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There was nothing in Rome to mend his despairing spirit or settle his restless soul.He seemed so cut off from God, and nowhere could he find a cure for his malady.
Luther wrote My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him.As a young man in Germany at the beginning of the sixteenth century, Luther was studying law at the university. In 1505, Luther entered the Augustinian monastery, and in 1507 became a priest.One day he was caught in a storm and was almost killed by lightning. His monastic leaders sent him to Rome in 1510, but Luther was disenchanted with the ritualism and dead faith he found in the papal city.The more he studied the Scriptures, the more he saw the need of showing the church how it had strayed from the truth., he posted a list of 95 propositions on the church door in Wittenberg.In his day, this was the means of inviting scholars to debate important issues.Most galling was the practice of indulgences -- the certificates the church provided, for a fee, supposedly to shorten one's stay in Purgatory. He planned to use the money to help pay for the building of St. Johann Tetzel was one of the indulgence sellers in Luther's vicinity.He used little advertising jingles to encourage people to buy his wares: "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs." Once Luther realized the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice alone for our sins, he found such practices revolting.No one took up Luther's challenge to debate at that time, but once news of his proposals became known, many began to discuss the issue Luther raised that salvation was by faith in Christ's work alone.Luther apparently at first expected the pope to agree with his position since it was based on Scripture; but in 1520, the Pope issued a decree condemning Luther's views. With that act, he also burned his bridges behind him. By the early months of 1518, the theses had been reprinted in many cities, and Luther's name had become associated with demands for radical change in the church. "Indulgences" (from the Latin indulgentia—permit) had become the complex instruments for granting forgiveness of sins.The granting of forgiveness in the sacrament of penance was based on the "power of the keys" given to the apostles according to Matthew , and was used to discipline sinners.