Saturday, November 1, 2008

October 31, 1517

Buried between Halloween and El Dia De Los Muertos is Protestant Reformation Day. On the 31st of October 1517 a Catholic Monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 proposals, or theses, to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.
Most protestants know of Martin Luther but I will posit (suggest) that not many know about Reformation Day; a day to celebrate the bravery of a lone monk who stood against the Church of Rome.
Tetzel, a representative of Rome, was given the task of going from city to city to raise money for Rome as there was a large building program going on and Rome needed money: What to do?
Effective salesman that he was Tetzel sold indulgences, ("remission of the temporal punishment including canonical penances and especially purgatorial atonement that according to Roman Catholicism is due by divine justice for sins whose eternal punishment has been remitted and whose guilt has been pardoned by the reception of the sacrament of penance"), and also early release from Purgatory. Tetzel's sales pitch went something like this; ' soon as the coin falls into the box a soul flies free from Purgatory.'
Luther was particularly incensed at Romes' use of fear on the poor and ignorant in (entirely Catholic) Germany and his initial attacks were against the "selling" of forgiveness of sin(s), guarantees of eternal life, and escape from Purgatory. It was never his intention to cause strife in the church, to be divisive, or to separate from Rome. Luther was forced out of Rome because he would not and did not agree to the sale of salvation to help fund a building program.
It was later, after his pilgrimage to Rome, that he found himself deeply disappointed in HIS church and ITS unsavory practices.
Sola fide (by faith alone), Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone, Sola Gracia (by grace alone), Soli Christus (Christ alone), Solus Gloria Deo (glory to God alone): All these came later as Luther studied more deeply into the writings of Paul and the everlasting Gospel of righteousness by faith (sola fide).
Martin Luther was forced out of Catholicism and all Protestants can praise God for that outcome.
The Lutheran Church (a church Luther never intended to establish) honors Martin Luther with the "Luther Rose", which is a black cross set within a red heart, surrounded by five rose petals, all enclosed within a circle of gold. Luther himself designed the "rose" which he intended to have made into a ring. Each detail was a symbolic representation of his theology.

The memory of Protestantism is much shorter as is its attention span when compared to Catholicism. I suppose few know of the "Luther Rose" or that Reformation Day is buried under Halloween, All Saints Day, and El Dia De Los Muertos which used to be in August but was moved (by Rome) to October 31 through November 2.
Hmmmm. How did that happen? And Why? Go Figure! e.c.

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