On what we know as “All Hallow’s Eve, October 31, 1517 Martin Luther wrote a letter
Luther’s chief complaint was an objection to a jingle that was attributed to Johann Tetzel which said, “As soon as the coin in the coffers rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” Luther believed that forgiveness belonged to God alone and that no one could offer forgiveness especially and even when coupled with the payment. Luther maintained that those who preached that indulgences would absolve the buyer from any and all punishment, and provided salvation were in error. Luther proclaimed that Christians should not cease following Christ for forgiveness on the basis of these “false promises.”
It was on the day before “All Saints Day, October 31 that Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. He also sent a hand-written copy to Cardinal Albert who he believed was responsible for the sale of indulgences in Germany.
Two months later, in January of 1518 Luther’s ninety-five thesis was translated by a Christoph von Scheurl from Latin into German. Some think that when Luther’s ninety-five thesis was translated and printed it became the first “controversy” in history promulgated by the printing press.
The Protestant Reformation was born on this day by this act. The Reformation began the religious, political, intellectual, and cultural fractures in Catholic Europe. The Reformation was used of God to use men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and even Henry VIII to challenge papal authority.
The Reformation questioned the “right” of the Catholic Church to define Christian practices. The greatest tenant of the Reformation was the clarion call for bibles to be translated into the native tongues of God’s people who then could interpret the Word of God for themselves.