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examine and outline the claim that luther's overriding concern was with his own salvation

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Introduction

Examine and Outline the claim that Luther's overriding concern was with his own salvation It has been argued, that Luther's main concern around the time when he published was simply with his own salvation, and not with the reformation of the Catholic Church, or with the spreading of his new ideas. It is true to say that initially Luther did not intend to reform the Church, and was simply concerned with his own salvation, however, there is evidence to suggest that Luther was concerned primarily with the church. This essay will discuss the various arguments on both sides of the argument, and argue that whilst Luther's initial concerns and actions were based upon his own salvation, once he found his answer, he was concerned with spreading the word, and hoping to reform the Roman Catholic Church. The mot important argument to agree with the statement that Luther was only concerned with his own salvation is Luther's obsession with sin throughout his years as a monk. This is the most important because it marks the beginning of Luther's thinking of salvation, and what he needed to do to gain God's grace. ...read more.

Middle

Whilst there is obvious evidence to support the statement, there is also the argument that he was in fact not only concerned with his own salvation, but with the salvation of others also. The most important point arguing that Luther was not solely concerned with his own salvation is that he continued to disagree with Roman Catholic doctrines. If he were only concerned with his own salvation then he would not have done so. He argued that the idea of transubstantiation was false, and wanted other changes including the Bible not to be written in Latin. This was not the way to gain salvation by Roman Catholic teachings - and at the time Luther was still a member of the Church. If he were to criticise the Church, then he could - and later would - be found to be heretical, and this was believed to mean that he would go to hell after his death. It also shows that he wasn't only concerned with his own salvation, as it shows that he did aim to reform the Church, and not just gain salvation. The most obvious argument, and next important to show that Luther wasn't just concerned with his own salvation is his time in the Wartburg. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that he was not merely interested in his own salvation. Once he had found the answer to his question, he went on to tell people about it so that they too could find salvation. He genuinely believed that the Roman Catholic Church was wrong in many of its teachings, and he wanted people to have faith through the scriptures, and themselves rather than have it dictated to them by the Church. The Reformation itself is evidence that Luther was concerned with others as well as himself. Whilst granted safe passage to and from the Diet at Worms, it was still dangerous of him to do so. Also, to leave the Wartburg was incredibly dangerous as he was an outlaw from both religious and secular authorities, meaning he could be arrested and burned if found; he still left. He saw that the reformation protest needed his leadership, and he went with no concern for his own safety. Therefore, whilst the claim that Luther's overriding concern was with his own salvation was true initially when he was tormented by sin as a monk; from the point of the ninety-five theses, this claim could never be said to be true. ...read more.

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