On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther performed a relatively minor act. He posted ninety-five theses (in Latin) on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. His desire seems to have been rather simple–start a serious conversation about some of the ministerial abuses inside the church. His act was the equivalent of posting a few items for dialogue on the Internet, a kind of blog post for academic debate. Historians, always looking for key dates, now see this as the spark that lit the fire that led to the Protestant Reformation. Luther himself was not so sure but this fact is clear: the events that followed October 31 1517, created a great turmoil in the Western church.
Luther argued that the church in his day had been taken captive by an inadequate gospel message. Luther's pamphlet, The Pagan Servitude of the Church, likened the church's situation in 16th century Europe to Israel in Babylon. The people of God were prisoners of a false gospel, a false worldview, a false