Lutheran and Lutheranism Term Paper

  • Length: 6 pages
  • Sources: 5
  • Subject: Mythology - Religion
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #14694768

Excerpt from Term Paper :


Martin Luther's involvement in sixteenth century's Christian controversy brought forward the Protestant Reformation. His teachings generated a new Christian branch that has come to be one of the ideology's most important beliefs. In comparison to Catholic law, Lutheranism promotes the idea that the church is not necessarily one of the most important institutions making it possible for people to connect with God. Moreover, the ideology encourages individuals to focus on developing a more personal relationship with God, as this respective connection can apparently be even stronger as long as the person is determined and as long as he or she concentrates on faith.

I chose to speak about Lutheranism because this branch of Christianity attempts to have people use both rationality and morality in trying to interpret religious passages. By refraining from putting across subjective ideas, Lutheranism serves a greater good and is actually intended to provide assistance for a larger number of people. One can learn a great deal of information as a result of studying the religion's theory's, taking into account that it emphasizes the Bible as a document intended to provide humanity with a series of directives they can take on in an attempt to make the world a better place. The fact that Lutheranism denounced behavior in sixteenth century's Catholicism can also be understood as an attempt to have the world make the difference between institutions that were actually concerned about the general public's well-being and institutions that were primarily interested in exploiting individuals. The fact that the Catholic Church promoted the idea of indulgences during the period is especially intriguing, as individuals like Luther realized the wrongness of such behavior, but very few actually had the courage to rise against the institution. Luther's actions enabled numerous people to look at matters from a more general perspective and to acknowledge that they too could make change possible as long as they promoted values related to morality and rationality.

Martin Luther

Luther was a very complex individual and this is especially visible when considering his initial appreciation of the Catholic Church. From the very first years of his life he dedicated his life to the Church and he was an exceptional individual when considering the resources he invested in his relationship with the divine. His struggle involved "a commitment and devotion to fasting, hours of prayer, and frequent confessions" (Bishop 3). However, it was because of his deeper understanding of Christian belief that he realized the sinful nature of people in general. He became desperate as he acknowledged that in spite of the fact that he went through great struggles in an attempt to achieve forgiveness, it would have been impossible for God to ignore all of his sins.

His tutors realized that he was in a critical condition and encouraged him to become a priest, to earn a doctorate, and to become a member at the University of Wittenberg. Luther's stay at Wittenberg played an essential role in making him consider a series of issues that seemed to be inconclusive with regard to the strategies the Catholic Church used in an attempt to assist individuals. "His ideas of penance and righteousness, as well as salvation began to change from what his instruction had led him to believe" (Bishop 3). This made it possible for him to realize that the Catholic Church was corrupt in many ways and that it had altered many of the principles promoted by the Early Church.

Luther's ideas concerning how the Catholic Church had a tendency to interpret religious teachings in order for it to profit from the enterprise made it possible for him to formulate a theory that provided clearer instructions concerning how a person could connect with God. His doctrine of justification referred to how God was the only one responsible for providing believers with the right to be righteous. Righteousness could, from Luther's perspective, only be achieved as long as the Christian had faith in God's grace, and in the idea that Jesus was the Messiah. Luther's idea of justification is believed to have been the main reason why he lost interest in his connection to the Catholic Church.

Luther's legacy

Luther practically provided people with the opportunity to see the numerous discrepancies between information in the Bible and information that the Catholic Church put across. He was not initially determined to separate from Catholic faith, as his "95 Theses" were meant to influence the Church to acknowledge the wrong that it had done until the time and the fact that it was essential for it to change many of its policies. While this was initially an academic debate, it gradually developed into a clear separation from the Catholic Church as the institution's criticized Luther while numerous other individuals supported him and accepted his reforms. The group that agreed with Luther came to be known as Lutherans and the reformed version of the Church came to be recognized as Lutheranism.


Even with the facts that this ideology has numerous followers and that it played an essential role in the Reformation, contemporary analysts are often inclined to ignore it as they focus on Calvinism as the principal theory regarding the sixteenth century break from the Catholic Church. Many Lutherans are apparently still determined to follow Luther's thinking before the separation actually took place, taking into account that they would rather see a reformed Catholic Church rather than a separate branch of Christianity that promotes ideas criticizing Catholicism in general. Many Lutherans have accepted the fact that the Reformation institutionalized the Lutheran movement and have joined diverse Lutheran churches from around the world. The approximate number of individuals that are currently convinced Lutherans is six million, this making it possible for someone to see the fame that Lutheranism experienced consequent to Luther's efforts. "Most Lutherans, however, are confused about their historical roots, doctrinal affirmations, and ethical directives." (Gritsch ix).

Although it would be difficult and almost impossible to determine what Luther's opinion would have been concerning the contemporary Catholic Church, it is only safe to assume that reform would not have happened if Catholics in the sixteenth century would have had the same thinking as Catholics in the present. It is actually very probable that the Catholic Church was influenced by Lutheranism across time. With particular behaviors becoming too controversial to keep, the Catholic Church gradually came to adopt attitudes that were in accordance with Lutheranism. Even with the fact that it is still different from the Lutheran Church today, it is nonetheless impressive to observe how it changed over time and how it came to abandon some of the ideas that Luther was so passionate about denouncing.

The fact that Lutheranism was an essential factor triggering the Reformation can be observed in Protestantism today. Luther virtually pushed people in a direction that had lesser to do with absurd Catholic thinking expressed during the sixteenth century. The religious pioneer was concerned with having people acknowledge that they were powerful and that the church existed because of them rather than them existing because of the church. "Protestantism had a profound influence on Western society, an influence that was felt in every social institution, including work and social welfare" (Handel 103).

As a Christian, one is likely to appreciate Luther's thinking concerning how people can be certain that they are going to be saved as long as they believe in God. Material values are one of the most important concepts in the contemporary society and it is actually easy to find parallels between Catholic thinking in the sixteenth century and modern thinking in general. People today prefer to believe that by giving money to charity they demonstrate that they are benevolent and, when considering individuals who believe in karma, that they are going to be rewarded for their actions. Expecting something good to happen as a result of making donations is wrong, as donations need to be altruistic and individuals should focus on the act of giving as their benefit rather than to expect their profits or health to improve as a result of their actions. While it is also important to perform 'works' by helping other people, it is essential for an individual to put across moral thinking in attempt to improve his relationship with the divine. Lutheranism as a whole promotes faith as one of the only tool that can assist a person in being saved by God.

Although Lutheranism has had a strong influence in many cultures during recent centuries, it is difficult to determine its exact effect on the world. This is largely owed to the fact that numerous communities made no reference to Lutheran thinking in spite of the fact that they saw an important Lutheran presence. A series of isolate Christian communities from around the world were installed by Lutherans. Even with these, many of these institutions fail to acknowledge their Lutheran background as they turned their attention toward a more general system of Christian ideas (Gritsch 93).

A great deal of Catholics today believes…

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