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LUTHER'S HALLOWEEN BOMBSHELL

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The sixteenth century Reformation was in part a call to put aside the pagan beliefs and practices which people had long accepted. It was a call to purify the Church and its doctrines. Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 theses on the church door is often noted as a pivotal point in the Reformation. The timing and place of Luther's posting is significant -- Halloween -- October 31, 1517, on the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

That Church held one of the largest collections of supposed relics outside of Rome. Pieces of bones from saints, locks of hairs from martyrs, a piece of the true cross, a twig from Moses’ burning bush, bread from the Last Supper, a veil sprinkled with the blood of Christ -- all were venerated and held in holy awe. The relics were kept in special reliquaries, ornamented with gold, silver, and precious stones. They were exhibited on All Saints Day. By 1518, 17,443 pieces were on display in twelve aisles! The church taught that paying the special fee and viewing the relics would shorten a soul's stay in purgatory by 1,902,202 years and 270 days! This was one teaching Luther challenged in his 95 theses.

On Halloween, the day before All Saints Day when the relics would be specially exhibited, Luther nailed his theses on the church door, challenging scholars to debate the virtue of indulgences, the church's teaching that by certain works a person could hasten his entrance into heaven. Luther publicly professed the free and gratuitous remission of sin, not by relics, papal pardons, or indulgences, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH

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