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Calvinism and Lutheranism

Discussion in 'Christian History' started by Simon129, May 22, 2019.

  1. Simon129

    Simon129 Amateur philosopher

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    Could some people please explain why Calvinism would become more widely spread than Lutheranism?
     
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  2. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Luther planted, Calvin watered, but God gives the increase.

    Luther was not as explicit as Calvin and the Reformers. His protests and revolt were against the teachings of Roman Catholicism. Luther didn't even want to part with them. He just needed them to be honest and to obey the Word of God rather than their own mind.

    The Reformers were more sweeping in their effect, I guess you could say.

    I say all that in the spirit of the question as I understood it, but to be honest, Lutheranism is not exactly the soul child of Luther.
     
  3. crossnote

    crossnote Berean Supporter

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    The Enlightenment thinking was ripe for systematic theology of Calvin, whereas Luther was one that held to pre-enlightenment thinking. You won't find systematic theology in Luther's writings nor in Scripture :)
     
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  4. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Senior Member Supporter

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    Hi Simon, according to the stats that I found, I believe there are about an equal number of Lutherans and Presbyterians (+ Reformed Baptists) in the world, around 80 million each.

    What stats are you looking at? (maybe the ones I have are wrong, or I am excluding a church or denomination perhaps?)

    Thanks!

    --David
     
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  5. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    I think that Reformed theology kind of takes flight in a lot of Christians' hearts and minds. It's organized, arguably logical, and appeals to a lot of folks.

    Luther's theology was historically significant, and pulled many, many souls away from the Catholic Church. But his theology was, perhaps, less structured and organized than Calvin's.
     
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  6. Simon129

    Simon129 Amateur philosopher

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    I reckon that may have been one of the key reasons.
     
  7. Simon129

    Simon129 Amateur philosopher

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    I wonder if there could be social and political reasons that have made Calvin's theology more acceptable ...
     
  8. Simon129

    Simon129 Amateur philosopher

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    Hi David,
    I reckon that a lot of the Christians, and pastors in many non-denominational churches are calvanistic. I have never heard lay people or pastors talking about or following Lutheranism.
    Indeed, back to 1600s, Calvin's theology were adopted in France and Netherland and even parts of Germany. Luther's still stayed in parts of Germany only.
    Just like to understand why?
    Cheers
    Simon
     
  9. myst33

    myst33 Well-Known Member

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    Because Lutheranism was from the Central Europe, it spread to its neighbouring countries:
    from Germany to Denmark, Bohemia(Czech republic), Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway), northern Italy.

    Calvinism got its strong position in the UK, Netherlands, France, therefore it spread outside of Europe more.

    Its more about "calvinist countries had more colonies outside of Europe than lutheran countries". Lutheranism was more an "internal European thing", because lutheran countries had few or no colonies.

    (And Roman Catholicism was spread to world (= to colonies) through Spain and Portugal)
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  10. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Senior Member Supporter

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    Thanks Simon, I believe non-denoms only add about 10+ million into the mix, and there are non-denominational churches that are anti-Calvinistic (and many members of otherwise Calvinistic non-denoms who are clearly not Calvinists).

    There's also the fact that many in the largest Presbyterian denomination in the States, the PCUSA, are anything but Calvinists (this was true all the way back in the 90's when I used to be a member of that denomination, and it's even more so today).

    I think the problem here may be that you are trying to compare the number of members of a few denominations that all call themselves Lutheran, with the number of adherents to a particular theology .. who exist in various numbers in many different churches/denominations (whose numbers therefore, are obviously far harder to come by).

    --David
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  11. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    You should watch some of the videos by Ryan Reeves. Especially this one: Calvin and Calvinism

    In it he explains how the term "Calvinism" is a modern label that doesn't represent Calvin's beliefs as closely as one would assume. The better term for what people call "Calvinism" would be "Reformed Theology". The same applies to the difference between Arminianism and what Jacob Arminius actually professed to believe.

    Just as Luther saw himself as a Reformed Catholic, not a Lutheran ... Calvin largely saw himself as expounding on Lutheranism, not a Calvinist. The point is, in the eyes of many Reformers, they were spreading Lutheranism. It's only through a modern eye looking backward that we see it differently.

    Regardless, the primary historical reason why Calvinism spread further than Lutheranism is a nationalistic one. The Reformation happened hand in glove with the rise of nation states. Kings no longer wanted to bow to an international Pope, but wanted to control the church within their borders. So, Germany had a German church (Lutheran), France had a French church (Catholic), and Britain had a British church (Anglican/Reformed).

    As Britain rose to be the dominant colonial power in the world, so their church dominated.

    Henry VIII was a rabidly devout Catholic, and his argument with the Pope created a very odd situation. As a devout Catholic, he considered himself a defender of the faith, and viewed Luther as a heretic (and Calvin as well for that matter). He even wrote a treatise defending Catholicism against the Protestants for which Pope Leo X commended him. Henry didn't see his fight with Clement VII as something that made him an unfaithful Catholic. In a sense he saw himself as the proper kind of Reformer (Luther was an improper Reformer), and Clement as a corrupt Pope. Anglicanism has, therefore, been called Catholicism without a Pope.

    However, as Henry sought religious justification for defying Clement, he turned to advisers who were secretly lobbying for Calvinsim in Britain. As a result Reformed theology crept into Anglicanism. And, through the Separatist and Puritan movements it came to dominate.

    So, as the empire upon which the sun never set rose to dominate the world, so did Calvinism.
     
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  12. Simon129

    Simon129 Amateur philosopher

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    Thank you for your stats, David.

    I think you are right. Calvinism and Lutheranism apparently have the same impact nowadays in terms of members. However, Calvinism went to America and other continents while Lutheranism stayed in Europe.

    In Sydney, there are only a few Lutheran churches. Calvinism in terms of Reformed orthodox is widespread and is taken by many Christians and pastors of many denominations. That's why I don't find Lutheranism influential.
     
  13. Simon129

    Simon129 Amateur philosopher

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    Thank you for your explanation, Resha.
    Anglican churches are found everywhere in Sydney, where I live. That explains why I see so many Christians here taking up Calvinism/reformed orthodox.
     
  14. bougti

    bougti New Member

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    To me the biblical Lutherans are the easily the closest to a Truly Reformed view. Their homilies, writings, podcasts, theology, and people have been very helpful in my Road to Geneva.

    They don't accept Calvinism or its Systematic Theology at face value, but the diffs aren't that much to overcome for contact.

    [Far more so than Baptists who call themselves Reformed.]
     
  15. bougti

    bougti New Member

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    They don't accept Calvinism or its Systematic Theology at face value, but the diffs aren't that much to overcome for contact.





    Sarkari Result Pnr Status 192.168.1.1
     
  16. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Depends on where you're looking. Following the English Reformation there were several competing visions for what the English Church should look like, one of those being to align with the Reformed tradition.

    One of the reasons there were Puritans in England was because they wanted the English Church to be more Reformed. So in England and Scotland (Scotland via the influence of John Knox) there was a strong Reformed impulse.

    The Dutch (Reformed) settled colonies in North America, namely New Amsterdam which became New York after the English took possession of the Dutch colonies. English Reformed pilgrims and colonists settled in the English colonies. Princeton was established as a Reformed seminary in America. So by the time of the American Revolution, and into the 19th century the leading theological impulse was Reformed. And this has frequently and often been the case in the Anglophone world. So other places with Dutch and English influences would also have these impulses (for example, perhaps New Holland, aka Australia).

    Reformed Christians tended to export a lot.

    There really aren't similar examples for Lutherans. There were a handful of Lutherans in the early American colonies, but Lutheranism didn't really establish itself in America until waves of German and Scandinavian immigrants in the 1800s. These first generation immigrants tended to isolate themselves in their immigrant communities; and so Lutheranism tended to largely be a matter of attending "grandpa's church" in America, as it were. According to a quick Google search, it would seem things were largely the same in Australia; there were significant waves of Lutheran immigrants following the Prussian Union, as those who wanted to retain their Lutheran identity were now persecuted by the Prussian State, and so they fled elsewhere to practice their faith freely. So, largely I suppose, there just wasn't the same kind of exporting of Lutheranism as there was for the Reformed tradition.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  17. mathinspiration

    mathinspiration Member

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    Luther just wanted to debate and questioned the Purchase of About indulgences. Calvin believe in pre destination: you are pre destination to go heaven or hell no matter what you do or believe so it was more appealing they being saved by grace only.
     
  18. Knee V

    Knee V It's phonetic.

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    I suspect that much of it has to do with geography during the age of European colonialism and expansion. Not too long after the Reformation began, Europeans began to sail to the New World. The British and French, being right on the Atlantic coast, spread early and far, and the Germans arrived at that party later, arriving in British settlements which already had a heavy Calvinist influence.
     
  19. Archivist

    Archivist Senior Veteran Supporter

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    There was significant German settlement in the American colonies and the United States. Pennsylvania has over three million people of German ancestry; no surprise that the borough I grew up in has five Lutheran churches compared to two Presbyterian churches and one Episcopal church. The area heading west from Pennsylvania is sometimes called America’s German belt because there were so many German settlers. I believe that the Republic of Texas also had many German settlers.
     
  20. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    There were 2 waves of German settlement in the Americas, and their theological views were very different. The first wave settled in the east in the colonial era and was heavily influenced by Pastor Muhlenberg who was a disciple of Francke, the University of Halle, and the Reformed movement in Germany. As such, these "Lutherans" were more Reformed than they were Confessional. Further, Muhlenberg had an eye on the development of the Anglican and Presbyterian churches in the Americas to use as a model for his church ... early Americans struggled to make non-state churches work for awhile. As such, they were more open to assimilation and the Reformed influences of those other churches.

    The second wave settled primarily in the Midwest (Milwaukee, Cincinnati, St. Louis) and Texas just prior to the Civil War. They were more akin to the Puritans (wanting to escape Reformed pressures in Germany) and were influenced by Pastor Walther who was assertively Confessional. It was this group, then, that was distinct from Reformed churches. However, as @ViaCrucis mentioned, they kept to themselves. They misunderstood the American promise and thought they would be allowed to establish their own colony, independent of the government of the United States. So, they made little attempt to evangelize (at first), and were even persecuted - especially in Missouri and Texas as the Civil War broke out and they sided with the Union.
     
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