The Certainty of Salvation
“For what is more miserable than uncertainty?” This declaration by Luther leads the historian to the very heart of 16th-century religious controversies. The debates that were to tear this century apart would be fueled by the passion for certainty, a passion Luther shared with many of his fellow reformers as well as his many opponents. For the reformers, the problem of certitude began with the question of salvation. This chapter analyzes the way in which the certainty of salvation opened the 16th-century debates about knowledge, the sacraments, the Spirit, scriptural interpretation, and eventually, the rise of skepticism.
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