Biography of Martin Luther | German theologian began the religious revolution that would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

With the disclosure in his 95 theses in 1517, German theologian began the religious revolution that would lead to the Protestant Reformation.
According to that is shared or not its doctrine, Lutero is an apostle or as at least a Prophet for some, and for others a renegade heretic. Destroyer of a myriad of things, this man of intense and energetic conviction represents, with its conception of man as an individual isolated from God, history and the world, one of the pillars on which rests the modern age. Initiator of the reform (period of two centuries of the history of Christianity in European wide impact, origin of the Protestant churches and the Counter-Reformation), rejected the authority of the Pope and weakened the power of the Church. The abolition of the purgatory where souls were released with masses, the rejection of the doctrine of indulgences, which reduces significantly the income of the Pope, and, above all, the doctrine of predestination, which frees the soul from the action of the clerics after the death (to which must be added the recognition of all Protestant Prince as head of the Church in your country) they are obligated to submit the reform as a great revolution in the less civilized nations intellectual domination of Rome.

Martin Luther
Martín Luder was born on the night of 10 to the 11 February 1483 in Eisleben in Thuringia, dependent of the electorate of Saxony region. Time and newly conquered the title of doctor, Martin change the surname by the Luther Luder, deriving it from Lauter, which means "clear, limpid, pure" in old high German. He was the eldest of the nine children of Hans Luder, Miner, son of peasants and good Catholic, and Margarethe Ziegler, hardworking, very pious and devout woman, who instilled in his son a piety so grim that left a deep sadness in his soul. Both parents were very severe and poor family.
To the birth year of the engaged father in exploitation of copper mines of Mansfeld and the situation of the family, precarious in the extreme, improved a little, without being in any way buoyant. In Mansfeld Lutero received many of the beatings which parents beat him, even if, in the opinion of the own Luther, "always wanted my good; «your intentions for me always were good, they came from the bottom of his heart ". We know from your letters that he was often subjected to cruel punishments, as once his father hit him so violently that the young man fled from home and took a long time to forgive him in his heart, or on another occasion in which his mother beat him until he bleed by having eaten a nut without permission.
The harsh treatment he underwent him would make him, according to his friends, become a sullen and distrustful. School, from the age of six, did not treat it better. Also from the master received lashes, fifteen in a day, according to tell later, since «our teachers were with us as executioners burglar». Fourteen Mansfeld by Magdeburg he left to study at the Latin school, and a year later he left Magdeburg and moved to Eisenach to maternal grandparents. There, in his "beloved city", received solid instruction from a master poet named Hans Treborio, who had replaced the whip by good manners.
July 17, 1501 he enrolled in the Faculty of philosophy of the University of Erfurt, bucking for the first time his father, who wanted to make him study law. On 29 September the following year graduated as Bachelor, first degree of the University, with the number thirty of a promotion of fifty-seven names. At the age of twenty-two he was proclaimed master of philosophy. This time it was the second of seventeen and his father admired to the superiority of their offspring, stopped tutear it. From that moment the young master would be devoted with dedication to the study of Theology and passion to Holy Scripture.
On July 2, 1505 Martín Luther moved mansfeld to Erfurt to see his family. Half way a beam fell at his feet. The young man, who was extremely nervous and very sensitive, was at the gates of death, was terrified and invoked the patron saint of the miners: "save me, dear santa Ana, and do I monk», exclaimed. Then he envisaged in the sky a fantastic figure, which by the excitement of the moment was not able to identify. It was the first of the visions that would have throughout his life, in places more implausible and sometimes inadequate. Fifteen days later arose in the Erfurt Augustinian convent to fulfill his promise--a decision that angered his father returned to tutear it in such a way. Without parental consent, as she entered the convent. The first novice with the name of Augustine, took final vows and was ordained as a priest at the age of twenty-four.

Luther in Augustinian monk's habit
In order to study theology and to take up a Chair in one of the many German universities governed by the Augustinians, in 1508 his friend and spiritual adviser Johan von Stanpitz, then vicar general of the Augustinians, sent him to the University of Wittenberg to study a course on the Aristotelian ethics. Lutero graduated as Baccalaureus Biblicus, which granted him the right to practice biblical exegesis publicly in 1509. Young teacher at the newly created University of Wittenberg, would soon give samples of great intemperance and daring in its manifestations, at the time that was urged in its intimacy by serious scruples of conscience and devastating temptations.
The forging of a thought
By that time, an old Augustinian Friar recommended consoling reading of St. Paul, in whose study avidly fought to deduce from it the first seeds of his dramatic dissent with religious orthodoxy. In the Epistle to the Romans St. Paul found answer to their troubles on Salvation, understanding that man is justified by God's grace, generously granted by the creator with independence of their own works. Paradoxically is in that little reassuring idea that only faith and not the merits save, individualistic doctrine that condemns the man, in a way, to a mere solitude, where Martín Luther found a certain peace and spiritual certainty that will move you to an irreducible rant with the Vatican, to temper his turbulent character in a perennial battle and found the new Protestant doctrine. His teachings called well soon care. He also began to preach; his eloquence drew crowds and the consideration being the first preacher of the time better. "I didn't have great voices - I would say one of his listeners, but his voice was thin and pure both in song and Word."
In 1510, Lutero took a trip to Rome in the company of another Augustinian to present to the general of his order certain complaints about strict observance of monastic rule. The result and the impressions of the trip might not be most harmful for the restless and rebellious soul of Luther. The immediate consequence was the create on it a definite aversion to Rome, the atmosphere of corruption and relaxation of the Roman clergy, the decline that had fallen around the Vatican and excessive pomp and wealth that the Holy See, held with prelates and popes more considerate in the material aspects of the spiritual. Counteracted by the spectacle, Lutero became acidamente critic about the spectacle of degradation that prevailed in the city of the Popes and less affection attached obligations to its State.
Back to Wittenberg, he gained his doctorate in theology October 18, 1512, although in his work shows enormous detachment that felt by the philosophy and Scholastic theology prevailing in his time. Hardly he became interested by the great thinkers of the 13th century (Tomás de Aquino, Buenaventura or Escoto), although he explored with passionate intensity the Bible and some writings of Saint Augustine. Also, named very in spite of him, subprior of the convent of Wittenberg, Lutero began to teach at the University in which they played and studied the Scriptures, with special interest the Pauline work. At that time it was shaping and polishing what would be its cornerstone theological, justification by faith, according to which the Christian could save not by their own efforts or merits, but for the gift of the grace of God, accepted only by faith in Christ the Savior.
Luther also came to another conclusion just as important and crucial for the future of his reform: you had to submit completely to the Holy Scriptures, and reject any other interpretation coming from abroad. The Gospels had been directly inspired by God; any interpretation could be reliable itself. Suspicious of the authority of the Pope as Supreme Head of the Church and as infallible person was the next step, Lutero gave immediately. It was then when transformed his surname and began to think of itself as the ' man of Providence called to enlighten the Church with a great glow». By the time he had little influence. It was only, at age thirty-four, an eloquent and famous Professor of the University of Wittenberg occupying important positions both in the convent within the order; but he felt personally responsible for the Saxon faith.

Sale of indulgences
In those years it was appointed vicar of his district, which meant the direction of eleven convents, which had compounded their lessons in University and Government, economic management and the spiritual direction of his monastery in Wittenberg. Overwhelmed working, even visit in two days all the convents which were under his iron rule, staying in one of them barely an hour. I slept just five hours on a hard stage, although I enjoyed the pleasures of the table with the same immoderation that characterized him throughout his life. Sometimes locked in his cell to pray seven times the trades and supplement thereby neglect that was incurred during the week, beset by their occupations.

The rebellion of indulgences

Meanwhile Pope León X, embarked on the construction of the basilica of San Pedro in Rome, enthusiastically promoted the sale of indulgences. Luther, who had already begun to present their personal ideas about the fundamentals of the faith, won in his speeches against that practice. Scandalized by what he considered a poisoning and spiritual swindle of the ordinary people, he tried to put on notice to the German church authorities, but, faced with the most absolute silence at all levels, he decided to act on their own.

The ninety-five theses
Inspired obsessively for a few words of St. Augustine ("what the law demands, gets it the faith"), wrote his famous ninety-five theses against the sale of indulgences that nailed with determination on the most visible site of the city, in front of the portico of the Church of all Saints in Wittenberg, October 31, 1517. Incendiary theses, replete with diatribes and direct attacks on the Church of Rome and the Pope, were first written in latin, to, soon, be translated into German and reproduced by the press, at the same time are spread with extraordinary speed through the work of the students.
It was a declaration of war that Rome could not stop without response. The resonance of the event was huge to Luther, from the pulpit and the classroom, tried in vain soften the situation that had been created by appealing to an accepted traditional doctrine in the Church, according to which accepted is the invalidity of indulgences to save souls, since this prerogative only racing God. The Dominicans, responsible for the Inquisition, denounced Luther to Rome, so it was ordered, the following year, to arise in the eternal city to answer the charges that were made against. Luther was a great cunning and managed to involve the political power in the dispute asking the Prince Federico el Sabio, elector of Saxony, to intercede with the Pope to get the judgment against taking place on German soil, as it happened.

Pope León X
In the month of October 1518, Lutero went to the city of Augsburg to discuss their stance with the Pontifical legacy Cayetano de Vio, who had in his possession a brief from Pope León X for which Lutero should retract publicly his serious mistakes or, otherwise, be arrested carried to Rome. Under the political protection of Prince Frederick, Lutero extended its discussion with the papal legacy four days without that nowhere sagged in their respective positions. And not only not retreated, they starred in a screaming fight with the cardinal. The cardinal would assert: «do not want more dealings with that animal. It has eyes that fulminan and some reasoning that puzzle." Luther toughened his stance saying that the infallibility of the scriptures were above the of the Pontiff. Although the final rupture still not occurred, Lutero thereafter adopted an attitude of intransigence that was not reduced to mere rejection of indulgences, but it meant something much more serious: the direct contempt of papal authority.
After leaving unscathed from Augsburg, Lutero sent broadcast an appeal under the title Pope misinformed the Pope better informed, which appealed to a Council presided over by the Pope to express their reformist ideas. From his safe retreat of Wittenberg, Lutero managed to gather a kind of lower in the Leipzig City Council, held from June 27 to July 16, 1519, in which Lutero said that although the desired Council did not give the reason, not is it retractaría, I was subjected to the only legitimate authority of Holy Scripture.
León X response was swift. On June 15, 1520, the Pope commanded Luther the bull Exsurge Domine that provoked it last to retract under the penalty of excommunication. Luther, after an attempt at wasteland by ask the Pontiff to this celebrated the long-awaited Council, on 10 December of the same year solemnly burned the bull along with a copy of the Corpus Iuris Canonici in the presence of students and citizens of Wittenberg, and replied to the Pope with the libel against the execrable Bull of Antichrist. With such an Act, Lutero symbolically expressed its complete break with the Church of Rome.

Luther burns the papal bull
On January 3, 1521, León X wrote the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, why Lutero was definitively excommunicated. According to the ecclesiastical law, ecclesiastical excommunication should be executed by the secular arm, a task that fell on the newly elected Emperor, Carlos V of Germany and I of Spain. The emperor took advantage of the meeting of the courts in the city of Worms, in April 1521, to quote Martin Luther, where intimidated you to make it retract, but the wayward Augustinian monk followed stubborn in his heterodoxy, and faced all the Imperial and ecclesiastical dignitaries gathered there against him, totally convinced that awaited him the same fate as Jan Hus.
Carlos V, pressed by the unstable political situation in Germany and by the heretical monk, had already acquired fame and predicament limited to prohibit the practice of the new faith and declaring outlaws to Luther and his followers. Efforts were then made to change opinion Luther resulted useless. On 26 May, Carlos V signed the edict of Worms; It ratified the penalty of banishment for Luther and ordered the burning of all his writings.

Luther at the diet of Worms
Precisely, the year prior to the sentencing, Luther had brought to light, in German and aided by the powerful propaganda machine turned out to be the press, his three fundamental works: freedom of Christianity, no doubt his work better elaborate and written, in which clearly outlined the pillar on which was based the new religion, salvation by faith in Christ; Appeal to the German nation Christian Nobility, in which invited the nobility to assume its role as protector of the people and join the cause of Lutheran, in addition to instituting the three basic Evangelical principles of Protestantism (universal priesthood, intelligibility of the Sacred Scriptures and responsibility of all the faithful in the Church Government); and, finally, the Babylonian Church captivity, work for theologians in the process of perversion that had reached the sacraments, that, according to him, only had to survive two, baptism and the supper (discarding the transubstantiation) which analyzed rigorously. With these three works, Lutero set out his line of battle at the same time that laid the first foundations of a future Evangelical Church.
To protect Luther, Federico, the wise faked her kidnapping and illegally hid him in Wartburg Castle, in Thuringia, where the exmonje found the peace and atmosphere of retreat to surrender fully to a fruitful literary activity. Luther wrote numerous letters continued with several Psalms, wrote ecclesiastical glosses, wrote a piece dedicated to the confession, another on the monastic vows and many more. And, in addition, in the little year that remained at Wartburg (from may 1521 until March 1522 year), Lutero carried out his literary production more important and significant for the final implementation of the new faith: based on the Greek text published in 1516 by Erasmo de Rotterdam, translated the New Testament into German. The edition would be called the "Bible of September" by having released that month, and put at the disposal of the German people their version of the quintessential sacred text. The work would be such a success that in December had to print many more copies. Twelve years later, in 1534, he would end his project by publishing his version of the old testament, translated from Hebrew.

Wars and weddings

Disorders arising in Wittenberg by his more radical followers, who had begun to take drastic measures in liturgical matters, such as the abolition of the celebration of the mass, forced Luther to leave their gentle removal of Wartburg and return to Wittenberg, where he returned to take the reins with prudence and moderation, without panicking, but with determination. Luther was in command in the Organization of new Evangelical communities were emerging everywhere across Germany. From Wittenberg, Lutero opened another front in the fight against the nobility and especially farmers social and national liberation movements. The first did not let pressure to Lutero constituted a German national church, while the seconds, encouraged by the free interpretation of the Scriptures advocated by Luther, sought support to alleviate the conditions of misery and subjugation in which they lived. Their positions became radicalized into a political issue which dragged the own Luther.
The peasant wars (1524-1526), led by a former Lutheran pastor, Thomas Müntzer (founder of the sect of the Anabaptists), were the climax of the situation of tension which had introduced the reform undertaken by Luther in Germany. During the course of the bloody war of the peasants against their Lords, Lutero failed in their attempts to appease the spirits with his pen. Although ultimately it supported a large number of their demands, when the peasants resorted to violence against the population as a whole, Lutero did not hesitate a moment appeal to Lords so that they withheld the order established with weapons, which gave coverage to a bloody peasant repression as he had ever seen in Germany. The conflict, which resulted in a genuine indiscriminate killing, played down popularity Luther between the most deprived masses, but at least saved to reform one more than safe disintegration.
In 1525, in the Germany devastated by the peasants war, Luther strove to demonstrate the involuntary servitude and wrote De servo arbitrio (of enslaved will), as a rebuttal to the defense of free will of Erasmus in his work of free will. It was also the year that chose to get married. Some nuns escaping from the convent of Nimchen Laz Grimma had reached Wittenberg in 1523. One of them, Katharina of Bora, of twenty-six, became Lady of Luther, in his Kate. Wedding provoked a vivid condemnation, not so much the Act itself by carried out in moments of great desolation and death. However, the marriage would be a success. Katharina of Bora, sixteen years younger than Lutero, belonged to the nobility and was a sensible and intelligent woman who softened the exalted character of her husband and lived with him in perfect harmony.

Katharina of Bora
After their wedding the elector of Saxony gave the former convent of the Augustinians at Wittenberg, where the laborious Katharina established a Board of students to alleviate to some extent their economic hardships. The students had the privilege of sharing the table with Martin Luther, who condescendía to answer your questions, after the collation of as a result of which was born the book sayings of desktop. In the convent of Wittenberg, become family, were born one after the other six children, who survived four: Hans, Magdalena, Martin and Paulus, filled with joy to the preacher. Doctrinally, none of this should surprise; a few years before, Lutero had given birth his Opinion about the monastic orderswork, a vibrant exhortation to monks and nuns that break their vows of chastity, recommendation which was very well received, to the extent that not a few Augustinian religious of both sexes pledged in joints from orthodoxy as sacrilegious.

The consolidation of the reform

The young Luther, of medium stature, who had been "so skinny and tired body which was you could count the bones', was getting fatter with age and the new State. Her love of good food, and especially beer, which replaced the water (it was convinced that the water of Wittenberg was mortal), become you a man massive and heavy, although he remained as lively as ever. It was accentuated in the aggressive vulgarity that always made gala and employed increasingly rough and rude words. It continued to be irritable; barely managed to control his angry, violent character. "I can not dominate me and would like to dominate the world," he said of himself.
The new Church, officiating the mass in the vernacular, had since 1529 his catechism written by Luther (Großer Katechismus and Kleiner Katechismus, the large catechism and the small catechism), its own clergy and a large number of faithful. The influence of the Reformation had spread North and East of Europe, and its prestige helped make Wittenberg an intellectual center of the first order. The Defense so turned on that it made the independence of Governments with respect to the ecclesiastical power earned him the unconditional support of many princes, to the point that from those moments the reform became more a matter of Kings that churchmen, just one of the things that Lutero was proposed from the outset.

Luther in a portrait of Cranach the elder (c. 1526)
To forbid attendance at the diet of Augsburg in 1530, Lutero delegated reformist defense being excommunicated and unable to speak to the Emperor, in the person of his collaborator wanted and more prepared, the humanist Philipp Melanchthon, who presented the Augsburg Confession, the attendees text drawn up under the supervision of Luther who exposed the profession of Protestant faith and twenty-eight points of final discrepancy with Catholicism. Two years later, the Emperor Carlos V, beset by fighting had been holding with the Turks in the Mediterranean, had no choice but to compromise with Lutheranism by signing the peace of Nuremberg, which established the freedom to exercise freely and publicly the new cult in German territory.
When in 1536, the Pope Paul III decided to convene, belatedly, the Council of Trent, Luther, ensoberbecido and exalted, was made futile by claiming the irreversible removal of both positions. To strengthen even more a stance so uncompromising and dissident, Lutero published the Schmalkaldic articles, which exhibited all the differences that had caused the separation of both churches. It placed special emphasis on the celebration of the mass (abominable and superfluous) for it and in the role of the Pope as the sole responsible for the dire state that had become the Christian Church.
To 1537, the health of Luther began to shatter so progressive and alarming for its followers. The reformer aged and his mood turned surly. I suffered migraines, buzzes of ear and painful kidney stones, but refused to follow the advice of your doctor moderate his fondness for food and drink. The death of their daughter Madeleine, in December 1542, further darkened their mood. At the beginning of 1543 wrote: «as I can write not read. I am weak and tired of living". They were moments painful for Luther, suffering from a painful lesion in coronary artery and deep depressions caused by the resurgence of the Papacy, the attempt of the Jews by reopening the question of the messiahship of Jesus and new regrowth of the more radical reformist faction, that of the Anabaptists.
But precisely because of this the luxury of withdrawing could not afford, and continued its intense activity to death. He found forces to publish in 1545 the famous Reform of Wittenberg, which was a smooth exhibition of the new doctrine. A few months later it would react violently to the spread of the rumor of his death, which he attributed to the welches (Italian and French) and denied by his lies the welches on the death of the doctor Luther. And in 1545, on the eve of his death, he published one of its most violent pamphlets on the occasion of the dispute in the Council of Trent between the Emperor and the Pope: on the papacy of Rome founded by the devil. Causticity of such fierce attack on the papacy gained still greater relief thanks to the famous and grotesque caricatures of the Pope made by Lucas Cranach the elder to illustrate the publication.
The 22 of January 1546, sick and tired, the reformer elder turned to Eisleben, his hometown. It should act as arbitrator in the dispute raised between two brothers, Albretcht and Gebhard, counts of Mansfeld, with regard to the income of some mines. The Saxon winter is cold and hard, and Lutero had overestimated their strength. On 18 February, at three in the morning, almost suddenly, he died. The two doctors who attended him just they had time to do something and never came to an agreement on the cause of death: an attack of apoplexy, according to one; one pulmonary angina, according to another; Although it could equally have been anything else.
His remains were moved to Wittenberg in a coffin of Tin, and the passage of the convoy sounded the funeral bells touch. He was buried on 22 February in the Church of all saints, under the pulpit. A year after his death, the Emperor Carlos V entered the city after the victory over the Protestants at Mühlberg, and forcing the wife of the Elector of Saxony to give the plaza in Exchange for the life of her husband made prisoner. In those circumstances, the Duke of Alba, little friend of punches, he suggested to the Emperor dig up the corpse of Luther, incinerate and throwing ashes, but Carlos not agreed to do so, arguing that he was doing the war against the living and not the dead. It had truly been useless; After his death, his reform would extend the world leaps, into thousands of homes and shaping the way of thinking, feeling, and living of millions of beings.

Chronology of Martin Luther

1483Born in Eisleben in Thuringia.
1501Enrolling in the Faculty of philosophy of the University of Erfurt.
1505He entered the convent of the Augustinians of Erfurt.
1507Ordered priest.
1509He graduated as Baccalaureus Biblicus.
1510Trip to Rome.
1512He is PhD in theology at the University of Wittenberg. It assumes the Chair of Biblical theology, which will retain until his death.
1517He hangs his ninety-five theses against the sale of indulgences on the door of the Church of all the saints of Wittenberg.
1518He refuses to retract before Pontifical legacy Vio Cayetano.
1519Reject the infallibility of the Pope and ecumenical councils.
1520Pope León X warns him for the last time to recant. Luther publicly burns the papal bull and reaffirms with libel against the execrable Bull of Antichrist. Consolidates his unorthodox thinking in three capital works: on the freedom of the Christian, Christian of German nation nobility and prelude to the captivity of Babylon.
1521He is excommunicated by Pope Leon X. appear before the Emperor Carlos V in Worms, front which maintains its position. It takes refuge in the castle of Wartburg, under the protection of Federico, the wise.
1522It publishes its translation into German of the New Testament. Return to Wittenberg.
1524-26Peasant wars. Indiscriminate violence, Lutero ends up taking sides by the nobility.
1525He left monastic life and married Katharina of Bora. He published De servo arbitrio (of enslaved will). He is set to the Wittenberg Augustinian convent.
1529It publishes Grosser Katechismus and Kleiner Katechismus (the great and the small catechism).
1530Published the Confession of Augsburg, considered to be the founding act of the Lutheran Church.
1534It publishes its translation into German of the old testament.
1537It starts to deteriorate their health.
1542Death of their daughter Madeleine.
1545It publishes the reform wittenberguesa, exhibition of their doctrines. Launches its latest libel against the Holy See: about the papacy of Rome founded by the devil.
1546Dies in Eisleben.

Martin Luther and the Reformation

Rupture of Christianity

With the name of reform is designated the religious movement initiated by Martín Luther that would lead to Protestantism. The religious division of the continent that took the reform started in 1520, when the German monk Martín Luther was excommunicated by Pope León X for his fierce criticism of the religious policy of the popes, converted to merchants of paradise and salvation by good price; three years earlier, the own Luther had hung his tirade (famous ninety -five theses) at the gates of the Church in Wittenberg. This apparently banal event was the trigger for a long process of rupture. A few months later, at the diet of Worms (1521), the refusal of Luther to recant before Emperor Carlos V, converted into a defender of Catholic orthodoxy, was also his political ban of the Empire. The interests of some German princes to curb the rise of the Habsburg absolutism and its growing desire to take the lands of the monasteries did the rest.

Luther before the diet of Worms
Between 1521 and 1525, the reform would live his heroic moments, of open opposition to Rome and their symbols. The message of emancipation went on to be interpreted freely, overflowing with more than the framework from the Lutheran doctrines. An extreme example of this is the war of the peasants led by Thomas Müntzer (1491-1525). In fact, the end of this conflict, which ended with the execution of rebels, marks a turning point in the Lutheran reformation. From this moment, you will notice a more conservative orientation: in religious matters, slowing innovation and free interpretations of some disciples; in the social sphere, preaching the submission to the authorities established (as in the case of the own peasant revolutions, strongly condemned by Luther); in matters ecclesiastical, paying greater attention to the organizational aspects of the new Church. Finally, in this period came total rupture of Luther with humanists as Erasmo de Rotterdam, because of doctrinal differences on the subject of predestination.
From 1527 the Lutheran reformation spread, coexisting with other versions of the doctrine reformed as Ulrico Zwinglio in Zurich or Bucero Martin (1491-1551) in Strasbourg. Zwingli, architect of the reform in the Swiss city, was the son of peasants, clergyman humanist, Plato admirer and connoisseur of Erasmus. Zwingli began a process of personal renewal which led him to adopt some doctrinal positions close to the Luther. Being a preacher in Zurich, fought from 1521 for his city and the Confederated cantons add their ideas, which succeeded in 1523: the mass in latin was abolished, withdrew the images of churches and convents were seculated.

Ulrich Zwingli
Basel, on the other hand, was in these years a Center humanist of singular importance. Johannes Ecolampadio (1482-1531) there preached the doctrines of zwinglianas from 1523, and four years later the city was incorporated into the reform. The triumph of reform in Strasbourg from 1529 was due to Cape o' Tbelly (1478-1521) and, above all, Bucero Martin. The reform zwingliana version became widespread by the cities of Switzerland and southern Germany, while in the North remained true to the primitive Lutheran message. One and another model presented theological and liturgical important differences, being perhaps the fundamental to the Eucharist. Zwingli denied the real presence of Christ in it, making the sacrament in a simple symbolic ceremony. In this way, opened a fissure in the bosom of the reformed doctrines.
Attempts to curb the relative tolerance, followed by Carlos V after the first diet of Speyer (1526) were answered by the German princes assembled again in that city in 1529. Princes and reformed cities protested (hence since you knew them as "Protestant") against the will of the imperial to the situation of 1520. Failed attempts to reach an understanding on the diet of Augsburg in 1530, giving way to the armed conflict.
The fight against the German princes reformed, United in the Schmalkaldic League (1531) by Federico de Hesse, had ups and downs due to aid those receiving powers like France or England, opposing political hegemony to the Habsburgs tried to impose on Europe. Despite the victory of Carlos V of Mühlberg (1547), the armies of Maurice of Saxony (1521-1553) defeated Imperials in Innsbruck (1552). This defeat, in addition to the abdication of the Emperor in favor of his brother Fernando and his son Philip, who would become effective between 1555 and 1556, precipitated the so-called peace of Augsburg (1555), which meant the renunciation of religious unity in Germany and the end of a single Christendom ideals defended by Carlos V.

Carlos V
In the 1550's the religious rift had been defined, although not conclusively. Spain, Italy, much of southern Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Poland and Lithuania remained Catholic, although the last four had accepted the presence of Calvinist minority. Much of Northern Germany was Lutheran, like Denmark and Sweden. The Swiss cantons were partly Catholic, but Geneva appeared as a centre of Calvinism. England, after many hesitations, it became a Protestant country with a State sign Calvinist Church. Russia kept their Orthodox faith. Arose for new sects, such as the Anabaptists, who dissented in both Catholic and Protestant, and that, by its opposition to every principle of authority, would be pursued by one and another. The Catholic response, sponsored by the Emperor Carlos V, was the call by Pope Paul III of the Council of Trent (1545-1563).
The break would end up generating confusion and violence. In France, the conversion to Calvinism in certain social sectors in the 1560 decade added an ideological tint to the rivalry that exists between the great territorial magnates (the guise, the count, the Bourbons) in a time of weakness of the central Government. During the civil wars that tore apart the country intermittently between 1562 and 1593, France ran a serious risk of confessional fragmentation. Also in the Netherlands, from the Decade of 1560, the religious interests were confused with the politicians. Thus began a rebellion that would last over eighty years.

Causes and effects of the reform

The root causes of religious unrest had their roots in the historical development of the European Renaissance. The political crisis of the late medieval church and the Western schism (1378-1417) originated a spiritual emptiness and the increasing commodification of religious practices. Many humanists denounced the low moral level of clergy, poor preparation, the primacy of earthly interests on the spiritual and, in particular, the sale of indulgences with which could be a reduction in the penalties in purgatory.
The longings of regeneration of the religious customs and the search for a more intense spiritual life and staff were making its way into religious and secular circles as the of the brothers of the life common, a group close to what was called the modern devotio. Many in the Netherlands and Rhineland, and influential due to their schools (Erasmus and Luther attended them) and to his books - particularly the Imitation of Christ (1418), attributed to Tomás de Kempis (1380-1471)-, they do not openly challenged the orthodoxy, but that they expressed their implicit criticism, irrespective of many rituals and precepts that were considered superfluous and defending a subjective and ascetic piety based on personal and direct reading of the Bible. Advocated by the humanist textual criticism came to his aid, showing that, apart from baptism and the Eucharist, present in the Gospels, the rear building of the sacraments (confirmation, marriage, confession, penance, extreme unction, ordination) was artificial and was called to crumble, and with it the need of a priestly caste that kept it standing: the ecclesiastical hierarchy whole, from the Pope to the last Franciscan It was unnecessary.
At the political level, there where the Reformation triumphed took place a process of consolidation of the established power. The break with the papacy released the rulers of their dependency on an institution that proclaimed the superiority of its spiritual power over any other earthly power. In addition, excision of the ancient ecclesiastical institutions and the Secularization of property, along with the Lutheran principle that attributed to political power the Organization of their own churches, favoured an extension of the scope of competences of the civil power: the pastor became officer of the Prince. The thesis of the universal priesthood did not involve the disappearance of pastoral ministry, but the professionalization of the church leaders from a complete redefinition of their social status and their functions. The fundamental task of the pastor was now preaching the doctrine, and the sermon became a linchpin of a mass whose liturgy is simplified and at the same time enriched with new elements such as the songs, using vulgar language as a vehicle of communication.
The reform also had significant social implications. The reformed doctrines, the emphasis on individual salvation, structured pious practices around the domestic worship. The families were in parishes in which the pastor exerted a toned-down "clericatura", a discipline and control task. The first collective practice was Sunday worship. Private confession to the ear has been replaced by a public confession read by pastor, who also offered a general absolution. The Eucharist was celebrated four times a year. The rites associated with the existence of the parishioner (baptism, marriage and funerals) lost all its symbolic charge.

Lutheran theology

The term reform, because of its softness, can lead to confusion: the reform was not a transition or a series of scheduled updates, but a religious revolution with aspects and political effects; Reform broke the unity of the Western Church, produced new ecclesiastical forms, and opened a new epoch in the history of Christian spirituality. However, the word reform corresponds to the idea that had its promoters not to be the founders of a new religion, but, in a time in which all of the germs of the modern age, were present to restore ancient Christianity. While it is the resulting trends, aspirations and impatience widely disseminated in Europe in the early 16th century, reform receives a unmistakable effect of personality of Luther.
The formation of Luther explains some of their subsequent attitudes. Son of a miner, he studied with the brothers of the common life in a demanding spiritual atmosphere. Destined to become a jurist by his father will, he decided however entering the rigorous order of the hermits of St. Augustine (1505). His brilliant religious and university career at Wittenberg hidden, according to the historian Lucien Febvre, a deep personal concern: "what cares 1505 to 1515 Luther is not the reform of the Church." It is the soul of Luther, Luther, salvation of Luther. Only that." After long thoughts, theological solution found in the Epistles of Paul: justification by faith.

Martin Luther
Justification by faith is based on the thinking of Martin Luther, rejecting the idea that the works can contribute to that man reach salvation. What makes revolutionary Lutheran thought is the radical nature of their formulation and coherence of its development, which leads to a systematic denial, in the name of God, the fundamental Catholic teachings and the Church as an institution. Indeed, if only faith justifies, is unnecessary all priestly ministry, with exclusive powers to administer the sacraments, of intermediary between God and man. Luther only accepted as truly instituted by Jesus Christ the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. The revelation was contained only in the Bible, and every Christian illuminated by the Holy Spirit was able to interpret it freely. This idea, which expressly rejected the tradition of the Church, led to the publication of numerous Bibles without comments or annotations. The reformed doctrines were synthesized in the slogan Sola fide, single gratia, single scriptura (only faith, grace and writings).
Luther summed up in another conflict of ecclesiastical culture in the low middle ages. No direct contact, at the beginning, with humanism; but their philosophical and theological formation is perfect with the "via modern" Occam Guillermo: a critical philosophy, not without analogies with the Kantian, in which the unity of faith and reason is destroyed and the metaphysical speculation is suspended. God is involved in a huge mystery, which leaves reveal themselves only to the extent that you want to do it, in the historical revelation. God, who is beyond any concept of good or evil, nevertheless obliges man a discipline; following it with your best will, man may and must legitimately presume that it is pleasant.
Effort to be pleasing to this unfathomable God, carried out with an undeniable seriousness and a live feeling of the absolute, leads to Luther to the paradoxical conclusion that man cannot ever estimate is positively worthy of grace, and that its only merit before God is to recognize radically sinner, accusing without mercy before God and endorsing its damning verdict. To a such unconditional charge of itself, God answers with a no less wholehearted acquittal. These thoughts Lutero receive support from the Mystic Germanic influence, although not its neoplatonic hedge fund it assimilates (by their premises critical occamistas). The desire to clear his "Theology of the cross" as a doctrine of absolute inner penance on the penitential practice of the Church (indulgences) leads to Luther to the proclamation of the ninety-five theses (1517) and the religious revolution.
The spirituality of the reform reflects the complex and sometimes antithetical demands of the Lutheran experience. On the one hand the intimate design of penance, and in general of the religious life, puts the man directly in relation to Dios and to devaluing intrinsically meritorious works, it is natural that the Church, as dispenser of grace, is private motivation and is abandoned; on the other hand, critical, antirracionalista attitude and an anatomist who characterized Luther is opposed intellectualism and trust in the person who contributed the humanism.

Luther in a portrait of Cranach the elder (1521)
The Church, as custody of the revelation, as warrantor sacramental grace, is indispensable in their spirituality, and Lutero rebuilt it after having refused; but rebuild it as a pure spiritual body, abandoning its legal and administrative aspects to the authority of the German princes, which, in the thought of Luther, administer the Church, not insofar as they are the State, but in that they are also "prominent members" of the Church, vested with by its position, special responsibilities.
The same antithesis full complexity is all the Lutheran concept of life. If Luther abandoned the monastic state (not willingly, to tell the truth, but forced by circumstances) and if he fights as the quintessence of the "meritorious works", with a violent polemic to injustice, not Lutero asserts the possibility of a joyful human living. All over the world for Luther lies in evil, and Sin is insinuated everywhere, from the subtle form of vanity and love himself up to the highest expressions of morality.
On the other hand, precisely because the world is evil, and in no way it is possible to create in him an island of perfection, the world is accepted as it is: as a field of battle, of moral fitness as a cross at times, complying with fidelity (relative and always questionable) duties from the point of view of all that human life is composed , and which, fulfilled religious-minded, as duties dictated by God to man in his particular situation, take a value of "vocation".
Life unfolds as well in two parallel lines: the life of faith, in its interiority and purity, and the life of the world, with its sinful relativity. Christian man, in its specificity, belongs to the one and the other, taking their faith a higher demand, a source control, and at the same time of diversion of the problematic reality in which he lives; in this reality, it is the concrete conditions for exercise, ascetic in the background and perhaps suffering, their faith. But the life lived in faith does not prevent the world "world", unsurpassed sinfulness, and Christian faithfulness in the service of the world not can never settle in the Bill Pro man in the eternal balance: the only reason for subsistence of man before God is always free and unmerited forgiveness.

Luther leads a prayer in the Castle
Wartburg (Hugo Vogel oil)
This polarity and ambivalence is the deep characteristic of Lutheran spirituality. It is moreover difficult to keep this entirely in tension and balance of your affirmation and denial. And so, there are often, as in same Lutero and Lutheranism, an alternation of moods: a times of complete denial of the world (which it seeks refuge in the interiority of a spiritual life self reliant and not necessary related to the concrete life,) and other times of comprehensive affirmation of life in its relative autonomy that at one time nearest to us, because of the reduction of Christianity to a religiosity without original sin and redemption tragic plane, it will be addressed simply in the optimism of the internal presence of the divine in the evolution of the world.
This resolution, whose paternity (either glorious or deplorable) Luther may not decline in the conceptions of the modern world, is in any case more than the intentions of the reformer. Anyway should recognize Luther the merit of having raised the problem of ethics with all its rigour, clarifying the difference between moral, legal and useful. Good adaptation to the contents of a "law" is not, and is not either the advantageous for me or my neighbor; beyond all legalism and all interest, the good is unconditional obedience to an absolute will. The logical transcription of the Lutheran experience will be the Kantian moral. Reducing unfathomable willingness to Dios Lutero (which on the other hand is revealed to be a free will of love to his creatures, laying as well as the form and content of the duty) to legislator reason of man, Kant impoverishes however somehow Lutheran ethics of obedience to God alone.

The Anabaptist

The Lutheran reformation is, since its emergence, in antithesis and competition with a popular movement of religious, social and political insurrection: the Anabaptism. The hostility towards this movement of Luther (who had his share of moral responsibility in its bloody repression through the work of the German princes) is not due only to contingent reasons. The Anabaptist not only undertook the reform before the judgment of princes, that the reform needed, they mostly expressed a spirituality that is diverse, which revived the dominant motifs of medieval heresies: the aspiration to the renewal of society, waiting for the Kingdom of God of the year thousand, the inspiration as Supreme religious instance and the maturity of time password.
With their willingness to establish a Christian order, depending on the model of the Sermon on the mount, the Anabaptist was deeply, unaware of view of Luther, intractable sinfulness in the world and the irreducible difference between the plane of the faith and the life concrete. The will of the Anabaptist purify the Church, transforming it into a community of adults baptized after a profession of personal faith, not agreed with the deep and complex ecclesiastical conception of Luther, according to which the Church, in its very essence, is not "visible" (God alone discerns that are justified by him), while the visible church organization is always subject to the problematic of the things of this world.
Also the insurrectional character of the movement not only contradicted the conservative temper of Luther, but his deep persuasion that the evils of this world must be supported as a cross and transfigured in factors of inner life. Finally, the appeal to the Holy Spirit, appearing, even in reality concrete, exposed to all the risks of subjectivism, not combined with adherence to the Bible that Lutero had inherited from its occamista formation, and that deeply corresponded to the demands of his suspicious conscience to all the inner voices and uncontrollable impulses, that easily the Wiles of the devil could mask. The spiritualism of the Anabaptists presents instead more affinities with religious humanist recognizing your most authorized representative in Erasmus, that on the other hand was opposed to all revolutionary attitude. To this, and to the Anabaptist, Lutero put, with his famous polemic against free will, an impassable limit.


Reform reaches its full sociological and ecclesiastical expression and its doctrinal systematization consistent with Calvinism. The logical and legal Latin spirit of Juan Calvin (1509-1564); the fact that the Calvinist reformation developed in an environment citizen and Republican like that of Geneva, and in other areas (France, Netherlands) was found to be widely engaged in the wars of religion; and the greater radicalism of this reform, which was not limited to correcting the medieval church building, as had Lutero, but wanted to found it again on the model of the early Church (common aspiration with the Anabaptist), explain the different features of Calvinism.
The Calvinist Church, even where it is in intimate collaborative relationships with the State, as in Geneva, is a church which is governed by itself, through their councils of shepherds and "elders" (consistories, synods), creating in this way in his faithful taste and self-government capacity. His ethics is determined by the development that assumes the idea of predestination in the Calvinist doctrine. This doctrine, which seems to have lead to a passive fatalism, removing all reason to act, the man is totter instead in Calvinism in an energetic impulse to action.

John Calvin
Those who are convinced to be chosen of God and instrument of their plans think his actions meet his eternal will, and reciprocally found in the success of their actions a check of your choice. The works, eliminated by Luther as "meritorious" works, returning in ethics reformed as 'signs' of accomplished salvation. The dualism of the world and of the Kingdom of God, which is not substantially less complete for Calvino that for Luther, leads in this case not a passive tolerance, but a vigorous activity aimed at subjecting the world to God's will, and force him to recognize his glory.
The motivation of this activity in the world, on the other hand, is devoid of all utopian motif: the world is not substantially improved by the activity of the elect, and continues being the world of sin, temporary, transitory, expired. Calvinism does not expect an establishment millenarian of the Kingdom of God (as the Anabaptist), and his vision of the perfect life is decidedly projected more beyond (such as Lutheranism and Catholicism); but just like Catholicism, and rather than Lutheranism, he is interested in the problem of a systematization of the earthly city fair aimed at the end of the Kingdom of God.
The Calvinist ethic translates into economic life (stimulated by excision of the medieval ban loan interest) in activism while free and austere, he considered life as a fighter, the nonprofit as a duty, success as a divine sanction, luxury as a sin and the severity of the kind of life as a title of nobility (Puritanism). This conception of life in the 17TH and 18th centuries especially in Anglo-Saxon soil, intersects other influences of origin humanist and Anabaptist, on the one hand lead to an attenuation of the doctrine of predestination (Arminianism) and on the other to a more favourable assessment of the capacity of the natural man (jusnaturalismo), and lean the autonomy of elected Calvinists in the sense of the Declaration of the rights of man and of the freedom of conscience.
The future of the reform
Born of religious requirements, reform Criss, its diffusion, with political interests and national and racial passions polarizing in the Germanic States anxious to influence, at times financially burdensome, mood of the Roman curia, and taking advantage of the Secularization of church property confiscated by the Princes largely to self-dealing. Such interference of reasons variously determines settings of the reformation and the Church in Protestant States, and their more or less close connection with the civil authorities.
A separate position occupies the Anglican Church, sprouting from an act of Royal Government which is also its particular physiognomy: Catholic rite and hierarchy, Calvinist in doctrine and morals. But the history of the reformation in England is not identified with the Anglican Church, but rather is the history of the controversy of Anglicanism with "independent", more pointed character Calvinist churches. In France, the history of reform is inserted in the struggles of the provincial nobility against the growing monarchical absolutism. This situation of minority fought and pursued derives the Calvinist theory of the right to resistance, by the '' lower magistrates' and the States General, at the discretion of the sovereign. In Italy the reform was reduced to an "elite" intellectual movement, more or less intimately connected with humanism. To this cultural origin Italian reformers should its peculiar physiognomy, which confers an intermediate position between Renaissance and reformation, and turns them into forerunners (misunderstood and controlled up to the Protestants of his time) of the enlightenment of the 18th century (socinianism).
The time of the reform comprises essentially the 16th and 17TH centuries. New trends, pointing at the same time new problems and new guidelines although they continue looking for inspiration in faith and piety of the reform, emerge in the European sensibility in the 18th. The predominance of the Bible in the reform shall be subject to the criticism of reason and history; Christian dogma will be resolved in the "natural religion" (illustration); the sphere of sentiment, relegated to the background by the theological, ecclesiastical and sacramental Objectivism of Protestant orthodoxy, regain the consciousness of their autonomy, in contrast to rationalism (Methodism, pietism, romanticism). Protestantism will live on in his controversy with the modern world, which continues to provide important themes of spiritual meditation.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
Biographies of historical figures and personalities

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