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The Comparison Between Martin Luther And John Calvin Religion Essay

The 16th century was marked by two great leaders, Martin Luther and John Calvin, who represented the stepping stones for the Protestant Reformation. Both these men were contrary to the Roman Catholic Church and had different views on religion and exactly how it ought to be seen. Luther and Calvin had an extremely similar protestant based theologies. Calvin's admiration for Luther is evident because he identifies him as "an apostle". Luther was the founder of a group which is today known as the Lutherans. Both were very similar and at the same time different, each of them influenced Europe in a way. Calvin even influenced colonies of New England. Without them, contradicting the church, Protestantism may possibly not be observed across the world.

Martin Luther and John Calvin had similar concepts of faith and justification towards God, which in consequence became Luther and Calvin's main currency of soul salvation. The Sermon on Good Works was Luther's first piece of writing which he writes about how only faith, bad works, benefits the soul for salvation. Luther realized that good works had not been the path for taking for forgiveness of sins, when he made a decision to achieve forgiveness by fasting many days and abstaining from sleep, but nothing happened. So after that he discovered the bible, and found great guidance from it. He also believed that it's impossible to obey every one of the proscriptions of the Old Testament thereby mercy from God and faith is the only way to salvation. "Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works; Bad works do not make an awful man, but a poor man does bad works, " (Wogaman p111) wrote Luther, in conclusion of Paul. He not only said that good works were imperfect and useless, but also declared that these were sinful acts. "Thus we sin even though we do good, unless God through Christ covers this imperfection and will not impute it to us" (Luther p276). Not merely does Luther say this but also Calvin's idea of faith can be seen when he says "All we assign to man is the fact that, by his impurity he pollutes and contaminates the works which were good. The ideal thing which arises from man is definitely polluted by some stain. Should the Lords therefore bring to judgment the best of human works, he'd indeed behold his own righteousness in them; but he'd also behold man's dishonour and disgrace" (Westminster Confession). Calvin also believed that human nature was tainted and that individuals could do good works but no amount of good works would be adequate to earn salvation. The grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only way for redemption of sin, was Calvin's belief. Calvin greatly believed good works were useful, if done to help our neighbour. Calvin and Luther had mostly the same view of good works and salvation.

Calvin's theology was generally similar and on a single path as Luther's, Calvin was on the same side as Luther for the idea that the authority and ways of life of Christians were to be followed from the Scriptures and this it was not the Church itself that could tell the folks how to proceed, but instead it would be the Scriptures, because everyone could read it them. That they had a Christ centered theology. The Scriptures were to be read as it is rather than to try and find the hidden meanings. They both believed that that Church was born from the Scriptures rather than just how around. Luther and Calvin both denounce the Pope and the churches for the used the money to create and beautify what they had instead of following what Christ really wanted from them, which was to stay in the easiest form and educated others. They both had similar view of justification to god by faith. Luther thought that no good works were enough to reach salvation. Calvin had the theory that there is two group of people; the Elect and the non-Elect, that have been chosen by God to be saved or not. Predestination was an integral idea in Calvin's theology. He believed everything had been planned before even you were born. Luther believed that the state and the church should be separated. The state should have all the power. While on the other hand Calvin believed that the state of hawaii and the church should not be subject to each other and vice versa. Calvin had restore Geneva, "The energy of the sword and other parts of civil jurisdiction that bishops and priests had wrested from the magistrate" (Bouwsma p204) were given back again to the king.

Calvin's ideas and theology has survived in communities in American history. The items which have been kept in notion from his works are to truly have a good work ethic and strong sense of family values. Calvin has influenced many fields like economics, politics, physical sciences and even more. Calvin's religious movement has influenced the financial thinking and behaviour of individuals such as Max Weber, R. H. Tawney and Talcott Parsons. They believed that Calvinistic beliefs and capitalism were connected. They called this "functional fit". Max Weber believes that Calvinism perhaps helped build an "elective affinity" for the introduction of capitalism, while on the other hand Tawny suggested the opposite. He thought that the Calvinist theology was adopted in capitalistic societies because of this theology provided ideological explanations for economics practices that have been considered morally questionable, such as interest in money. Many may think that religion and scientific progress weren't connected or had no relation between them, but some sociologist say that Calvinist had a solid impact for scientific research and development. Calvinism, which originated from John Calvin, was also a changing point for the form of government that's within our society. The American political structure was mostly copied from the British, while the majority of their government ideas had a Calvinistic sense. Calvinism is also to be blamed for causing problems and it is thought that maybe Calvinistic thought contributed to a mindset which caused the Holocaust. Martin Luther perhaps didn't affect as much sectors of life but he was the main one who influenced John Calvin for his works. Luther had a great impact, for he was the first person to make the Bible available to all people. He also influenced Europe to see religious thoughts in a different way and the majority of all, he was responsible for weakening the Church's power.

Both theologies from Luther and Calvin are different and similar. All of them are within the new Protestant paradigm, Luther's theology is with the individual person who is justified by faith, and that such a person, good works naturally flow. Calvin's theology contrasts the glory of God with the depravity of man, and is more skeptical of the ability of the justified man to perform good works. Similarities within Reformation essentials are usually more influential then their differences. Calvin was given the Reforming baton from Luther and his theology was made from Luther's. Both these men were utilized by God to restore the Gospel to His church.

Word count 1300

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