Castle Church Altar

Above is the altar of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Karlstadt celebrated the first "evangelical" communion here on December 25, 1521.

Andreas von Bodenstein Karlstadt

Movement Radical Reformation
Born Karlstadt, 1486
Died Basel, 1541
Significance Karlstadt (sometimes Carlstadt) was a close associate of Martin Luther who eventually moved away from Luther's theology to become a Radical Reformer. He believed that all images should be removed from churches and that Christians must exhibit moral growth or sanctification. His emphasis on a transformed life made him a forerunner of Pietism. He died of the plague on December 24, 1541.
Critiques by Karlstadt Karlstadt on Saints and Wittenberg Theologians
Critiques of Karlstadt Luther on Melanchthon, Erasmus, Luther, and Karlstadt
See also Home | Index of People | Radical Reformation | Andreas von Bodenstein Karlstadt Chronology | Andreas von Bodenstein Karlstadt Links | Andreas von Bodenstein Karlstadt Theologies | Andreas von Bodenstein Karlstadt Album

By the time Luther arrived in Wittenberg in 1512, Karlstadt was a well respected theologian in the university. He had received a BA from Erfurt before he began his studies at Wittenberg. After acquiring his doctorate in 1510, he became professor of theology and the dean of the university. In 1515 Karlstadt left for Rome where he would receive doctorates in canon law and in civil law. Upon his return to Wittenberg in 1516 his colleagues were outraged because they believed he was only making a pilgrimage to Italy. His return also sparked a theological conflict with Luther. Although Karlstadt reconciled with Luther eventually, their relationship would be marred by theological controversy throughout their lives. Karlstadt was shocked at the reforms Luther had instituted in the curriculum at Wittenberg during his absence. Lutherís emphasis on Scripture and Augustineís theology offended Karlstadtís Thomistic training. However, Karlstadt heeded Lutherís challenge to read Augustineís writings for himself rather than relying upon the misinterpretation of scholastic theologians. He soon discovered that Lutherís claim was accurate and thus a dramatic shift in his theology occurred. Although Karlstadt was convinced of Lutherís concept of justification by faith alone, he also had significant differences in the understanding of oneís life subsequence to justification. Rather than focusing on justification as an external forensic declaration of oneís righteousness before God, Karlstadt believed that justification also brings about an inner renewal of the individual that results in righteous living. His view would ultimately influence the Pietist movement movement. This significant divergence from Lutherís theology would later lead to conflict and ultimately they would become adversaries.

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