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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Martin Luther And The Reformation - 1406 words
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.. rent answer was given to them. Luther provided four answers to those basic theological issues. His first answer was to salvation. According to traditional Catholic, teaching salvation is attained through faith and good works. Luther said that salvation was only by faith.
Whether a person is saved or not is strictly initiated by God. The second question was asking where religious authority resided. Luther's response was that authority rests in the Word of God, the Bible, and the interpretation is left up to the reader. He urged people to read the Scriptures and reflect on that reading. The third question was about the church
Luther agreed with the Catholic teaching that the church consists of the entire community of Christian believers, but disagreed with the church being identified by the clergy. The last question was what was the highest form of Christian life. Luther disagreed that monastic life was superior over secular. He argued all vocations are equal and that every person should serve God based on their individual calling. (Boehmer, 192) The more Protestant thought developed, the more it began to differ from Roman Catholic belief in doctrine holds that there are seven sacraments, but Several other fundamental areas. Roman Catholicism practices a clerical, hierarchical institution headed by the pope in Rome.
Luther said the church should be a spiritual gathering of all believers, not fixed on any one person or place. Faith requires no institutional structure; therefore, Luther stressed the invisibility of the church. Catholic Luther could only justify three of them through Scripture-baptism, penance, and the Eucharist, or Lord's Supper. Another Catholic belief of transubstantiation, which is the bread and wine, actually becomes Christ's body and blood. Luther defined consubstantiation, which is the belief that the bread and wine undergo a spiritual change, but are not transformed.
Zwingli believed that the Lord's Supper is a memorial of the Last Supper, but no changes actually occur to the bread or wine. Luther's following began in 1521, every encounter he had with ecclesiastical or political authorities attracted attention. His message was spread all through Germany. By the time of his death, people of all social classes had become Lutheran. German towns were especially quick to jump on this new form or Christianity.
Until this time priests, monks, and nuns paid no taxes and were exempt from civic responsibilities, yet they frequently held large amounts of taxable land, but were not required to pay taxes on it. This was a great deal of lost revenue for the towns. Luther believed that no one should be exempt from these civic responsibilities. In addition, many of the townspeople complained of poor quality of church services. To make up for this many men of superior education began preacherships.
They were required to preach about a hundred sermons a year, lasting about forty-five minutes. These men quickly jumped on Protestantism because they could become Protestant leaders. Peasants were quickly attracted to Lutheranism because Luther himself was a peasant. The people felt they could relate to him and his message. They respected his defiance of the church and were inspired by his words.
"A Christian man is the most free lord of all and subject to none." (Boehmer, 99) These words in particular were of inspiration to the people because it gave them hope. They did not have to feel as though they were prisoners to their work, but they were free in the eyes of God. German peasants had been known to revolt in previous history, so when the economic situation began to worsen and crops began failing between 1523 and 1524 the situation became very unstable. In 1525 representatives of the peasants met to draw up the Twelve Articles, which expressed their grievances. They complained that the lords had seized their common lands and they were being forced to pay unreasonable taxes. The peasants believed their demands conformed to Scripture and cited Luther as a theologian who could prove that they did. Since Luther wanted to prevent a rebellion, he initially sided with the peasants. He warned though that nothing justified the use of armed defense.
He also maintained that Scripture had nothing to do with earthly justice or material gain. (Brown, 149) Massive revolts broke out near the Swiss border and peasants' shouts came directly from Luther's words such as "God's righteousness" and the "Word of God." Expecting Luther's support, the peasants were greatly dismayed when he no longer would come to their rescue. Luther meant "freedom" in the sense of freedom from the Roman church; he did not mean opposition to legally established secular powers. He meant that this gave them freedom to obey God's Word. When a person sins they lose their freedom and break their relationship with God. Firmly convinced that rebellion hastens the ending of civilized society, Luther wrote a tract against the peasants.
The revolt was quickly crushed and an estimated seventy-five thousand peasants were killed. (Brown, 162) Luther believed everyone was subject to the higher power and God was the only power. Anyone who resists these powers is resisting God and will not receive eternal life. Lutheranism exalted the state and subordinated the church to the state. The revolt of the peasants actually backfired for the most part and the lay rulers' authority was actually strengthened. Some of the enclosed fields, meadows, and forest were returned to the peasants for common use.
Scholars have accredited Luther's resounding success to the invention of the printing press. This provided quick and widespread distribution of Luther's teaching and ideas. The fact that Luther had such a wide range of verbal expression, people have compared him to Shakespeare. He had a wonderful memory and seemed to be able to always know the exact thing to say even when put under intense pressure. Language was Luther's weapon to change the world.
Nearly every type of person was attracted to Luther's reformed idea of Christianity. His ideas were simpler and more personal. It was much more spiritual like that of the early Christian church. Luther stressed more of a relationship with God rather than long drawn-out ceremonies, which often became monotonous. Many people were searching for these reforms.
It was important for people to remember God's Word. One of the easiest ways to do this was through hymns, psalms, and Luther's two catechisms. Reformers knew that rhyme, meter, and melodies could forcefully impress minds and affect how people remember the Word. Luther's Larger Catechism was filled with short sermons on the main articles of faith, and the Shorter Catechism gave concise explanations of doctrine in question-and-answer form. Both Catechisms emphasized the significance of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Apostle's Creed, and the sacraments for the believing Christian.
The Catechisms were originally intended for pastors, they became known by everyone studying the faith. (Erikson, 182) Women in particular were especially intrigued by this reformation. Luther's message was that all vocations have equal merit and God gave dignity to those who performed ordinary, routine, domestic tasks. Reformers stressed that the home was the domain of the wife and a Christian home was a place of love and warmth. Schools were established where both boys and girls could study the Bible. Luther also emphasized marriage as a cure for clerical concupiscence.
Protestantism therefore proved attractive to many women who had been held as priest's concubines and mistresses. Now they could become legitimate wives. Luther himself eventually married a woman, Katharine von Bora, an ex-nun. He believed that marriage was a woman's career; they were to care for the children, the kitchen and the church. He also had the highest respect, next to God, of his wife who was patient, an efficient manager, and a good mother.
(Boehmer, 284) Martin Luther had the ideal Protestant family. He lived by his morals and was in a very happy marriage. He can personally be accredited to one of the most substantial reformations known to date. Single handedly he changed history and the way of life for millions of people all over the world. Without his desire to change the Roman church, life as it is would have been significantly different.
The Roman church could have gained tremendous power and control altering society. Works CitedBoehmer, Heinrich. Martin Luther: Road to Reformation. Meridian Books New York, 1960.Brown, Robert McAfee. The Ecumenical Revolution.
Doubleday &Company, Inc, 1967.Erikson, Erik H. Young Man Luther. W.W. Norton & Company Inc, 1962.Huizinga, Johan. Erasmus and the Age of Reformation.
Harper Torchbooks, 1957.Underwood, Kenneth. Protestant & Catholic. The Beacon Press, 1961.
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