Comparing Martin Luther And Jean Calvin

1924 words - 8 pages

The Reformation provoked changes in religion from the Christian church in the early 18th century. Martin Brecht defines the Reformation as the world-historical event which was “triggered and substantially shaped by the monk and professor Martin Luther. His religious struggle over a gracious God, his existence between God and the Devil, led to a schism within Western Christendom and to the emergence of Protestant churches” (Brecht). Martin Luther and Jean Calvin were the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. How were Martin Luther and Jean Calvin different and how were they similar in their quest to reform the church?
Martin Luther, also known as the “Reformator,” was a superior asset in the Protestant Reformation. He was born on November 10, 1483 in the town of Eisleben, which was located in East Germany. Luther’s parents were Hans Luder and Margaretha nee Lindemann. His father was a farmer and later became a copper miner in Mansfeld. Martin Luther’s parents brought him up in the strict environment of the Roman Catholic Church. With his new job in Mansfeld, Hans made the decision to move his family there in 1484. Hans expected Martin to become a lawyer, so Luther went to Erfurt in 1501 to study law. Luther received his master’s degree in 1505. Shortly after this, he felt like law was not the right place for him. This act upset his father, not only because he dropped out of the university, but he decided that he wanted to become an Augustinian monk in Erfurt. Luther believed that if he was serious about his religion, he could please and do good works for God. However, once again, he was still unhappy. Luther decided to make another life-changing decision by studying theology. He went to Wittenberg to study this subject. Martin was awarded his doctorate in theology and Biblical studies in 1512, and became a professor at the University of Wittenberg.
On October 31, 1517, Luther wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, which contained a protest against the sale of indulgences by Johann Tetzel, the pope’s German agent. Burkholder said, “The sale of indulgences, credits for good deeds done by others, which on could purchase to reduce the punishment for sin. This practice raised money for the Catholic church, but it had no scriptural basis and violated Luther’s principle that salvation was granted through faith alone, not works” (Burkholder, p213). This letter was titled, “The Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” but later renamed, “The 95 Theses.” Luther was upset and annoyed that the pope was taking all of the less fortunate people’s money to build his own church when in fact he had enough money to execute the plans himself. Martin Luther secretly wanted to reform the Church at this time, and many thought that “The 95 Theses” was just a starting point to the Reformation. No one today or back then knows if Luther in fact posted “The Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of...

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