By Alister E. McGrath
In July 1998, the bishops of the Anglican Communion met within the old English cathedral urban of Canterbury for his or her conventional Lambeth convention, held each ten years. The goal used to be to deal with the numerous demanding situations and possibilities that Anglicanism confronted worldwide— equivalent to the burgeoning progress of the church in Africa and Asia, its gradual decline within the West, and the recent debates on sexuality.
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Additional resources for Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution: A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First
There is no evidence that his attempt to arrange a routine debate attracted any interest within the University of Wittenberg, or any attention from a wider public. It was only when Luther circulated his demands more widely that controversy began to develop. So what was the issue at stake? The immediate cause was the visit of Johann Tetzel to Luther’s hometown of Wittenberg to sell indulgences, partly in order to raise capital for the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Occupying something of a theological gray area, indulgences were popular without being entirely theoretically respectable.
C h r i s t i a n i t y ’s da n g e r o u s i d e a 1520: A MANIFESTO FOR REFORM At the time of the indulgence controversy (1517), Martin Luther was on the faculty of theology at the University of Wittenberg.
As Luther himself later told the story, at some point in June 1505 he was returning to Erfurt from a visit to Mansfeld. As he drew near to the village of Storterheim, a severe thunderstorm developed. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck the ground next to him, throwing him off his horse. Terrified, Luther cried out, “Saint Anne, help me! ” This turning point in Luther’s life brought to the surface many of the personal demons that would play such an important role in his subsequent career. Lying behind Luther’s cry was a mental world shaped by a number of fixed landmarks that have since crumbled over the centuries.