Protestant Reformation

Hello all! I am in the process of writing a research paper on the Protestant Reformation - particularly answering 2 questions:

  1. Did Martin Luther truly intend to start a completely different church apart from the Catholic Church as we know it today to be Protestantism or did he just look for reform (which I realize was needed in certain areas)?
  2. Was his schism at some point also politically driven?

What I was looking for are good resources concerning the reformation that I could use in my paper. I already have the “Stripping of the Altars” by Eamon Duffy concerning the effects of the Reformation in England. Would anyone know about possibly a good resource on the debate at Leipzig? Any other resources (don’t have to be books)?

Thank you!!

P.S. It would definitely and most obviously be better if they were more historical writings rather than opinion.

Roots of the Reformation by Karl Adam is an excellent (and very short) book that gives some excellent insights into Luther and the events of the late Middle Ages that set the Reformation in motion. Definitely worth checking out, especially since it should only take a couple of hours to read.

Great! Thank you very much, I will definitely look that up right now :smiley:

Keep them coming everyone! has several books on the Reformation. Just do a keyword search for “Protestant.” I see there are a couple titles like How The Reformation Happened, or Facts About Luther that may help you. :o

Here is Luther’s open letter on translating scripture [/FONT]

Notice his attitude? His personality? His deliberate obstinance and resistence to correction? Notice he inserts the famous “sola” in Romans because he, Luther would have it so?

*]he did start his own religion.
*]he had plenty of opportunities to test his ideas in debates against Eck, Cajetan, etc
*]a schismatic always has the opportunity to end their revolt, this side of eternity. If he repented for his schism, before he died, only he and God knows it.

I agree with this, but I don’t think this was his original goal, right? He only resorted to this after he didn’t get his way of making the Church conform to his view? I want to say there’s some famous quote later in his life of the scandal of all the different sects that sprung out of the “Reformation.”

Here are more good online resources on various subjects on Luther.

No. I think the consensus view is that he did not initially set out to start a new church at all. But when he was excommunicated by Rome, then the equation changed a bit.

  1. Was his schism at some point also politically driven?

Yes. There were a lot of wealthy people in Germany and other places that had a lot to gain by breaking communion with Rome. How much this describes Luther’s motivations is an interesting question. I suspect he was far more theologically motivated than politically motivated. But I’ve never met an unmixed motive.

looking at what we know about excommunication

*]One doesn’t get excommunicated without doing something seriously wrong,
*]Even if one IS excommunicated, they don’t have to remain excommunicated according to the Church.
*]Therefore, If one remains excommunicated, then they choose to remain excommunicated rather than change. It’s a choice one makes.

.Reading his work, he wasn’t going to change BEFORE his excommunication. And he didn’t change AFTER his excommunication. therefore, It has the appearance that excommunication wasn’t even a factor for him.

It’s good to have resources written by historians about this subject but don’t neglect primary sources. If you want to know what Luther’s intentions were, read and study his writings. As far as other resources I would recommend Ranke. Though he is dated a bit he wrote a considerable amount on Martin Luther and the Reformation.

God bless

The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White is one of the greatest books to use for research on this topic despite what anyone may tell you. Pray about it and if God leads you to read it, then read and enjoy. It is definitely something everyone should read. :thumbsup:

I understand his obstinence, arrogance, delusion, etc… But I’m just saying did he originally think his protest could awaken the Church to what he thought was true or was it his idea to break off all along?


I would suggest that you look at some non-Catholic sources as well. The following books are well-known and will give you another perspective.

Here I Stand by Roland Bainton
Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career by James M. Kittelson
Luther: Man Between God and the Devil by Professor Heiko A. Oberman and Eileen Walliser-Schwarzbart

Blessings on your studies.

a small section from “open letter on translating” by Martin Luther

"Returning to the issue at hand, if your Papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word “alone” (sola), say this to him: “Dr.Martin Luther will have it so and he says that a papist and an *** are the same thing.” Sic volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. (I will it, I command it; my will is reason enough) For we are not going to become students and followers of the papists. Rather we will become their judge and master. We, too, are going to be proud and brag with these blockheads; and just as St. Paul brags against his madly raving saints, I will brag over these asses of mine! They are doctors? Me too. They are scholars? I am as well. They are philosophers? And I. They are dialecticians? I am too. They are lecturers? So am I. They write books? So do I. I will go even further with my bragging: I can exegete the psalms and the prophets, and they cannot. I can translate, and they cannot. I can read Holy Scriptures, and they cannot. I can pray, they cannot. Coming down to their level, I can do their dialectics and philosophy better than all of them put together. Plus I know that not one of them understands Aristotle. "

*]Is this someone the Church can work with? I think Hardly
*]Will he work with anyone other than his choosing? probably a big No
*]Do I think his ego intended doing what he did? Yep
[/LIST]to think he started a religion.

Christianity is a religion and Luther was always a Christian so he did not start a religion.
It may be said that he left the Catholic Church but he did not leave Christianity.

as you know, religion has many definitions. One being
*]religion = “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices”
[/LIST]afterall, he is the father of Protestantism, and Lutheranism in particular.

Yes, he left the Catholic Church. Does scripture say division is okay, as long as one remains “Chrsitian”? No.

How the Reformation Happend and Characters of the Reformation, both by Hilaire Belloc are also very good resources on the topic. Very well written too.

And I would agree with you on that point. Nonetheless, it did happen and Christians have lived with the consequences for nearly 500 years. During that time actions on both sides contributed to solidifying the divisions as Christians disputed with Christians, sometimes backed up by the force of arms of the political establishments. It is a challenge to overcome that history – and there are many who have not done so.

It has only been within the last half-century or so that serious efforts have been made to discuss Lutheran/Catholic relations and what we share in our common heritage. While these efforts have not led to reunification, their tenor is such that many of us have come to respect one another even as we don’t agree on all points of doctrine.

I continue to pray, just as our Lord himself prayed, that we might be one. I trust that the Holy Spirit will, in time, lead us to that goal.

Well the historically correct term is “Protestant Revolution” or Protestant Revolt", (not Reformation). And I say this as a former Protestant. It was a revolution whether one is for or against it.

As to your questions, be sure to read books from both perspectives (Catholic and Protestant) and try to arrive at the truth. The “Protestant Founders” (not Reformers) often came to rely on the state for support and this led to some pretty shaky theology. For instance, moral wrong is ok if the state commands it. And there’s more…-Good luck!

Martin Luther NEVER wanted a seperate denomination, or church. He simply was looking for change within the existing Church.

And believe m: there was ALOT to reform!

YThe schism (as is usually the case with uprises), was the fault of the uneducated peasants, who were always looking for change.

Luther was HORRIFIED at the idea of a church named after him!

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