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Old 02-17-2014, 06:16 PM
 
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Why did the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, started by Augustinian monk Martin Luther, succeed in jolting and then breaking away from Rome, while previous attempts at reform (e.g., John Huss) were snuffed out?

Last edited by RisingSun361; 02-17-2014 at 07:05 PM..
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:32 PM
 
Location: On the periphery
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Luther's strong stand against the brilliant Dr John Eck, an advocate for the Church in the Leipzig debates, won him powerful support among the German princes, not the least of which was Frederick the Wise, who later enabled Luther to take refuge in a castle at Wartburg for about a year. He only emerged from the castle at times in disguise. By the time of Luther, the public was more receptive to the idea of reformation. A good book on Luther is Roland H. Bainton's "Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther."
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:08 AM
 
Location: NW Indiana
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It was a political advantage to some areas to try to break away from the political influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

However, it was the excesses of some leaders of the Roman Catholic Church that gave this movement traction amongst the common people. While many who served in the Church were devout and dedicated to serving the people, many had joined the Church as a means of gaining personal power and wealth.
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RisingSun361 View Post
Why did the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, started by Augustinian monk Martin Luther, succeed in jolting and then breaking away from Rome, while previous attempts at reform (e.g., John Huss) were snuffed out?
The continent was in the middle of the Renaissance when intellectual ferment was underway. Further, the Papacy had not exactly distinguished itself over the previous few decades, with the Borgias being one notable example. The stepped-up aggressiveness of the selling of indulgences in order to rebuild St. Peters was just more fuel for the fire. Another contribution is the fact that Germany was balkanized into a host of small states, which meant that the region was more vulnerable to Papal taxes that countries such as France. So the small German states sought a way to get out from under that and found their way with Luther.

Finally, the advent of the printing press 70 years earlier made it much easier to spread the notions of Luther and, on a smaller scale, Zwingli. John Hus's effort to reform the church came in the late medieval period. One century made a substantial difference.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:09 PM
 
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The answers others gave sum it up pretty well. The only thing I would add is that Luther was not a "firebrand" like othes had been but was an educated and extremely well written and spoken man. Luther was not only able to postulate his ideas and form them into his theses, he was also very eloquent in the defense of his ideas taking on all theological challengers. Luther is most famous for nailing his theses to the door, but this was not an act of disobedience, but more the Renaissance era equivalent of publishing a paper in a modern acadmic journal and inviting people to challenge it and debate him. Luther was the emodiment of what an enlightened/renaissance reformer would be. The printing press, previously mentioned in other posts, was also vital not just in spreading the initial message, but the hundreds of essays Luther wrote on the defense of his original theses.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Peterborough, England
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And the Catholic side was divided between France and Spain, for whom the common religion only very rarely overcame dynastic rivalry.
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