9.15.11 Significance of Calvin and Luther
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9.15.11 Significance of Calvin and Luther

Course Number: PPE PSCI 181, Fall 2011

College/University: UPenn

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The Political Impact of Luther and Calvin Political Context for the Reformation Charles Vs attempted to impose his Catholicism on all the German States. Charles subordinated German revenue and resources to his primary interests in Spain and Burgandy. The Hapsburgs were repeatedly at war with the Valois dynasty in France between 1521 and 1555. 1532: Peace of Nuremberg allows Protestants to practice within their own...

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Political The Impact of Luther and Calvin Political Context for the Reformation Charles Vs attempted to impose his Catholicism on all the German States. Charles subordinated German revenue and resources to his primary interests in Spain and Burgandy. The Hapsburgs were repeatedly at war with the Valois dynasty in France between 1521 and 1555. 1532: Peace of Nuremberg allows Protestants to practice within their own territories. Martin Luther Timeline 1517: Luthers 95 Theses 1519: Charles V Holy Roman Emperor (1519-1556) 1520: Open Letter to Christian Nobility 1520: Excommunication of Luther 1523: Luthers Temporal Authority 1525: Against the Murderous Thieving Hordes of Peasants THEOLOGICAL ISSUES FOR LUTHER Justification by the Gift of Faith Alone Rejection of good works as a means to salvation predestination and the limitation on free will imposed by sin condemnation of indulgences Primacy of Scriptural Authority Rejection of Catholic Hierarchy in favor of the Church of all believers Background Aristotelian Political Theory (a product of reason alone, one of the practical sciences) 1. Personal freedom is required for the pursuit of the good life. 2. "Justice" requires the opportunity to fulfill human potentials. 3. The state should function to provide the conditions necessary for the good life of its citizens. 4. When tyrants abuse power they must be replaced. 5. Aristotelians stressed appeal to history and pagan philosophers. The Relationship of Church to State: Two Kingdoms Curtis, p. 238: We must divide all the children of Adam into two classes; the first belong to the kingdom of God, the second to the kingdom of the world. 240: For this reason God has ordained the two governments; the spiritual, which by the Holy Spirit under Christ makes Christians and pious people, and the secular, which restrains the unchristian and wicked so that they must needs keep the peace outwardly, even against their will. 245*: But the kingdom of the world is a kingdom of wrath and severity. In it there is only punishment, repression, judgment, and condemnation, for the repressing of the wicked and the protection of the good. nothing else than the servant of Gods wrath upon the wicked, Spiritual Freedom is not Political Freedom Spiritual freedom is relief from the guilt of sin, but does not entail immunity from laws instituted for nonChristians. Curtis, pp. 238-243 If anyone attempted to rule the world by the Gospel, and put aside all secular law and the secular sword, on the plea that all are baptized and Christian, and that according to the Gospel, there is to be among them neither law nor sword, pray, what would happen? He would loose the bands and chains of the wild and savage beasts, and let them tear and mangle every one, Just so would the wicked under the name of Christian abuse this freedom of the Gospel, carry on their knavery, and say that they were Christians subject neither to law nor sword. 1 Justice is Obedience to Secular Authority Social inequality is part of Gods plan Curtis, 245: The words of Scripture that speak of mercy apply to the kingdom of God and to Christians, not to the kingdom of the world, for it is a Christians duty not only to be merciful, but to endure every kind of suffering - robbery, arson, murder, devil and hell. It goes without saying that he is to smite, slay and recompense no one. But the kingdom of the world is nothing else than the servant of Gods wrath upon the wicked, and is a real precursor of hell and everlasting death. It should not be merciful, but strict, severe and wrathful in the fulfillment of its work and duty. Luthers Reaction to Peasant Uprisings Curtis, 246: Now he who would confuse these two kingdoms - as our false fanatics do - would put wrath into Gods kingdom and mercy into the worlds kingdom; and that is the same as putting the devil in heaven and God in hell. Both of these things these sympathizers with the peasants would like to do. First they wanted to go to work with the sword, fight for the Gospel as Christian brethren, and kill other people, when it was these others duty to be merciful and patient. Now that the kingdom of the world has overcome them, they want to have mercy in it; that is to say, they would endure no worldly kingdom, but would not grant Gods kingdom to anyone. Can you imagine anything more perverse? Not so, dear friends! If one has deserved wrath in the the kingdom of the world, let him submit, and either take his punishment, or humbly sue for pardon. The Duty of the Christian Prince Curtis 246: He who would be a Christian prince certainly must lay aside the intention to rule and to use force. For cursed and condemned is every kind of life lived and sought for selfish profit and good; cursed are all works not done in love. Curtis 247: A prince must proceed with fear; he must depend neither upon dead books nor upon living heads, but cling solely to God, pray without ceasing to him, and ask for a right understanding, above all books and masters, wisely to rule his subjects. Review of 16th Century Political Issues for Luther The Relationship of Church to State: the Two Kingdoms Spiritual Freedom is not Political Freedom Justice is passive obedience to secular authority regardless of social inequity; it does not include a right to resist tyrants The Duty of the Christian Prince is to cling solely to God Political Effects of the Lutheran Reformation Encouragement of Absolute Monarchy Removal of Catholic opposition to secular power among German principalities passive civil obedience as a foundation for the divine right of kings John Calvin (1509-1564) 1509: born in Noyon, France 1528: of Master Arts in Paris followed by study of law 1535: exile in Protestant Basel, Switzerland 1536: Institutes of Christian Religion (1st ed) 1560: Institutes of Christian Religion (last ed) 1536: Geneva, Strasbourg, Geneva (1541) Calvinist or Reformed Theology Disagreed with Luther and affirmed only the spiritual presence of Christ in communion General agreement with Luther about predestination 2 More opposed to ceremony than Luther Church and State Curtis 253: Man is under two kinds of government - one spiritual, by which the conscience is formed to piety and the service of God; the other political, by which man is instructed in the duties of humanity and civility, which are to be observed in an intercourse with mankind. Christian Liberty and Political Obligation Curtis 254: This distinction [between the two governments] will prevent what the Gospel inculcates concerning spiritual liberty from being misapplied to political regulations, as though Christians were less subject to the external government of human laws because their consciences have been set at liberty before God, as though their freedom of spirit necessarily exempted them from all carnal servitude. Christian Liberty Curtis 250: Christian liberty includes dismissing all thought of our own works, in reference to justification, we must embrace the Divine mercy alone, and turning our eyes from ourselves, fix them solely on Christ. Curtis 250: Secondly, Christians are liberated from the yoke of the law [and] yield a voluntary obedience to the will of God. Curtis 251: The third part of Christian liberty teaches us that we are bound by no obligation before God respecting external things, which in themselves are indifferent, but that we may indifferently sometimes use and at other times omit them. Curtis 251: Christian liberty is in all its branches a spiritual thing. The Duty of Civil Obedience Curtis 259: The first duty of subjects toward their magistrates is to entertain the most honorable sentiments of their function, which they know to be a jurisdiction delegated to them from God, and on that account to esteem and reverence them as Gods ministers Curtis 259: subjects ought to be induced to submit to princes and governors, not merely from a dread of their power, as persons are accustomed to yield to an armed enemy, who they know will immediately take vengeance upon them if they resist; but because the obedience which is rendered to princes and magistrates is rendered to God. Tyranny as Punishment Curtis 260: those who rule in an unjust and tyrannical manner are raised up by him [God] to punish the inequity of the people The Duty To Correct Tyranny? Curtis 261-262: For though the correction of tyrannical domination is the vengeance of God, we are not, therefore, to conclude that it is committed to us who have received no other command than to obey and suffer.This observation I always apply to private persons. For if there be, in the present day, any magistrates appointed for the protection of the people and the moderation of the power of kings, such as perhaps is now possessed by the three estates in every kingdom when they are assembled; I am so far from prohibiting them, in the discharge of their duty, to oppose the violence or cruelty of kings that I affirm that if they connive at kings in their oppression of their people, such forbearance involves the most nefarious perfidy because they fraudulently betray the liberty of the people, of which they know that they have been appointed protectors by the ordination of God. 3 The Prince as Minister of God Curtis 249: This consideration constitutes true royalty: to acknowledge yourself in the government of your kingdom to be the minister of God. For where the glory of God is not made the end of the government, it is not a legitimate sovereignty, but a usurpation. Curtis 257: civil magistracy is a calling not only holy and legitimate, but far the most sacred and honorable in human life. If magistrates remember that they are the viceregents of God, it behooves them to watch with all care, earnestness, and diligence, that in their administration they may exhibit to men an image, as it were, of the providence, care, goodness, benevolence, and justice of God. And they must constantly bear this in mind that if in all cases he be cursed that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully, a far heavier curse awaits those who act fraudulently in a righteous calling. The Prince as Minister of God Curtis: 258: no government can be happily constituted unless its first object be the promotion of piety, and that all laws are preposterous which neglect the claims of God and merely provide for the interests of men. Therefore, as religion holds the first place among all the philosophers, and as this has always been regarded by the universal consent of all nations, Christian princes and magistrates ought to be ashamed of their indolence if they do not make it the object of their most serious care. Summary of Calvins Political Views Church and State Christian Liberty and Political Obligation The Duty of Civil Obedience Tyranny as Punishment The Duty To Correct Tyranny? only for those so politically appointed The Prince as Minister of God Subsequent Calvinists distinction between Calvin and later Calvinists over active resistance to tyranny theocracy in Geneva Calvinists advocate resistance in Scotland and France. The Council of Trent Met intermittently between 1545-1563 reformed indulgences and obligations of the clergy made Aquinas the central theologian of Catholicism the Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, is authoritative 4
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