"... careful study of the Luther’s writings reveals that, while he repudiated many Catholic ways of understanding and conducting church, and while he attempted to harmonize ecclesiastical structures and sacramental theology with the foundational principles of Protestantism, he was essentially unable to break away from medieval modes of thinking. Notwithstanding his rejection of the Catholic emphasis on the visible church, he struggled to free himself from reliance on institutional structures for salvation. Ultimately, Luther affirmed the necessity of the visible church for salvation. In His wisdom, Luther believed, God had decreed the church to be the means of grace, without which no one could be saved. As a result, while a person could be in the church and unsaved, the option of not being in the church was not open to those who were predestined for salvation by God. Abandoning the church was a sure sign that one had not been among the elect. While each of the Reformation’s solas represented some form of reaction against medieval Catholic soteriology, the fact that Luther’s soteriology developed within the context of Augustinian monergism resulted only in providing an alternative theological foundation for the Catholic doctrine of extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Such a vision of the church was congruent with the social and political milieu of early 16th century. While beginning well, Luther’s Reformation ultimately defaulted to its ecclesiastical and cultural surroundings."

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