The Importance and Unimportance of the German Reformation in Mission Work of the European Church
Reformation started in 16th century in response to the doctrines and practices taught by the medieval Roman Catholic church (Shelley, 2013, p.247). According to Shelley (2013, p.250), the tradition of the church and its doctrine of salvation permitted a structure of indulgences to evolve. Derived from the idea that Jesus and the saints had made a storehouse of righteousness that can be apportioned with Christians, initially indulgence was used as a sanction by the church in the society (Shelley, 2015, p.251). However, over time the advantages of the indulgence were extended to involve punishments inflicted by God in purgatory. Martin Luther opposed the idea of selling indulgences as an unsurpassed means of forgiveness of sins by the priest, which was regarded as an act to pave way for people to go to heaven (Shelley, 2013, p.248). As such, money for the church projects was raised in this way. Thus, when Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses against indulgences on a chapel door in Wittenberg, it is of an expounding significance in church history as it also influenced the developments of mission work in the European church (Shelley, 2013, p.250).
According to Kim (2012, p.89,90), Luther and his reformer colleagues contributed to the liberation of people from the authoritative Catholic Church rule by demobilising the meritocracy that overpowered common people. Before Reformation, church services were conducted by the priest in Latin which was difficult to understand (Shelley, 2013, p.253). Luther argued that the wine was to be given to lay people along with the bread in the same manner conducted by the Hussites and no masses should be conducted alone by the priest without people who receive Holy Communion because the Eucharist is not only companionship with Christ but it also with His disciples (Shelley, 2013, p.253). Luther also opposed the doctrine of transubstantiation a belief that although the Eucharis remaining in its form and appearance becomes the body and blood of Christ. Luther argued that this notion was spread by the medieval Christian teachers but not by scripture revelation. Instead Luther advanced the doctrine of consubstantiation which believes in the coexistence of the bread and blood in Eucharist and do not change in their composition.
Shelley (2013, p.252), claims that Luther, Zwingli who was a Roman Catholic priest and other reformers, believed that people were made righteous in the sight of God undeniably by a decision affirmed the triune God who chooses the individuals. Thus, reformers instigated the gospel ideology of achieving righteousness through faith by focusing on the accomplished work of Calvary (Shelley, 2013, p.255). This caused a turn in the Catholic belief of justification as a continuous process that happened over time.
The doctrine of salvation in Luther’s view, followed after he studied the scripture; emphasised the...