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Religion State Relationships: Luther's Reformation. In Answer To The Question: To What Extent Was Luther's Religious Reformation, In Reality, A Political Reformation?

1743 words - 7 pages

The Roman Catholic Church was the dominating power in the 16th century as this time saw many people focusing on religion and the power of God. However, this dominant power was not always a positive thing; in fact, Martin Luther saw many faults within the power of the Catholic Church. These faults were not within the core beliefs of the church, the faults were in the way the church was structured. Luther's reformation had biblical foundations, it was mostly a political reformation because it aimed to change the structure of the church so that power was properly distributed and that the fundamental Christian beliefs were not forgotten.Martin Luther was a professor of biblical studies at the University of Wittenburg in Germany (Dowley, 1977). His education and great knowledge of the bible was one of the main reasons why Luther was a reformist. He was able to study the scriptures and explore the Christian faith, which lead him to start fighting the inconsistencies of the church and the blind faith expected of its followers (Rempel, 2001). In the 16th century, almost all questions and answers were a matter for the church because many believed it was a path through which God revealed everything. The church was the dominating power not only morally, but scientifically and politically as well (The Political Impact of Luther and Calvin, 2005). Luther, as a reformist, was opposed to this dominating power of the church and in his knowledge and education was able to point out the flaws and the subsequent threats to the people (Rempel, 2001). In a case where the church becomes the state as well, it is hard to define what is meant by religious reformation and political reformation. However, since Luther was mostly concerned with power, a political reformation in this case is that of reforming power and its effects on society.Luther's reformation challenged the authority of the church rather than its fundamental Christian beliefs. The church began to abuse its power so that the Pope, priests and others within the church hierarchy could profit. As Christianity was the most dominant religion, people from all over Europe were embracing the Christian faith. Priests, Bishops and the Pope therefore became a necessity in this religious Christian world which further secured Christianity and the safety of those in the church's hierarchy. It seemed that as long as this security was maintained, Christianity would never have to face persecution again. However, the church took this power too far as it became about monetary profits and dominating political power rather than simple security. Luther's reformation challenged this abuse of power as the church began to contradict its Christian beliefs through its political control. Some examples of some practices rejected by reformists are the sale of indulgences, the use of the Virgin Mary and Saints, all sacraments that had not been instituted by Christ, confession of sin to a priest and the sale of holy water and images (pg...

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