From the Church Year
Today in the Church Year is Reformation Day. From the Treasury of Daily Prayer:
"Martin Luther, Augustinian monk, pastor and professor at the University of Wittenberg found many problems with the Roman Catholic Church’s complex system of indulgences and good works. On October 31, 1517, Luther posted 95 Theses on the door of his church, All Saints’ Church, also known as “Castle Church”.
In the 95 Theses, Luther attacked the indulgence system, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation in the Gospel.
Luther’s teaching for the moral and theological reform of the church can be summarized as: Scripture alone is authoritative (sola sciptura) and justification is by faith (sola fide) not by works and grace alone (sola gratia) is the free gift of God’s grace (undeserved mercy) for Christ’s sake alone, not as something merited by the sinner.
The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed and widely copied with the recent invention of the printing press. Within two weeks, copies of the Theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe.
Luther published a short commentary on Galatians and his work on the Psalms. Many of his important works were written within a few years following the posting of the 95 Theses. Three of his best-known works were published in 1520: To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church and On the Freedom of a Christian.
While Luther did not intend to break with the Roman Catholic Church, a confrontation with the Papacy was not long in coming. In 1521 Luther was excommunicated. What began as a reform of the Roman Catholic Church, led to the beginning of the Lutheran Church."