Saturday, May 15, 2010
Define: Lutheran Dilemma
Define: Lutheran Dilemma: When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the doors of the All Saints' Church (Schlosskirche) in Wittenberg in 1517, he precipitated a theological dilemma of monumental proportions. As an Augustinian monk, Luther exhibited a staunchly individualistic outlook toward matters of Christian theology. The doctrine of justification, which entailed a sinner's conversion to righteousness in the eyes of God, became a central tenet in his theological teachings. More specifically, Luther believed that Faith alone (sola fide) was the final determinant in the process of justifying mankind. Nevertheless, Luther had visions of himself falling on an eternal ladder that stretched between Heaven and Hell. They haunted his conscience to the point when he confessed to a priest who told him to do what lied within himself. That response did not placate Luther's dilemma. He saw the Roman Catholic Church as growing increasingly corrupt. For example, the selling of indulgences - where parishioners could purchase either full or partial remission for their sins - infuriated Luther. After his formal excommunication in 1521, Luther sought to establish a new church that conducted services in the vernacular (German) instead of Latin. This change appealed greatly to a wide degree of commoners, as it increased access to the liturgical processes of Christian worship.