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All human beings are considered corrupt and sick and, because of the original sin, are in close relations with the powers of evil, rending them unable to make a significant contribution to their liberation. Ironically in some way, it can be said that Lutherans believe in faith. Faith is understood as trust in God's love and is viewed as the only appropriate way for man to answer to God's initiative. "Salvation by faith alone" is the distinctive and criticized (by catholic adepts) slogan of Lutheranism. Opponents of this doctrine argued that this position does not do justice to the Christian responsibility to do good works; the answer was that faith has to be active in love and that there is an indivisible connection between good works and faith: the former follow from the latter as a good tree produces good fruit.
Worship. The Lutheran church is, by its own definition, "the assembly of believers among which the Gospel is preached and the Holy Sacraments are administered according to the Gospel" (Augsburg Confession, VII). The Bible played a central role to Lutheran worship from the very beginning. The sacraments, initially seven, were reduced to baptism and the Lord's Supper because according to the Lutheran reading of the Scriptures, only these two were instituted by Christ himself. Worship was conducted in the language of the people and not in Latin, as the Roman Catholic tradition had prescribed. The structure of the medieval mass did not suffer structural modifications, but the use of vernacular language increased the importance of the sermons, which were founded on the exposition of the Scriptures. Another important aspect was that congregational participation in worship was encouraged especially through the singing of the liturgy and of hymns, some of them written by Luther himself.
The elements of bread and wine are given to all communicants in the celebration of the Eucharist, although wine was only allowed to priests by the catholics. In opposition to other Protestants, Lutherans allege that Christ is sacramentally present for the communicant in the bread and the wine. The argument they bring to the support of this theory is the promise Christ gave at the institution of Holy Communion, when he said, "This is my body" and "This is my blood" (Matthew 26:26-28).
Baptism. Baptism signifies for the Lutherans God's unconditional love, which presents itself unconditioned from any intellectual, moral, or emotional achievements on the part of humans.
Lutheran doctrine does not acknowledge saints as a superior class of Christians but as sinners saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Since every Christian is both saint and sinner, saints are also humans just like all others. The priesthood of all believers is related to baptism; Luther considered that both male and female, through baptism, are made priests of God and that all persons serve God during their entire life in their chosen vocations. The office of the pastor is based on a double call: one form God and one from a congregation of Christians. Lutheran clergy may marry, unlike their Roman Catholic counterparts.
Church Organization and Government. The older European Lutheran churches have very close connections to governments in their countries, as established churches, either exclusively or in a parallel arrangement with Roman Catholicism, due to the fact that they have originated in the 16th century. Outside Europe, Lutheran churches conduct their activity as voluntary religious organizations. There is no uniform system of church government, although congregational, presbyterian, and episcopal structures exist. A tendency that has emerged in the 20th century supports giving the title of bishop to elected leaders of judicatories (churches, districts, synods).
2. Zwinlgi. A second center of the Reformation was established by Zwingli in the Swiss town of Zurich. He differed in many aspects from Luther and was significantly more radical than Luther in the transformation of the ceremonial of the Mass, although it can be affirmed that the aims of his followers were somewhat identical to those of the Lutherans. Political considerations played a very important role in the development of Zwinglianism. The magistracy of Zurich became a promoter of the Reformation after a majority of its members had declared their commitment to Zwingli. The councilors who tried to remain true to the Catholic faith were expelled from the council, while catholic services were forbidden in Zurich. The city and the canton of Zurich suffered serious reformation by the civil authorities according to the ideas of Zwingli. Similar events took place in other parts of German Switzerland. As far as French Switzerland was concerned, it developed its own Reformation, organized at Geneva by Calvin.
Zurich was a considered a center of humanist belief and had a tradition of state limitation on the temporal power of the church. Zwingli read the original Greek and Hebrew Scriptures chapter by chapter and book by book, thus attracting large audiences to the cathedral. A printing press was placed at the reformer's disposal in 1519 by an admirer, so his ideas spread far beyond the confines of Zurich.
Pope Adrian VI, was angered by Zwingli's behaviour so he forbade the reformer the pulpit and requested his repudiation as a heretic by the Zurich council. Zwingli defended himself before the council in January 1523. He asserted the supremacy of the Holy Writ over church dogma, fought against the worship of images, relics, and saints and negated the sacramental view of the Eucharist.
The council upheld Zwingli and withdrew the Zurich canton from the jurisdiction of the bishop of Constance. Important reforms were instituted such as the conversion of monasteries into hospitals, the elimination of Mass and confession and the removal of religious images.
In 1525, a radical Protestant group called the Anabaptists disputed Zwingli's rule in Zurich. Zwingli defeated the Anabaptists in the council and their leaders were banished from the city. Friends of Luther and Zwingli arranged an encounter between the two reformers, which failed because of the clash over the question of consubstantiation vs. transubstantiation.
Zwingli was wounded in a battle between the cantons. After his death the Reformation stagnated in Switzerland, which is still half Catholic and half Protestant.
Calvinism is the Christian theology of the French church reformer John Calvin. His work, Institutes of the Christian Religion, is considered the most influential work in the development of the Protestant churches of the Reformed tradition.
The difference between Calvinism on one side and Lutheranism and Zwinglianism on the other is a more rigid and consistent form of doctrine and the strictness of its moral precepts, which tend to regulate the entire domestic and public life of all citizens. The Republic of Geneva adopted the ecclesiastical organization proposed by Calvin as its fundamental law, while the authorities fully supported the reformer in the establishment of his court of morals. There was no higher authority than Calvin's word and no contradiction of his views or regulations was tolerated. It is sometimes argued that Calvinism was introduced into Geneva and the surrounding country by the use of violence. The relation with Catholicism was not too good: catholic priests were banished, and the people were sometimes compelled to attend Calvinistic sermons.
Calvinist doctrine is founded upon the belief in the absolute sovereignty of God and the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Calvin denied, similarly to Luther, that human beings were capable of free will after the Fall of Adam, but also elaborated a doctrine of predestination, which argued that certain persons are elected by God to salvation while others are rejected and consigned to eternal damnation. The Bible was considered the unique rule for the life of faith. However, unlike Luther, Calvin defended the subjugation of the state to the church and had a different interpretation of the Eucharist.
Calvinism had profound social implications. Calvin strongly supported the idea that thrift, industry, and hard work are forms of moral virtue and that business success is a proof of God's grace. These ideas helped the development of commerce and played a role in the overthrow of feudalism and the establishment of capitalism.
Calvinism still remains an important strain of Protestantism and plays an active role in the life of the people. For instance, during the previous century, the Swiss theologian Karl Barth has emphasized the Calvinist doctrine of God's supremacy, beside which all human activities are considered worthless.
http://www.newadvent.org/-Articles on the Reformation and Martin Luther
2. Encyclopedia Britannica - Articles on Protestantism and Zwingli, 1997 Edition, Vol. 26 and 12
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However, certain elements of traditional Christian theology are centered on Mary, and the degree of emphasis that those elements receive can be very telling about Mary's actual role in the religion. For example, the connection between female chastity and religious observance seems to have been established by God's choice of a Virgin to carry his son. God did not have to choose a virgin to bear his child, but