The Lutheran Reformation transformed not only theology and the Church but also law and the State. Despite his early rebuke of law in favour of the gospel, Martin Luther eventually joined up with various jurists and political leaders to craft ambitious legal reforms of Church, State and society on the strength of his new theology, particularly his new two-kingdoms theory. These legal reforms were defined and defended in hundreds of monographs, pamphlets and sermons published by Lutheran writers from the 1520s onwards. They were refined and routinised in equally large numbers of new Reformation ordinances that brought fundamental changes to theology and law, Church and State, marriage and family, criminal law and procedure, and education and charity. Critics have long treated this legal phase of the Reformation as a corruption of Luther's original message of Christian freedom from the strictures of all human laws and traditions. But Luther ultimately realised that he needed the law to stabilise and enforce the new Protestant teachings. Radical theological reforms had made possible fundamental legal reforms, which, in turn, would make those theological reforms palpable. In the course of the 1530s and thereafter, the Lutheran Reformation became in its essence both a theological and a legal reform movement. It struck new balances between law and gospel, rule and equity, order and faith, and structure and spirit.
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