Protestantism and Catholicism Ideas
“There are concerns of the Protestant Reformation found in the teachings of both Martin Luther and John Calvin. Martin Luther was known for his writing, 95 Theses. John Calvin was born in France, and he was known for his contributions to the second generation of Protestant Reformation. The first and second parts talk about Martin Luther’s and John Calvin’s main ideas, respectively. The third part will discuss the differences between their ideas and Catholic beliefs.
Martin Luther is credited with creating his 95 Theses. In this, he mentions two main beliefs. The first belief was that “the Bible is the central religious authority” (History). The second belief was that “humans may reach salvation only by their faith and not by their deeds” (History). The 95 Theses enabled the start of the Protestant Reformation, and this divided the Catholic Church. This divide caused a major change in religious and cultural history. The idea for the 95 Theses came to him because of selling indulgences. “Indulgence-selling had been banned in Germany, but the practice continued unabated. In 1517, a friar named Johann Tetzel began to sell indulgences in Germany to raise funds to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome” (History). Martin Luther was against this, and this inspired him to write the 95 Theses. The 95 Theses spread quickly from Germany to Rome, and quite a few things happened from 1518 to 1521. “…1518 the pope condemned Luther’s writings as conflicting with the teachings of the Church” (History). Next year, the Papal commissions determined his writings were “heretical and “’scandalous and offensive to pious ears’” (History). In 1521, the Pope excluded Martin Luther from the Catholic Church.
John Calvin was known for writing his “Institutes of the Christian Religion.” “The institutional and social patterns he worked out for Geneva deeply influenced Protestantism elsewhere in Europe and in North America” (Brittanica). Calvin agreed with Martin Luther when it came to the first thesis, “humans may reach salvation only by their faith and not by their deeds.” “However, he found a more positive place for law within the Christian community than did Luther. Calvin also stressed the doctrine of predestination and interpreted Holy Communion as a spiritual partaking of the body and blood of Christ” (Brittanica). Calvin’s preachings and ideas have made him immensely popular, even creating Calvinism (a type of Protestantism). Some of the things he preached were that we do not know God, but we experience Him. He claimed that God is a loving mother and father. “He denounced those who represent God as dreadful; God for him is “’mild, kind, gentle, and compassionate’” (Brittanica). Calvin also came up with two metaphors for all Christians. The first metaphor mentions that whenever anyone is faced with a disaster, it is an educational opportunity. The second metaphor is about keeping one’s eyes on their goal and not get distracted.
The two main differences between Catholicism and Protestantism came from Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: “the Bible is the central religious authority” and “humans may reach salvation only by their faith and not by their deeds” (History). Catholicism believed that church officials, like the Pope, were the central religious authority. In addition, Protestants did not have any human authority figures; however, Catholics had the Pope. Catholicism also believed humans can reach salvation by doing good deeds. There are other differences between the denominations as well. According to CARM.org, when it comes to the Clergy, Protestants do not require celibacy; however, Catholics do require it. For the Communion, Protestants use a “symbol of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross” (Slick, CARM); however, Catholics use bread and wine as representations for the Jesus’ body and blood, respectively. When it comes to classification of Saints, Protestants consider all Christians to be Saints; however, Catholics have specific requirements for someone to hold the Saint title. “Saints are special individuals who do not have to pass through purgatory and have been declared by the Roman Catholic Church to be holy” (Slick, CARM). Finally, for Scripture, Protestants have 66 books in the Bible; however, Catholics have 73 books.
Martin Luther and John Calvin were the two most important figures in creating Protestantism. John Calvin and especially Martin Luther believed that the main differences between Protestantism and Catholicism stemmed from authority and salvation. Catholics believed that the Church and Pope were religious authorities. Protestants believed only God is the religious authority. Catholics believed Christians can reach salvation by doing good deeds. Protestants believed only having faith in God is how humans can reach salvation.”