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Historical Structures

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Reformation was a religious movement of the 1500's that led to

Protestantism. This movement had an impact on social, political, and economic life. Before the reformation, Europe had been held together by the

universalism of the Catholic Church and the claim of the Holy Roman emperor .After the reformation Europe had several large Protestant churches and smaller

Protestant religious groups. From the result of the Reformation, Europe was divided between the Catholic countries of the south and the Protestant countries of the north. This diversity

of religious life created a mood of religious toleration and the respect for the

importance of individual conscience. The Reformation also stimulated many

reforms within the Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformation was a movement in Europe that began with Luther, who is one of the great thinkers in modern European history and whose teachings such as challenge to the Church and its practices, his maintained concepts about absolute power of God, his ideas about justification by faith and his notions about Bible have a significant influence on the Protestant Reformation, about challenge to the Church and its practices, his maintained concepts about absolute power of God, his ideas about justification by faith and his notions about Bible and Christ which lead the German society towards Protestant Reformation.

The forerunner of the Protestant Reformation ,Martin Luther stands in history as the one whose ideas changed the world fundamentally. There are several ironies incumbent on Luther's pivotal role in history: 1) he doesn't really represent a break with the past, but rather a flash point where ideas and trends which had been smoldering in Europe for several centuries suddenly blazed aflame; 2) Luther initially saw himself as a great reformer of the Catholic church, a simple monk who thought the force of his ideas would single-handedly redirect the Leviathan of the church; in the end, however, his ideas divided Christianity into two separate churches and that second division, Protestantism, would divide over the next four centuries into a near infinity of separate churches; 3) finally, Luther with his reformist friends saw themselves as returning Christianity to its roots, they believed that they were setting the clock back; in reality, their ideas irreparably changed the world and pushed it kicking and screaming, not into some ideal past, but into the modern era.

Luther had a new view of the usage of terms such as penance and righteousness than the Roman Catholic Church. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity, the most important of which, for Luther, was the doctrine of justification вЂ" God's act of declaring a sinner righteous вЂ" by faith alone through God's grace. He began to teach that salvation or redemption is a gift of God's grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the messiah.

He thought that a person cannot be justified before God. Luther believed that salvation is basically a divine gift, something which cannot be earned but which is nevertheless given because of God's infinite love and mercy. According to him realizing God's actions and love could not be understood through the Law, as in the Old Testament, but rather in the Gospel ("good news"), as recounted in the stories about Jesus in the New Testament. Because of Luther's belief that salvation must come through faith rather than works, he began to object to the variety of ways in which the Church encouraged people to view works as a means to salvation. One of the ways of these means was the sale of indulgence. An indulgence is basically a "get out of sin" card - but not for free because you have to pay for it with cash. Indulgences could be purchased either for oneself or on behalf of others, especially the deceased. Luther was opposed to this idea and thought that since forgiveness was God's alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances. So he wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," which came to be known as The 95 Theses, which were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed, and widely copied, making the controversy one of the first in history to be aided by the printing press. The Ninety Five Theses were indeed inspired by Luther's growing doubts about salvation, but tactically Luther had drawn attention to an abuse of Indulgence sales and had appealed to the Pope, Leo X, and to the German primate, Albert von Hohenzollern, to abolish the practice. Actually, he was fighting against a system, not a man. The Ninety Five Theses were hastily written and there were contradictions in them with regard to the powers of the Pope. Luther stated that papal pardons were useful only if people did not put their trust in them, but he also claimed that certain wrong beliefs about Indulgences did not represent actual papal teaching, and he called on the Pope to exercise his powers to clean up abuses. Within two weeks, the theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe. Luther’s concept removed the absolute power from the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church in general. Luther's challenges to the



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