1517-1521

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      In 1517, on the eve of All Saintís Luther announced Ninety-five theses for debate on the subjects of the grace of God, the means of salvation, and the efficacy of Indulgences. According to tradition he posted them on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

     The controversy between Luther and Rome began as a theological dispute concerning indulgences, written documents that assured the owner of freedom from punishment after death for sins. These had been used in the church before to give comfort and assurance to sensitive sinners. Now, however, they were being used as a fund raiser for the Cathedrals of St. Peterís in Rome and the new cathedral in Mainz. Luther argued that forgiveness was free and that the church could not ďsellĒ forgiveness.

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                                        St. Peter's Cathedral                                       Mainz Cathedral

     As the dispute continued it became a debate about the authority of the church to determine its theology and to control its theologians and teachers. In the end the dispute broke the unity of the church, and created the conditions for the multiplication of denominations.
     In 1517, on the eve of All Saintís Luther announced Ninety-five theses for debate on the subjects of the grace of God, the means of salvation, and the efficacy of Indulgences. According to tradition he posted them on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

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      The Castle Church in Wittenberg             Doors of the Castle Church

         In 1518 Rome demanded that Luther recant, and after a number of meetings and writings Leo X issued Exsurge Domine, threatening him with excommunication. After Frederick the Wise demanded that Luther be given an opportunity to defend himself before being outlawed, he appeared before the newly elected Emperor, Charles V at the Diet of Worms in April 1521.

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Luther before Charles V at Worms, 1521

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