Martin Luther

Essay by Jay YorkUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 1996

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This essay is concerned with Martin Luther (1483-1546),

and his concept of Christianity. Luther began his

ecclesiastical career as an Augustinian Monk in the Roman

Catholic Church. Consequently, Luther was initially loyal to

the papacy, and even after many theological conflicts, he

attempted to bring about his reconciliation with the Church.

But this was a paradox not to endure because in his later

years, Luther waged a continual battle with the papacy. Luther

was to become a professor of biblical exegesis at Wittenberg

where, in 1957, he posted his critique of the Roman Catholic

Church's teachings and practices. This is otherwise known as

The Ninety-Five Theses, which is usually considered to be the

original document of the Reformation. Basically, this document

was an indictment of the venality of the Roman Catholic

Church, particularly the widespread practice of selling

indulgences in association with the sacrament of penance.

Luther's beliefs on the matter was that after confession,

absolution relied upon the sinner's faith and God's Divine

Grace rather than the intervention of a priest.

At this point,

Luther did not advocate an actual separation from the Roman

Catholic Church. Instead, Luther felt his suggested reforms


could be implemented within Catholicism. If this had taken

place, the Protestant Reformation would probably not of ever

seen the light of day--nor would it have been necessary. But

the theological practices being what they were in the Roman

Church, there was little chance at that time for any great

variations to occur within its folds. The Church of Rome was

thoroughly monolithic and set in its ways and was not about to

mutate into something else. If a metamorphosis had occurred

within the Roman Catholic Church, Luther would have had a

different destiny. But Luther's fate was sealed, and his job

was cut...