CCHI525DB2.docx - Steven Schramm The two great reformers of...

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Steven Schramm The two great reformers of the mid-15 th century were Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli. The Protestant Reformation began when Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg Castle. This was not an act of rebellion, but of a dutiful son of mother church. [1] Luther’s reform was founded on the righteousness of God and the words of the apostle Paul found in the book of Romans. “For in the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed-a righteousness that is by faith first to last, just as it is written: “the righteous will live by faith” (Rom 1:17). [2] This Protestant doctrine was defined as justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers and in the ultimate authority of Scripture. This made a distinction between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestants, who saw exclusive justification only through the righteousness of Christ. [3] Luther took particular issue with the Catholic Church and their stance on indulgences and the sacrament of penance. The controversy heated up when Johan Tetzel came to Germany selling indulgences and using the sales pitch of “Once a coin into the coffer clings, a soul from Purgatory Springs.” [4] It was this attitude of the church that claimed, Christ had paid the price for eternal sins, but the temporal punishment still required a payment that only the Catholic Church could provide, that Luther was so disgusted by. The church stated that there were seven sacraments, but Luther would only uphold two of them, the sacrament of Baptism and the Lord’s supper. [5] The second great reformer, was Ulrich Zwingli a Swiss patriot who had served as a military chaplain and had a reputation for preaching from the Scriptures instead of the traditional lectionary series. Like Luther, Zwingli was outraged by the exploitation of the church in requiring the selling of indulgences and absolution found only in the hands of the priests and bishops. [6] Unlike Luther, Zwingli saw a Reformation not only as a theological issue but also a political issue. He believed that for true Reformation to occur it would require a beneficial relationship between the church and the government. One of Zwingli’s

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