On a mission to Rome in 1510–11 he was appalled b

aba y the corruption
he found there. Money was greatly needed at the time for the rebuilding of
St. Peter’s, and papal emissaries sought everywhere to raise funds by the
sale of indulgences. The system was grossly abused, and Luther’s
indignation at the shameless traffic, carried on in particular by the
Dominican Johann Tetzel, became irrepressible. As professor of biblical
exegesis at Wittenberg (1512–46), he began to preach the doctrine of
salvation by faith rather than works; and on 31 October 1517 drew up a
list of 95 theses on indulgences denying the pope any right to forgive
sins, and nailed them on the church door at Wittenberg. Tetzel retreated
from Saxony to Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, where he published a set of counter-
theses and burnt Luther’s. The Wittenberg students retaliated by burning
Tetzel’s, and in 1518 Luther was joined in his views by Melanchthon.


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