What was Martin Luther’s contribution to theology?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Martin Luther was one of the most important figures in the history of Protestantism. His contributions were both ecclesiastical -- involving separation from the Roman Catholic Church -- and theological. The major areas of innovation in his theology for which he continues to be known are:

- Luther emphasized salvation by grace rather than through ritual or works.

- The "right and duty of private judgement". He thought that believers should read the Bible for themselves in the vernacular and interpret it themselves rather than learning about theology only through the church tradition.

- Luther disagreed with the selling of indulgences and the elements of the doctrine of Purgatory that made it possible.

- He believed in consubstantiation rather than transubstantiation in the Eucharist and elimination of the reserved Host.