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In What Way Would It Be Fair To Describe Martin Luther As A Revolutionary'?

1605 words - 6 pages

To answer this question we must address the meaning of the word revolutionary.A revolutionary is defined in the dictionary as an; extremist; insurgent; radical and drastic. It could be argued that Martin Luther was a revolutionary in his thoughts and beliefs, but not in his actions. It is for this reason that it may be easier to leave Luther with the title of reformer. The dictionary definition for reform is to improve; abandon evil practices and improvement. As a reformer, Martin Luther caused a schism that changed the world of the Catholic Church forever.This essay will discuss whether Luther was solely responsible for the German Reformation or if it was a culmination of many factors. These factors may include whether Luther himself being in the right place at the right time. In addition, the Renaissance that was taking place, leaving the world and Europe ready for a change.In 1500, the only religion that existed in Western Europe was Catholicism. For manyReligion was the most important thing, this being the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the church and clergy were seen as being very corrupt, Rome was making vast amounts of money from the sale of indulgences. Indulgences were sold to the people, absolving their sins and releasing them from time spent in purgatory, all this with a word from the pope. These indulgences were not cheap and not available to many except the rich who could afford them. This did not please the ordinary man, believing it was unfair that they would have to spend more time in purgatory just for being materially less well off. This is where people began to be disillusioned with the church. The corruption within the church led the laity to examine ideas of those who challenged the church, more seriously and with more sympathy and interest than they would have done previously.On 31st October 1517, All Saints Eve, Martin Luther (a monk and lecturer at the University of Wittenburg in Northern Germany) took the fateful step of nailing his Ninety-Five Thesis, to the door of Wittenburg Castle Church. The gospel was at the centre of Luther's ideas and teachings, his disgust at the corruption, abuses and indulgence selling sparked him to write his Ninety-Five Thesis and try to reform the religion he loved and had studied for years. In 1517, Luther sent a letter to Rome asking for a repeal of the sale of indulgences, he also sent his Ninety-Five thesis in support of his request. The corruption in the Catholic Church was widespread and present at all levels of the clergy. Luther's works and preaching heavily disagreed with the corruption and the common people were soon convinced to adopt Luther's reform ideas. For the first time a priest was taking the side of the common man against the church. Luther's ideas were quick to catch on, he told the people they did not need to buy indulgences to get into heaven, but through good works and faith, they were equal to the priests that they had come to despise. This was a revolutionary...

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