When Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg he likely had no idea how this action would change the world. As the video below shows, his initial action set off a chain of events that would change the world.
That being said, what Martin Luther did was a common tradition amongst monks of the time. If you as a monk had an issue you wished to debate, it was customary to write out your questions and nail them to the door of the church, usually for a discussion reserved to clergy.
However with the recent development of the movable type printing press, as well as the eye-catching fiery rhetoric Luther used in his remarks, Luther’s words would soon travel far beyond the church in Wittenberg.
Luther called on the church to explain what he saw as deliberate corruption in the form of indulgences as well as deliberate misleading in the form of papal pardons. Luther believed that the church was leading its people down a path not to heaven, but to hell, and he wanted to do something.
Within two months the 95 theses had spread throughout Europe, and Luther found himself a target of the church he had been serving. Luther was eventually condemned at the Diet of Worms but was able to flee before he was persecuted.
Luther was able to continue his work under the protection of Frederick the Wise, and under his protection translated the Bible into German from Latin.
Overall Luther’s impact is hard not to understate as he not only changed the future of Christianity, but he also changed the complexion of society as the church controlled almost every aspect of life. Without Luther and the 95 theses the Catholic church may have continued to rule with unquestioned power for further centuries, permanently changing the world as we know it today.
Links to Martin Luther Documentary:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyVrPIp4QsA
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsDT1pYOW2c