The Rise of Lutheranism and its Impact on Germanic Peasants
The rise of a new religion is often met with both praise and malice from the hierarchy of the civilization it springs from. The rise of Lutheranism affected all of Western Europe, but it’s most prominent impact was on the peasants and serfs with no where to turn in what is today Germany. As the growth of Lutheranism picked up speed at the beginning of the sixteenth century, peasants from all over the Germanic states turned to Lutheranism in search of salvation and escape from the corruption sweeping the Catholic Church. Lutheranism’s impact stretched far beyond its own boarders, instigating changes within the Catholic Church to combat Lutheranism. Through Lutheranism, the peasants of Western Europe experienced both a social and spiritual improvement and without Lutheranism, would have faced continued oppression by the Catholic Church.
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the doors of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, his goal was to reform the Catholic Church and to end its rampant corruption. A devout Catholic himself, Luther was concerned for his own salvation, and through rigorous study of the Bible, soon became aware that many of the teachings of the Catholic Church directly contradicted the Gospel. When Luther’s appeals were met with scrutiny, he began to spread his ideas under the title of Lutheranism. Though modeled directly after conventional Catholicism, Luther and his followers believed that through Grace, Faith, and Scripture alone, one would be granted salvation. To many, Luther’s teachings offered the opportunity of a better life and afterlife. Luther claimed that the Bible teaches that anyone can gain forgiveness and absolution with faith in Christ and Christ alone. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church had been abusing its power by selling indulgences, or forgiveness from god, in exchange for money. In such a god fearing and illiterate land, the Catholic Church could take advantage...
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