On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther posted his now-famous 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
This was not an act of defiant vandalism but was instead a fairly common occurrence for inviting academic discussion. The 95 points that Luther wished to have discussed are not all equally controversial. Many are rather mundane, some are difficult to understand in our time, and still others would not even be held by Luther himself in later years. Nevertheless, this event and the results of it are what lead to the Protestant Reformation.
These are the words that sparked the Reformation:
Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.
In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.
2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.
3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.