Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation in the German-speaking territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Beginning with the Ninety-Five Theses, first published in 1517, Luther's writings were disseminated internationally, spreading the early ideas of the Reformation beyond the influence and control of the Roman Curia and the Holy Roman Emperor. The split between the Lutherans and the Catholics was made public and clear with the 1521 Edict of Worms: the edicts of the Diet condemned Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas, subjecting advocates of Lutheranism to forfeiture of all property, half of the seized property to be forfeit to the imperial government and the remaining half forfeit to the party who brought the accusation. The divide centered primarily on two points: the proper source of authority in the church, often called the formal principle of the Reformation, and the doctrine of justification, often called the material principle.
Matthias Flacius Illyricus (Latin; CroatianMatija Vlačić Ilirik, GermanMatthias Flach) (March 3, 1520-March 11, 1575) was a Lutheran reformer. He was born in Carpano, a part of Albona (today Labin) in Istria, son of Andrea Vlacich alias Francovich and Jacobea Luciani, daughter of a wealthy and powerful Albonian family. His mother's uncle was the Lutheran Baldo Lupetina who later was condemned to death in Venice for his faith. His polemics have usually been passed over as distasteful by church historians; however he stands at the beginning of the scientific study of church history. Regardless of Flacius's polemic intent, the correction of bad history and bad exegesis has been valuable to persons of many faith and non-faith traditions. Hence the continuing value of the principles embodied in Flacius' Catalogus testium veritatis (1556; revised edition by J. C. Dietericus, 1672) and his Clavis scripturae sacrae (1567), followed by his Glossa compendiaria in N. Testamentum (1570). His characteristic formula, historia est fundamentum doctrinae, is better understood now than in his own day.
"Even though I am a sinner and deserving of death and hell, this shall nonetheless be my consolation and my victory that my Lord Jesus lives and has risen so that He, in the end, might rescue me from sin, death, and hell."—Luther
Law and Grace, by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The left side shows humans' condemnation under God's law, while the right side presents God's grace in Christ.
Lutherans believe that whoever has faith in Jesus alone will receive salvation from the grace of God and will enter eternity in heaven instead of eternity in hell after death or at the second coming of Jesus.