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natureofchurch sacraments

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Introduction

a) Describe Luther's teachings about the sacraments b) Outline Luther's teachings about the nature of the church c)To what extent does Luther's teachings about the sacraments differ from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church? a) 'Luther described sacraments as "Promises with signs attached to them".' (McGrath) The most important point Luther makes about his teachings on the sacraments, is that they have to have scriptural authority. This is important because it justifies why he only keeps three of the Roman Catholic sacraments, baptism, the eucharist and penance. Luther wrote 'I deny that there are 7 sacraments, and maintain that there are only 3; baptism, penance and the bread...' (From McGrath) He later excludes penance because it does not have sufficient scriptural authority and the scholar Lane said 'Luther attacked the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, he reduced them to two instituted by Jesus himself.' The idea that Luther 'attacked' doctrines from the Roman Catholic Church is another reason why this is an important point. The second most important point that Luther teaches about the sacraments, is that he denounces transubstantiation and introduces consubstantiation. ...read more.

Middle

Another of Luther's teachings about the sacraments is that he denies marriage as one of them. He does this because there is no order from Jesus to do get married in the bible. This does not mean that Jesus did not approve of marriage, but because there is no scriptural authority, it cannot be a sacrament in Luther's eyes. This is important because he is attacking clerical celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church and Luther himself marries. b) Luther became concerned with the way the Church presented itself to the congregation and therefore taught his own teachings about the nature of the church. The most important point Luther makes on his teachings about the nature of the Church is that there is a 'true' Church which is invisible and only G-d knows who belongs to it. This comes from Augustine's theory. The true church of G-d would only be known in heaven and Green explains 'the visible church is made up of a mix of some destined to go to heaven and some to hell.' Luther clarified that the membership of the invisible church, which are people going to heaven is determined by the 'eternal decree of G-d's predestination grace...by the activity of the word of G-d in this world'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Luther believed that it 'was the princes role to reform the church' (Armstrong) This would affect Luther's teachings on the nature of the church and is important because it goes against the catholic belief in the Apostolic succession. This is the idea that the pope inherited his authority in a direct line of all his successors by St Peter and that clergy inherit their authority through apostles. It is also important because Luther declared the church incapable to put its own house in order. c) The issue to be evaluated in a 2-sided debate is to what extent Luther's teachings about sacraments differ from the Roman Catholic Church. Overall this difference is great, however there are some similarities. Luther only accepted 3 out of the 7 sacraments, which is the main difference between the two teachings. One out of the three sacraments was holy communion and even this was significantly altered. Catholics strongly believe that the bread and wine during the eucharist changes into the body and blood of Christ through the priest. However Luther taught that this did not happen but that there was a presence of Jesus. The word transubstantiation was changed to consubstantiation. This is a major difference between Luther's teachings about the sacraments and the Roman Catholic teachings. This point shows that the extent of the two beliefs were great. ...read more.

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