On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther posted his “Ninety-five
Theses” on the door of All Saints Church, Wittenberg and
followed that up by sending them as a letter to his Bishop.
This act effectively kicked off the reformation. By 1521
Luther was banned by the Pope, and threatened with
arrest. Rescued by Frederick III and given asylum at
Warburg Castle, Luther set about shaping up a new
Evangelical church. Luther’s two main theological points
were that we are justified by faith alone, as a free gift of
God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. No Church
hierarchy can stand in the way, nothing we can do to
please others will bring that salvation, nothing others may
do can prevent it. Secondly, scripture alone sets the
boundaries and benefits of the faith – it’s not for the church
or any other human institution to set in place anything that
is not consistent with the scriptures.
The Roman church at the time badly needed reform,
something which had simmered away for 100 years before
Luther. However, the invention of the printing press and the
increasing sense of national identity in countries previously
under Rome’s thumb lifted the lid in Luther’s time, and the
Reformation went on to affect the whole of Europe in a little
under 50 years.

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