The Reformation

mlMartin Luther: Was his message ambiguous? Was he misunderstood?

The Ten Characteristics of the Reformation

  1. The Reformation, usually termed a religious reform movement of the 16th century, has in reality been on-going since New Testament times to today.
  2. It was known as "Reformation" at the time, unlike "Renaissance" or "Medieval" or "Classical" -- all terms applied to periods long afterward by non-participants; hence the Reformation is the first self-aware Movement (even if it WAS a 1500-year Movement!)
  3. It was a movement of the People -- all classes, kinds, ages in Western Civ involved  -- unlike the elite, male, educated, and usually Italian Florentines that made up the bulk of the Renaissance, yet the most populist -- the Anabaptist -- was the smallest and most ridden with failure in its day, yet perhaps it was also the most influential.
  4. It was begun as a reform of the Catholic religion, but soon it deeply affected every aspect of life throughout and beyond
  5. It centered on rationality as a way to identify true religion and Truth itself about both the Spirit and the world
  6. It centered on and promoted education and literacy to both the elite and the masses, yet often attacked education as anti-reform or going too far beyond reform
  7. It promoted capitalism, mercantilism, communism and just about every other economic system
  8. It promoted (or invented) equality of class, society, gender, ethnicity -- and promoted hierarchy, tyranny, inequality in every area -- depending on where you look
  9. It promoted science, technology, democracy, freedom, materialism, order, peace, security (and the opposite of each of these particulars as well) along with true antinomianism
  10. The Reformation is ambiguous in most aspects.

 The Reformation is usually divided into FIVE separate movements: Lutheran, Anabaptist, Anglican, Calvinist, and Catholic. We will study these to try to understand each and the whole, beginning with Martin Luther's beginning, and the Anabaptist response trying to see the relation between Luther and the Radicals.

Results of the Reformation (direct & indirect)

Martin Luther was highly educated, intelligent, courageous and had a clarity of writing style few have ever equaled. His translation of the New Testament standardized the German language for centuries. His treatises changed the world. The townspeople, outside the university, not only understood Martin, but championed him and his cause against all authorities, against all odds.

Martin Luther Activity:

Linked here in Word format is Luther's treatise.

Did he present an ambiguous message, a message more clouded than clear, more a mud-pool covering some quicksand rather than a mountain stream clear and refreshing? (hint: keep a dictionary handy!)



















Source: Prof. Michael Markowski