In 2017 we are marking 500 years since the start of the reformation – 500 years since Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses. What did these theses really say? How might they be relevant to our church in mission today?
This new MNYS resource provides the background needed to direct and guide conversations about the 95 Theses. There is historical background as well as insights from our 2016 Deans’ Retreat, let by The Rev. Jonathan Linman. The questions and some background information is adapted from Timothy J. Wengert’s, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses with Introduction, Commentary, and Study Guide.
These materials are easily adapted to your own setting and cover the following questions:
- Why did Luther bother to make a protest? That is, what issues are at stake in the 95 Theses?
- What were Luther’s main pastoral concerns in the 95 Theses? In what ways do church leaders face similar issues today?
- What are the theses to which you are most drawn? Why? What theses are hardest to understand? Why is this so?
- What are ways in today’s church that people try to avoid God’s judgment and therefore undermine God’s gracious forgiveness?
- A handful of theses emphasize God’s grace and the gospel. How might the human propensity either to "earn" salvation or to buy a way around God’s judgment undercut the gospel today
- In what ways are these 500 year-old issues still relevant today?
- Given the state of the church in our 21st Century world, what new theses would you draft and post today?
- If you were concerned about a particular practice or teaching of the Christian church today, how and to whom might you express that concern? By what authority would you do it?
- The posting or publishing of a set of theses or a sermon is not commonly the way to spur public dialog today. How are important matters of public concern and debate aired?
- What might it mean that Luther was the best living bestselling author in the world?
- What difference does it make to you that scholars debate whether the 95 Theses were posted or printed?
Download a copy of this free resource with participant handouts.