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Martin Lutherís Revolution: A Reformation Day Lesson on Democracy
FITSNews: Unfair, Imbalanced ^ | Larry Marchant

Posted on 10/30/2012 10:22:53 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Last weekend many protestent churches celebrated the Reformation of the Catholic Church. But I believe people of all faiths should stop and pause, because Martin Luther’s actions have a much larger, ripple affect – extending far beyond church doctrine.

In Europe during the 16th Century, several key events inspired Martin Luther’s revolutionary action:

A priest and professor of theology, Luther’s frustration reached a boil – and he proposed ninety-five changes to the Catholic Church. But rather than dropping his “suggestions” in the employee suggestion box, he nailed them to the church door at Wittenberg, Germany.

Among other issues Luther protested indulgences as well as the broader notion that parishioners must make payments to secure a deceased loved one’s place in heaven.  He also questioned the church’s ban against married priests. Further, Luther believed that the Church placed far too much importance on worshiping Mary, the mother of Jesus.

After receiving Luther’s “nasty-gram,” the Pope went ballistic and called for an immediate inquiry into the audacity of this brazen professor, referred to as the “Diet of Worms.”

Luther was deemed a heretic, excommunicated from the Church, and a bounty was placed on his head. Luther ran, locking himself in a room for over a year and transcribing the Bible into German.  This did not sit well with the Church, as they insisted that the only way to know the Bible was through the teaching of Rome.

Around the time Luther finished his translation, Johannes Guttenberg invented the modern-day ink stamped printing press.  Flyers announcing the new publication were dispersed through the land, and the ability to read and interpret holy text for oneself spread like wildfire.

Disavowing the Church’s doctrine on marriage, Luther married Katherina Bora – a former nun.  Not long after, war erupted in Germany over the division of the Church and continued for several years.  Finally, the fighting stopped.  My feeling is the German royal family told the Vatican that if it refused to back off – Germany would no longer supply it gold, so the Vatican’s army retreated to Rome. But again, that’s just my take on it.

Luther insists the new church shall be named the “Reformed Catholic Church.”  Several years later upon Luther’s death, the churchwas renamed the “Lutheran Church”

After Luther’s death, the Black Plague engulfs large cities throughout Europe, and Luther’s widow Katherine – poor and living off parishioners’ kindness – flees to the countryside to escape the plague. Severely injured in a cart accident, she died not long thereafter.

So if you hear someone talking about the Reformation, remember its importance for each of us, not just Lutherans. You see, Luther’s belief in the individual has been credited with commencing the modern democratic form of government that the Western world enjoys today.

Luther’s fundamental, revolutionary belief – that people should have the right to read and interpret the Bible for themselves – was unheard of at the time.  Two hundred years later, though, democracy is born under the same theory of the common people’s God-given rights – including free speech and freedom of the press.

So regardless of your faith or particular denomination, let us all be thankful for Luther’s sacrifice, something we too often take for granted today: the right to make our own decisions and have our own thoughts.

God bless Martin Luther, and God bless us all.


TOPICS: History; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Politics; Theology
KEYWORDS: reformationday
So if you hear someone talking about the Reformation, remember its importance for each of us, not just Lutherans. You see, Luther’s belief in the individual has been credited with commencing the modern democratic form of government that the Western world enjoys today.

Luther’s fundamental, revolutionary belief – that people should have the right to read and interpret the Bible for themselves – was unheard of at the time. Two hundred years later, though, democracy is born under the same theory of the common people’s God-given rights – including free speech and freedom of the press.

So regardless of your faith or particular denomination, let us all be thankful for Luther’s sacrifice, something we too often take for granted today: the right to make our own decisions and have our own thoughts.

Oh, and there was this, too:

Pope Leo X wanted to reconstruct Saint Peter’s Basilica – the crown jewel of the Vatican. But there was one small problem: The Church was broke....St. Peter’s Basilica becomes the first building to be built on credit.

1 posted on 10/30/2012 10:22:53 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Happy Reformation Day!


2 posted on 10/30/2012 11:13:16 AM PDT by NEWwoman (God Bless America)
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To: Alex Murphy

I’m sure there will be robust disagreement from Catholic quarters about the exact details of the plan for financing the basilica renovation, but I’m sure they wish they hadn’t done that. It was just a sleazy move, and what, for the sake of a pretty building? Donate to pay the mortgage on the building, and you get an easier trip to heaven? Say what?

If the Catholic church had been more circumspect about its affairs, I still wonder whether or not most of we Christians would be Catholics today, distinctive doctrines and all. Because Luther didn’t just differ about stupid financing moves by the Vatican. And Luther wasn’t the only reformer either.


3 posted on 10/30/2012 11:45:28 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (cat dog, cat dog, alone in the world is a little cat dog)
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To: Alex Murphy

By all means, let’s bless Martin Luther for his role in inspiring, and in putting down, the Swabian Peasant’s Revolt in which 75,000 German peasants were killed. And let’s bless him for the legacy which led to the Thirty Years War, in which so great was the devastation that 30% to 40% of the German population died. Good intentions and brave words do have consequences.


4 posted on 10/30/2012 11:46:59 AM PDT by MrChips (MrChips)
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To: Alex Murphy

“A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all,subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”


5 posted on 10/30/2012 12:07:05 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: Alex Murphy
The article misses the point. The 95 Theses were a precipitant, but the reformation moment came at the Diet of Worms, where the papal legate commanded Luther, who had taken an oath of obedience to the Pope, to recant. But Luther believed that recantation of sworn testimony was perjury. Violation of the oath of obedience was a mortal sin. Perjury was a mortal sin. And Luther took oaths, and mortal sin, very seriously.

So here we have Authority placing a diligent priest in a no-win solution, with moral sin on either side. Luther's solution was "here I stand, I can do no other." Given a irresolvable conflict of obligations, he asserted the primacy of conscience over the institutional authority of the pope, and referred to final judgment to God. And so here we are.

The pope is a teacher and an institutional leader, but he is not ultimately the keeper of the keys. Every man's conscience is his own, and every Christian stands in a direct relationship to God. A lot flows from that.

As a practical and political matter, it helped in Luther's case that the papacy at that time had reached one of its periodic nadirs, so Luther was challenging a manifestly corrupt Authority. The tragedy of the matter is that the counter Reformation was a century too late to heal the breach. Had the Church cleaned up its act in time, Luther would probably have been the first back into the fold. But it was a time of Borgia popes, Medici popes, and popes generally behaving as Renaissance princes, with all the vices thereof. This must have made it easier to stand on conscience.

6 posted on 10/30/2012 1:22:34 PM PDT by sphinx
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To: sphinx

More typos than usual. The keyboard is getting balky.


7 posted on 10/30/2012 1:24:54 PM PDT by sphinx
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To: MrChips

Luther’s Protestant Reformation and the German Peasants’ War, were separate events, happening about the same time, but occurring independently. Also, he took a middle course in the Peasant’s War. He supported the break with Rome that was opposed by the aristocratic clergy but not by other classes. He also tended to support the centralization and urbanization of the economy. This position alienated the lesser nobles, but shored up his position with the burghers. Also, was Luther one of the political leaders during the Thirty Years War?


8 posted on 10/30/2012 3:02:00 PM PDT by Jacob Kell
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To: Alex Murphy
"You see, Luther’s belief in the individual has been credited with commencing the modern democratic form of government that the Western world enjoys today."

That is a look at Luther through a rose colored magnifying glass. St. Thomas Aquinas introduced the Europe to the concept of justice, positive rights and the natural law in his Summa Theologiae Secunda Secundae, hundreds of years before Luther was even born.

As for Luther's contributions to individual rights one need only review his condemnation of the peasants involved in the Peasant's Wars.

Peace be with you

9 posted on 10/30/2012 4:40:49 PM PDT by Natural Law (Jesus did not leave us a Bible, He left us a Church.)
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To: Jacob Kell

Believe what you want, but the peasants cried out for Luther,who was just as instrumental in putting them down once he realized that his words had power. The Germans ate their own in the Thirty Years War. And, as an historian, myself, I believe (with Hillaire Belloc) that the Reformation would not have survived had it not also been imposed by a ruthless Henry VIII upon England, where it was by and large not a popular movement at all. Nevertheless, to each his own. Pax vobiscum. Ave Maria.


10 posted on 10/30/2012 8:13:02 PM PDT by MrChips (MrChips)
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To: MrChips

Actually, I think that Luther really began to oppose the Peasant’s Rebellion following the Weinsberg Massacre, when the Duke of Helfenstein and about 70 other nobles were forced by the rebels to run the gauntlet of pikes. I know that Luther didn’t support further extension of the popularizing and equalizing facets of his religious ideas. He was afraid that the princes, burghers and the class of town patricians would all fall away from support of the new German church if he threathened their position. He based his position on St. Paul’s doctrine of Divine Right of Kings in his epistle to the Romans 13:1–7, which says that all authorities are appointed by God, and shouldn’t be resisted. Members of the poorer clergy, most famously, Thomas Müntzer, supported the demands of the peasantry, including political and legal rights. Although Müntzer was a religious leader, he was less worried about religious questions than in the social position of the people. Müntzer’s concentration on the secular rather than the religious, became more pronounced as the war progressed. I know that Luther was just a man, and just as fallable as everyone else.


11 posted on 10/31/2012 4:28:59 AM PDT by Jacob Kell
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To: Natural Law

I think that Luther really started to condemn the Peasant’s Revolt following the Weinsberg Massacre, when the Duke of Helfenstein and ~70 other nobles were forced to run the gauntlet of pikes. Do you condemn that as well?


12 posted on 10/31/2012 4:32:14 AM PDT by Jacob Kell
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To: Jacob Kell

You don’t yell FIRE in a crowded theatre. By thte way, the Council of Trent offered the Lutherans a place at the table. Calvinists too. They refused to come.


13 posted on 11/02/2012 12:00:05 PM PDT by MrChips (MrChips)
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To: MrChips

>You don’t yell FIRE in a crowded theatre.

And what do you mean by that?

> By the way, the Council of Trent offered the Lutherans a place at the table. Calvinists too. They refused to come.

I suspect that by that time, the relations between the factions was too separate.

I have heard it said that Cajetan was at one point in talks with Luther, to try to reconcile him with the Church. However, a faction of hard liners in the Church entered into secret negotiations behind both their backs with I think the Elector of Saxony to get Luther tried for heresy. When Luther found out, he was ticked, he thought that the Church wasn’t negotiating in good faith. If this was true, you can blame those fools, because Luther might well have returned to the Church if it wasn’t for them.


14 posted on 11/02/2012 12:29:03 PM PDT by Jacob Kell
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