Martin Luther - Lesson 4

The 95 Theses

When Martin Luther posted the 95 theses, his intention was to discuss and debate the misuse of indulgences, but it was interpreted by the church heirarchy as an attack on the power of the papacy.

Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther
Lesson 4
Watching Now
The 95 Theses

I. Precipitating Circumstances

A. Vagueness of the doctrine of indulgences

B. The monetary problems of Albert of Mainz

C. The preaching practices of Johan Tetzel

D. The 95 Theses

II. Analyzing the Theses

A. Heinrich Bornkamm

B. Scott Hendrix

C. Aspects of the Theses

1. Radical understanding of repentance in the New Testament

2. View of salvation

a. Indulgences rarely discussed

b. Papal authority

c. Place of the church

3. Underneath the Theses

III. Summarizing Thoughts

A. At this time Luther still holds beliefs in certain doctrines.

B. Luther's intention to discuss and debate was interpreted as an attack on the power of the papacy.

C. The Theses were a crucial ecclesiastical step forward for Luther.

D. The Theses struck a blow at the misuse of indulgences and simultaneously called into question a central position of Catholic piety.

  • Dr. Isaacs summarizes the course objectives and lists the recommended textbooks.
  • Luther expressed his views in a way that was shaped by his theology and the culture.

  • Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.

  • When Martin Luther posted the 95 theses, his intention was to discuss and debate the misuse of indulgences, but it was interpreted by the church heirarchy as an attack on the power of the papacy.

  • Luther's writings demonstrate his ability to understand and articulate issues that are at the core of the nature of God and man. His theology is distinct from philosophy and consists of many comments on passages in Psalms and Romans.

  • Faith alone justifies. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore a person does good works because they cannot remain idle.

  • The work of Christ when he allowed himself to be crucified on the cross, teaches us about God's nature, our nature and our relationship to God.

  • Luther's fourfold sense of scripture focused on historical (literal), allegorical (figurative), tropological (moral), and anagogic (future).

  • Luther's view of the atonement differs from classical views taught during his time and view held by the scholastic tradition.

  • Luther's teaching on justification by faith is central to his theology.

  • Theology of the cross assumes bondage and moves to freedom.

  • Four positions on predestination include the Calvinist, neo-Protestant, intuitu fidei, and Gnesio-Lutherans.

  • Luther's commentary on Galatians is an attempt to set "Law" in its proper setting.

  • The sacraments are an external expression of an internal reality.

  • Luther's teachings on the importance of baptism and arguments for infant baptism.

  • Luther's view of the theological and personal significance of the Lord's Supper.

  • The kingdom of God and secular government have areas of unity and areas of differences.

  • Luther gives a definition of the church and describes characteristics of the church.

  • Luther developed a catechism to help people focus on the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith.

  • Martin Luther's writings can encourage people to pursue their relationship with God on a deeper level.

This course is an introduction to the life and writings of the great German reformer, Martin Luther. There are 20 lectures totaling approximately 18 hours. These lectures were given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Dr. Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther 
The 95 Theses
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] Today we're going to be talking about Lutheran, the 95 theses, and talking about how that whole thing gets rolling, gets cooking bubbles over and presents very interesting material for us. What I'd also like to do is begin class with a reading from Luther. And this is a comment on Psalm 118 five, which reads this way out of my distress. I called on the Lord. The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. Let all people know, most assuredly and not doubt that God does not send them this distress to destroy them. He wants to drive them, to pray, to implore to fight, to exercise their faith. In this in this way they learn another aspect of God's person and accustom themselves to do battle even with the devil and with sin, and by the grace of God to be victorious. Without this experience, we could never learn the meaning of faith. The word. Spirit. Grace. Sin. Death or the devil. Were there only peace and no trials. We would never learn to know God himself. In short, we could never be or remain true Christians. Trouble and distress constrain us and keep us within Christendom. We read. I called upon the Lord. You must learn to call. Do not sit by yourself or lie on a couch hanging, shaking your head. Do not destroy yourself with your own thought by worrying. Do not strive and struggle to free yourself. Mourn and pray as this verse teaches. Likewise. Psalm 141. Verse two says Let my prayer be counted as incense before the and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

[00:02:09] Here you learn that praying, reciting your troubles and lifting up your hands are sacrifices most pleasing to God. It is his desire and will that you lay your troubles before him. He does not want you to multiply your troubles by burdening and torturing yourself. He wants you to be too weak to bear and overcome such troubles. He wants you to grow strong in him. By his strength, he is glorified in you. Out of such experiences, people become real Christians. Let's pray. Almighty God, our dear Heavenly Father, we come into your presence as your children, thanking you that you have asked us to come and to pray. We know that it is not our thought. To pray. But rather that it is one of your commands. So as we enter into your presence this day, we ask that you would continue to send us what you will so that we, through Christian discipline, might be joined to you more firmly that our strength might be found in you. Jesus name. We ask it. Amen. Okay. Let's talk just a little bit today about Luther and the 95 theses. This is really quite an interesting chapter in in the theology of Luther and in your own reading in Oberman, you've been introduced to some of the very interesting and Hmm. Watch. What should we say here, the thorny issues that arise out of this very interesting conflict. One of the things that we need to talk about are the precipitating circumstances that lead up to this conflict and the posting of the 95 theses. First of all, we need to talk about the vagueness of the doctrine of indulgences. Indulgences. As you know from your reading, our letters, which grant a deferment, as it were, on certain kinds of required obligations.

[00:04:35] If you were a person who had committed a sin and you went to the priest and confessed your sin, the priest would check your confession, making sure that you were fully contrite, and then you would be given some kind of satisfaction to do to show that you were truly contrite. With respect to that, that sin. Now, in the case, let's just say that you happened to be a woman 90 years of age and you had bad knees instead of instead of making you do penance, which required you to go up the Sancta Scala on your knees, praying in a paternoster on each step, the priest might say, Well, instead of that, then you simply need to say, you know, 100 Hail Marys or some other kind of obligation. And the priest in that way would defer then from having to give you the kind of satisfaction that he might otherwise give you. So an indulgence is really a deferral of the kind of satisfaction that a priest might get. And indulgences in that way then begin really as a gracious action on the part of the church. And indulgence was developed in order to help people in their attempt to give satisfaction and to fulfill the penitential requirements of the church. So indulgences then need to be understood first and foremost in that in that light. One of the things that. A stands behind the indulgences, the practice of indulgences. Was the. The concept of the treasury of merits. The practice found justification in the Treasury of merits. Christ in the Saints, expounded by Alexander of Hales and finally codified in the Papal Bull unit journey to us of Clement, the seventh or Clement the sixth, rather, in 1343. In 1343. Clement the sixth then presents his understanding of Christ and the Treasury of merits.

[00:07:01] And this becomes a part of. The teaching of the papacy. Now, the idea behind the Treasury of Marriage is simply this that Christ, in his sacrifice on the cross, merited salvation. Wonderfully and abundantly. He not only lived before God in full obedience and thus showing that he had merit before God, but in his death in the cross he provided and overflowing of merits that then God in his turn, grants to the life of individuals. And as a matter of fact, there was some discussion in the Middle Ages regarding the treasury of merits. And apparently the thought was that there were actually some saints who, after having graced, infused into their lives, lived in such holiness that they then merited they accumulated merits, as it were, which also were put in to the treasury of merits. These were what is known as acts of super irrigation. Acts of super irrigation. So not only did they live in such a holy manner that they were found not wanting before the presence of God, but they actually had extra merits that then could be transferred into the Treasury. So acts of super irrigation. Now then what happened a little bit later on then and actually this is rather close to the time of Luther, you see the whole doctrine of indulgences was not fixed and set within the Roman Catholic tradition at this time. This was a doctrine which still was open to discussion and indeed many had discussed it and discussed it. You remember our talk about John Wickliffe and John Hoose. Both of these characters spoke out against indulgences, the way they had been carried out in their respective various Bohemia and England. And as a matter of fact, it's mentioned in Obermann there was an Augustinian rather close to the area here in which Luther is operating, who also spoke out against indulgences in rather sharp manner.

[00:09:37] So quite clearly the doctrine of indulgences was not fully set and there was continuing discussion over this important doctrine. In 1476. The pope, Sixtus extended the scope of indulgences to souls in purgatory. In 1476, Sixtus extended the scope of indulgences to souls in Purgatory. Now, one of the things that's going on here is, quite frankly, a monetary issue. With the. Offering of letters of indulgence, it was clear that the papacy could generate needed revenue. The Renaissance, Popes had depleted the treasury of the papacy rather badly, and Julius, the second, had taken the field and thus had to to support an army in order to do his work. They were in the process at the time of building Saint Peter's Basilica. And if any of you have traveled to the city of Rome, you know what a grand what a grand building that is. I mean, it's breathtaking, but it's huge. And at this time, a great deal of money was needed in order to do that kind of building project. There were other building projects in the city of Rome as well. All of this was incredibly expensive. Further, the Turks were knocking at the door. Constantinople had fallen in 1453 and there was tremendous activity down on the southern borders. Hungary was very concerned about their stability and. You have a situation where the leader of the Holy Roman Empire had to be very careful about what was going on. As a matter of fact, in 1518, there was a renewed call for a crusade. Because the threat of the Turk was very, very imminent. So there's a tremendous need for funds in the papacy. And indulgences were a way of generating that kind of money. So Sixtus saw his opportunity and extended the scope of indulgences to souls in purgatory.

[00:12:21] Now, this actually created almost an infinite possibility then, for raising funds for if it was believed then, that all of the dead awaiting the last day when Christ should come again were subject to these indulgences, the letters of indulgence, time off of purgatory, etc., then this could be incredibly lucrative. Now, of course, all of this is predicated on the doctrine of purgatory. And we'll have a chance later on in the semester to talk more specifically about this doctrine. But just a quick word here. The doctrine of purgatory. Also, in a certain manner of speaking, should be understood. This kind of doctrine, he began by saying, Well, now, look, you know, folks getting into having this, this is a difficult thing. You know, the Lord said this is a straight and narrow path. And, you know, if you just check human nature, if you you know, if you follow people for any amount of time, if you've been a pastor in a congregation. You know that folks have lapses and they don't live a total life of holiness. So the church and in trying to figure out how best to shepherd their people, said, well, now, look, we know that a holy life and continuing in a state of grace is really what gets you into the kingdom. And that's what what keeps you there. But we know that some of you from time to time have lapsed. So there is there's penance. You can come to confession and you can confess your sins. But what what the church also recognized is that, you know. The the sacred. The the individuals that it had entered into a religious life. They had kind of the fast track to get into heaven. But the common people simply didn't have time to attend to all the counsels of God, and therefore they needed a little extra help.

[00:14:43] Well, it was thought that finally, whatever sins were not fully dealt with in this life could be dealt with in that intermediate state. And the sinfulness that adhered to an individual would ultimately be purged away. Now, some, of course, with worst sins, would have to spend a lot of time in purgatory, But nonetheless there was hope for everyone. In essence, that is the pragmatic theological outcome of the doctrine of purgatory. At this time. It was an interesting practice. There were a number of maps of the underworld, the intermediate state, which identified the locale of different categories of people. There is limbo spot from there is this. Purgatory or limbo was a place where, you know, any number of people could be found. And in one section you might have the fathers of the church. Those people are really holy and didn't need a lot of purging. And so their lives were much happier in the intermediate state than those crass, low down thieves. There is also limbo in Phantom for infants who had died, and of course, their sins would be very slight. So there's a special place to be identified for them. And there were all kinds of categories, and there were actually maps that were laid out to identify this geography of the intermediate state and the underworld. Very interesting to note here that one of the presumptions here, thinking that indulgences can apply to souls in purgatory is the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. One of the underlying presuppositions for all of this to work is the notion that at death the body dies and the immortal spirit goes on. Now, then one of the things that we'll find in the Reformation is that from a number of different sources or a number of different persons, groups even challenged this notion wholesale.

[00:17:09] And one of the things that, of course, stands behind the objection to the doctrine, the immortality of the soul, is the notion that the Bible, in speaking about death, gives as something of a definition. In Genesis 319, it says You are dust, and to dust you will return. And again, this definition is confirmed in the New Testament. Particularly in first grade things 15. To be dead is to, you know, to use the words of the Book of Daniel, to be dead is to sleep in the dust of the earth. Sleep is the regular metaphor in Scripture for death. So certainly we find that the anabaptists many anabaptists anyway, perhaps not all, but they assail this notion of the doctrine, the immortality. The soul will find also that Luther does as well. But in referring or moving back to this biblical doctrine, one of the things that's true is that the definition of death. Is not the separation of body and soul. As it is in Catholic doctrine, but it is rather. The cessation of life. God formed Adam from the dust of the earth, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. Not that he has a living soul. And so the definition, according to biblical text, seems to be that death is the cessation of life. In taking a look at how this plays out. Of course, this is not, strictly speaking, the topic for our discussion today, but just to give a very brief anticipation of this, at death, the whole person ceases and would go out of existence forever were it not for the fact that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous at Christ's return. A couple of modern biblical executes say it that way, the Evangelical Bible Dictionary states.

[00:19:24] Nowhere in the Bible do we get a view of man as existing apart from the body, even after death in the future life. George Kerry, Archbishop of Canterbury, in a study of the biblical view of humanity, has written. It is a false trail to look within the human body for an immortal soul, mind or residual self, which somehow survives the destruction of the flesh. Death is entirely real, and only through Jesus Christ by resurrection is there any solution to it. In thinking about this particular presupposition for the doctrine of purgatory. It can be said that according to the Bible, the dead, whether Christian or non-Christian, good or evil, saved or lost, are neither suffering in hell nor laboring in purgatory, nor rejoicing in heaven. Rather, they have entirely ceased to function, or, in the words of Scripture, they sleep in anticipation of the final day. So we find that this kind of objection arises in various places in the Reformation. But ultimately, one of the things that we'll find is that the position of John Calvin finally wins out so that the attack on purgatory is only partially successful For in Calvin, what you'll find is he believes that the intermediate state is one of conscious wakefulness. But one of the things that we'll also find that is in Luther, you find a bit more of an all out attack on the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. So one of the precipitating circumstances for the affair surrounding the 95 theses is the vagueness of the doctrine of indulgences. The next item that we can speak about are the monetary problems of Albert, of Mines. Now, Albert of Mines, an interesting character. At this time, he was only 24 years of age. Just 24.

[00:21:39] And yet he was Prince Albert of Brandenburg. He was already the archbishop of Magdeburg, and he ascended to the arch bishopric of mines and the primacy of Germany. So we find that this 24 year old character has a great deal of power centered in his person. He is the the main man, as it were, in Germany with respect to his religious office. He holds a tremendous amount of power. But now you see, he wants to add to this long list of titles, yet another bishopric. And of course, this was strictly speaking against canon law. But of course, an exception could be made if a sum of money was transferred between Albert and the papacy. So the appropriate arrangements were made and Albert went ahead with financing this the this the futures bank in Germany, they financed it. And a bull written by Leo of the 10th. Gave authority for a new letter of indulgence to be preached. And. So they they proceeded then with preaching this indulgence in the area of minds. And Magdeburg. Frederick the wise, however, prohibited the indulgence in Electoral Saxony. Nonetheless, the preaching of this, this indulgence was so close to Luther's area that some of the people in his parish could just go across the river, hear the indulgence preachers preach, could pay their money and get a letter of indulgence and then come back to town. Bradley Question. I'm a little confused, too. Albert wanted to become a bishop, and so he financed the nurses to call it the papacy. What is the indulgence? How to do it? Is that how he was paying for it? Right. Right. Thanks. Thanks for clarifying that. That's a that's a good question. Exactly. So this letter of indulgence was going to help finance the enormous sons sums of money that were due for the accumulation of these benefits.

[00:24:14] Albert was already heavily in debt to the few viewers, but the Fuga said, okay, we'll advance you this money. So the Fuga is paid money to the papacy. The papacy said, okay, Albert, you can take this this added position and to help you with this transaction, we're going to. Publish or give authority for a new letter of indulgence to be preached self. And further they said you can take half of the money that you get from this indulgence and pay the Fugazi off with it. And the other half comes to us down in Rome to help pay for building Saint Peter's Basilica. So that's how the deal went down. And Albert. I was very happy with the transaction. It consolidated quite a lot of power in its hands. And further, by holding these positions, know these positions were quite lucrative because these positions allowed for the holder of that position to tax the areas and the churches in the area, which all came into a central treasury. And no doubt that pleased Albert quite a lot. Now the bull of Leo. The tents promised for privileges. Those four privileges are as follows. One plenary remission of sins. Plenary remission of sins. This. Is not exactly according to papal teaching, but nonetheless. That is what this this letter set forward. The letter that. Pope Leo the 10th wrote a letter. That was for the bill. This is what they said. Right. These are the stipulations of the indulgence. If you buy an indulgence, this is what you get. You get the plenary remission of sins. First grace is the total remission of all sense. No greater grace than this can be named, since it gives the one who lives in sins and is bereft of God's grace, total forgiveness and the grace of God anew.

[00:26:53] Okay. The second benefit. To a confessional letter allowing the penitent to choose his confessor. Now you might wonder why that might be important. Well. There were some confessors that were easier than others. Even as there are some professors that are easier to get A's from. So there are some confessors that are easier to satisfy in terms of a full confession of sins. You have to remember that in this time period it was thought that you did not get forgiveness of sins unless you had a complete a complete confession and a complete confession. Consisted of remembering all of the sins, all of the ways in which you would transgressed God's law. Well. Have I forgotten anything? That might come up now. The confessors often had handbooks and they would help the the person coming in to make confession and they would go down a list of of sins. And quite often they would probe and use probing questions in order to get the confessor to remember all of their their deeds. And some of these handbooks are really quite over the top. And as a matter of fact, one of the complaints of the laity is the priests are actually causing us the sin by asking us all of these very specific questions. And many of them were sexual in orientation. So there was really quite a lurid kind of activity that surrounded the confessional. Okay. The third benefit of this indulgence, the participation in the merit of saints. The third Chief Grace is a share in all the goods of the universal Church. It consists in the fact that those who give money for the new construction of the Church of Saint Peter in Rome, together with their parents who died in love, will from now on and to all eternity, share in all the petitions, intercessions, alms, fasts, prayers and pilgrimages of every sort.

[00:29:13] And finally, the benefit or the privileges of the indulgences were for souls in purgatory. The fourth Chief Grace consists in the total remission of all sins for souls in purgatory. Hey, this this was this was a good deal. This was an exceptionally good deal, as a matter of fact. You see, this was such a good deal that it actually went well beyond what many of the theologians at the time attributed to indulgences. There were many theologians who said, you know, that that old phrase, as soon as the coin in the coffer rings the soul from further from Purgatory Springs, that phrase itself is over the top. That simply is an abuse, a misunderstanding of the very nature of indulgences. Indulgences. Strictly speaking, were only the release of church requirements or responsibilities and had nothing to do with the actual forgiveness of sins. So this is a very, very different kind of explanation of things. And this this letter that Leo the 10th writes and then is used by Albrecht of mind. Finally comes into the hands of Luther. And Luther sees that there is a real problem here. And as he takes a look at the stipulations of this structure of Sumeria, as it was called, he saw a challenge to his responsibility as professor of theology for the proper teaching of the church. And thus, Luther really felt obligated to give response to this, to this. Letter because it challenged proper and good teaching. Further. He had a number of lay people that were in his care and he heard the kinds of things that they were saying coming back from hearing the indulgence preachers do their thing. And he felt that this business of indulgences was absolutely monstrous because it put his people in jeopardy.

[00:31:46] If his people believe that they were receiving full remission of their sins by paying some money for a letter of indulgence, that's absolutely contrary to the spirit of the New Testament. And so he wants to make very clear that this teaching regarding indulgences is not appropriate and not valid. Okay. Now, one of the things that you have in in Oberman is you have a rather lively account of the preaching practices of Johann Tetsuo. And he gives a little snippet of one of the sermons. And there are some extant copies of some of these sermons that were preached in order to whip the crowd up into something of a buying frenzy so that they would hand over their money for for the benefits that they could receive from the indulgences. On page 188, and over mine you have this this rather interesting selection here. You priests, you noblemen, you merchant, you women, you virgin, you married woman, you use you old man. Go into your church, which as I have said, is Saint Peter's and visit the hallowed cross that has been put up for you that incessantly calls you remember that you are in such stormy peril on the raging sea of this world that you do not know. If you can reach the harbor of salvation. You should know whoever has confessed and is contrite and put arms into the box as his confessor counsels him, will have all of his sins forgiven, and even after confession and after the Jubilee year, will acquire an indulgence on every day that he visits the cross and the altars as if he were visiting the seven altars in the Church of Saint Peter, where the perfect indulgence is granted. Why are you standing, standing about idly run, all of you, for the salvation of your souls.

[00:33:57] Be quick and concerned about redemption as about the temporal goods you doggedly pursue from day till night. See Key the Lord, while he may be found, while he is near work, as John says, while it is day for the night cometh when no man can work. Do you not hear the voices of your dead parents and other people screaming and saying, Have pity on me. Have pity on me for the hand of God have touched me. We are suffering severe punishments and pain from which you could rescue us with a few arms. If only you would open your ears. Because the father is calling to the son and the mother to the daughter. Texel. A Dominican priest or a Dominican monk actually faithfully repeated the official church doctrine concerning indulgences. Indulgences availed only those who were penitent and had confessed. But the proof of penitence, which was demanded, was the willingness to accept penance and possession of an indulgence constituted proof of this willingness. And a great many priests were ready to give absolution on the basis of such evidence. So what you would do is you would buy a letter of indulgence. You would go back to your priests priest and make confession. And on the basis of your showing, the letter of indulgence, a priest said, Well, you're obviously someone who is who is full of repentance, and then you would be released, given the word of absolution. So. The preaching. The preaching practices of these indulgence preachers was, shall we say, manipulative at best, playing upon the emotions of the hearers and overstating what the indulgences actually. Provided. And I was on this basis that many people went ahead and put their money into the arms box. It's also said that. Setting up the the indulgence.

[00:36:05] Patients would usually come into town with the papal the papal seal on on a bit of cloth. And when they set that up, they said setting up this indulgence office is as effective as the cross of Christ itself. And they made some very, shall we say, inflated statements regarding the the validity and the power of indulgences. Were they paid or were they sort of condition as preachers? I would imagine they they may not have received commissions as we know them today, but if an indulgence preacher was particularly good, no doubt there would be some way of showing recognition for that fact. So they might make it up into their order more quickly or whatever else. But there were ways of of rewarding those individuals. Robert What was the cost of one of these like in today's terms? Of this, ladies. What would be needed to purchase. Yeah, that's a good question. I'm not exactly sure the answer. No doubt some of these letters were had a rather hefty price on them. Um, and you have to recognize, too, that there were different kinds of letters of indulgence. There were very specific letters of indulgence that told you how many years of purgatory you would get and that sort of thing. This was plenary remission. So this was really a good deal. You know, I'm I'm not sure that I'm sure someone has has written that out somewhere, but I don't know the answer that poorly by remission, maybe forgiveness because it sounds like they still needed to go through. Mm hmm. Well, I don't think they did either. You see, one of the problems is that there's a vagueness regarding the doctrine of indulgences, that the whole thing is surrounded with a great deal of ambiguity and a shot through.

[00:38:24] This also is the structure of the church. Penance is one of the important sacraments of the church. As a matter of fact. Heinrich born Comics makes the point that it is the most important of the sacraments in this time period, because all the other sacraments are for a particular moment in time. For example, marriage or taking priestly orders or baptism or extreme unction. Those are all for one particular moment in one's life. But penance is kind of like your daily walk with the Lord. And if if you sin knowingly, then you can go to confession and take care of that. So indulgences, strictly speaking, only remit what the Pope has a right to to impugn. So if the Pope. You know, I. And he can only do so according to Canon law. And this is these are church obligations. Sin can only be forgiven by God. And of course, the priest is the dispenser of that, according to the doctrine, the keys. But there is a real crossing of all the boundaries with this letter of indulgence. So a lot of confusion surrounding this. Okay. So you said that this person throws it at. In a type of attack, immortality. Ultimately, we'll see him do that in the 95 theses. We don't see that because he still affirms the doctrine purgatory within the 95 theses. But later on in his career, you'll you'll find him arguing against the doctrine, the immortality of the soul. Some have said that he's not always consistent on that particular point, but there are some very interesting passages in his writings where you can see that happen. Mm hmm. And I'm wondering about the model. So. And how widespread was the actual corruption of the selling of indulgences? Like, what kind of benefits would he have received if he were to inflate? Benefits of indulgence.

[00:40:37] Obviously he. You must have received some. Yeah. Which what you're getting at is it was probably in his interest in order to inflate what the laity thought they were receiving in the indulgence. I'm sure that's the case. You know, the exact the exact transaction that might have taken place between Tatchell and his order is unknown to me. But in this particular letter of indulgence, the pope recognized that there were some problems and there was resistance on the part of the German population. They reacted badly against these, you know, these Roman ists. And so the pope said, we're going to have locks on the arms box, and two people are going to have keys so that everyone knows that these funds are really going to be handled properly. Of course. There are ways of getting around that, aren't there? So I'm not sure that that really appeased the, you know, the the curiosity or the suspicions of the people in Germany. But nonetheless, there was some concern about that. Okay. Jay, with the emphasis on expanding with the success of indulgences, or was it always. No doubt the Doctor of Purgatory expanded with the application of indulgences to that very lucrative realm, unseen and very lucrative realm. So I would think that would be kind of an interesting thing to explore. I've not done a lot of study in that area, but I would I would imagine that would be the case. And, you know, once these things get rolling, it's pretty tough to cut them back. You know, and even today, I mean. They're doing indulgences today in the Roman Catholic Church. The current pope, you know, the year of jubilee, you know, remember, they opened up those doors in Saint Peter's. Only opened, what, every 100 years and you get a special blessing.

[00:42:47] And there were there were thousands, hundreds of thousands of people that went through those doors. They're closed now, this 2001. But. The present pope has, in essence, kind of revisited those indulgences, you know, earlier on in the 20th century were really an embarrassment to the Roman Catholic Church. But now the present pope has just kind of given his blessing again to this. And one has to wonder whether or not, you know, any lessons can be learned from history if we're going back here and. I guess what biblical text you are use to support. And I guess enough still yesterday. Do you know which? Well, not exactly. It's, you know, there isn't any particular mention of of indulgences. But all of this flows out of the doctrine of the Keys in in John chapter 20 and again in Matthew chapter 18. You have recorded there whatever you buy on Earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven. And these texts are spoken in the context of the forgiveness of sins. Now, one of the things that was said, the Pope has the keys. And that is. Peter's keys. Keys of the church. And the pope has the power then to forgive sin. So ultimately, that power then is given to priests under the pope in order to release individuals from forgiveness of sins. Now, interestingly enough, and from our evangelical point of view, maybe this sounds very, very strange, but Luther, as we'll trace him out, also believes in the doctrine of the keys and believes in the forgiveness of sin. It is a spoken word and one which you, as a herald of the coming kingdom are given. We are given the authority to release individuals from sin.

[00:45:00] That's, after all, what we do when we preach, isn't it? But we bring Christ to the individual, that individual to Christ for what purpose? So that their sin might be forgiven. And now as evangelicals, we obviously kind of shy away from that. Well, now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Only God alone can forgive since, I mean, even Jesus says that Matthew or Mark, chapter two. Well, that's true. God alone forgives sins. But remember, Jesus sends out the 17. What does he say to them? He who hears you? Hears me? What's Jesus in the business of the forgiveness of sins, the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead? He is the embodiment of the kingdom of God breaking into this world in this time period. And what's the radical nature of this kingdom of God, but the forgiveness of sin that is the mode of power out of which all of our activity of the church proceeds. So I think one of the things that ultimately will come to we'll have to wrestle with this business that Luther embodies and represents, and namely the doctrine of the case. If you want to get an advanced look at that, just take a peek at the small catechism, the little section there on the keys. Very interesting stuff. Okay. Now, we've talked a little bit about the 95 theses. And what I want to do is just take a moment or two to. To talk about an analysis of the theses. Heinrichs born come in a very interesting little article entitled The World Historical Significance of the 95. Theses sets forward a few items that are a rather interesting to to note. Certainly the posting of the 95 theses was not altogether unusual, posting theses on the chapel door.

[00:46:54] Was simply a call to a disputation. The theses were originally written in Latin, and Luther thought they were going to be discussed by a few theologians. Well, how wrong he was. Two weeks after the 95 theses were printed, they were delivered to a printer. They were translated to German, and everyone in Germany knew about them. They were the talk of the town. And so there was this tremendous thing to to behold. Now born, Cobb says it's a mistake to try to explain the remarkable effect of the 95 theses by assuming that they represent a great revolutionary program with which Luther had launched an attack on the entire fortress of the Catholic Church. Actually, there's very little indication of revolution here. He gives deference to the pope. He still believes in purgatory. There are a number of things where he still believes in indulgences, for goodness sake. So there are all kinds of things embedded in the 95 theses that indicate that this was not really. A revolutionary kind of document. Born, Tom points out that the church's claim still has validity in his eyes. Notice this In season seven, God forgives no one sin without at the same time humbling him and subjecting him and everything to his vicar. The priest. He still sees purgatory at the end of life. And for him, the words of the pope. Yes, of every pope and priests still reach into this realm. He's still far removed from deleting indulgences from the Catholic message. And indeed, he averse with great zeal. Whoever speaks against the truth of apostolic indulgence, let him be accursed and damned. And for this reason, he says this bishops and priests are in duty bound to receive the Indulgence Commissioners, with all due reverence. So these are the kinds of things that we find embedded in the 95 theses.

[00:49:00] Clearly not a revolutionary document in that sense. But it was revolutionary in another way because he really does set out quite a number of issues that really are quite powerful. One only has to take a look at the opening thesis. Our Lord and master Jesus Christ in saying repent. He intended that the whole life of believers should be penitence. And in your law, there's a really good footnote that I would refer you to. Remember that Luther here is working out of the Latin Vulgate. So there it says, agree to put in a ten year. Which literally means do penance. Do penance or in German was too taboo, say do penance. And so most of the people in this time period saw penance as something that they had to do. It was it was, you know, a part of the church structure and it was connected with confession. And so this is something that you did. But notice what Luther does. He takes this and he says, Now it's not something that we do in a sacramental sense. It's not a religious institution that's attached to the Turk, the church that Jesus is calling us to, but rather this is the kind of repentance which is in a repentance which takes place once entire life, long After all, don't we as Christians pray in the Lord's Prayer? Forgive. US our sins, even as we forgive those who sinned against us. So this marks out the pathway of the Christian life there. This is particularly important. So Luther attacks the. He key seems to be able to touch that that critical point that must be touched upon in order to call into question the sacrament of penance as it is being exercised in the Middle Ages, the high middle ages.

[00:51:28] The early statements in the 95 theses introduce a world historical revolution according to Bourne come. They ran the tie between the Catholic Sacrament of Penance and Christ's words on penance. They deprive the sacrament of penance of any binding power, for it would be ridiculous for a Christian to pursue a mode of penance which does not conform to Christ's demand. Luther reflects Jesus, meaning Adam and the daily renewing and rising of the new man. Simultaneously, he points out most clearly the real offense of the Catholic doctrine of penance. If penance is made a sacrament, it is torn asunder into many separate acts. The acts of confession because it becomes somewhat intermittent and corresponding to this God always issues His grace piecemeal, as it were. It must be granted a new from one confession to the next. For according to Catholic belief, the priest not only proclaims forgiveness, but he also remits sin in God's stead. Furthermore, God does not grant complete forgiveness in the right of absolution. No, the temporal penalties remain in force for Luther. However, real penance is something complete and final. It is determinative for man. Daily and hourly. It is at the same time a penetrating searching of the heart and a proper conduct of life. And when God grants man is forgiveness, he does not detract from it by means of ecclesiastical penalties or purgatory. So you see these simple thoughts, you know, going back to Jesus understanding of repentance really has a way of undercutting the doctrine of indulgence and the whole system of penance as practiced in the Middle Ages. He also speaks about indulgence as being supported by natural human love of self. Man wants to stand before God as righteous as possible. But true penance for Luther implies a ready willingness to suffer for sins and as an earnest attempt to make amends.

[00:53:55] Okay. Luther also moves in on indulgences from yet another side. He recognizes it as a selfish work, by means of which man seeks his own ease. For this reason, any measure demanding true unselfishness is preferable. In a series of pointed theses numbers, 41 through 50. Luther impresses upon his readers that a work of indulgence is far inferior to any work of love. He even assumes that the Pope is convinced that the sale of indulgences is in no way comparable to a deed of mercy. Of course, he's giving the Pope the benefit of the doubt here, but that's how Luther is seeing. Luther related all ordinary and unselfish deeds of love higher than the religious acts performed for the sake of one's own salvation. So Luther saw through the game the church was playing when she changed the temporal prerogatives into eternal prerogatives and church penalties into gods penalties. In this way, she achieved a power over the faithful from which they could not extricate themselves. And Luther's penetrating eye also detected that the late medieval indulgence policy no longer concerned itself with man, but with money. But the gospels whole interest resolves revolves rather about man. But the Gospels whole interest revolves around man once more. Therefore, he drives home with satirical scorn. The difference between the gospel and indulgence. The treasures of the gospel are nets wherewith of old. They fished for men of means. The treasures of indulgence are net square, with they now fish for the means of men. The indulgences which the preachers loudly proclaim to be the greatest graces are seen to be truly such as regard the promotion of gain. And so we see that. That Luther undercuts the scheme of indulgences, even though at the end of the day, he allows them to remain in this document of the 95 theses.

[00:56:10] Born calm finally comes down and says, Look, God demands the whole person. God cannot be put off with a few occasional penitential acts in conformity with Jesus words. Penitence is again the internal repentance which dare not desert, which one dare not desert for a moment, and therefore must show itself in moral conduct and discipline. Luther's basic rule is as true contrition seeks and loves punishment. Secondly, born calm says any and every deed of love transcends all that man may do for himself, no matter how pious. The motive for all that man does for himself necessarily implies a claim before God and the wish to make an impression, as it were, on him. But before God, the last shall be first and before him. Those are justified to serve their neighbor unselfishly and with sanctified naturalness. Born calm goes on to to say that this has an effect also in understanding the church as an institution of salvation. She is no religious insurance company in which works of indulgence or penitential deeds can purchase a policy. But she is the communion of believers, all of whom stand before God. Naked, poor and insecure, but who nevertheless can give one another the greatest protection, namely the intercession of genuine love. However, this church is the communion of saints, never forgets that the intercession of the church depends on the will of God alone. And finally born calm in point four, he says with his 95 theses, Luther removed the priest and gave Christendom the pastor. And here Bourne com is saying the priest in this late medieval era is one who binds and binds sin as if he sat in the counsels of God. And if God had entrusted to him the admission administration of a portion of His grace was banished from the church.

[00:58:24] I'm not so sure Buncombe is right here. I think born com is pointing to the fact that, you know from priest, we moved from priest to pastor. But I think that in Luther there is still a powerful place for this doctrine of forgiveness, of sins and the doctrine of the keys. And I'm not sure that born calm is particularly right on this, but nonetheless, a born calm. This article by born com I would recommend you reading it as it's a good piece. Tell you what, we need to move on here. Scott Hendricks has some good things to say, but I think we'll leave him for another time and we'll wrap up our thoughts here. Let's just take a quick look at those up. He indicates three significant consequences of the 95 theses. First, he says there's a radical understanding of repentance. Learn from the New Testament. The consequence that Luther drew from the New Testament is that repentance and faith are synonymous. A faith that does not include repentance ignores the radical polity of sinful existence. Secondly, Loza points out that there are two theses that shift the ACT sense regarding the view of salvation that was then widespread. This is thesis 58. The treasures of the church are not the merit of Christ and the saints, for even without the Pope, the latter works. The latter always work. Grace for the inner man and the cross. Death and hell for the Ottoman. The true treasure of the church. This is thesis 62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God. In both theses Luther attacked the theological basis for papal authority in the granting of indulgences. So that's the second thing that Lois, I would say.

[01:00:26] And then finally, the third thing. He points out this very interesting fact that in the discussions following the 95 theses. Indulgences rarely come up. Interesting because these are 95 theses on indulgences. But after the fact, they don't discuss the issue of indulgences so much as they discuss the issue of papal authority and the place of the church. Luther did not attack indulgences because of specific abuses as had occurred till then from various quarters. Certainly John Lewis and John Wick live and vessel in the German context, but because of a new theology gained especially from Paul and Augustine. So those are points out that lying underneath these 95 theses, there is a new theology which is emerging in Luther's writings. One detects a rumbling behind the 95 theses whose results at this time were quite incalculable. So, says Loeser, Excuse me, there's three points of light against the sea. Sure. Three points. Basically this at the fore of Luther's 95 theses. And their importance is a recovery of a radical understanding of repentance. That's something that born calm touches on and something which, you know, just a reading of the 95 theses I think draws out. So the first is a radical understanding of repentance. The second point that loads of points are highlights is that Luther shifts the accent regarding the view of salvation. Luther shifts the accent regarding the view of salvation, then widespread. And instead of talking about the treasury of merits. Luther begins to talk about the gospel, the gospel, and you find this as a theme. Luther hammers this home again and again, and you'll read it throughout the course of this semester. It is the gospel. Then, of course, the question has to arise What is the gospel? But that's something that we'll have time to to approach.

[01:02:59] And then thirdly, the 95 theses represents this new theology which is emerging. Okay. Now just a couple of summarizing thoughts here. At this time, Luther still holds belief in certain doctrines purgatory, indulgences, papal authority that he will later shed. Secondly, Luther's intention to discuss and debate was interpreted as an attack on the power of the papacy. And this is the thing that's really fascinating about this whole thing. Luther starts out discussing the 95 in the 95 theses, the whole business of indulgences and the place that they have in late medieval piety. But in the firestorm that takes place after the publishing of the 95 theses, inevitably what ends up being spoken about is the power of the papacy. And the thought that Luther is an attack is making an attack on the papacy, as a matter of fact. Eck claims that Luther is spreading that bohemian poison. The Bohemian virus anti-people ism. So you can see that there's still the tension between curial ism and conciliar ism. Is it the background? Who has authority? Who has power? The theses were a crucial ecclesiastical step forward for Luther. Ultimately, what happens in the 95 theses and later in the. The Leipzig debate is looser, is forced to deal with the issue of class theology. The issue of authority in the church, the issue of scriptural authority with respect to that. And finally, the theses struck a blow at the misuse of indulgences and simultaneously called into question a central portion of Catholic piety. So Luther, really here in the 95 theses is getting at this this business of the abuse of priests and the confessional booth and the great burden of medieval piety.