The protestant reformation of the Christian church was the division within the Christian church that was initiated by John Calvin, Martin Luther and other early Christian church reformers. The reformation started after Martin Luther posted the ninety-five theses outlining his objection to some of the Catholic Church teachings. Luther fiercely opposed the belief that freedom from Gods punishment could be bought using money. He also opposed the sale of indulgences (Hans, 22).
Luther pleaded Christians not to waiver in following Christ through listening to false assurance from the Catholic Church that they could buy salvation (Hans, 23). Martin Luther also taught that salvation was not earned through person’s good deeds on planet earth but it was a gift from God through embracing faith in Jesus Christ as the only Redeemer of Sin (Hans, 25).
Luther was convinced that the church was corrupt and had lost sight as the central dogmas of Christianity after studying the book of psalms, Hebrews and Galatians. His most important belief was the belief in the doctrine of justification by faith alone rather than justification by good deeds (Hans, 34). His theology challenged the pope’s authority through teaching that only the bible was the source of all divine knowledge. Luther opposed the practice of sacerordotalism of the Catholic Church and challenged the source of the wealth of the pope. His writings and teachings made him to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church (Hans, 37).
Luther's translations of the bible into German made the bible more accessible having a tremendous impact on the church and German culture. Luther’s marriage to Katharina Bora was a model marriage for protestant priests. The writings of Luther king spread to France, England and Italy and contributed significantly to the split of the church and the growth of the Protestant Christian movement in Europe (Hans, 42). His followers are called Lutherans (Hans, 47).
John Calvin was also a very prominent theologian and a pastor during the protestant reformation movement. He broke from the Catholic Church and began promoting the doctrine of Calvinism in the sixteenth century (Hans, 79). John Calvin believed in total depravity of the soul. This means that all men are sinful and in need of Gods Grace. John Calvin also believed in the predestination of God and the limited atonement for those who believe in Jesus Christ. His major edition of his writings was the 1536 issue of the institutes of the Christian religion. John Calvin also believed in irresistible grace of god that all People might come to the knowledge of God through salvation (Hans, 82).
Calvin also believed in the perseverance of elect of God, He believed that the saved people undergo the process of sanctification, which continues until they met with God in Heaven. Both Calvin and Martin Luther shared the same passion in revealing the corruption and the controversial doctrines of the Catholic Church (Hans, 99). They also shared the same passion in the propagation of their gospel (Hans, 105). However, Martin Luther was more radical in opposing the doctrines of the Catholic Church than John Calvin.
Although John Calvin and Martin Luther could not agree on some doctrinal issues in their beliefs, they are credited for being the pioneers of the protestant church reformation in the world in the sixteenth century. Their actions led to a decline in the influence of the Catholic Church due to a rise in the number of protestant churches (Hans, 124). The effect of John Calvin and Martin Luther actions continue to be felt in the world today.
Hans, Hillerbrand, The protestant reformation, revised edition. New York: