Many churches around the globe are celebrating the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s radical upheaval of medieval Catholicism. What he set in motion on Oct. 31, 1517, as he posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, challenging the religious authorities to a debate, affects us still. We are still trying to catch up with Luther in many areas; and in other areas, we rightly distance ourselves from his writings, especially his perspectives on Jews.
What was Luther so upset about that he nailed the placard of grievances to the door, which served as the public bulletin board of that little village? Let’s look back at the Catholicism that nurtured him to see what was going on.
Molly T. Marshall is president and professor of theology and spiritual formation at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan.