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    Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation

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    Martin Luther was born in Eisleben in November fourteen eighty three. He was born into a wealthy family. He was a German monk who began the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures in Christian history. Luther questioned f the basic foundations of Roman Catholicism, and his followers split from the Roman Catholic Church to begin the Protestant Church.

    Martin Luther’s parents, Hans and Margarethe Luther, were peasants. However Hans had some success as a miner, and in fourteen-eighty four the family moved from Eisleben to nearby Mansfeld, where Hans had mines. Hans Luther knew that mining was a tough business and wanted his son to have better than he did: He wanted him to become a lawyer. At age seven, Martin Luther went to school in Mansfield. At fourteen Martin Luther went north to Magdeburg, where he continued going to school. In fourteen-ninety eight, he returned to Eisleben and enrolled in school. He was studying grammar, rhetoric and logic. He later compared this experience to purgatory and hell.

    In fifteen-eighteen, Martin Luther entered the University of Erfurt, where he received a Master of Arts degree in grammar, logic, rhetoric and metaphysics. At this time, it seemed he was on his way to becoming a lawyer.

    On October thirty-first in the year fifteen seventeen Martin Luther nailed his ninety five theses on the church of All Saints’. With this act he declared war upon the roman catholic church. He protested the pope, and the selling of indulgences. The Roman Catholic was furious and sought to silence the Reformers.

    Luther’s main problem with the catholic church was Indulgences, which would lessen the impact of, or pardon, a person from his or her sins. In theory, indulgences were given to persons by the church on the contingency that the recipient carried out some form of good work or other specified acts. In practice, indulgences could be bought. This practice was heavily abused by the church, when they began relying upon their sales of indulgences as a way of gaining money, especially to pay for expensive building projects.

    When Martin Luther went to visit Italy, Pope Leo X posted new indulgences for the funding of the reconstruction of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. This enraged Luther that popes were so open in asking the public to literally pay for their sins in return for a clear conscience. I also disagree with indulgences. No one can be fully rid of their sin. Some religions believe that you have to repent to their God or gods to be forgiven and must turn away from this sin or sins. “The soul is not under Caesar’s power,” he wrote. “He can neither teach nor guide it, neither kill it nor make it alive.”

    This breakaway was monumental for new religious revolutions. With this other forms of religion began to sprout. Eventually, new churches rose from the Reformation, forming four major sects of Protestantism: Luther’s followers started the Lutheran Church, Calvin’s followers started the Reformed Church, John Knox’s followers started the Presbyterian Church in Scotland using Calvinistic doctrine, and, later on, Reformers in England started the Anglican Church.

    Luther’s revolt inspired other religious leaders in cities outside of Germany; Strasbourg, Geneva, Basel, and Lucca. In Zürich Huldrych Zwingli, a Swiss leader of the Reformation, persuaded the city council and a large part of the population to accept a full program for the strict observance of the Gospel. Priestly celibacy was done away with. Baptism and the Eucharist,the Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed. were still celebrated as sacraments, but the belief that during the Mass the bread and wine actually turned into the body and blood of Christ was abandoned. In Zurich Huldrych Zwingli’s view, the Eucharist became a symbolic ceremony in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. Sacred music was prohibited, and paintings in churches were destroyed. An armada of preachers was chosen to go out into the city and foment this rebellious new way of teaching.

    The Church eventually acted to stop the act of rebellion . In October fifteen-eighteen, at a meeting with Cardinal Thomas Cajetan in Augsburg, Martin Luther was ordered to recant his ninety-five theses by the authority of the pope. Luther said he would not recant unless scripture proved him wrong. He went on, stating he did not consider that the papacy had the authority to interpret scripture. The meeting ended in a screaming and his excommunication from the Church.

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