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Luther and Calvin

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Michael Geelan

on 21 October 2011

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Transcript of Luther and Calvin

Prior to Martin Luther:
Preliminary conditions of the Reformation were:
Luther observed priests & bishops acting immorally & abusing their power
At the time, the Archbishop of Mainz was also the Archbishop of Madgeburg and the Bishop of Halberstadt
He was 23 years old...
He was a loyal Catholic at first – challenging the practices of the day to get reform
He was pushed by the populous in Germany to seek reform
Rome and the Church as a whole ignored him – more concerned with Italian politics and other matters
He used new tools to get his message out and influence the populous:
Catechism
Luther becomes very popular
Finally draws the attention of...
The two debated furiously
In 1520, Luther was threatened by papal bull (Exsurge Domine) with these words:
“Arise, O Lord, a wild boar is loose in the vineyard”
Luther's reaction to the papal bull?
Luther burned papal document plus entire canon law
“Since they have burned my books,” he said, “I burn theirs.”
According to the story, Luther refused with this quote:
“Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen!”
Predictably, Luther was found guilty of heresy
But many remain loyal to Luther despite ecclesiastical threats
Luther was easily able to avoid Heretical Punishment (which could have included death) because of his massive popularity with the German population
New congregations sprung up based on the reform movement
Ex-priests and monks headed these new congregations
Divisions in nations begin in the expression of Christianity
Although Henry VIII had severed the link between the Church of England and Rome, he never permitted the renunciation of Catholic doctrine or ceremony.
It was during Edward's reign that Protestantism was established for the first time in England with reforms that included the abolition of clerical celibacy and the Mass and the imposition of compulsory services in English.
The architect of these reforms was Thomas Cranmer (the Archbishop of Canterbury), whose Book of Common Prayer is still used within Anglican Churches throughout the world.
However, the person most responsible for organizing Protestantism into a systematic expression of theology was:
Born on July 10, 1509 in Noyon, France
Studied theology in Paris with the intent of becoming a priest
Converted to Protestantism in 1534
Wrote several works which gave him notoriety
Formulated a well-ordered Church including a system of discipline
Moved to Geneva where enemies of him managed to get him to move away.
1538 – 1541 Calvin moved to Strassburg
Developed a plain and simple rite in contrast to the Catholics
1541 – moved back to Geneva on an invite to reform the Church
Only came when his enemies were removed and he was given total authority in Geneva
Tormented by sensitivity to sinful human nature
Extreme asceticism: prayer, fasts, sleep deprivation, cold, whipping himself
Constantly in confession
Luther: “If ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery, I was that monk!”
Luther's Abbot sent Luther on pilgrimage to Rome
Luther visited holiest places; crawled up Pilate’s staircase
“I went with onions & returned with garlic”

These 95 Theses were translated, printed, & distributed throughout Germany within 2 weeks
Eucharist under both species
As time progressed, the division between the two sides became more entrenched.
“Scripture Alone” ("Sola Scriptura") was his battle cry
Also:
"Sola Fides"
("by faith alone")
"Sola Gratia"
("by grace alone")
Luther increasingly made use of the printing press to address the whole German populous about his displeasure
Began to insist upon only two sacraments –
Baptism and Eucharist
The "boar" is Luther. The "vineyard" is the Church.
In 1521 his was called before the Diet of Worms in front of the new Holy Roman Emperor – Charles V
His theology emphasized the power of God over sinful and corrupt humanity
Calvin’s God demanded obedience
The distance between God and humans was bridged only by Christ
It was a very stern system
God’s laws must be rigorously obeyed
Social and moral righteousness must be earnestly pursued
Political life must be carefully regulated
Human emotions must be strictly controlled
Explained salvation in terms of predestination
According to this doctrine, God grants grace for his own inscrutable reasons and knows in advance who will be saved and who will be condemned to hell
Since people are predestined to salvation or damnation, they can never know their fate with certainty
Nevertheless, Calvinism offered the "saint"(i.e., the truly predestined man or woman) a sense of self-assurance and righteousness that transformed them
Geneva became the center for international Protestantism
In 1559 Calvin opened the Geneva Academy. This academy offered a complete education in Protestant ministry. People came from all over to learn the tenants of "Calvinism."
Calvin trained a new generation of Protestant reformers of many nationalities, who then carried his message back to their homelands
Calvin’s "Institutes of the Christian Religion" became the leading textbook of the new theology
Calvinism spread all throughout Europe except Germany and Scandinavia
Died in 1564
Saw himself as the successor to Luther
Like Luther, Calvin affirmed that Scripture alone was the sole source of saving truth
Like Luther, affirmed that salvation comes trough faith and grace alone
Like Luther, advocated the priesthood of all believers
But Calvin stands above Luther in terms of systematizing Protestantism. That is, he provided a standard for the practice of Protestantism that would be emulated by countless other reformers.
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