In the history of the Catholic Church, there was a lot of events through the ages that result in what we have today as religions. In the fifth age of the Church, from 1450 to 1789, there was a series of reformations and renaissance, for example, the Renaissance rooted into the Middle Ages that began with William of Ockham (Vidmar, 2014, p. 172), the Reformation on the Continent, The English Reformation, the Reformation in Scotland that addressed the church pluralities of benefices issues, concubinage, extravagance, and a too political church problems (Vidmar, 2014, p. 235), and also the Protestantism that began to fracture itself into many different denominations, or interpretations of how the message of the gospel should be lived and governed established a precedent of breaking away from Rome was obviously the most important event during that period (Vidmar, 2014, p. 239). By studying the history of the Reformation, and the Protestant Churches’ origins we will inevitably encounter the names of two great leaders, Martin Luther and John Calvin. Two important names who represented the stepping stones of the Protestant Church and are generally regarded as holy and upright men horrified at the impiety, superstition, and corruption in the Catholic Church, and devoted to restoring the Christian faith to its ancient simplicity. Most notably, Martin Luther and John Calvin differ from their teachings, yet the two had a strong understanding of the Scriptures and are Christ-centered.
Eucharist, the sacrament of Holy Communion, is another difference in Martin Luther and John Calvin teachings. For Luther, there is a sacramental union; he promoted what has to be known as consubstantiation. Jesus’ body and blood are present in the bread and wine during the sacrament but not changed into. John Calvin was of a different view than Luther, he rejected the notion of a local presence in the Supper. Calvin thought the bread and wine is only a symbol because with Christ’s power we can unite to himself without being present physically and by sharing one’s interests we are really participating in the Eucharist. According to Vidmar (2014) “he disagreed with the Catholic Church and with Luther over the physical presence of Christ in the elements of bread and wine, and agreed with Zwingli in saying that Christ was not locally present in the Eucharist, since Christ is in heaven and not in the bread and wine, and continued to say that anyone who adores the host is and idolater (p. 209).
In which way we are righteous for God? Luther’s theology emphasized on justification but Calvin valued sanctification. “While Luther thought that the doctrine of Justification was more important, saying, “the article of justification is said to be the article by which the church stands or falls,” Calvin thought that the doctrine of Sanctification was more important, saying, “the theme of justification was, therefore, more lightly touched upon because it was more to the point to understand first how little devoid of good works is the faith” (Jin O, 2015).” For Luther, we, sinner, are justified by the grace of God through repentance and faith, not by our works and human desire. He noticed that sanctification and justification are not equal and saw sanctification as a natural result of justification so loving our neighbor is not done to prove the love of God. For Calvin, the two go hand in hand, loving God is loving your neighbor and loving your neighbor is also loving God, theory by which Calvin’s teaching was known as the Glory of God. It is a necessary and sufficient condition and as justification, sanctification can be accomplished by God’s grace and not human will.
Both Luther and Calvin believed in the faith of God and how to be saved from damnation but did not approach it the same way. According to Calvin, the all-knowing and ever-present God had determined, from the beginning of time, who was to be saved and who was to be damned (Julie, Peggy, and Aaron, 2002). The elect was seen by Calvin as people whose role was to guide the others toward salvation. What called later predestination. Faith is almost the same thing as justification in Luther’s theology as he used often the slogan “justified by faith”. Faith was more important to him than good works because we can be saved only in the faith of God’s mercy. We cannot buy or earn our way to Heaven by good attitudes toward our neighbor and good works and bribe God into letting us in (Vidmar, 2014, p. 195). Luther claimed that God had to punish humanity because people were inherently sinful, yet because God was righteous he gave the gift of faith to those who would take it (Julie, Peggy, and Aaron, 2002).
To sum up, both theologies from Martin Luther and John Calvin are different even both were strongly believed only in the Scriptures and faith in God. For Calvin the Sacrament was not as important as Luther saw the question until insisted that only one communion should be held every Sunday. Also, while Calvin believed in double-predestination, Luther by his side believed in justification by faith, and saying “if faith or love did not impel a man, even his good actions are sinful (Vidmar, 2014, p. 195).” Through the Reformation they fought to remove from the Church everything that is contrary to the Bible. Movement that resulted to the Protestant Churches we know in today life.