2011 hsc studies of Religion Exam solutions

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2011 HSC Studies of Religion

Exam solutions
Question 2 — Christianity (15 marks)

(a) Outline the contribution of ONE significant person or school of thought other than Jesus to the development and expression of Christianity. 3

Martin Luther 1483 -1546 was a Christian theologian and Augustinian monk whose teachings inspired the Protestant Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines of Protestant and other Christian traditions, his reforms had far reaching effect on the whole of Christianity. He decried the Roman Church’s corruption in 1517, by nailing his 95 ‘Theses of Contention’ to the Wittenberg Church door, as a result of this Luther, was exiled after the Diet of Worms. Luther also translated the Bible into German allowing greater access to its teachings.
(b) Summarise the impact of the significant person or school of thought chosen in part (a) 4

In 1517, Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, these theses confronted the Roman Catholic church, challenging the church of heresy. This was considered then first step in the great Christian schism known as the reformation. Luther's prime motivation was the selling of indulgences by a Dominican priest named John Tetzel. Luther's theology challenged the infallibility of the Pope by declaring that it was the Bible which was the only infallible source of authority. Luther impacted on the church significantly; his life work enforced the split between the Catholic Church and the protestant movement thus changing the history of Christianity forever.

(c) Christianity has always sought to reconnect the faith to its founding roots. 8

To what extent does the statement apply to the impact of the significant person or school of thought chosen in part (a)?

Martin Luther’s teachings inspired the Protestant Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines of the Protestant and other Christian denominations. Luther was convinced that the Church had lost sight of its central truths. As a student at university Luther immersed himself in the teachings of the Scripture and the early church, this early scholarship formed the opinions that were to later shape his theological teachings. Focusing on atonement and morality, Luther’s ideas were formed and these reflections led him to question traditional church teachings. Luther summed up his ideas in the 95 theses which he controversially pinned to the church door at Wittenberg. Luther was horrified by the notion of selling indulgences and he accused the Roman Catholic Church of heresy, believing that the church should return to the original teachings as expounded in the Gospel stating, "Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

Luther believed that the Bible should be accessible to all people and he was the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the vernacular of the German people. Luther also wrote many books including one that explained the epistles attempting to bring Christianity back to its founding roots as St Paul had done before him. Justification by faith alone (sola fide) was Martin Luther's great spiritual and theological breakthrough, by this he meant that salvation occurs not through good works but through faith and a belief in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Lutheranism advocated a canon of justification "by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone" which was contrary to the Catholic view of "faith formed by love", or "faith and works". Martin Luther’s influence on Christianity was immeasurable; he sought to return to the most basic teachings of the Christian church by relating his work back to Jesus Christ, the Gospels and the Epistles of St Paul. The Protest churches including Lutheranism had their roots in the work of Martin Luther who sought to reform the Western Church to a more scriptural foundation.

Cambridge University Press

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