In 1537 Martin Luther wrote the “Smalcald Articles”; an outline of the early church. Luther’s original 95 Theses were his own thoughts, but the Smalcald Articles were witnessed and subscribed to by many others; listed at the end of this article.
The complete text here translated into English. I think it will be interesting reading for those interested in the initial theology of the original German Protestant Reformation and eventual Lutheran Church.
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Martin Luther’s letter “To The Christian Reader” was written in 1545, a year before he died. It has a tenor of reconciliation. He asks readers to cut him a little slack for at one time being a monk and upholding the Pope’s theology to the point that he would have “committed murder” to keep it in force.
A simple quick read overview might be this excerpt:
“Therefore, Christian reader, thou wilt find in my earliest books and writings how many points of faith I then, with all humility, yielded and conceded to the pope, which since then I have held and condemned for the most horrible blasphemy and abomination, and which I would have to be so held and so condemned forever. Amen.”
Here is the letter in it’s original context, translated into English:
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This is the English translation of a letter sent by Martin Luther to Pope Leo X in 1518. Martin Luther had previously published his “95 Theses” and was starting to get into trouble with Rome. This letter accompanied his “Resolutions to the 95 Theses”.
Martin Luther tells the Pope that clergy are using the Pope’s name to intimidate people into giving money they cannot afford to give. He also tells the Pope he will follow whatever punishment the Pope declares for Martin Luther speaking out.
My favorite quote from this letter is: “But necessity compels me to be the goose that squawks among the swans.”
Here is the full letter in context:
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The original text of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in original Latin and translated English text. More correctly the 95 Theses was actually called the “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” by Dr. Martin Luther (1517).
English text first, Latin text follows:
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Is it true that Martin Luther of the Reformation said “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong.” Yes, it is. But the second half of that sentence was “but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.”
Here is that passage in it’s original context; a letter from Luther to Melanchthon on August 1, 1521. If you like you can scroll directly to number paragraph thirteen for the complete passage.
This is also the letter where Martin Luther expresses his favor for allowing monks to marry.
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