“Here I Stand!” Romans 1:16-17

 A young Doctor of Philosophy who was a professor and chair of the Religion Department at the University of Wittenburg had a dilemma. What was he to do? His church, led by Pope Leo X, was in error and was deluding Luther’s parishioners with the sale of indulgences. Pieces of paper could be bought that they were told would provide freedom from God’s punishment of sin. The lie was being told as truth. What was he to do?

What was the source of his concern, his knowledge of truth? Through Scripture came the discovery for Luther of what God does for us through Christ. Paul, who testified before rulers and kings, wrote the words that freed Luther from mistakenly believing God had no love for him. Now knowing God loved him, Luther wrote that the sale and promises of the indulgences were lies. Posting the 95 Theses led in four years to Luther being excommunicated from his church, labeled as a heretic and condemned to death. He was given one more chance to publically confess his disloyalty and receive forgiveness at a trial in the city of Worms. Charles V, the Emperor of the Roman nation was in attendance as Luther was questioned by Johann Eck, the spokesman for the Pope. Eck’s questioned, “Do you recant, take back your false statements?”

 Luther replied, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand. May God help me.  Amen”

Question: What are the Ninety Five Theses?

  Answer: The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences (original Latin: Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum) were written by Martin Luther in 1517 and was the initial catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. The disputationprotests against clerical abuses, especially nepotism, simony, usury, pluralism, and the sale of indulgences. On 31 October 1517, Luther posted the ninety-five theses, which he had composed in Latin, on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.