Luther's 95 Theses



    The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 50, #3, 1983 - Erwin Weber


The article deals with the history of the sale of indulgences. In 1506, Pope Julius had proclaimed an indulgence which was renewed by Pope Leo X. The proceeds were to go toward the construction of St. Peter's Church in Rome. The sale would also benefit the Archbishop of Mainz who was heavily in debt to the Curia in Rome and the Fugger banking house in Augsburg. Luther learned from his parishioners the terrible consequences of the indulgence traffic. He wanted to discuss the practice with his students. Therefore, he posted the announcement in Latin on the Castle Church door which served as a bulletin board for the faculty and students. As soon as the theses were translated into German, they spread like wildfire and Luther was pushed into the Reformation of the 16th century. Since the church did not respond to his criticism, the Lutheran Church was born.

I took the cover photo during the renovation of the tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. It was part of the East German Government's effort for the preparation of the 500th anniversary of Luther's birth. Notice the scaffolding at the top of the tower to repair the mosaic inscription three feet high, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" - "A mighty fortress is our God."