Martin Luther was born in Saxony, Germany in 1483 A.D. He attended the University of Erfurt where he had received his B.A and M.A degrees by 1505 A.D. He intended to pursue a professional career in law.
He was nearly struck by a lighting bolt in 1501 A.D and declared “St Anne, save me! And I will become a monk”. He made good on that vow and entered on Augustinian monastery. The monastic life and cold formatism of Roman Catholism did not satisfy the longing in his heart for peace with God.
In his studies of the book of Psalms, Romans, and Galatians over a period of 5 years, convinced him of the error of the Roman Catholic system of merit based on salvation through the church sacraments. In fact, it apparently was in reading Romans 1:17 that Luther was saved. He believed that there was need only for faith nourished by the word of God.
The Roman church had a sad moral and spiritual condition. They had corruption and immorality of many clergy, buying and selling of the church offices, worshipping and selling of religious relics, granting of dispensations to marry and violate canon law, constant pleas or money, excessive church taxation to finance the church’s administrative system, ineffectiveness of the clergy to meet people’s real needs, lastly, selling of indulgences for the temporal forgiveness of sins.
And it was the selling of indulgences which was the immediate direct cause of the Protestant Reformation. Indulgences were related to penance and dealing with the satisfaction of sin. The Catholic Church taught on confession of sin, the guilt and penalty were forgiven by God but the sinner had to pay for the sin either in purgatory after death and before heaven or in this life. This payment or satisfaction could take many forms – a pilgrimage, good deeds of the payment of money to the church that would free one from the life of sin.
Indulgence in the Church of Rome.
The indulgence was a document issued by the church declaring that the temporal penalty of the sin had been satisfied. The theory behind the indulgence was that Christ and the early saints had built up a “treasury of merits” against which the pope could grant indulgences. In practice of this system of granting indulgences was used to raise money to finance the Roman Church causes and projects including wars, political maneuverings, the crusades and the building of cathedrals. How much the indulgence would cost, depended on the possibility of the sinner to pay. Ephesians 2:8-10 and Ephesians 1:7.
It was on October 31, 1517, Luther posted the Ninety Five Theses on the church door at Wittenberg in “protest” of indulgences and to offer to debate the issue with church officials. This event opened the door for Protestant Reformation. ...