On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church

On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (Latin title: De ecclesiae Babylonian Captivity, praeludium ) is one of the main Reformation writings of 1520, in the Martin Luther publicly represents the seven sacraments for the first time in question.


In response to Luther's Sermon of the Reverend Sacrament ( 1519) Augustin had his work Tractatus de communione sub specie utraque quantum ad laicos published by Alveldt in June 1520 in Leipzig, and it attacked the Reformation advocacy of the lay chalice. Luther decided to initially nothing to counter it. Only when he became aware of the font Revocatio Martini Lutherii Augustiniani ad sanctam Sedem the Italian Dominican Isidoro isolated pawn, which also was directed against Luther's doctrine, he decided to respond. Looking at a more scholarly readership, he wrote the writing on Latin.

Content and teaching

Number of Sacraments

Luther represents the number of seven sacraments Old Believers in question. In his opinion, there are only three sacraments: baptism, penance and communion, though he admits at the end of the Scriptures that there could be only two sacraments quite as it ermangele the penance of a character that necessarily occur during a sacrament.


Similarly strictly Luther goes to the sacraments to court and dealing in particular with the fair. In it, Luther makes three " captivities " of: first, the chalice withdrawal, in which Luther questions the authority of the Church to change the institution of Christ without authorization; secondly, the doctrine of transubstantiation, has identified a binding made ​​illegally attempt to explain the presence of Christ's body and blood in the Luther; Third, the abuse of the Mass, in the understanding of sacrifice finds expression in particular. His own Lord's Supper Luther extracted from the key concepts of the will or of the promise and faith. It assigns the promise about the characters, so the word of Christ the sacrament ( bread and wine ) so that the man could have the word without the character. In this case, this doctrine must not be misunderstood: Luther does not want to make the reception of the sacrament in question, but merely to highlight the central importance of promise and faith.


At baptism, Luther holds back compared to the sacrament rather because he finds it still relatively untouched by the Church. Again, he is the divine promise and faith in the foreground and not the presentation of a new " habitus ".


As in the 95 theses he sees the penance here as a return to baptism. Since the baptism in its deeper meaning rather death and resurrection bein think that repentance is not a substitute for it later. In this context, Luther also points to the fact that the deposition of a monk vow restricts the given through baptism freedom of man.


With this essay Martin Luther took place also in the sacraments break with the Church of his time. The font of the early Reformation, it is fundamental to the Protestant doctrine of the sacraments.