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Compare and contrast martin luther and john calvin

Martin Luther and John Calvin. How can we differentiate between them? What are the differences between the two? As we Protestants love to recall, it was around this very date on 31st October when an insignificant Augustinian monk revolutionized European history by nailing his 95 theses to the door of a castle church.

That castle church was in Wittenberg Germany and the monk was none other than the critically-acclaimed Martin Luther. The two were perfectly suited to minister together. I am born to fight against innumerable monsters and devils.

However, towering far above all of the aforementioned thinkers is another Reformed theologian whose fame equals —and, in some quarters, surpasses- that of Martin Luther. Pretty impressive stuff from the lips of a Scot not exactly known for his flattery!

Compare and Contrast Martin Luther and John Calvin

To whom are we alluding? To John Calvin of course! So here we have the two real champions of the Protestant faith: Here are ten reasons. When Luther put his nails into the church door, little John was a tender eight years old. Luther belonged to the first generation of the Protestant Reformation whereas Calvin was a second generation Reformer. Thanks to the sweat, blood and tears of Luther, Calvin inherited a rich theological legacy which he was able to cultivate.

Luther was the great prophet of a new movement going before his followers opening up new paths for his Protestant successors. It was only natural that he was characterized by such fire and irresistible tenacity. Calvin, however, came later and thus was afforded much needed breathing space to reflect methodically upon the insights granted to the Christian church by Luther.

Any superficial reader can tell that Calvin is much more systematic in thought than Dr.

  1. It was simply a memorial. Calvin was also much more minutely concerned with ecclesiastical matters, with the hard practical work of building a new church to stand
  2. Luther intern stated thatunless he was inspired to do so by scripture he would not "since it is neither safe nor right to goagainst conscience.
  3. That castle church was in Wittenberg Germany and the monk was none other than the critically-acclaimed Martin Luther. To whom are we alluding?

As Reformation expert, Dr. Scott Clark recently told me: He always had guests at home and he absolutely loved being with people. He conversed and joked and laughed with his friends. Calvin, on the other hand, never really felt comfortable in the public ministry. Multitudes flocked to him due to his zing. He won followers because his mind was solely concentrated upon the glory of God.

Compare and Contrast Martin Luther and John Calvin

Luther, at least in the paintings of his more mature years, is corpulent and plump with a wide chest. There is always a spark of vitality about him.

He appears to us as a rather frail man, extremely thin and almost corpse-like to use Dr. Indeed, he only ate a solitary meal per day. It is true that both men were passionate about the recovery of the biblical Gospel.

10 differences between Martin Luther and John Calvin

Nevertheless, the prism through which they interpreted the Evangel was not exactly identical. Luther laid most of his stress upon the glorious truth of the justification of the believer. His soteriological approach honed in upon the subjective need of saving faith and the sweet joys of trusting Christ.

Calvin certainly believed this just as much as Luther; but he was at pains to emphasize that justification of faith can only take second place.

In pole position was the glory of God. In Luther and Zwingli split over the issue. In no way was Jesus physically present.

It was simply a memorial. So with whom would Calvin side: What Luther interpreted as physical; Calvin saw as spiritual in the hearts of believers. This was no doubt due to their peculiar socio-political contexts. Living in Medieval Germany where each state was under the power of a given prince, Luther —as a general rule- was quite happy to allow the government to supervise the administration of church affairs.

10 differences between Martin Luther and John Calvin

John Calvin, however, a former law graduate settled within the freer canton-system of Switzerland opposed any interference from the state. It is the church and the church alone that must administer its internal and external affairs.

10 differences between Martin Luther and John Calvin

Both the church and the state must remain wholly autonomous from one another. Calvin was also more open to the idea of believers transforming all of society with the values of Scripture whereas Luther always stuck to his entirely religious, spiritual calling. The Holy Spirit is given to such a person in baptism so that they possess true faith in Christ. Sin is forgiven, death and the devil are conquered and eternal life is granted Smaller Catechism IV.

Baptism, for him, did not effectually save anyone. The discrepancy was not so much a matter of content as it was of emphasis.

  1. The discrepancy was not so much a matter of content as it was of emphasis. To John Calvin of course!
  2. Martin Luther founded the group that are today known as Lutherans. He divided much more sharply between them than his French counterpart did.
  3. It was only natural that he was characterized by such fire and irresistible tenacity. Scott Clark recently told me.

He divided much more sharply between them than his French counterpart did. Because Luther lay his greatest stress upon the Law as a means of misery, condemnation and a ministry of death from which humanity needed Gospel deliverance.

Conclusion So there you have ten differences between the two giants of Protestantism. It only remains for me to wish you all a very Happy Reformation Day!