Martin Luther vs. John Calvin

Essay by alias33 March 2005

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Martin Luther and John Calvin were both protestants, both emphasizing people's sinfulness, lack of free will, and helplessness. They both rejected good works as a means of salvation, both saw all people equal in the eyes of god. What differed in these two individuals views were their veiws on the afterlife, how to achieve salvation and moral code.

Martin Luther believed that a person can be predestined to be saved but not to be damned. That faith and not good works can win redemption. Calvin believed that our lives are predestined. If people are damned they are damned, it they are saved, they are saved. Nothing can change the decision. Likewise if people are damned they should praise God's justice, and if they're saved they sould praise God's mercy. But once again, the outcome is predestined and nothing can be done to affect the individuals fate.

Luther put sole authority in the bible.

And as long as you had faith you had salvation. Calvin's view was more complicated, he saw that our behaviour on earth is no indication of our fate. Morality is not necessarily a sign of salvation. Even though actions are no indication of salvation Calvinist's were to follow a strict moral code. This restricted dancing, gambling, pridefullness, etc. Luther, and lutheranism in general was much more laid back and internal. It was a religion based on faith and the bible. Whereas Calvinism was more dominating, controlling, filled with punishments and sin. Churches were strict and discipline was enforced.

Calvanism was appealing because it emphasizes discipline, responsiblity and morality, all of which were sought. Calvanists were very successful because of work ethic and lack of frivolous activities. Unlike Calvanism, to be a Lutheran one doesn't have to follow strict rules. They only had to believe, therefore Lutheranism was...