The Best Part of the Protestant Reformation

The Best Part of the Protestant Reformation October 31, 2012

On October 31st 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses.

Hundreds of years later, a bunch of my classmates relyricized Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and shot a music video.


The song doesn’t quite make up for the fissuring of the Church, but the lyrics are pretty good.  I think my favorite lines are still:

I warned y’all that Rome best agree to the terms

If not, then you can eat my Diet of Worms!

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  • Nice!

  • Mark Shea

    Mouth opens and closes. No words. I am impressed he could rhyme “vernacular”.

  • My computer won’t stream the video. What’s the refrain? “Ninety nine theses but a Pope ain’t one”?

    • leahlibresco

      If you havin’ Church problems then don’t blame God, son
      I got ninety-five theses but the Pope ain’t one.

      You can read all the lyrics under the video on YouTube.

  • drea916

    Faith alone? Not!
    That’s what the Bible actually says.

  • Brief reminder: Early Reformers (Luther, at any rate) wanted to reform the church, not produce a schism. It was only after they were excommunicated that they established new churches. It’s not just the Protestants who contributed to the schism; the papacy was also responsible when it kicked out anyone who disagreed on certain points. What did they think those people were going to do?

    • JohnH

      “What did they think those people were going to do?”
      Have their property seized and the people be turned over to secular authorities that were under oath to exterminate or expel heretics. If not that then they expected to be able to raise a crusade, promising both forgiveness and the property of those that the crusade slaughtered, to crush the opposition, as had happened previously a few times (and was codified by ecumenical councils).

    • Ted Seeber

      The problem is that he chose *exactly the doctrine to produce a schism* to attack. #5 and #6 directly address Apostolic Authority.

      I believe he did not want to cause a schism, but attacking Apostolic Authority will *always* cause a schism, just as attacking secular authority in the United States has resulting in political chaos.

      • 5 and 6 actually concede apostolic authority vested in the Petrine office, so, no?

    • savvy

      The reformers did the same to other reformers after them. You might want to read Francis De Sales, on when the reformers were fighting each other.

  • Man, I love the Internet.

    • Oh, Lord, now I’m imagining the history of the Church if it had been enacted in rap battles. The condemnation of Jan Hus, for example, would have taken the form of a diss track named Straight Outta Constance.

  • Martha

    My main objection to the video is that it presents the Pope as being much more involved than he actually was; when the first rumblings came outta W’burg, he dismissed it as “a squabble of German monks” and that they’d come to their senses when they sobered up 🙂

    To be fair to Leo X, he was much more interested in the politics of the day, trying to get the various kings of Europe to agree to unite against the Turkish threat (after a truce between the Hungarians and the preceding Ottoman Sultan, his successor, Suleiman the Magnificent, renewed the war in 1521 and captured the Belgrade, just for one instance). To bring it into modern-day terms, consider the present American presidental election and the questions about withdrawal from Afghanistan, drone warfare, sanctions against Iran and the best way to deal with Middle-Eastern peace proposals. If some local councillor from Further Mudwallow started agitating about reforms to the structure of Congress, would either Obama or Romney (or their campaign managers) say “Of course! I must immediately drop all the other things I am doing and turn my full attention to Joe Soap and his demands!”?

    To be fair to Luther, Leo was a Medici: he is supposed to have said to his brother Giuliano “Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it.” So theology was not the first thing on his mind, unlike Luther’s struggles with the fear of damnation and the question of justification and how you could be confident that you truly had saving faith.

    For you animal-lovers, Leo was very fond of his pet white elephant, Hanno.


    • Ted Seeber

      “To be fair to Leo X, he was much more interested in the politics of the day”

      You could put the name of any one of the worst Popes in history and it would be equally true. One of the best defenses of the doctrine of Papal infallibility I ever heard, was the concept that the popes that were the most morally inept were too busy with their own moral ineptitude to actually bother to teach anything at all. You certainly can’t release a bunch of encyclicals if you are too busy having an orgy every night. God only grants each of us 24 hours a day after all.