Reform in Germany: a context

The Question: Why will Luther succeed in Germany when Wycliffe failed in England, Hus failed in Bohemia, and Savonarola failed in Florence.” In other words, what were some of the critical factors that lead to the success of the reform in Germany when it had failed in other places?

German Princes and German Identity. The German princes were beginning to assert their political independence from Rome and the Holy Roman Emperor. Germany’s emerging political identity was fueled by its growing wealth in commerce and industry and the rise of its business class, the burghers, who were beginning to pursue their own interests. This new spirit of nationalism was to influence German society and its relationship to the Roman Church. Secular interests were taking precedence over religious matters. Germany’s newfound confidence and independence were to challenge papal and imperial authority and set forces in motion that were to affect European society during the Protestant Reformation. Continue reading