of sacramental atonement which were appointed by men.
35. He preaches like a heathen who teaches that those who will deliver souls out of Purgatory or buy indulgences do not need repentance and contrition.
36. Every Christian who feels sincere repentance and woe on account of his sins, has perfect remission of pain and guilt even without letters of indulgence.
37. Every true Christian, be he still alive or already dead, partaketh in all benefits of Christ and of the Church given him by God, even without letters of indulgence.
38. Yet is the Pope's absolution and dispensation by no means to be contemned, since it is, as I have said, a declaration of the Divine Absolution.
39. It is exceedingly difficult, even for the most subtle theologists, to praise at the same time before the people the great wealth of indulgence and the truth of utter contrition.
40. True repentance and contrition seek and love punishment; while rich indulgence absolves from it, and causes men to hate it, or at least gives them occasion to do so.
41. The Pope's indulgence ought to be proclaimed with all precaution, lest the people should mistakenly believe it of more value than all other works of charity.
42. Christians should be taught, it is not the Pope's opinion that the buying of indulgence is in any way comparable to works of charity.
43. Christians should be taught, he who gives to the poor, or lends to a needy man, does better than buying indulgence.
44. For, by the exercise of charity, charity increases and man grows better, while by means of indulgence, he does not become better, but only freer from punishment.
45. Christians should be taught, he who sees his neighbor in distress, and, nevertheless, buys indulgence, is not partaking in the Pope's pardons, but in the anger of God.
46. Christians should be taught, unless they are rich enough, it is their duty to keep what is necessary for the use of their households, and by no means to throw it away on indulgences.
47. Christians should be taught, the buying of indulgences is optional and not commanded.
48. Christians should be taught, the Pope, in selling pardons, has more want and more desire of a devout prayer for himself than of the money.
49. Christians should be taught, the Pope's pardons are useful as far as one does not put confidence in them, but on the contrary most dangerous, if through them one loses the fear of God.
50. Christians should be taught, if the Pope knew the ways and doings of the preachers of indulgences, he would prefer that St. Peter's Minster should be burnt to ashes, rather than that it should be built up of the skin, flesh, and bones of his lambs.
51. Christians should be taught, the Pope, as it is his bounden duty to do, is indeed also willing to give of his own money - and should St. Peter's be sold thereto - to those from whom the preachers of indulgences do most extort money.
52. It is a vain and false thing to hope to be saved through indulgences, though the commissary - nay, the Pope himself - was to pledge his own soul therefore.
53. Those who, on account of a sermon concerning indulgences in one church, condemn the word of God to silence in the others, are enemies of Christ and of the Pope.
54. Wrong is done to the word of God if one in the same sermon spends as much or more time on indulgences as on the word of the Gospel.
55. The opinion of the Pope cannot be otherwise than this:- If an indulgence - which is the lowest thing - be celebrated with one bell, one procession and ceremonies, then the Gospel - which is the highest thing - must be celebrated with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, and a hundred ceremonies.
56. The treasures of the Church, whence the Pope grants his dispensation are neither sufficiently named nor known among the community of Christ.
57. It is manifest that they are not temporal treasures, for the latter are not lightly spent, but rather gathered by many of the preachers.
58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and of the saints, for these, without the Pope's aid, work always grace to the inner man, cross, death, and hell to the other man.
59. St. Lawrence called the poor of the community the treasures of the community and of the Church, but he understood the word according to the use in his time.
60. We affirm without pertness that the keys of the Church, bestowed through the merit of Christ, are this treasure.
61. For it is clear that the Pope's power is sufficient for the remission of penalties and forgiveness in the reserved cases.
62. The right and true treasure of the Church is the most Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.
63. This treasure, however, is deservedly most hateful, for it makes the first to be last.
64. While the treasure of indulgence is deservedly most agreeable, for it makes the last to be first.
65. Therefore, the treasures of the Gospel are nets, with which, in times of yore, one fished for the men of Mammon.
66. But the treasures of indulgence are nets, with which now-a-days one fishes for the Mammon of men.
67. Those indulgences, which the preachers proclaim to be great mercies, are indeed great mercies, forasmuch as they promote gain.
68. And yet they are of the smallest compared to the grace of God and to the devotion of the Cross.
69. Bishops and curates ought to mark with eyes and ears, that the commissaries of apostolical (that is, Popish) pardons are received with all reverence.
70. But they ought still more to mark with eyes and ears, that these commissaries do not preach their own fancies instead of what the Pope has commanded.
71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolical pardons, be anathema and cursed.
72. But blessed be he who is on his guard against the preacher's of pardons naughty and impudent words.
73. As the Pope justly disgraces and excommunicates those who use any kind of contrivance to do damage to the traffic in indulgences.
74. Much more it is his intention to disgrace and excommunicate those who, under the pretext of indulgences, use contrivance to do damage to holy love and truth.
75. To think that the Popish pardons have power to absolve a man even if - to utter an impossibility - he had violated the Mother of God, is madness.
76. We assert on the contrary that the Popish pardon cannot take away the least of daily sins, as regards the guilt of it.
77. To say that St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could show no greater mercies, is blasphemy against St. Peter and the Pope.
78. We assert on the contrary that both this and every other Pope has greater mercies to show: namely, the Gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc. (1.Cor.XII).
79. He who says that the cross with the Pope's arms, solemnly set on high, has as much power as the Cross of Christ, blasphemes God.
80. Those bishops, curates, and theologists, who allow such speeches to be uttered among the people, will have one day to answer for it.
81. Such impudent sermons concerning indulgences make it difficult even for learned men to protect the Pope's honor and dignity against the calumnies, or at all events against the searching questions, of the laymen.
82. As for instance: - Why does not the Pope deliver all souls at the same time out of Purgatory for the sake of most holy love and on account of the bitterest distress of those souls - this being the most imperative of all motives, - while he saves an infinite number of souls for the sake of that most miserable thing money, to be spent on St. Peter's Minster: - this being the very slightest of motives?
83. Or again: - Why do masses for the dead continue, and why does not the Pope return or permit to be withdrawn the funds which were established for the sake of the dead, since it is now wrong to pray for those who are already saved?
84. Again: - What is this new holiness of God and the Pope that, for money's sake, they permit the wicked and the enemy of God to save a pious soul, faithful to God, and yet will not save that pious and beloved soul without payment, out of love, and on account of its great distress?
85. Again: - Why is it that the canons of penance, long abrogated and dead in themselves, because they are not used, are yet still paid for with money through the granting of pardons, as if they were still in force and alive?
86. Again: - Why does not the Pope build St. Peter's Minster with his own money - since his riches are now more ample than those of Crassus, - rather than with the money of poor Christians?
87. Again: -Why does the Pope remit or give to those who, through perfect penitence, have already a right to plenary remission and pardon?
88. Again: - What greater good could the Church receive, than if the Pope presented this remission and pardon a hundred times a day to every believer, instead of but once, as he does now?
89. If the Pope seeks by his pardon the salvation of souls, rather than money, why does he annul letters of indulgence granted long ago, and declare them out of force, though they are still in force?
90. To repress these very telling questions of the laymen by force, and not to solve them by telling the truth, is to expose the Church and the Pope to the enemy's ridicule and to make Christian people unhappy.
91. Therefore, if pardons were preached according to the Pope's intention and opinion, all these objections would be easily answered, nay, they never had occurred.
92. Away then with all those prophets who say to the community of Christ, "Peace, peace", and there is no peace.
93. But blessed be all those prophets who say to the community of Christ, "The cross, the cross," and there is no cross.
94. Christians should be exhorted to endeavor to follow Christ their Head through Cross, Death, and Hell,
95. And thus hope with confidence to enter Heaven through many miseries, rather than in false security.
M. D. XVII
15So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. 2 Thess 2:15
Ok....what are those "traditions" that Paul is claiming?
Again I ask....what is the context of this passage in relation to the rest of 2 Thess 2.
This is basic Bible study 101.
“And you base all of this on just what?...”
The teaching of all the popes from Peter through Pius XII.
(A vastly different position from that which Luther held.)
Some of your fellow Roman Catholics on these forums have told us we cannot make these kind of judgments you are making. we've been told only your priesthood can make these assessments.
This is where I see the disconnect in Roman Catholicism.
You allow yourself what you don't allow non-Roman Catholics...the ability to asses the veracity of a teaching.
“...we’ve been told only your priesthood can make these assessments.
This is where I see the disconnect in Roman Catholicism....”
These assessments have been made in union with not only valid Catholic priests but also a valid Catholic Bishop.
This is a bad game of chess on your part.
Again....how do you determine who is or is not a "valid Catholic priest or a valid Catholic Bishop"?
Who are these gentlemen to say where the pope is wrong?
You're advancing the argument of the Reformation all over again.
I prefer like Luther to base on scripture
If this is but your game of Chess, then I am not participating, for I will rather deal with serious seekers who are in it for salvation of souls and God’s glory, not sport.
This is about the salvation of people. This is why I post. To bring to light the errors of Rome.
How many people prior to the Reformation believed the false promise of buying indulgences? For that matter how many believe that now?
One gains Heaven only one way....and that is through faith in Christ and no one or nothing else.
Your comment: “Guess what he was right on the 50”
So how do you know? Just your personal opinion.
Can you document in the Bible where faith alone or scripture alone is what Jesus taught?
What then is the part assigned to faith in justification? According to Luther (and Calvin also), the faith that justifies is not, as the Catholic Church teaches, a firm belief in Gods revealed truths and promises (fides theoretica, dogmatica), but is the infallible conviction (fides fiducialis, fiducia) that God for the sake of Christ will no longer impute to us our sins, but will consider and treat us, as if we were really just and holy, although in our inner selves we remain the same sinners as before.
Are we saved by faith alone? No way! As we saw before, in Matthew 19:16-19, Jesus himself said to a rich young man who had asked him what he needed to do to have eternal life:
If you would enter life, keep the commandments You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Or, how about Matthew 12:36-37? Here, Jesus says:
I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
In Revelation 2:23, Jesus says, I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. Jesus does not render a judgment based solely on what our hearts deserve but also on what our works deserve.
Peter taught that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of ones own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Pet. 1:2021) and went on to warn about those who taught without authority: There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet. 2:1).
If you would enter life, keep the commandments You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
As with all things Roman Catholic...context is completely missing.
I post all of the exchange between Jesus and the young ruler.
Have you sold all of your possessions?
16And someone came to Him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life? 17And He said to him, Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments. 18Then he said to Him, Which ones? And Jesus said, YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; 19HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.
20The young man said to Him, All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?
21Jesus said to him, If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.
22But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. Matt 19:16-22 NASB
1. When Jesus said "repent" he meant that believers should live a whole life repenting
2. Only God can give salvation - not a priest.
3. Inwards penitence must be accompanied with a suitable change in lifestyle.
4. Sin will always remain until we enter Heaven.
5. The pope must act according to canon law.
6. Only God can forgive -the pope can only reassure people that God will do this.
7. A sinner must be humbled in front of his priest before God can forgive him.
8. Canon law applies only to the living not to the dead.
10. The priest must not threaten those dying with the penalty of purgatory.
11. The church through church penalties is producing a human crop of weeds.
13. When you die all your debts to the church are wiped out and those debts are free from being judged.
16. Purgatory = Hell. Heaven = Assurance.
18. A sinful soul does not have to be always sinful. It can be cleansed.
19. There is no proof that a person is free from sin.
20. Even the pope - who can offer forgiveness - cannot totally forgive sins held within.
21. An indulgence will not save a man.
22. A dead soul cannot be saved by an indulgence.
24. Therefore most people are being deceived by indulgences.
27. It is nonsense to teach that a dead soul in Purgatory can be saved by money.
28. Money causes greed - only God can save souls.
30. No-one is sure of the reality of his own penitence - no-one can be sure of receiving complete forgiveness.
32. People who believe that indulgences will let them live in salvation will always be damned - along with those who teach it.
33. Do not believe those who say that a papal indulgence is a wonderful gift which allows salvation.
34. Indulgences only offer Man something which has been agreed to by Man.
36. A man can be free of sin if he sincerely repents - an indulgence is not needed.
38. Do not despise the popes forgiveness but his forgiveness is not the most important.
39. The most educated theologians cannot preach about indulgences and real repentance at the same time.
40. A truly repent person will be sorry for his sins and happily pay for them. Indulgences trivialize this issue.
42. Christians should be taught that the buying of indulgences does not compare with being forgiven by Christ.
43. A Christian who gives to the poor or lends to those in need is doing better in Gods eyes than one who buys 'forgiveness'.
44. This is because of loving others, love grows and you become a better person. A person buying an indulgence does not become a better person.
46. A Christian should buy what is necessary for life not waste money on an indulgence.
48. The pope should have more desire for devout prayer than for ready money.
49. Christians should be taught not to rely on an indulgence. They should never lose their fear of God through them.
53. Those who forbid the word of God to be preached and who preach pardons as a norm are enemies of both the pope and Christ.
54. It is blasphemy that the word of God is preached less than that of indulgences.
55. The pope should enforce that the gospel - a very great matter - must be celebrated more than indulgences.
58. Relics are not the relics of Christ, although they may seem to be. They are, in fact, evil in concept.
60. Salvation can be sought for through the church as it has been granted this by Christ.
61. It is clear that the power of the church is adequate, by itself, for the forgiveness of sins.
62. The main treasure of the church should be the Gospels and the grace of God.
65. The treasured items in the Gospels are the nets used by the workers.
66. Indulgences are used to net an income for the wealthy.
68. They are the furthest from the grace of God and the piety and love of the cross.
72. Blessed are they who think about being forgiven.
73. The pope is angered at those who claim that pardons are meaningless.
75. It is wrong to think that papal pardons have the power to absolve all sin.
76. You should feel guilt after being pardoned. A papal pardon cannot remove guilt.
81. Pardoners make the intelligent appear disrespectful because of the popes position.
84. Evil men must not buy their salvation when a poor man, who is a friend of God, cannot.
88. What good would be done to the church if the pope was to forgive hundreds of people each day ?
89. Why are indulgences only issued when the pope sees fit to issue them ?
91. If the pope had worked as he should (and by example) all the problems stated above would not have existed.
93. Those in the church who claim there is no problem must go.
94. Christians must follow Christ at all cost.
95. Let Christians experience problems if they must - and overcome them - rather than live a false life based on present Catholic teaching.
Yes....no human wrote Scripture on their own....they were moved by the Spirit.
and went on to warn about those who taught without authority: There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet. 2:1).
You mean like this?
Saint Anselm says, that as it is impossible for one who is not devout to Mary, and consequently not protected by her, to be saved,
Lady in heaven, we have but one advocate, and that is thyself, and thou alone art truly loving and solicitous for our salvation.
The Glories of Mary, Alphonsus de Liguori: 1696 - 1787
Scripture says otherwise:
28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. Jn 10:28
5For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim 2:5
I see more context is needed.
18And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: 19I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call themI place no other burden on you. 25Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; 27AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28and I will give him the morning star. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Rev 2:18-29 NASB
Aren't you a priest?
Do they not teach context to you guys in your seminary?
Well, that’s a bit different!
(w)hoever lives in peace with God, whoever lets himself be reconciled with Him, finds also peace with himself, with his neighbor and the creation that surrounds him. Faith helps (a person) to live, faith gives joy, faith is a great gift: this is the deepest conviction of Pope Benedict,
Yep! Which is why they will continue to hate and condemn him. Won’t it be fun to watch when (if) they make it to heaven and they meet Martin Luther there as he has been rejoicing in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ for all these centuries? He might even offer to give them a tour! ;o)
God said to honor your Father and Mother. the Blessed Mother is our spiritual mother and the the Mother of God. We honor her and pray to her and all the holy ones. Ephesians 6:18
The Blessed Mother without sin is closer to God than the rest of us and helped Jesus in our salvation. Jesus is our judge, and the Blessed Mother is our advocate who pleads our cause.
Protestants should find in their hearts to honor and love the Blessed Mother.
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