This act opened up a debate with religious scholars of the time that eventually lead to the Protestant Reformation.
Reformation Day has been observed as a holiday since the mid-16th century, but its official date of October 31st was set until about 1717.
They differ on many points, but something that most of them agree on is that the hammering episode, so satisfying symbolically—loud, metallic, violent—never occurred.
Not only were there no eyewitnesses; Luther himself, ordinarily an enthusiastic self-dramatizer, was vague on what had happened.
Reformation Day is an important day that allows Protestants to not only reflect on the history of their religion, but also one that is important in honoring the core belief system of Protestantism.
Down the corridors of religious history we hear this sound: Martin Luther, an energetic thirty-three-year-old Augustinian friar, hammering his Ninety-five Theses to the doors of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, in Saxony, and thus, eventually, splitting the thousand-year-old Roman Catholic Church into two churches—one loyal to the Pope in Rome, the other protesting against the Pope’s rule and soon, in fact, calling itself Protestant.This month marks the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s famous action.Accordingly, a number of books have come out, reconsidering the man and his influence.His reforms survived to breed other reforms, many of which he disapproved of. To tote up the Protestant denominations discussed in Alec Ryrie’s new book, “Protestants” (Viking), is almost comical, there are so many of them. (More than eighty thousand poorly armed peasants were slaughtered when the latter rebellion failed.) Indeed, the horrific Thirty Years’ War, in which, basically, Europe’s Roman Catholics killed all the Protestants they could, and vice versa, can in some measure be laid at Luther’s door.Although it did not begin until decades after his death, it arose in part because he had created no institutional structure to replace the one he walked away from.The fact that Luther’s protest, rather than others that preceded it, brought about the Reformation is probably due in large measure to his outsized personality. And though at times he showed that hankering for martyrdom that we detect, with distaste, in the stories of certain religious figures, it seems that, most of the time, he just got out Luther was born in 1483 and grew up in Mansfeld, a small mining town in Saxony. The Luthers ate suckling pig and owned drinking glasses.He was a charismatic man, and maniacally energetic. His father started out as a miner but soon rose to become a master smelter, a specialist in separating valuable metal (in this case, copper) from ore. They had either seven or eight children, of whom five survived.One of his primary concerns was the church selling “indulgences” to people in order to release them from having to serve penitence for their sins.An act which he considered to be people trying to buy their way into heaven.He remembered drawing up a list of ninety-five theses around the date in question, but, as for what he did with it, all he was sure of was that he sent it to the local archbishop.Furthermore, the theses were not, as is often imagined, a set of non-negotiable demands about how the Church should reform itself in accordance with Brother Martin’s standards.