Describe and account for the progress of the Reformation in Germany to c. AD 1535.
The Reformation in Germany, which made a major impact on world history, was started by Martin Luther when, on a quest for his own personal salvation, became disillusioned with the Roman Catholic Church and began to speak out about his beliefs. This essay will describe and account for the progress of the Reformation in Germany to c. AD 1535 by outlining Luther’s life to 1517, the conflict that followed his Ninety-Five Theses, and the disputes of 1518 – 1520. Luther’s trial before the Diet of Worms and the support of the Protestant Princes will also be accounted for. Furthermore, Luther’s Bible, which helped greatly in the spread of the German Reformation, will be described. This essay will help give an understanding of the importance and lasting effect of the Reformation in Germany.
Martin Luther was a German theologian whose writings prompted the beginning of the Reformation in Germany. He was born to Hans and Margarete Luther on November 10th, 1843, in Eisleben, Germany. At the age of 18, in 1501, he enrolled into the University of Erfurt. During a terrible thunderstorm at Erfurt, he prayed to St. Anna and promised that, if he came out of the storm alive, he would become a monk. After surviving the storm however, Luther regretted this promise, but still joined a monastery in 1505, becoming an Augustinian friar. In 1510, he visited Rome on behalf of a number of Augustinian monasteries, and was disgusted by the corruption that he found there. After this visit to Rome, Luther became increasingly troubled by his faith, so during studying and teaching theology, after being made a Doctor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg in 1512, he began to study the Scriptures in depth and went on a search for salvation. Luther had struggled with ‘how he could live in the presence of a just God’ (Martin Luther: Father of the Reformation, Somervill, Barbara A – page 39), but through his searching he began to see God in a different way. He came to believe that Christians are saved through faith and not through their own works, and that salvation is a gift of God’s grace, received by faith, and trust in God’s promise to forgive sins for the sake of Christ’s death on the cross. (http://www.lutheran-resources.org/who_was_luther_2.htm) Luther believed that this was God’s work from beginning to end, and that he could only stand before God because of grace. After receiving these revelations, Luther began to talk openly about them. His study of the Bible also convinced him that the Catholic Church had lost sight of several fundamental truths, and he became increasingly angry about the selling of indulgences. Everything that Luther had come to believe was leading up to something that would shake Germany, Europe, and even the entire world: The Ninety-Five Theses.
The year of 1517 was the start of great religious change. Beginning with the rise in popularity and dependence upon...