Essay on Martin Luther and the Reformation

Published: 2021-08-16
1926 words
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University of Richmond
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A conversation about religious reforms and fights for civil rights cannot go without mentioning the likes of Martin Luther. Ideally, Martin Luther was one of the reformist leader and he grew to become one of the Worlds most historic and significant figures. Best remembered by the words that the righteousness of God is premised on the gift of faith which comes from God. The sixteenth century had divergent views on the propositions advanced by Martin Luther. A good number especially in ministry were against his ideals while on the other divide, he enjoyed a good following especially from the peasants were stood astute behind his beliefs. At one point in time, there was a man who after reading Martins theology text titled 95 theses postulated that he alone was right. Today, the world celebrate the reformation which could not have taken place were it not for the courage of reformists such as Martin Luther who stood and condemned evil practices in the Church. He was a good example of what a leader stands for that even when everyone and everything seems no to be in support of your ideas, as long as you are convinced that what is right and just is actually the correct thing to do, one should not hesitate but take appropriate actions and condemn wrongdoings. Essentially, this essay seeks to survey the reformations advanced by reformists such as Martin Luther, the consequences of the reforms as well as the outcomes and implications of the reformation process.

During the early year of his life, Luthers identity was relatively anonymous as he was a scholar and kind of a monk. In 1517, Luther jotted down a document which sought to attack the Catholic Churchs corrupt behavior involving the indulgences to absolve sin. The end of the reformation is said to be around 1555 when the Peace of Augsburg who ideally permitted Catholicism and Lutheranism in Germany to coexist together. The Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 marked the end of the life long war. The documentation dubbed 95 Theses is encompassed on majorly two believes which include the Bible as well as the central religious authority together with the deeds premised on faith and beliefs. After the documentation by Luther, the Catholic Church was thereafter split and the Protestantism which emerged soon later helped a great deal in shaping the ideologies of Luther. The main premise of Reformation involved a call to purify the Church as well as the Bible unlike traditions ought to be guiding benchmark of spiritual and moral authority. Luther as well as other reformers skillfully and through use of discretional powers of the printing press educated the public on his notion on the matter.

The Protestant reformation which so much evidenced in the 16th century culminated the different ideologies and divides in the religious, political, cultural and intellectual upheavals which spark throughout Catholic Europe. The resultant effects was the setting up of structures and beliefs which later on became the key defining factors of the direction that religion would take in the modern era. Principal reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry VIII in Northern and central Europe pose a challenge to the papal authority and raised eye brows on the manner in which the Catholic Church was defining Christian practices. According to them, religious and political redistribution of power into the hand of Bible and pamphlet-reading religious leaders as well as princes. The motion caused widespread wars and strife, persecutions as well as counter-reformation. The Catholic Church on the other hand responded by delaying the reply.

History has it that there was no reformer more adept than Martin Luther who cleverly used the media and printing press to advance his ideals. As a matter of fact, between the period 1518 and 1525, Luther published infinite publications actually more than that of seventeen prolific reformers combined.

As an Augustinian monk, Martin Luther worked as a University lecturer in Wittenberg. It was during his stay at the place that he composed his famous and iconic 95 Theses which was more of a revolt against the pope following the disposition of reprieves from penance better known as indulgence. His main aim of doing so was to inspire people to be renewed from within the church. Unfortunately, he was asked to appear before the Diet of Worms and was excommunicated. Luther helped translate the Bible into German and additionally included other translations of the bible into vernacular dialects.

Martin was born at Eisleben and was raised in Mansfeld by Margaret and Hans where his father worked as a local copper miner. At 13 years of age, Martin went to Latin school and later proceeded to University of Erfurt to study law where he graduated with a baccalaureate and masters degree. At the time, he emerged severally as an adept debater in public forums and his peers nicknamed him The Philosopher. It was in 1505 that his life took a dramatic turn. It started with fighting his way through severe thunderstorm on the road to Erfurt where a bolt lightning struck the ground where he was. Flashback to the year 1453 which was the period when Eastern Roman Empire was put to an end. Following the end of the empire, Gutenberg published the first ever printed Bible in 1456 before the inquisition of the Spanish rule in 1479. The year 1483 marked the birth of a Martin Luther, the hero who would be later be the father of reformation. The liturgy book of prayer was released in 1549. Luther gave away his possessions and devoted his life in becoming a monk. As a monk, Luther was successful in his missions despite facing myriad challenges such as sleepless nights, staying out in the cold, flagellating himself, risk of death etcetera.

Luther had a good following especially the German peasants who were deeply motivated by 1524 revolt as a move to empower the priesthood of all believers. Luther was a firm supporter of Germanys princes. When reformation was coming to an end, Lutheranism had been incorporated into the state religion in many regions in Germany, Scandinavia and Baltics. Following the attack, the Catholic Church took plenty of time to respond to the claims and innovations advanced by reformists such as Luther. The council of Trent which was conveyed in 1545 and 1563, saw the articulation of the churchs response which was the opening of the reformation and to the reformers particularly.

The new Catholic Church which sprout after the counter-reformation era firmly embraced spirituality, literacy as well as education. To this effect, new religious rules, particularly the Jesuits, merged rigorous spirituality together with globally minded intellectualism. Mystics including the Teresa of Avila brought in a new concept and injected new passion into the former conventional orders. Inquisitions in Spain and Rome were consequently reorganized to counter the threat of Protestant heresy. At the time of reformation, the only Bible version existing at the time was the Latin Vulgate. Not many people were conversant with the Bible at the time. Also, not very many people owned the Bible.

In his early life as a monk, Martin Luther faced myriad challenges and encumbrances. He still did not have informed enlightenment he desired. Through the advice of a mentor, he was motivated to dedicate his life to Christ and at the age of 27, he was granted a rare opportunity of delegating the Catholic Church conference in Rome. The exposure made him more disillusioned and utterly disappointed by the hypocrisy of the Catholic priest essentially because of the immorality and widespread corruption they practiced. Seeing the rot that existed in the Church, he returned to Germany and joined Wittenberg University so as to advance his spiritual objectives.

Apart from the myriad consequences brought about by reformation and counter-reformation, deep cutting changes especially in the political and religious realms were evidenced. The new religious and political liberties in Northern Europe cost the nation a great deal especially with rebellions, wars and bloody persecutions spanning to about thirty years. Ideally, this goes without saying that about forty percent of the German population bore the bluntant effects of the reformation. Luther as was an avid reader and scholar and he loved reading the famous Reformation text which he drew reference from Romans 1: 17 which according to him, drew him to righteousness. The question asked in the verse was, who would manage to live by faith if not those who were already righteous?

From this text, he obtained the inspiration that the righteous shall live by faith. With a doctorate in Bible Studies from Wittenburg University, Luther gained the understanding of the righteousness of God which is conveyed to righteous through the gift of God which is faith. From this understanding, Luther no longer saw the Church as an institution premised on apostolic succession. Instead, he perceived the Church as being a community governed by faith. Another surprising fact that Luther perceived was that salvation was not justified by sacraments but by faith. Human goodness was not enough to warrantee human beings to receive consideration before God. Also, humility was indispensable to acquire the gift of grace. Faith on the other hand was not defined by listening and obeying church teachings but by trusting Gods promises and the benefits of being in Christ. Having such convictions pushed Luther to spreading the gospel of his beliefs across Europe.

On the eve of 1517 at All Saints, Luther made the first ever public rebuke against preacher Johann Tetzel especially on the means by which he was selling indulgences. These indulgences were documents which the Church availed to brethrens for themselves or on behalf of the dead which sought to relieve them punishment following the evils they committed. Luthers biggest concern was in the manner in which the church was peddling indulgences. He proceeded onto to calling for a public gathering on 95 theses which he had prepared. Surprisingly, the 95 Theses crossed borders and spread across Germany with a clear message of the need to embrace reforms. Martin made new rounds by pinning the 95 Theses on the University of Wittenbergs chapel door. All over sudden, the issue became transformed and became not an indulgence issue but an authority on the part of the Church. The question then arose on whether the pope had right to issue indulgences. The quick unfolding of events reached their peak in 1519 where Luther in a public debate announced that an ordinary person with high knowledge of scriptures was way above superior than the pope and councils. What followed next was the myriad threats of excommunicating him.

In response to the threats, Luther outlined three key treatises which included the Christian nobility, the Babylonian captivity of the Church as well the liberties of a Christian. In the first treaty, he postulated that it was not only the ordained and commissioned people qualified to be priests but all Christians. He gave leaders a wakeup call and advised them to embrace church reforms. In the second treaty, he advised that the seven sacraments should only be two. The two sacraments were to be for baptism as well as the Lords Supper. In the third treaty, he forwarded the argument that Christians were free from law especially those placed by the church. However, he urged them to retain the love for neighbors. Remember Apostle Paul in the Bible who postulated that the mans evil intention is influenced by the Devil as well as sin. Christ is the source of all goodness and with him, there is no sin. Luther premised freedom on the notion that people should be more focused on Christ and shun political radicalization as well as armed rebellion.

Following these arguments, Martin Lut...

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