early after the posting of the theses, a lively publicist dispute developed
between Luther and his opponents.
Luther was very productive here and presented more than 80 papers up to 1521, among them the sermon on indulgence and pardon directly after the theses on the penance of Communion and on baptism (all in 1519), On the New Testament (1520) and the Lenten sermons, Against the bull (1521).
After the “initial spark” by the 95 theses, he further developed his theology in these writings in relation to the doctrine of justification, the understanding of the sacraments and, finally, in relation to his criticism of the pope and the clerical hierarchy.
Theological development was encouraged in this process by the writings of his opponents as they forced Luther to contend with their arguments and refute them.
In his understanding of the sacraments, he prepared the elaboration in de captivitate Babylonica, that justification is not bestowed through the sacrament in itself, but through the faith of the receiver. In baptism, the promise, through which God acts, is the most important thing.
These ideas end in three large treatises of 1520 To the Christian nobility, De captivitate Babylonica ecclesiae and On the freedom of a Christian. These three writings form a first apex within Luther’s theology.
Luther developed further also in relation to the issue of confession. He deems it to be necessary, however orients himself against the coercion to confess, with which the priesthood especially could exercise its power.