Written by Peter Hammond Monday, 21 November Both church and society are facing a multitude of serious crises that threaten not only our freedoms, but our very lives. An ominous arsenal of potentially anti-Christian legislationaffecting almost every area of life, have either been railroaded through parliament, slipped through by stealth legislation, or are in the process of being approved by the legislature.
Today we are able to tell the story of the Lutheran Reformation together. Even though Lutherans and Catholics have different points of view, because of ecumenical dialogue they are able to overcome traditional anti-Protestant and anti-Catholic hermeneutics in order to find a common way of remembering past events.
The following chapter is not a full description of the entire history and all the disputed theological points. It highlights only some of the most important historical situations and theological issues of the Reformation in the sixteenth century.
What does reformation mean? In antiquity, the Latin noun reformatio referred to the idea of changing a bad present situation by returning to the good and better times of the past.
In the Middle Ages, the concept of reformatio was very often used in the context of monastic reform. The monastic orders engaged in reformation in order to overcome the decline of discipline and religious lifestyle. One of the greatest reform movements originated in the tenth century in the Abbey of Cluny.
In the late Middle Ages, the concept of the necessity of reform was applied to the whole church. The church councils and nearly every diet of the Holy Roman Empire were concerned with reformatio.
At the end of the fifteenth century, the idea of reformation also spread to the government and university. However, only God who has created time knows the time for this reformation. In this letter, Luther expressed serious concerns about preaching and the practice of indulgences occurring under the responsibility of the Archbishop and urged him to make changes.
On the same day, he wrote another letter to his Diocesan Bishop Hieronymus of Brandenburg. When Luther sent his theses to a few colleagues and most likely posted them on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, he wished to inaugurate an academic disputation on open and unresolved questions regarding the theory and practice of indulgences.
Indulgences played an important role in the piety of the time. An indulgence was understood as a remission of temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt had already been forgiven.
Christians could receive an indulgence under certain prescribed conditions—such as prayer, acts of charity, and almsgiving—through the action of the church, which was thought to dispense and apply the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints to penitents.
He questioned whether indulgences could free the penitents from penalties imposed by God; whether any penalties imposed by priests would be transferred into purgatory; whether the medicinal and purifying purpose of penalties meant that a sincere penitent would prefer to suffer the penalties instead of being liberated from them; and whether the money given for indulgences should instead be given to the poor.
He also wondered about the nature of the treasury of the church out of which the pope offered indulgences. Luther on trial Soon it was rumored that Luther would be accused of heresy. Luther was surprised by the reaction to his theses, as he had not planned a public event but rather an academic disputation.
He feared that the theses would be easily misunderstood if read by a wider audience. It was an extraordinarily successful pamphlet that quickly made Luther a figure well known to the German public.
Luther repeatedly insisted that, apart from the first four propositions, the theses were not his own definitive assertions but rather propositions written for disputation. Thus, Luther was called to Rome in order to answer to the curial court for his theology. However, upon the request of the Electoral Prince of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, the trial was transferred to Germany, to the Imperial Diet at Augsburg, where Cardinal Cajetan was given the mandate to interrogate Luther.
The papal mandate said that either Luther was to recant or, in the event that Luther refused, the Cardinal had the power to ban Luther immediately or to arrest him and bring him to Rome. Luther offered questions for disputation and put forward arguments.
He and the public, informed through many pamphlets and publications about his position and the ongoing process, expected an exchange of arguments. Luther was promised a fair trial.
Nevertheless, although he was assured that he would be heard, he repeatedly received the message that he either had to recant or be proclaimed a heretic. On 13 Octoberin a solemn protestatio, Luther claimed that he was in agreement with the Holy Roman Church and that he could not recant unless he were convinced that he was wrong.
But Cajetan interpreted Luther within his own conceptual framework and thus misunderstood him on the assurance of faith, even while correctly representing the details of his position. It is a tragedy that two of the most outstanding theologians of the sixteenth century encountered one another in a trial of heresy.Above, we say "the answer is simple - monks." Monks following the Rule of St.
Benedict to be precise.
It may be a simplification, but any student of history knows that the monasteries were the primary Christianizing and civilizing influence on a pagan (at best Arian) Europe. Dream Moods is the only free online source you need to discover the meanings to your dreams.
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