Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses centers on practices within the Catholic Church regarding baptism and absolution. Significantly, the Theses rejected the validity of indulgences (remissions of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven). They also view with great cynicism the practice of indulgences being sold, and thus the penance for sin representing a financial transaction rather than genuine contrition. Luther’s Theses argued that the sale of indulgences was a gross violation of the original intention of confession and penance, and that Christians were being falsely told that they could find absolution through the purchase of indulgences.
All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Saxony, in the Holy Roman Empire, where the Ninety-Five Theses famously appeared, held one of Europe’s largest collections of holy relics. These had been piously collected by Frederick III of Saxony. At that time pious veneration of relics was purported to allow the viewer to receive relief from temporal punishment for sins in purgatory. By 1520 Frederick had over 19,000 relics, purportedly “including vials of the milk of the Virgin Mary, straws from the manger [of Jesus], and the body of one of the innocents massacred by King Herod.”
As part of a fund-raising campaign commissioned by Pope Leo X to finance the renovation of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Johann Tetzel, a Dominican priest, began the sale of indulgences in the German lands. Albert of Mainz, the Archbishop of Mainz in Germany, had borrowed heavily to pay for his high church rank and was deeply in debt. He agreed to allow the sale of the indulgences in his territory in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. Luther was apparently not aware of this. Even though Luther’s prince, Frederick III, and the prince of the neighboring territory, George, Duke of Saxony, forbade the sale thereof in their respective lands, Luther’s parishioners traveled to purchase them. When these people came to confession, they presented their plenary indulgences which they had paid good silver money for, claiming they no longer had to repent of their sins, since the document promised to forgive all their sins. Luther was outraged that they had paid money for what was theirs by right as a free gift from God. He felt compelled to expose the fraud that was being sold to the pious people. This exposure was to take place in the form of a public scholarly debate at the University of Wittenberg. The Ninety-Five Theses outlined the items to be discussed and issued the challenge to any and all comers.
Here are the contents of the 95 Theses
Today I went out and did a recovery run. Between the last two days, I have again run over 26 miles. So in the last three weeks, I have run the equivalent of three marathons. (combining the miles from Monday and Tuesday’s runs.) I managed an 8:42/mile pace today, not bad considering how bad my legs felt this morning. I’m glad I waited till this afternoon. It was way too cold this morning and it was nice to run in the sun and in the warm. It looks like October will be my second highest mileage month ever – coming in just behind the 167 miles set in September. With Thursday’s run, I should be right in the 162 mile range.
That’s about all I have for tonight – Pressing Onward!
We’ve all been there haven’t we? We model our ministries after the mega churches and worship conferences. In fact, we even long to be in one of ‘those’ positions someday don’t we? We’ll before we start dreaming about the future, let’s take a look at where we are now.
I’ve served on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to large and small churches. I had the honor and privilege to serve at a ‘mega’ church with unlimited resources as well as at smaller churches barely struggling to pay the electric bill. And I value them both. However, I think the tendency in the worship leader/music circles is to take steps and climb the proverbial mountain. That the goal is to reach Hillsong United heights and once we do, everything will be glorious.
When the truth is, most of us will never serve at a church of that caliber or size or with unlimited resources. And that’s okay. You may find yourself longing and even dreaming the perfect church, but let me gently remind you that it doesn’t exist. Anywhere. Large churches have just as many problems as smaller ones, often times more.
- Be Committed
- Love Your People
- Have Realistic Expectations
- Love Your Calling
Today I went out for my last really long training. My plan was to run for 22 miles. In order to do that, I would need to run the same route as last week, with the addition of an additional mile. I knew the additional mile would be right after the park (which was the 14 mile mark.) Both of my fueling stops were done and all I had to do was run the 8 miles home from the park. We have several long blocks just north of Staunton’s downtown that add an easy mile – without really adding any hills.
As I cruised into miles 15 and 16 everything seemed just fine, but it wasn’t long until I couldn’t push anymore. I noticed my stability breaking down and I was pushing (these two things together can spell disaster – like usually a fall.) I pulled back, but really concentrated. My goal was to run 22 miles or 3:20:00. I was able to run for 3 hours, but that put me at the 20 mile mark and left me two miles from home.
If you are familiar with Staunton, I quit running at the corner of US 11 and VA 262, which for the most part is the middle of nowhere. There were no options of finding a phone and calling home. So, I put on my determination and walked the two miles home. The first mile was on a considerable grade.
So, with my last 20+ mile run in before Richmond, I feel a little less confident. What are those miles past 20 really going to feel like? Next week I’m going to do a high teen mileage run and the following week a 13 miler and then Richmond is that following Saturday.
This much I know – during the race – I will continue on – I will persevere – especially because my legs will be much fresher than they were today. I am looking forward to race day! Pressing On!
Well, it looks like I’m going to write this while waiting to pick up Anna. It’s been a wonderfully busy weekend. Pam and I painted one of the ceilings at church in preparation for painting the children’s ministry hallway yesterday. I managed to get everything done – I even got in a run, but waited until it warmed up a little. Fortunately it won’t be as cold tomorrow morning before my long run.
Last night we had a wonderful season of prayer at church and I’m always excited after those because that means Sunday may just be a little special and that was true today. We had a good service at Parkway this morning. This evening our church hosted our annual Trunk or Treat event. We had around 150 people come through. Many of these were not our church people – so they count as potential guests in the future. We gave each child who came a tract and a pamphlet about our church. You never know when someone might think about going to church and look for our information.
That’s about all I have – I’m a little worn out tonight and I have a big run in the morning. Pressing On!