One of my favorite historical figures to study has always been Martin Luther. As monk the man was more ascetic than some of the greatest ascetics, just unbelievable. I have always been critical of Luther's doctrines, and always will be, but it is only recently that I can say I really understand how he felt. Luther was dedicated to serving the church and doing all he could to please God and the church. He was so precise when it came to conducting the liturgy and held it in higher regard than most today. It was when he made his pilgrimage to Rome that all of that changed. He witnessed how other clergy and lay people seemingly could have cared less, noting the disregard the other priests had for Liturgy. One saying "bread it will always be" and another angrily said to Luther "just get on with it".
I can really understand him now.
Yes faith without works is dead. But those works are a result of our faith, they are performed out of love for God, as children would serve their parents. Not as a duty, a way to 'buy' freedom as a slave with his master..
For this reason, I think a certain amount of respect is owed to the Reformists, seeing the state in which the Catholic church was at a certain time, they decided to put things straight. What I wonder about is whether there had not been a way to do so from the inside-out.. And of course the fact that, instead of returning the church's true ways, they chose to abolish it and build a new church.
In my A.P. Euro class, I read that he said that Christianity wasn't supposed to be such a STRUGGLE. He said that Christ died for us for a reason and we no longer need to struggle. That plus the many corrupt acts in the Catholic church led him to the Reformation.
Hehe I'm taking the same class...what textbook do you use?
Western Civilization 3rd Edition
In regard to the Roman Catholic Church, there was great vitality even during the period of Luther and afterwards. The excesses were obvious to most thinking people and were dealt with to a great extent in the counter-reformation. I believe that the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant movement it spawned, were already compromised by those errors which Catholicism had introduced and allowed to be introduced. But there are many examples of serious and devout Catholics and transforming spirituality during the Western Middle Ages.