Lutheran scholar Martin Marty on faith, Luther, the state of religion

Martin Marty, Lutheran pastor, retired University of Chicago professor, author, has a new a book on Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” as 500th anniversary approaches, believes that a new Reformation, spanning denominations, would have to focus on “a recovery of love and justice.”

Ordained a Lutheran minister 65 years ago, Marty taught for 35 years at the U. of C. Was once editor at The Christian Century magazine and won a 1972 National Book Award for “Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America.”

He’s retired but still writing, including a new book on Martin Luther called “October 31, 1517 — Martin Luther and the Day that Changed the World.”

That’s when Luther’s “95 Theses” came out — challenging certain Catholic teachings and practices, including people paying money to shorten time away from God in “purgatory,” seen as a sort of middle-space between heaven and hell.

Luther’s writings asserted “that the Bible is the central religious authority and that humans may reach salvation only by their faith and not by their deeds,” according to one summary.

They fueled the Protestant Reformation and helped change the course of Western civilization.

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