Luther And John Calvin Research Paper

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In early 16th century northern Europe, Martin Luther and John Calvin were both men intent upon creating principled theologies that still retained the ideals of Christian faith. A German professor and priest, Luther was dissatisfied with the corruption of the Catholic Church exemplified by immorality, ignorance, avarice, absenteeism, and simony. Although his attempt at reform resulted in his excommunication, his ideas had already spread throughout Europe with the assistance of the printing press, resulting in public protest and stimulating the Protestant Reformation. Later, Calvin, a French theologian, established an alternative to Luther’s Protestantism and converted all of Geneva to his own beliefs, which concentrated on God’s supremacy (McKay).…show more content…
Luther was enraged that the church encouraged the lack of repentance by solicitation of indulgences, arguing, “…papal pardons [could not] take away even the most venial sins”(Ninety-five Theses). Luther preached the dual nature of humanity as separate body and soul; therefore, the actions of the body, such as penance, could not reconcile the sins of the soul. This “…[could] be done by an impious person” who assumes he can achieve redemption without fully repenting (Christian Liberty). Only the strength of faith and efficient use of the Word of God could permit redemption. Luther’s ideology of salvation differed from Calvin’s, in that in Calvin’s theology, God predetermined the salvation of persons and determined that humanity had no free will. In an attempt to reform Geneva, Calvin wrote “The Institutes of Christian Religion” which described the omnipotence of God, the inferiority of humanity, and the authentication of predestination. He resolved “…the salvation or damnation of every person [was] foreordained by God”(Hillerbrand). The evidence of the “elect” was demonstrated through hard work and proper moral behavior. Without individual control of salvation, people either acted immorally or they acted exceptionally proper to prove that they were one of God’s chosen. Luther and Calvin both acknowledged the sovereignty of God; however, their beliefs had dissimilarities such as the specific process of salvation and the role of political

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