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Posted on March 12th, 2013, by

Martin Luther was one of the prominent figures in the history of Christianity because he challenged the authority of Pope and the existing system of the control and regulation of the religious life. He rejected the existing system and insisted that changes are necessary and the changes should sweep away the old order giving believer larger rights and liberties. In fact, the main point of reforms suggested by Luther was the minimization of the control and authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the strict hierarchy focused on the supremacy of the Pope. In this regard, Luther developed persuading argument leading to the logical conclusion that changes were necessary and the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church should refuse from the authoritarian control over believers granting them more liberties and rights.

While developing his argument in favor of his position, Martin Luther focused his attention on the criticism of the division of the spiritual and temporal state. In fact, he argued that such division is virtually conditional. In other words, Luther insisted that the division of the spiritual and temporal state is symbolic and unnecessary to be interpreted literary. In such a way, he undermined the fundamental concept of the Roman Catholic Church, which used the division of the spiritual and temporal as the ground for its role of a mediator between God and believers. What suggested Luther could have lead to the elimination of the linking function of the church as the mediator between God and believers.

Instead, believers could blend the spiritual and temporal state and communicate to God directly without the mediation from the part of the church.
Furthermore, Luther challenged the Pope authority to interpret scripture. In this regard, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that traditionally the Roman Catholic Church relied heavily on the Pope, who was the only one who had the authority to interpret scripture. To put it more precisely, all interpretations of scripture should have the sanction of the Pope. Otherwise, they would be perceived as heresy. In such a situation, Luther suggested to grant theologists and believers with the right and possibility to interpret scriptures on their own without the authorization from the part of the Pope. Obviously, Luther did not just challenge the authority of the Pope but undermined the fundamental principle of the Roman Catholic Church, which positioned the Pope as the highest authority, whereas the suggestion made by Luther would undermine the authority of the Pope because any person could interpret scripture.

In addition, Luther insisted that anyone should have the ability to call a council but not the Pope solely. In fact, this was the practical step to the minimization of the role of the Pope as the highest authority in the Roman Catholic Church. If any person could call the council, then the Roman Catholic Church would have to pass through the process of democratization. As a result, the Pope would lose his highest authority and the Roman Catholic Church would lose a considerable part of its control over the life and beliefs of believers. Believers, in contrast, would get more freedom in their actions and views.

Thus, Luther’s suggestions were revolutionary for his time. They aimed at the democratization of the Roman Catholic Church and changing the old order.

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