The Protestant Reformation Essay

1239 words - 5 pages

The Protestant Reformation was a major 16th century European movement aimed initially at reforming the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. The Reformation in western and central Europe officially began in 1517 with Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. This was a debate over the Christian religion. At the time there was a difference in power. Roman Catholicism stands with the Pope as central and appointed by God. Luther’s arguments referred to a direct relationship with God and using the local vernacular to speak to the people. Luther’s arguments remove the absolute power from the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church in general. The revenue from the taxes paid to the Church would be reduced with Luther’s ideas, in part because of the removal of buying souls out of purgatory. If purgatory exists, then the Pope should empty it out of goodness and love, and not for the reason of money. There is also the removal of the power of buying one’s pardon and with it salvation from the Church. The focus shifts from buying pardons to spending that time and money for works of mercy and love. Overall this presents an argument that removes the idea of the Pope making any mistakes and as a political entity, the Church loses monetary funds and power in general.
The Church, while losing power over the masses of people, also lost political power. Previously taxes were collected from the people and paid to the kings, who in turn paid the Pope. In return they received monetary assistance when needed, as well as the international prestige of the Church. Now there were options. Kings could still collect taxes from their subjects, but it was not required that the Church be paid as well. The money could be used at the discretion of the king. This was related with countries becoming wealthy enough to defend themselves against the Pope’s army, insuring their independence. Countries become independent entities in and of themselves, not relying on the Pope’s protection but having the ability to raise their own armies.      
Martin Luther’s protestant view of Christianity started what was called the Protestant Reformation in Germany. He was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Germany, in the province of Saxony. He intended to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but firm resistance from the church towards Luther's challenge made way to a permanent division in the structure of Western Christianity. Luther started out studying law, but then went on to enter the religious life. He did this because he felt that he would never earn his eternal salvation otherwise. He didn't feel that all of the prayer, studying and sacraments were enough and felt that he would never be able to satisfy such a judgmental God. After entering the religious life he later became a monk and entered the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt in July of 1505. While there, Luther became a well-known theologian and Biblical scholar. Luther took his religious vocation very...

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