Why Did Martin Luther Start The Protestant Reformation?.

968 Words4 Pages
Why did Martin Luther start the Protestant Reformation?
After five centuries, it is easy to reduce the Protestant Reformation to a dispute over corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. But was it dissension over corruption or was it more complex than that?
While corruption existed in the Church during the Renaissance, the Reformation was as much about politics, theology, and individualism, as it was about rooting out corruption. When looking at the religious values that guide human choices, why did Martin Luther break away from the Catholic Church? It would seem that patience and more open communication by both sides could have prevented the initial break between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church. This would have spared the
…show more content…
Luther’s study of St. Paul, through the lens of St. Augustine, changed how he felt. Luther came to understand that the "righteousness of God" of which Paul wrote in Romans 1:17, referred to the righteousness by which the sinner is graciously justified by faith, not the standard of righteousness by which God would judge sinners struggling to attain justification by their own efforts. This understanding transformed the troubled monk, who now found peace with God through faith. He saw his "discovery" or "recovery" of the ancient Pauline teaching as a radical departure from the views of the medieval "doctors" of the Catholic Church. And yet this was not so. Unbeknownst to Luther, the leading medieval commentators held the same view of the "righteousness of God."
Luther also came to understand faith as God’s merciful gift by which we receive the further gift of justification, in contrast to all human efforts to merit or earn God’s favor. As a way of insisting that human beings contribute nothing of their own to justification, Luther insisted that man is justified by "faith alone."
Luther’s "discovery" was more than a personal "breakthrough." He was by now a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg, where he preached this understanding of the righteousness of God to students. Yet not until the question of the "sale" of indulgences arose in Luther’s diocese did the issue acquire "legs," as the journalists say.
Luther’s subsequent break with the
Get Access