The Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences are a list of propositions for an academic disputation written in by Martin Luther , professor of moral theology at the University of Wittenberg , Germany, that started the Reformation , a schism in the Catholic Church which profoundly changed Europe. On 31 October , Luther wrote to Albert, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg , protesting the sale of indulgences in his episcopal territories and inviting him to a disputation on the matter. He enclosed 95 Theses , a copy of which he traditionally posted that day to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther had already preached against indulgences, but he wrote the 95 Theses partly in reaction to the promotion of indulgences by Johann Tetzel , papal commissioner for indulgences in Germany, to raise funds for the renovation of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
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The indulgence being marketed by Tetzel distressed Luther because he saw it as misinforming lay people i. To be misinformed in essentials about the nature of God means that what one ends up obeying is a false image of God. This constitutes a "mortal sin" see the note to Thesis 2 , and leads if not corrected to damnation. Specifically, Albert's indulgence as represented by Tetzel encroached on the sacrament of penance.
The disputation protests against clerical abuses, especially the sale of indulgences. The background to Luther's Ninety-Five Theses centers on practices within the Catholic Church regarding baptism and absolution. Significantly, the Theses rejected the validity of indulgences remissions of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven.
The Reader View of Wikipedia. The Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences [a] is a list of propositions for an academic disputation written in by Martin Luther , professor of moral theology at the University of Wittenberg , Germany. Retrospectively considered to signal the birth of Protestantism , this document advances Luther's positions against what he saw as the abuse of the practice of clergy selling plenary indulgences , which were certificates believed to reduce the temporal punishment in purgatory for sins committed by the purchasers or their loved ones. In the Theses , Luther claimed that the repentance required by Christ in order for sins to be forgiven involves only inner contrition, and that sacramental confession is unnecessary.