Martin Luther was a German monk who lived from 1483 until 1546. He is generally thought of as the person who began the Protestant Reformation, and is known for translating the Bible into German.
After Martin Luther joined the monastery to become a monk, he began to have many questions regarding his religion. For instance, who is the leader of the Church, Jesus or the Pope? Who determines truth, The Bible or the Church? How are we saved, faith in Jesus or faith, baptism & good works, and payments?
Among Luther's greatest concerns was that what the Bible said and what the Church thought seemed to be very different. Originally, Luther set out to reform the Catholic Church, not to begin his own offshoot of the religion. In order to do this, he posted his 95 Theses, or 95 issues that he had with the Catholic Church, to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg in 1517.
After Luther had challenged the Catholic Church, the Church responded by excommunicating him. As a result, many people broke away from the mainstream Church and followed Luther. The people were the first to be known as "protestants," or those who "protested" against the Catholic Church. The line of Luther's followers still exist today in what is known as the Lutheran Church, a denomination that currently boasts about 80 million adherents.
The major tenets of Luther's belief were the following:
Sola Scriptura: The Bible alone, not the Church, is the authority on what is or is not true.
Sola Deo Gloria: The purpose of life is to live for God's glory, not for personal wealth or standing.
Sola Christus: God's grace alone can save one's soul through the atonement of Jesus Christ. No good works or payment can help get you into heaven.
Sola Fide, Sola Gratia: Faith alone and Grace alone can save one's soul.
Some of Luther’s 95 Theses:
21 Preachers who say indulgences save you are dead wrong
28 The phrase:“When coins rings in buckets, souls spring from purgatory” is false
37 You can have Christ’s blessing without a pope or his blessing
46 Giving money to the poor is better than buying an indulgence
48 Pray for the rich pope instead of giving him your money!
50 Investing in people is better than investing in buildings
53 You’re God’s enemy if you preach indulgences instead of the Bible
68 Indulgences & pardons are nothing compared to Jesus’ work on the cross
75 You’re crazy if you think popes forgive things like ‘violating Virgin Mary’
86 The pope is Europe’s richest man, why use money from poor Christians to build St. Peter’s church. He should use his own money!
94 Christians should follow Jesus 1st & foremost [not popes]
95 Christians, rest assured that you will be at peace in heaven after you die, don’t worry about trials or purgatory