Paper Example: Luther Questioned the Practices of the Catholic Church

Published: 2023-05-21
Paper Example: Luther Questioned the Practices of the Catholic Church
Type of paper:  Movie review
Categories:  History Christianity Church
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1507 words
13 min read

Describe what life was like during the time of the reformation for most people

During the time of reformation, life was dangerous, short, and challenging. People were susceptible to various biological perils, including smallpox and influenza. Besides, various plagues existed owing to the low levels of sanitation. The fire was the source of light but also used to execute political dissidents and criminals (Till & Canosa, 2003). Moreover, life expectancy was 40-45 years. The mortality rates for mothers at childbirth were relatively high, standing at about 25 deaths for every 1000 births.

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How did Luther's early experiences affect his decision to become a monk? What was Luther's life as a monk?

Luther's decision to become a monk was based on his earlier experiences. In 1505, he encountered a horrific thunderstorm close to Stotternheim village. He was terrified and swore to St. Anna to become a monk if he survived (Jones, 2013, 211). As a monk, he conformed to the required lifestyle, which entailed being devoted to a system of daily worship and work. His daily activities revolved around observing canonical hours and strictly obeying the monastic rule.

What were Luther's early views about what God was like? How did this lead to his spiritual struggles?

In his young years, he viewed God as a righteous being that punishes the unrighteous sinner. His view was tied to the teaching customs of the time, which focused on God as a punisher of sinners (Jones, 2013, 213). This belief led to his spiritual struggles as he could not understand how a human could please God. He was aware of his sins and God's holiness, which created a guilt feeling that he tried to overcome through confessions.

In 1510, Luther walked on a pilgrimage to Rome. If you were Luther, what do you think your reaction would have been to see the amazing sights of Rome for the first time? What were some of the contradictions that Luther struggled with concerning the church?

If I were Luther, I would be astounded by the sights of Rome for the first time. The numerous reminders of faith in different places would be an indication of piety. Luther contradicted the church by arguing that faith was the only requirement for salvation, while the church taught that salvation was acquired through faith and works (Jones, 2013, 215). Also, he believed that Christians should only hold to the Bible while the church approved new traditions.

How had the church become corrupt? What are some examples of how the church prohibited new thinking during the time of the Renaissance?

The church had become corrupt in several ways. The most notable one was allowing the sale of indulgences to reduce the amount of time one would spend in purgatory (Till & Canosa, 2003). The church prohibited new thinking in various ways during the Renaissance. For instance, the theory of a heliocentric solar system published in the Copernicus book was banned. Also, Galileo's telescope improvement, which led to the discovery of new celestial bodies, led to his nine-year house arrest.

What are relics and how did the church view religious relics? During this time, how did people "earned" their way to heaven and less time in "purgatory"?

Relics are the personal effects or remains of saints or other venerated persons that are preserved for veneration as a tangible memorial. The church viewed relics as a confirmation of worship owing to the miracles wrought by them. During this time, people earned a pass to heaven by buying indulgences (Till & Canosa, 2003). The church had a scale for mortal and venial sins to calculate the amount one would pay for the remission of their purgatory time.

In your own words, explain the concept of buying "indulgences." Is this a practice backed up by the Bible?

The concept of indulgences was the church's approach to penance and sin. For one to reduce their time in purgatory, they would buy indulgences based on the parameters outlined in the doctrine (Luther, 2011). One could purchase these indulgences for themselves or their departed friends. Some verses in the Bible back this concept. Jesus gave his disciples the power to forgive sins (John 20:23). Also, Peter was given the keys to heaven. These verses could be used to support indulgence.

As Luther searched the Bible, what answers did he find in the Bible regarding how salvation was obtained? How did this change his outlook and his personal relationship with God?

The answer that Luther found was in the book of Romans 1:17. He interpreted righteousness as a gift from God, which was awarded through faith. Thus salvation came through one's faith and not sacraments. This perspective changed his relationship with God as he reasoned that faith was not tied to following the church's teaching but was founded on trusting God's promises and the merits of Christ (Jones, 2013, 210). Hence, God's role was not solely punishing sinners.

Luther questioned the practices of the Catholic Church. He wrote out 95 complaints and nailed them to the door of the church (sort of a public bulletin board). After looking through the 95 theses, explain at least three of his main "complaints" against the church

One of the complaints was against the use of indulgences as remission of sins and reasoned that good deeds would be preferable. Luther also complained against the church's efforts to increase its material wealth and advocated for more focus on spreading the gospel instead of collecting treasures (Luther, 2011). Moreover, he disapproved of equating papal hands to those of Jesus. He claimed that this was blasphemy, and no human can remove sin.

Type out one of the theses that relates to one of your three main "complaints. Describe a scene in the Luther film which displays Luther's conviction with regard to the thesis chosen

The treasures of the church, out of which the pope dispenses indulgences, are not sufficiently spoken of or known among the people of Christ. In one scene, Pope Leo plans to build St. Peter's Basilica and intends to raise the money by giving special indulgences (Till & Canosa, 2003). Some illiterate members of Luther's congregation oblige, and an angry Luther responds by posting the 95 theses on Castle Church's door. This outrage shows his conviction for this thesis.

How did the invention of the printing press at this time influential in the spread of the ideas of the reformation? What was the reaction of the Catholic Church to Luther's complaints?

The invention of the printing press enhanced the spread of reformation as it allowed the perfect reproduction of texts hence reaching more people. Initially, the Catholic Church rejected this invention, citing that translating the Bible could cause misinterpretations among ordinary people (Jones, 2013, 218). However, it later authorized a translation that aligned with the catholic doctrine and called it the Jerusalem bible.

What were the "terms" by which Luther would recant (take back) what he had said about the church's corrupt practices? What was the outcome of the Diet of Worms (the church meeting in the German town of Worms)?

Luther's terms were that he could only recant his writings if he were convinced by reason and scripture that his conscience was captive to God's word. He argued that he could never go against his conscience. The results of the diet of worms were Luther's excommunication, and he was declared an outlaw and a heretic (Till & Canosa, 2003). However, Luther was protected by a powerful German princess.

How were the Protestant church buildings different than the Catholic Church buildings?

The Catholic Church buildings adopted an architecture that sought to inspire awe and show the majesty of God. Thus, they had more gold, stained glass, and fancy costumes to show God's greatness (Jones, 2013, 310). Conversely, the Protestant churches disapproved of such opulence. Their design was based on the poverty and simplicity of the disciples. Thus they had a plain outlook with some Christian symbols, particularly the cross.

Sola Fide - ONLY FAITH

Sola Fide is portrayed as an essential aspect of distinguishing between biblical and false gospels and between Catholics and Protestants. It is presented in five sola, including faith, grace, Christ, scripture, and for the glory of God (Till & Canosa, 2003). It is demonstrated as the article upon which the church stands. As such, those who reject it embrace a false gospel as they go against the only true dogma.

John Knox (Scotland)

From John Knox's video, I learned that establishing the church was not easy and took a significant sacrifice. He had to undergo being a refugee and still went on preaching the gospel. Besides, his strictness was unique and advocates for the independence of the church from the government (Westminster Seminary California, 2016). Although many people saw him as harsh while alive, they appreciated his work and upheld his teachings. He stands out as one as the founder of the Presbyterian Church and a great reformer.


Jones, T. P. (2013). Rose Bible Basics: Christian History Made Easy. Rose Publishing, Inc.

Luther, M. (2011). Ninety-five theses. 120 banned, 277.

Till, E. & Canosa, M. (2003). Luther [Film]. US, Germany: R.S.

Westminster Seminary California. (2016). Who are the Reformers: John Knox [Video]. Retrieved from

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