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Martin Luther disagreed with the Roman Catholic Church's sale of indulgences to finance the construction of St. Peter's Basilica. Indulgences--as marketed by Johann Tetzel, the indulgence preacher Luther encountered--were documents which could supposedly reduce one's time in Purgatory. Luther believed indulgences to be unbiblical because, he claimed, salvation came by grace through faith (Hebrews 10:38), not by a papal proclamation or indulgence. Luther protested the sale of indulgences by nailing his "95 Theses" against their distribution to the door of Wittenburg Castle Church on October 31, 1517. He did not originally intend to break with the Catholic Church; rather, he was trying to draw attention to practices he believed needed to be corrected. However, his protest against indulgences coincided with a number of other events which eventually spiraled into the Protestant Reformation and the division of the Western Church.
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