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Equipping Pastors: The Other October 31st

This is a real photo of Luther in 1517. Or not.

Your congregation is probably buzzing about costumes, parties and candy this weekend. Maybe your church is having a "harvest party," too. But do you know about the other October 31st? Justin Holcomb, academic dean of Re:Train, posted "Luther Puts a Nail in the Heart of Bad Religion— And 3 Other Holidays" on The Resurgence, highlighting another October 31 holiday: Reformation Day. Yes, October 31 was also the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg church door.


Reformation Day (October 31) commemorates Luther's posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This act triggered the Reformation, as they were immediately translated and distributed across Germany in a matter of weeks. The Protestant Reformation was the rediscovery of the doctrine of justification—salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone—and the protest against the corruption within the Roman Catholic Church.


The century before the Reformation was marked by widespread dismay with the venality of the leaders in the Roman Catholic Church and with its false doctrines, biblical illiteracy, superstition, and corruption. Monks, priests, bishops, and popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like the selling of indulgences, the treasury of merit, purgatory, and salvation through good works.


Highlights from the 95 Theses

Have you ever read Luther's 95 theses? In honor of October 31, Reformation Day, here's a selection of 31 from a "modern translation":


1. When Jesus said "repent" he meant that believers should live a whole life repenting 

2. Only God can give salvation - not a priest.

3. Inwards penitence must be accompanied with a suitable change in lifestyle.

4. Sin will always remain until we enter Heaven.

5. The pope must act according to canon law.

6. Only God can forgive -the pope can only reassure people that God will do this.

18. A sinful soul does not have to be always sinful. It can be cleansed. 

21. An indulgence will not save a man.

22. A dead soul cannot be saved by an indulgence.

23. Only a very few sinners can be pardoned. These people would have to be perfect.

24. Therefore most people are being deceived by indulgences.

25. The pope’s power over Purgatory is the same as a priest’s.

26. When the pope intervenes to save an individual, he does so by the will of God.

27. It is nonsense to teach that a dead soul in Purgatory can be saved by money.

28. Money causes greed - only God can save souls.

45. A person who passes by a beggar but buys an indulgence will gain the anger and disappointment of God.

48. The pope should have more desire for devout prayer than for ready money.

53. Those who forbid the word of God to be preached and who preach pardons as a norm are enemies of both the pope and Christ.

54. It is blasphemy that the word of God is preached less than that of indulgences.

55. The pope should enforce that the gospel - a very great matter - must be celebrated more than indulgences.

62. The main treasure of the church should be the Gospels and the grace of God.

71. People who deny the pardons of the Apostles will be cursed.

76. You should feel guilt after being pardoned. A papal pardon cannot remove guilt.

77. Not even St. Peter could remove guilt.

79. It is blasphemy to say that the insignia of the cross is of equal value with the cross of Christ.

82. Why doesn’t the pope clean feet for holy love not for money ?

84. Evil men must not buy their salvation when a poor man, who is a friend of God, cannot.

89. Why are indulgences only issued when the pope sees fit to issue them ?

93. Those in the church who claim there is no problem must go.

94. Christians must follow Christ at all cost.

95. Let Christians experience problems if they must - and overcome them - rather than live a false life based on present Catholic teaching.