Martin Luther and The Protestant Reformation

Before becoming the most influential person towards Western history, Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany as a monk. After attending school learning how to read, write and speak Latin, he eventually was getting interested in a contemplative life. Religion was a big deal for him, so as in 1517, Luther put up a document attacking the Catholic Churches for selling indulgences that were a sign of a sin. Writing these theses, set a change towards Christianity and it still affects us now.

Many things lead up to the 95 Theses which is also called the Protestant Reformation that was created by Martin Luther for the benefit of his country. In the history.com article Martin Luther and the 95 Theses (2009) it states “[m]eanwhile, the Catholic Church’s practice of granting “indulgences” to provide absolution to sinners became increasingly corrupt. Indulgence-selling had been banned in Germany, but the practice continued unabated. In 1517, a friar named Johann Tetzel began to sell indulgences in Germany to raise funds to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome”(history.com). This shows Martin Luther thought it was wrong to sell indulgences and that caused Martin to challenge the Church. This was one of the few reasons that Luther thought that he should stand up for what was harmful to his people. In the same history.com article it states, “[c]ommitted to the idea that salvation could be reached through faith and by divine grace only, Luther vigorously objected to the corrupt practice of selling indulgences. Acting on this belief, he wrote the “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” also known as “The 95 Theses,” a list of questions and propositions for debate”(history.com). Luther’s 95 theses believed that faith was necessary to achieve stability. All he was trying to provide is his opinion to others because he thought that it was necessary and that led him to write his thesis. In conclusion, people weren’t happy with the changes he wanted to do which led to more events but it eventually turned out beneficial in the long run.

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During this act that Martin Luther started, more events were tied with this 95 Thesis that set it to become more important for everyone. In the same history.com article it states, “[i]n addition to his criticisms of indulgences, Luther also reflected popular sentiment about the “St. Peter’s scandal” in the 95 Theses: Why does not the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers? ”(history.com).This explains that the pope lost his power by being disrespectful and taking money from people who were already poor when he could’ve provided it all. This targets one of the negative turning points to the Protestant Reformation. In addition, from the same article, it states, ”[s]one of Luther’s most significant contributions to theological history, however, such as his insistence that as the sole source of religious authority the Bible be translated and made available to everyone, were truly revolutionary in his day”(history.com). This is important because the more the word goes out, the bigger impact that this act could make to Germany. Having the option to access Martin Luther’s book in different forms and languages, made it easier for the public to read it and make it expanded more. In conclusion, the critical events towards the 95 Theses were beneficial but for the pope, careless.

Many issues were resolved that made there be a long-lasting change to Germany. The aftermath of the 95 theses was it becoming the Protestant Reformation. In the tifwe.org article How the Protestant Reformation Renewed the Church, Our Work, and Society (2017) by Hugh Whelchel it states,” We are called to reshape and reform our world to be the place God originally intended it to be—restoring order, loving and serving each other with integrity and honesty, meeting each other’s needs, and creating something of value from the raw materials he has supplied—all through the work of our hands” (tifwe.org). This is important because if you want a functioning country then you have to provide good and that’s what Martin did. He was obedient to God so he did movements that were Christian based. In the britannica.com The Reformation (2018) it states, ”Encouraged by expressions of support and goaded by opponents, Luther became more outspoken, harsher in his criticism of the church, and more focused in his attacks on the papacy. By 1520 he was well on his way to becoming the spokesman for Germany’s grievances against Rome”(britannica.com). Luther did his theses as formal as possible. In other words, he respected other people’s decisions and he wasn’t a cruel person.In conclusion, the aftermath of the 95 theses was it becoming the Protestant Reformation. Martin being one of the most influential people in Western history, he broke out the Catholic Church and instead he brought out the Protestant Reformation.

Religion was one factor that the 95 theses was based on. In the Notre Dame News article, The Lasting Impact of Martin Luther and the Reformation written by Brandi Klingerman it states,” [t]he Reformation gave rise to constructive forms of several different Christian traditions, such as Lutheranism and Calvinism,” said Gregory. “[b]ut this also meant that people of differing faiths had to work out how they could coexist when religion had always been the key influence on politics, family, and education. Although in the 17th and 18th centuries some political leaders continued to use the idea of religious uniformity to manage their territories, beginning with the 17th-century Dutch they realized that religious toleration was good for business.”(news.nd.edu). Religion at this time was very useful and important to continue ruling a country. Different types of religions helped formed communities such as Martin’s and it locked a big factor in history. In addition from the cnn.com article Three surprising ways the Protestant Reformation Shaped our World (2017) written by Alec Ryrie it states, ”[l]uther outflanked the power of the Catholic Church hierarchy with a new communications technology, the printing press, that allowed him to speak directly to the people. When he was finally dragged before the assembled majesty of church and empire in 1521 and ordered to renounce his errors, he refused, insisting that his conscience was captive to the Word of God, a higher authority than any pope, bishop or king”(cnn.com). Technology was even brought to churches so Martin can address his opinions to the people and get them to join him. As God being very superior to Martin Luther, he had a strong passion for Christianity instead of Catholic and he wanted Germany to see the good in God. In conclusion, Martin Luther wasn’t trying to destroy the Catholic Church or start his own types of religion.

Another factor that really set an impact on the Reformation is how the government was changed. In the classroom. synonym.com article Political Changes During the Protestant Reformation (2018) by Aatif Rashid it states, ”[t]he most prominent political consequence of the Protestant Reformation was the Thirty Years’ War between Catholics and Protestants, from 1618 to 1648. Involving nearly all major European countries, the war was the worst Europe had seen, with over 8 million dead. The war saw the decline of Catholic influence and Habsburg supremacy, as well as the establishment of the concept of nation-states through the Peace of Westphalia, a treaty that introduced the concept of a balance of power between the nations of Europe in the hopes of preventing future conflicts”(classroom.synonym.com).The Reformation did bring the idea of balance of power and it’s still helpful til this day. These ideas such as forming a government, balancing power and religion do come together and become one to make a change in history. In addition from the same article, Political Changes During the Protestant Reformation (2018) by Aatif Rashid it states, ”Soon after Luther’s call for reformation, many German princes converted to Protestantism, and in 1531 formed the Schmalkaldic League in opposition to the Catholic-Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. After a long war, the two sides signed the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, which allowed each principality within Germany to determine on its own whether it would be Catholic or Protestant, greatly reducing the authority of the emperor”(classroom.synonym.com). After these wars happen, people were free to choose which suite them better, Catholic or Protestant. It’s important because it set out freedom of religion and that leads to more changes. In conclusion, government was changed after the Protestant Reformation.

Lastly international relations is one big feature that the 95 theses was addressed to. In the blogs.loc.gov article The Peace of Westphalia (2017) by Jenny Gesley it states, “During the Reformation, a number of princes converted to Protestantism. Although there had been religious conflicts in the sixteenth century, the Thirty Years’ War was an extended, brutal conflict. The war began in 1618 when the Catholic Emperor, Ferdinand II, tried to enforce religious uniformity on the Empire. Swedish and French intervention soon turned it into a European conflict concerning the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire, religion, and the power to rule in Europe”(blogs.loc.gov).The Peace of Westphalia happened after the Thirty Year Wars’, it benefit after both events was over. The Thirty Year Wars’ and the Peace or Westphalia wouldn’t have happened if the Protestant Reformation that Martin Luther caused didn’t happen. In the book World Order (2014) by Henry Kissinger it states, ”Imperial forces moved to crush the Bohemian Rebellion and then pressed their advantage against Protestantantism generally, triggering a war that devastated Central Europe“(World Order).Since new religions were made, it caused wars to occur. Religion slowly becomes less important and national interest began to be more important. In conclusion, the Thirty Years War was one of the events that involve international relations between Protestant and Catholic countries, which could not have happened without the reformation of the Church.

Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses as a protest against selling indulgences. After the theses, he did elaborate on more events that occurred at the time but the Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences which is known as “95 Theses” set a bigger impact not just to him but all of Christianity.

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Martin Luther and The Protestant Reformation. (2022, Feb 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/martin-luther-and-the-protestant-reformation/