After the Theses

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November 15, 2013 by throughwriting

CIV 102
May 20, 2013

After the Theses

In life, there are many books written but many of them do not affect major aspects of life, such as religions, politics, educations, society, and others. Yet they are crucial to history and human beings in one of the ways. Not only books, but also people’s opinions and presumptions affect the majority of people. During the sixteenth century, a new period started in history, which was the rise of Reformation. Erasmus was the first Christian who wanted reform within the church itself, and then Martin Luther followed the same path to actually start reform with the churches. Martin Luther through his 95 theses explained new ideas or adjustments that the pope, priests, and ordinary people must have taken in order to make God love them and to show people true Christianity. Martin Luther came to his conclusion after studying and getting his doctorate. Like earlier people, Luther in  the sixteenth century started to examine life by himself, and then he wanted to contribute what he had found to other people. The 95 theses of Martin Luther, which challenged the Roman Church greatly on the issue of Indulgences, affected the religious perspectives of people in 1517 in terms of thinking critically, and Luther found the same problem, pope’s absolute power, within the churches.

These theses encouraged people to examine life by themselves. After the Renaissance, people started to see life through their own ways. They wanted to learn new things, and Martin Luther through his theses clearly showed people to do the same thing. I believe that people started to realize that the pope didn’t have absolute power nor did the churches. For example, Martin Luther in one of the theses wrote that “papal remission and blessing are by no means to be disregarded.” That is, people shouldn’t despise the pope’s forgiveness. However, “they [papal remission and blessing] are the proclamation of the divine remission.” What he meant is that the remission must have been by God and shown that it is from God. Furthermore, repenting got the major focus during the reign of Martin Luther, and the idea spread immensely because people wanted to depend on themselves and wanted to reach God through their own ways. Also, people learned to buy what was necessary for life, and they stopped wasting their money on buying indulgences. Before Martin Luther, people followed the priests and wasted their money in order to spend less time in purgatory. I believe the realization of this caused a better life of human beings then since they spent their money on useful things other than indulgences.

In addition to indulgences and examining life, Martin Luther, the 95 theses, and the Reformation spread rhetorical thinking. People started to have their own ideas and set their own lives based on how they interpreted Bible and their own interpretation of the Reformation. This era caused to the rise of Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anabaptism, and Catholic Reformation. Each of which was with different ideas, yet they were very similar to each other in terms of focusing on two major sacraments, which are “justification by faith alone” and the Lord’s Table. After the Renaissance, the idea of looking into life and examining life was very widespread, so people realized that the pope should concentrate on the churches, and the churches should value God and Bible the most. Also, Martin Luther pointed out as well when he wrote, “Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.” That is, the church should focus on their work. This idea made people realize that Indulgences do not lessen days in purgatory, rather, endangers one’s salvation. Furthermore, it can be explained that people realized that the churches and the pope had absolute power, and they lost the main purpose of their existence. Also, Luther indirectly stated that the church and state must be separated because of the absolute power of the pope.

One of the great themes and issues through out the course is the absolute power of the pope and dispute between Christians. The pope through out the course was very important, and during the reign of Charlemagne, On Christmas Day in 800, Pope Leo crowned Charlemagne. This indicates that the pope was an extraordinary character and he was the only one who had absolute power, and this idea made Charlemagne thinking of being crowned by the pope. Also, the crusaders followed pope Urban II at the council of Claremont in 1095 to kill the Muslims. I believe that this idea was a major issue among people in this time, and people couldn’t do much about it because the majority of people were illiterate. Education was important to reform this idea. Martin Luther was able to do so because after studying for a long time and his own interpretation, he came up with his own belief, which was focusing on the churches and religious perspectives. Additionally, the theses show another period of conflict of Christianity not only between the main beliefs, Catholicism and Orthodox, but also within Catholicism itself, which was the rise of Protestantism.

All in all, Martin Luther played a great role in challenging the Catholic Roman Church, and through his theses, he was able to inform people not to buy Indulgences. He didn’t want to attack popes and get rid of them, but his sole idea was to remind them of their main jobs, which were organizing and running the churches, helping people, and interpreting Bible. Through the 95 theses, people wanted to examine life by themselves. This idea started hugely during the Renaissance, and people’s perspectives toward life were creative. Furthermore, through these theses we can conclude that Martin Luther wanted to show the problems in that era, which was the absolute power of the pope. Also, one of the big themes in the semester is the absolute power of the pope over churches and states. I believe that the 95 theses explained different aspects of people in 1517, but the main focus was on priests, monks, and the pope not to sell Indulgences.


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