Martin Luther’s role in the development of the Catholic Church

A scholar of theology, a priest and a monk, Martin Luther played an important part in the development of the Catholic Church. As a monk, he dedicated his life to the Catholic Church, but later rebelled against its authority because of some dissatisfaction he raised, but which was not answered. His revolt culminated in a religious revolution, later called the Protestant movement, being founded. A demand for reform arose from the progress of the demonstrations against the Catholic Church, and later on, other politicians have supported reforms, albeit with separate goals. This essay therefore attempts to explore the motives for the revolt of Luther against the Catholic Church Authority, why the rebellion led to the existence of many new Christian sects and how other English reformations differed from Luther’s reformation.

The monk, Martin Luther made a decision to challenge the Catholic Churches Authorities in the 15th century. One primary reason for this was the manner in which the activities of the church were managed. He cited various reasons to confirm his dissatisfactions with the level of corruption within the church; however the authorities were not ready to listen to his grievances. For instance, one of the corrupted practices, which resented him the most, was the issue of selling of indulgences (The West is an Age of Religious Conflict and Global Expansion 1500 – 1650 253). He believed that it was unbiblical practice when purgatory priests sold certificates known as indulgences to the unsuspecting congregants that were grieving their loved ones who died. Additionally, the cost of acquiring such certificates was too expensive, and most of the priest were busy pocketing the money to make them very wealthy. Moreover, Luther had realized that people always get saved by having faith in the Lord and not by paying any money to get to heaven (The West is an Age of Religious Conflict and Global Expansion 1500 – 1650 253). Therefore, he had to complain bitterly to the authorities of the church which promptly decided to excommunicate him.

Luther challenge led to the formation of Protestant movement, and many people left the Catholic Church and formed other churches that still exist today. For instance, there were increasing dissatisfactions with the excesses that were perceived to be from the Roman Catholic Church. Luther and other religious reformers such as Henry VIII and Calvin started fighting for a return of Biblical values (The West is an Age of Religious Conflict and Global Expansion 1500 – 1650). They gained widespread support, and further resulted in formation of many Protestant religions. The Reformation led to the split of the religion to three faiths: the Catholic, Calvinist and the Lutheran. The Catholics looked at the Protestants with distrust, while also holding the Catholic rivals in a lot of disdain.

Although, both the Lutheran movement and other English Reformations fought for the return of Biblical values, there was still some difference in regards to their agenda and activities. For instance, while Luther was seen as a theologian who only wanted to reform the Catholic Church, Henry VIII, and the English Reformation, on the other hand, were just monarchs whose primary concerns were the issues of power. Luther and the English Reformation denied the papal authority but still were in disagreement in regards to the Eucharistic formula; hence, there was a debate between the real presence vs. the consubstantiation and even the soteriology. Another difference is that Henry VIII, who was one of the English Reformers walked out of the Catholic Church because of personal reasons: he wanted to divorce his wife, but the church didn’t allow that (The West is an Age of Religious Conflict and Global Expansion 1500 – 1650 255). In contrary, Luther supported transforming of the church since he was not in agreement with most of its teachings.

To summarize, Martin Luther was a prominent figure in a world’s history as he was the first one to stand up against the Catholic Church. His grievances gave start to the protestant movement, which gave birth to the new Christian sects and churches that are widely practiced nowadays.

Work Cited

Lecture Notes on: The West is an Age of Religious Conflict and Global Expansion 1500 – 1650, pp. 250 – 256.

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