New idea implementation

10 WEEKS BEFORE REFORMATION SUNDAY

In 1516, Andreas Karlstadt anticipated Martin Luther by posting his own theses – 151 of them – for debate, focusing on clerical abuses. Karlstadt had awarded Luther his doctorate in theology as chancellor of the university at Wittenberg. In 1519, the two men took turns debating Johann Eck at Leipzig. Thus, after the Diet of Worms, when Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther, he also did the same to Karlstadt. When Luther was forced into hiding, Karlstadt returned to Wittenberg and initiated reforms that both men had long believed necessary.

On Christmas Day 1521, for example, he had presided over a revised order of communion wearing secular clothing. Rather than whisper the words of institution, he spoke them loudly, using German instead of Latin. Karlstadt also let communicants take both bread and wine on their own during the service.

These were all changes that Luther endorsed and which would be widely instituted throughout Germany. At the same time, Luther disagreed with Karlstadt on many other issues, such as the destruction and removal of religious icons from the churches. Yet to come, they would take such contrasting positions that their disagreement threatened the very basis of the Reformation.

  • Bulletin insert – Week 10: New idea implementation (pdf file)
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