ERASMUS AND MARTIN LUTHER, MY THOUGHTS ON THE 1517 RELIGIOUS REFORMATION.

This year is the 500th anniversary of a very significant event. Martin Luthers 95 theses which started the protestant reformation.

Luther was protesting against the Catholic church selling indulgences. Also other forms of corruption which he felt was present in the church. His original aim was to reform the church. But of course instead his action led to the formation of the breakaway protestant church.

Erasmus born 1466 died 1536 was a Dutch Catholic priest who was also critical of the Catholic church. He was strongly infavour of reforms. But unlike Luther he was in favour of reforming the Catholic church from the inside.

Luther adopted a harsh view that human souls could not save themselves but instead they could only be saved through the grace of gods grace. So people had no free will. However Erasmus disagreed with this. He felt that all people had free will to take action to save their souls.

Erasmus was a couple of hundred years ahead of his times. In that he was in favour of religious toleration between Catholics and protestants.

Martin Luther quickly became a spokesman for the new ruling elite in the protestant regions of Germany. He supported the brutal repression of the peasants revolt in 1525 led by Thomas Muntzer. Although Erasmus was also opposed to revolts from below by the masses.

My own personal view is that there was brutality on both sides after the reformation. There was also a great deal of intoleration. The thirty years war in the first half of the seventeenth century was the best example of this.

My own personal view is that it would have been best if Erasmus views had triumphed and the Catholic church was reformed in the early 16th century. So christian unity could have been maintained. However of course this did not happen.

So in conclusion I would say that in our present years 500 years after Martin Luther 95 theses. It is up to all christians of good will in all denominations to fight for social justice peace and equality.

God bless you all.

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