Lutheranism Essay Example
Lutheranism Essay Example

Lutheranism Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1147 words)
  • Published: November 15, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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I believe that Lutheranism was very revolutionary as it challenged the beliefs and practises of the Catholic religion.

Its religious foundation was based entirely on the Bible and it changed many aspects of society within Germany which appealed too many of the different groups. However, Luther was not revolutionary himself and did not intend to be. His beliefs and practises were closely linked to his personal relationship with God. Due to the responses of Lutheranism this helped it to become revolutionary influential all over Germany and soon Europe.

In order to understand Martin Luther's challenge to the beliefs and rituals of Catholic Europe, one must recognise that Luther himself did not set out to lead a breakaway movement from the Catholic Church. Indeed, he was conservative character who had chosen to join the Augustinian rel


igious order were he became a monk and devoted his life to God through prayer and contemplation.Luther was trying to return the Catholic Church back to its original purity and it could be argued that it was the Catholic Church that had been revolutionary as it moved drastically away from the teachings of Christ.The 95 Theses were clearly not the work of a revolutionary but written for a small group of academics which could have been possibly written to discuss work at Wittenburg University. Luther's purpose was not to rouse the people into revolt, but to make people aware that men such as the Pope and the Archbishop of Mainz were endangering souls.

However, in 1517, printed editions of Luther's theses had reached Leipzig and Nuremburg and shortly thereafter Luther became famous throughout Germany. Due to the angry reaction of the Archbishop

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and Tetzel and the fact not many had came forward with criticisms of the Church Luther's beliefs appeared revolutionary to those in Germany and around.When Luther returned to Wittenburg in 1522 after his period of captivity in Wartburg Castle he faced a local populace influenced by Andreas Carlstadt. In Luther's absence, Carlstadt had assumed the lead role in church government and Luther was greatly concerned that Carlstadt was proposing more radical and quicker change. For example, Carlstadt and his followers had welcomed the extremist group the Zwickau Prophets into the town, and it became clear that the word of God was being used as a vehicle for radical change and that order was in danger of being lost.

It was not Luther himself here who was imposing radical change but a supporter of Luther's ideas and beliefs.Few princes leapt to Luther's defence during the early years of the Reformation, primarily because they did not initially want to identify themselves with such a radical movement. It was dangerous for those in power under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire to become Lutheran because of the threat of Charles V. Whilst Luther specifically appealed to the German nobility in 1520 for support in reforming the Church they remained remote, preferring to see how Lutheranism would develop. To the Princes and their situation Lutheranism was radical because of the danger it put the nobility in.

Not only would the influence of Lutheranism create tension between German territories and the Holy Roman Empire but could also generate civil conflict between Catholics and Lutherans within German states.From 1524 however, some of the most powerful princes in Germany became sympathetic

to Lutheran ideas and this encouraged other princely territories to change too. Both Albrecht of Hohenzollern and Philipp of Hesse were among those to impose Lutheran ideas within their states. Lutheranism did benefit princes greatly as it took away papal taxes and made the territory ruler head of its own church.

Financially and politically the reformation was ideal for a prince who wanted more riches and power but nevertheless, the princes did make Lutheranism appear revolutionary by influencing it with their needs and insatiability.Luther himself was wary of armed support, as he maintained a strictly pacifist approach to his reform. Luther's position was illustrated in 1521 when he refused the support of the Imperial Knights, an independent group of minor nobleman who influence on society was diminishing. The knight's political and economic influence had started to decline as German territory princes had started to grow and become more powerful. Due to their falling reputation they used Luther's ideas and beliefs to attack the church in which their real motives was to be reinstated in society.

The knight's support of Luther has been seen as the result of a mixture of their own ignorance and selfishness. They heard Luther attack the Pope and priests, and in their own minds thought they had achieved authorization to pillage the church properly. Therefore, there was no more than a militant outburst of anti-papal and anti-clerical feelings.The towns and cities of Germany were seen as areas of spectacular success for Lutheranism shown by the fact that, by 1550, a total of 50 out of 65 imperial free cities were adhering the new faith. The decision to adopt Lutheranism generally came

from the town council, yet often there was much pressure local populace to do so.

Although Luther became aware of the adoption of a new church structure within the towns and cities, because of the radicalism of Carlstadt in 1522 and the Peasants' Revolt of 1525 urban areas of Germany became very revolutionary. Luther knew that the new religion could not be left entirely in the hands of the people so city magistrates and princes were urged to guide the reform. Men such as Melanchthon and Bugenhagen were encouraged to establish a church structure that incorporated a trained ministry.Lutheranism appealed greatly to the peasants as they were very open to change and improvement within society. One of Luther's views especially attracted them as it questioned secular authority and to what extent society should be bound to obey it.

Although this seemed optimistic for a group whose lives was becoming harder and exploited, it caused unrest between peasants and the authorities.From 1524, there were many radical risings from peasants all over Germany and Europe which revolted grievances from an exploited generation. These upbringings including the Twelve Articles of Memmingen which were seen as very radical because of the nature of the negotiations. For example, communities must have the right to appoint and dismiss their clergy. Many of these consultations were based upon Luther's ideas however; many had been exaggerated or adapted to suit the needs of the peasants both politically and socially.It is clear that Lutheranism within German society between 1517 and 1530 was very revolutionary compared to the religious beliefs and practises of the Catholic Church.

It changed many of the social, political and economical

positions and practises within the different classes of society. Although it is clear that Luther did not intend for his beliefs to become radical these helped to change the religious practises of Germany and Europe for ever.

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