On October 31 1517 Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses” on the door of the Wittenberg church, and so began the Protestant Reformation. At the core of Luther’s call to action against what he saw as the corruption infesting the Catholic Church were two principles: sola scriptura and sola fides.

Sola scriptura means “by the Bible alone”. It is a rejection of the prevalent idea, then and now, that the only way to be free of sin is to work through a priestly caste that interprets the Bible for us and tells us its “true” meaning. Whereas Luther believed that all baptised Christians are a priesthood in and of themselves. That we’re all wise enough to see the “truth” for ourselves without the intermediation of self-interested and self-aggrandising institutions, and we’re all smart enough to evaluate good counsel on the merits of the adviser and his arguments, not his position or title or anointed status. ..

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