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Comparing Martin Luther and John Calvin

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Comparing Martin Luther and John Calvin

Martin Luther King and John Calvin were both very important leaders of the Protestant

Reformation. Although they were both against the Roman Catholic Church, they brought about

very different ideas in religion.

Martin Luther founded the group that are today known as Lutherans. He was ordained

a priest in 1507. He dealt with questions dealing with the structure of the church and with its

moral values. These questions were important in Luther's eyes, but the most important was how

to find favor with God. Luther tried to pray, fast, and repent, but he never felt self-satisfaction.

He eventually concluded that God's love was not a prize or a reward to be earned or won, but a

gift to be accepted. Luther further concluded that until man stops trying to achieve God's favor

through his own achievements he cannot truly understand God's grace. Luther also had the idea

that one did not need a priest to talk to God, he believed that one could pray and repent without

the help of anyone else. This was the idea for which Luther became famous.

In 1517, Luther was involved in a controversy which involved indulgences. Indulgences

were the idea that a person could donate money to a worthy cause in exchange for forgiveness

of their sins. Luther opposed this idea and stated his beliefs in his Ninety-Five Thesis, which he

posted on the castle door in Wittenberg, Germany.

In 1519, Luther had a debate in Leipzig with Johann Eck, a Roman Catholic theologian.

During this debate, Luther denied the supremacy of the Pope and stated that church councils

could make mistakes.

In 1521, Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X. Luther was then ordered to

appear before a council which demanded that he retract his teachings. Luther intern stated that

unless he was inspired to do so by scripture he would not "since it is neither safe nor right to go

against conscience."

Possible the most important contribution of Luther to society was his translation of the

Bible into German. This made it possible for those who were not fluent in Greek to study the

Word of God. Luther also wrote another influential work, Small Catechism of 1529, which

was also known as the layman's Bible. It summarized Christian beliefs into clear, simple

language and told how they should live.

During the Reformation, Luther discovered that he had founded a new church.
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