This year I will be posting a series of articles on the Protestant Reformation as we lead up to Reformation Sunday and Reformation Day of 2017.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation tied to the posting of Martin Luther’s famed 95 theses that sparked change in Europe that continues to spill over, impacting Christians to this day.
Some nay-sayers over-simplify the time period as a time of religious upheaval and conflict. Yes, these things did happen but there are reasons for them and one key item in all of this was the printing press.
The printing press? Yup. It was a very important invention from this time period – without which the Reformation would have had a much harder time growing as it did.
Why is this? Well, among other works, Martin Luther – the one we like to credit as being the key figure in the Reformation – had written his 95 theses that challenged various beliefs and practices of the time under Roman Catholic rule. The printing press made it possible for people to print his work (copy it) and make it more available than what would have happened with just sending a letter or posting them on a church door.
With the spread of Martin’s writings went the spread of what he had found while actually reading the Scriptures. You see, at this time, the common person didn’t read the Bible but had to depend upon the Catholic Church to dispense what it had to say.
Throw in their effective monopoly on salvation and you had an authority who could claim power over your very soul and experience after death.
Martin Luther’s works – made much more available by the printing press – challenged the Church’s authority on the basis of what the Bible actually said. Things would never be the same!
In the coming weeks, I will write more about these things – bringing more details.
I plan to end it all on Oct. 31st which is Reformation Day (a Tuesday this year) with a posting of Martin Luther’s 95 theses – just as it has become legend that he did some 500 years ago! I will be making some word adjustments to modernize the English as well.
I’m looking forward to it! Stay tuned!