Protestant Reformation Essay

1481 words - 6 pages

The Protestant Reformation during the sixteenth century established a schism between Christian beliefs that lead to the emergence of divergent interpretations of the Bible. Through this transformation the Papacy was prosecuted for its unrelenting and restricted renditions of the gospel that was seen to oppress the populace and corrupt the true meaning of God’s Word. Though there were individuals such as Desiderius Erasmus who greatly criticized the Catholic Church yet remained loyal there were others who broke away entirely. With the increasing dissatisfaction across Europe factions began to be founded providing elucidation on the “truthful” interpretations of the Bible. Two various ...view middle of the document...

..to terrify anyone”2 forcing amendment. Erasmus was also disturbed by the isolation the theologians practiced by hiding behind their doctrines and “hedged in by rows of magistral definitions, conclusions, corollaries, explicit and implicit propositions.”3 So much so that they remained untouchable to the people creating a divide between the church and the populace. Furthermore, Erasmus was in disagreement with the continual practice of the “very foolish”4 belief that one could rectify the ill conceived notions and practices in their lives through worshipping particular paintings or statues such as the statue of Barbara in hopes of a safe return from battle. These practices were Erasmus believed,“a great comfort in soothing self delusions about fictitious pardons for their sins”5 and enabled people to believe all acts that were practiced against the will of God could be paid off “like a mortgage, and paid in such a way that he could start off once more on a whole new round of sinful pleasures”6 creating an unending cyclical realm of corruption and injustice. Through these unfavourable views of the Catholic Church Erasmus remained faithful during the Reformation. However, his beliefs that circulated provided the grounding for the emerging views of Martin Luther and John Calvin who were amongst the central figures developing various ideals of the Protestant Reformation.

The base ideologies shared amongst Protestantism is the belief that the bible is the source of authority for all Christians. It is “demanded that the gospel be taught to them as a guide in life”7 and that the people “should be judged according to the old written law”8 and not according to the restricted interpretations maintained by ecclesiastical members. Another shared belief is that faith in Jesus is what offers individuals salvation, not Works, material goods, or social standing. One need only have the Word of God to be faithful and posses a righteous soul. Beyond that the two factions of Protestantism, Lutheranism and Calvinism, have diverging interpretations of the bible and address varying issues with the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther emerged with the ideologies set forth by Erasmus and further developed and propagated the ideas establishing Lutheranism. Luther was against the Catholic Church and the Romanists who he claimed specifically built three walls around themselves. Of the first wall Luther criticized their claim that nothing within the earthly realm had sway over them. Through this belief their spiritual place on earth, assigned by God, was of greater importance and held absolute power over the temporal. He also disagreed with the Catholic belief that only the pope could interpret the scriptures and that for one to commune with God one must do so through ecclesiastical members of the church. Furthermore, Luther believed that the Romanists evading an assembled panel through claiming that only the pope could call together council was unjust. Through these three...

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