Lutheran reformation: The indulgence controversy


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  • The remission of so many years in purgatory.
  • Living would do good works which would in return take years off purgatroy for their departed loved ones.

Pope's authority

  • Authority to do this was based upon TREASURY OF MERITS.
  • Pope distributed `SURPLUS MERITS` which belonged to the saints.
  • unclear whether the power of remission of sins could be excercised on behalf of the dead.
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Luther's writings

  • Early 1517 Luther published theory that a man can only be saved by total dependecen upon Grace of God.
  • September 1517 Luther wrote nincety seven theses against Duns Scotus and William Occum.
  • 1517 wrote ninety five theses against indlulgences; intention was not to chalenge Church- only circulated around friends.
  • One of readers published theses, printed editions appeared in leipzig, Madgebourg and Basle.
  • By May 1518 Luther was convinced God's justice was a gift given by God to man out of grace.
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Initial papal reactions

  • Tetzel viewed Luther's these as heretical.
  • Congregration persuaded breifed its representative in Rome to obtain condemnation of Luther as a heretic.
  • Luther defended position in a series of publications `resolutions` in sermons.
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