God’s sovereignty preserved a strong remnant of Bible believers even with the Cause Camouflaged. ALL the while the Kingdom awaited the Reformed Cause.
Following a period of significant personal spiritual development, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, felt compelled to attack the abuse of indulgences in the Catholic Church. To debate the issues involved he posted 95 Theses—Points related to indulgences to be debated—on the church door at Wittenberg, Germany, October 31, 1519.
Written in Latin, he wanted a debate with clerics. By God’s grace, an unknown German (God bless him) found the theses, had them translated into German and widely distributed. The Protestant Reformation had begun. (This writer wrote his Master of Arts thesis in History on Luther’s three Great Reformation Treatises. His Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (1520) encouraged German nationalism.)
Luther made two seminal contributions to the freedom of God’s people. First, he created an awareness of Grace alone as the means of salvation. That replaced the works-ethic dominant in Christendom at the time. Second, in a six-week period, he translated the New Testament into the German language. That put Christ’s Gospels and Epistles in the hands of common people for the first time. That also energized nationalism in the heretofore competing German states.
Many changes occurred in Europe as a result of Luther’s work. His break with Roman Catholicism, profiled in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, led other religious leaders to openly declare for a free church. That led, much against Luther’s desire, but often of his own making, to competing theologies. Roman Catholics decried the multiplication of personal beliefs while Protestants considered it the price paid for abolishing the tyrannical stranglehold the Roman Catholic Curia held over God’s people. End Part VII.