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Martin Luther Vs. John Calvin: Political Authority and Religious Beliefs

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Martin Luther vs. John Calvin: Political Authority and Religious Beliefs

The Protestant Reformation took place during the 1500s. The reformers had new ideas of how the Church should fit into the political and social systems of each region. Most of these new ideas started with a man named Martin Luther. Martin Luther was a German monk. Although there had been a reformation movement significantly prior to Luther, the most common dating of the Protestant Reformation begins in 1517, when Luther published The Ninety-Five Theses. John Calvin was another Protestant reformer, who was influenced by Luther's writings. Martin Luther and John Calvin had similar attitudes toward political authority and religious beliefs, but there are also many factors that boldly differentiate them from one another.

The similarities between Martin Luther and John Calvin are that they were both against indulgences and transubstantiation; they both denounced the Pope and believed that he was not really infallible. Also, they both rejected the doctrine that good deeds were necessary for salvation. Martin Luther was greatly distressed by the sale of indulgences, so it is believed that he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to a church door in Wittenberg. Martin Luther believed that faith alone could help one achieve salvation. John Calvin also opposed the sale of indulgences because he, similar to Luther, also adhered to the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Luther and Calvin also were against transubstantiation. Transubstantiation is the doctrine that the substance of the bread and wine used in the sacrament is miraculously transformed into the body and blood of Jesus, while the appearances of the bread and the wine remain the same. Martin Luther and John Calvin denounced the Pope and believed that he was not infallible. Luther believed in the separation of the Church and the state, so he called on the German princes to overthrow the papacy in Germany and establish a reformed German church. Calvin also denounced the Pope because he agreed that religious authority rested on the Bible not the Pope and believed in a priesthood of all believers. Luther and Calvin both believed that good deeds were not necessary in order to achieve salvation. Although both Martin Luther and John Calvin agreed on these ideas and doctrines, they also had their own beliefs and doctrines toward political authority and religious beliefs.

The differences between Martin Luther and John Calvin's attitudes toward political authority and religious beliefs are predestination, the separation of the Church and state, and other religious beliefs. Martin Luther rejected the idea of predestination; instead he believed that one can retrieve salvation through faith and good acts. He basically believed that what you did throughout your life on Earth would determine whether or not you would receive salvation. Luther also believed that the Church and state should be separate, with the state being more powerful than the Church in secular manners. He did not believe that it was necessary to have a priest interpret the Bible for you, and he rejected the idea of having papal authority. Luther suggested that

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