the shape of leadership

Three Major Treatises

Crucial essays that fueled church reform

Frank D Macchia on October 31, 2017

The year was 1520. Three years had passed since Luther posted his 95 Theses, and his struggle with church authorities was at its height. In this year, he wrote three crucial essays that allowed him to sharpen his criticism of the Church and propose reforms.

An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate
Luther opposes here the authority of the papacy over state authorities. He seeks to convince the wealthy German nobility to break free of church control. The doctrine of the Church and the state as two separate “kingdoms” under Christ is based in this essay. [Read online here.]

The Babylonian Captivity of the Church
Luther challenges here the presumption of the clergy that the sacraments are under their power to distribute as they wish and for their benefit. Luther stressed instead that in the Lord’s Supper Christ is freely present to all who receive Him in faith. [Read online here.]

The Freedom of a Christian
Luther takes the opportunity in this essay to offer a positive expression of Reformation faith, highlighting the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone. [Read online here.]

This article originally appeared in the October/November/December 2017 edition of Influence magazine.

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