Martin Luther and the
Protestant Reformation
Paul A. Bishop
The beginning and later growth of the Protestant Re formation of this 16 th century
was regarded as a new challenge to spiritual authority that went beyond the Roman Catholic
Church. Numerous viewed it as a threat to your whole soc ial structure of culture, from the
monarch on down. As protest and dissent from the Church started initially to increase, several
individuals would increase to prominence in Europe. The se guys would lead the Reformation
and in addition produce a new religious structu re within Christendom.
The growth of a new Christian discou rse of faith would produce a new
religious theology and philosophy within Christiani ty. The brand new theology (explore God)
would not just start an expanding conversation concern ing religious understanding and
authority, it might also induce years of strife and conflict which may eventually split
the Church asunder. This new theology would also ch ange the course of history and
permeate much of that which we attended to comprehend as Western tradition.
Catholic Church
– meaning the universal church, one church over most of Christianity.
– identifies reform, a movement to improve that whic h is observed as incorrect.
Specifically, the 16 th century movement toward religious modification.
– describes protest, the increasing grievance against the Church’s doctrine and
practices. Meaning those who w ere to protest and finally break with the
Church. Justification
– acts that result in freedom from fault or guilt de rived from sin.
– means the pardon of, or forgiveness of sins.
– acts of contrition or punishments this 1 endur es or executes to exhibit regret
of sin. Purgatory
– an existence between this life and eternal life in Heaven, where souls
reside while they are cleansed o f their residual sin from earthly life.
– monetary payment made to absolve one from sin an d to reduce the time
spent in purgatory. Could as b age bought for the dead currently in
Ninety-Five Theses
– a list of Martin Luther’s questions regarding th e doctrine and
authority of this C atholic Church and an instruction to your faithful.
Papal bull
– formal page of instruction given by the Pop e concerning a given topic.
– the proper execution or order of religious services and wors hip.
– relates to the work of Holy Communion like in the cel ebration of the
“Last Supper”. Ecclesiastic
– having to do with the affairs regarding the church while the clergy.
Absolution – the work of remission of sin as prescribed and au thorized by the Church.
Cannon Law
– means the basic thinking and structures on th e Church.
Deices and Archdiocese
– means spiritual areas of jurisdictions of th e Church.
Diet – relates to a religious legislature or council hel d to determine religious matters.
Martin Luther’s Justification
Early in his life, Martin Luther dedicated himself to the monastic life. His joining
of the Augustinian friary at Erfurt, Germany in 150 5 would start a journey that would
eventually create the building blocks for a brand new religiou s movement within Christendom. The
Protestant Movement he would lead in Germany w ould be duplicated and duplicated
throughout European countries, as a backlash began to grow agai nst the corruption that many
believed had arrive at express the “old Church”. Th age growing protest against the
Catholic Church (universal church) would trigger the phone call for reform. This will become
the Protestant Reformation – the protest for reform.
The course that Luther had opted for would req uire a commitment and devotion to
fasting, hours of prayer, and regular confessions. His make an effort to devote himself to this
cause would induce a growing comprehend of his or her own sinfulness. His own spiritual self-
examination started initially to lead Luther into spiritual des set. To save him from his anguish,
the purchase directed Luther to initiate instruction i n academics. Luther was quickly ordained
into the priesthood as well as in 1508, started teaching. In 1512, he had been granted a doctorate and
was inducted into the theological faculty within Un iversity of Wittenberg. It might be
here that he would spend their profession and commence to ex plore the numerous dilemmas he saw
plaguing the Church. It absolutely was at Wittenberg that Luther started to question a number of the doctrines of the
Roman Church. Their some ideas of penance and righteousness, along with salvation started to
change from exactly what their instruction had led him to bel ieve. This became the basis of his
“new conversion”. With this, Luther started initially to develo p their own tips and formulate them
into a doctrine of reason. It really is this knowledge of justification that ope ned the
divide involving the Roman Catholic Church and Martin Luther.
By the 16
th century the Catholic Church had entrenched and lin ked “membership”
in the Church with salvation. The risk of “excomm unication” had been utilized as a weapon to
keep followers in line and also to punish those who had move away from boundaries of
conduct and actions set by the Church hierarchy. Th e Church taught that “it alone” had been
God’s tool and representative in the world and sa lvation could simply be found by its
means. Further, the Pope whilst the frontrunner associated with the Catho lic Church had been by then declared as the
“ Vicar of Christ ”, or their personal agent. Before 5
th century, this name had been
reserved to spell it out the Holy Spirit sent to Christ’s Apostles to perform their religi ous
training. When the title had been used in the po pe, it started initially to imply an extraordinary
holiness of supreme and universal primacy existed o ver most of Christendom inside workplace,
in one peoples being
Challenging Indulgences
It ended up being this “primacy of authority” that Martin Luther started to concern and
challenge. His doctrine of reason brought hi m to an entirely different
understanding associated with origins of salvation. For Luth er, salvation cannot be found in
membership within an institution, or in the possession of o f people. Rather, he saw it as a
spiritual gift straight from God toward person. Their brand new understanding ended up being that
salvation was grounded in faith, and that this fait h is exactly what resulted in salvation through the
grace of Jesus. God’s elegance was a sovereign benefit tha t was aside from one’s actions or
deeds. Grace had been that enabling energy, and important gift given by God that could enable a
person to secure their eternal salvation. According to Luther, that elegance ended up being not
predicated on Church account, or earthly works. It was a present that had been bought on
the cross by the death of Jesus of Nazareth. It had been also only attainable through one’s faith
in Jesus. In this scenario, the Roman Church destroyed i ts fundamental authority over salvation.
For Luther, the growing controversy over indulgences would set the phase for
spiritual confrontation. The thought of sin referred to the human being violation of ethical rules.
These moral rules were the rule of conduct as decre ed by Jesus in his “holy scriptures”.
whenever “sin” happened, and it occurred at alarming ra tes, it could require some kind of
penance be carried out to absolve oneself, as a sig letter of repentance. It might be this action
of penance and repentance additionally the subsequent corrup tion that could commence to evolve
around it that would result in the crisis into the Cathol ic Church. This could fester into a
growing protest and condemnation of indulgences. By the 16
th century the Catholic Church had expounded upon the scriptures as to
what ended up being appropriate for the remission of sin. Step one had been through an act of
contrition through which the sinner would pray for forgiveness. Be yond confession of sin and
admission of guilt, the sinner is anticipated to execute some form of sacramental
penance. The Church would then also provide the indul gence in an effort to expand the merits
of the Church. We were holding explained as being an ext ension of and a draw on the
“storehouse of merit” obtained by Jesus’ sacrifice, and virtues regarding the Saints. These
later “virtues” had been merits awarded by God the good works and prayers associated with the saints,
according to your Church. Therefore a sinner can I n impact use these instruments to gain
absolution with regards to their sins utilizing the Catholic Church acting as their mediator before God.
however the controversy ended up being significantly more involve d than the sale of indulgences.
Martin Luther and others started initially to question the auth ority by which the Catholic Church
based its belief inside buying and selling of indul gences. A greater question arose as to
whether or perhaps not the Catholic Church had or could ass ume the authority to sell salvation.
The Church argued that the indulgence had been after the reality of confession and absolution
and the indulgence ended up being just an upgraded for other penances. Whatever the Catholic
Church’s meaning, numerous cannot understand differe nce, among others did not feel there was
one. One of these simple ended up being Martin Luther, and their reacti on was going to change the world of
Christendom forever. The Church additionally offered the indulgence a s a method to remove temporal punishment
that would otherwise have to be compensated as time passes spen t in purgatory. This is an existence
somewhere between life on the planet and eternal life in Heaven, where human souls would
reside to become purified. The belief being that so me good souls aren't sin free and
must spending some time being cleansed before entering Heav en. This might then be
accomplished in purgatory, what Protestants started initially to make reference to as God’s “wait ing room”.
The indulgence could then be placed on these souls after the reality to remove their
unseemliness and reduce their amount of time in purgatory. The selling of indulgences became a full time task for a few in the Catholic
Church. The entire event would definitely escalate arou nd this new construction of St. Peter’s
Basilica in Rome. In 1517, the Dominican friar Joha n Tetzel had been appointed as
commissioner of indulgences for many of Germany. His task is to raise monies
through the sale of indulgences the constructio n that has been occurring on St. Peter’s
Basilica. Tetzel ended up being zealous about their job and com missioned wholesale retailing of
indulgences. Their commission would quickly be hit because of the accusation of selling
indulgences for sins yet become committed. By this t ime the indulgency controversy was
full blown and Martin Luther had been freely preaching a gainst Tetzel and the sale of
indulgences in general.
The Ninety-Five Theses
Luther would begin to write in condemnati on of indulgences. His “Disputation of
Martin Luther together with energy and effectiveness of Indulge nces” became the principle catalyst
for the coming Protestant Reformation. This became referred to as Ninety-Five Theses
and had been enclosed in a letter protesting indulgences that Luther composed to Archbishop
Albrecht in October of 1517. In page Luther q uestioned the granting of forgiveness
through the sale of indulgences, which did actually tu rn the matter into a commercial
transaction instead of an authentic repentant of sin and change of heart. As Luther saw it,
the Catholic Church had commercialized repentance. He doubted that absolution of sin
could be purchased, offered, and purchased as though it had been items the advantage and disposal of
the Church. When Johann Tetzel was commissioned to se ll indulgences in Germany by Pope
Leo X, this would not straight away impact Martin Luthe r. The prince of each province had
the straight to allow or deny their sale in his territ ory. While these brand new indulgences for the
construction of St. Peter’s Basilica weren't offered in Luther’s province, his parishioners
began to journey to provinces in which they are able to purchase t hem. Luther became outraged when
his own congregation started to provide indulgences t hey had purchased inside their travels as
documentation that their sins was in fact forgiven. H e saw this as an abomination and
violation associated with entire notion of confession and penan ce and an offense to justification and
salvation. Based on Luther’s new knowledge of the scriptures, forgiveness could
not be purchased, but rather ended up being a free present of God ’s mercy.
Luther then looked to start the debate by nailing a copy for the Ninety-Five Theses
to the doorway of Wittenberg Castle Church. As church doors of the time acted as bulletin
boards, it was quite normal. It was an open invit ation to have a scholarly public
debate regarding the dilemmas expounded upon in the theses. What happened next was
extraordinary. Luther was believed to have approached C hurch authorities and offered them
with his Theses while calling for an immediate end towards the work for the indulgence vendors.
once the Church would not answer their demands, he began to distribute the Ninety-Five
Theses privately. Within two weeks time the Theses had spread like wildfire throughout
Germany. Within 8 weeks time they'd covered Eu rope after being translated into
Latin and forced through printing presses in every the major nations. Martin Luther had
ignited a powder keg that consequently would expl ode into a much greater event.
Among other activities, Luther’s Theses would phone into question the restrictions of the
pope’s authority. Specially, Luther questioned w hether the pope could remit guilt of sin
and whether it was possible to grant anyone the rem ission of most penalties. Luther further
stated your dying were free of earthly penal ties by their fatalities. He then found
those preachers that offered indulgences in error “who say that by the pope’s indulgences a
man is freed from every penalty, and saved”. Luther remarked that any energy the pope
held into the matter ended up being just through intercession as a gateway to God’s grace, meaning
the result of any intercession by the Church was gr anted by and held only within the authority
and power of Jesus alone. The Ninety-Five Theses left “condemnation” because the reward for
those that thought their salvation ended up being protected along with their holding of these “letters of
pardon”. Luther continued to express that every repentant Christian gets the straight to full
remission of penalty and shame, also without le tters of pardon, this being an act of
God’s mercy alone. The 2nd half Luther’s Theses set ou t instruction for Christians. Luther
wanted Christians to comprehend that buying pardons failed to compare to doing works of
mercy, or to helping poor people while the needy. He wro te, “works of love not only are
beloved in God’s eyes, they assist the man to cultivate to ward religious purity.” Where the
pardoners persuaded individuals to give if they c ould perhaps not afford to, Luther suggested
that Christians had been bound to produce what was nece ssary for his or her own families first,
then toward the needy, and never to squander this on pardons. Finally, he questioned why
the pope, whoever riches had been greater than those of t he wealthiest individuals, didn't build the
basilica together with his very own money, versus from s ale of indulgences towards the poor?
The Ninety-Five Theses had expected concern s and mentioned points of contention
that numerous had wished to ask, but few had dared to. Just what Luther had done had been become
the voice for an increasing discontent within the Catho lic Church. Did the Church actually
hold the tips to paradise as much felt it claimed to? Ended up being the pope infallible? Did
indulgencies remove all sin? And ended up being excommunicatio n through the Catholic Church
tantamount to eternal damnation? Luther had called the church into account, and for
many the Church would be hard pressed to answer in a convincing manner.
For its part, the Catholic Church had been slo w in giving an answer to Luther’s call for an
open debate. Cardinal Albrecht that has first receiv ed Luther’s theses had them checked
for any heresy before he forwarded them to Rome. However make no formal answer to
the Theses, but would entrust that powers greater t han he would come to their rescue.
Albrecht had been caught up into the utilization of indulgence mon ies himself. He'd borrowed
money to pay for his clerical advancement along with the pope’s blessing was permitted to
use half the monies gathered from the purchase of indu lgencies in their diocese of jurisdiction
to pay these debts. When Luther threatened the sale of indulgences, he had been also
threatening the cardinal’s assets.
Response regarding the Church
When the Ninety-Five Theses found its way to Ro me, their reception ended up being cold. Pope Leo
X would act methodically while using action and wo uld react to Luther’s Theses by
ordering the vicar-general for the Augustine Order to position a ban of silence on its monks.
This move had been directed at quieting the growing discont ent without drawing unwarranted
attention on growing schism within the church. Luth er reacted by giving a personal
letter of clarification of his Theses towards the pope. The consequence of this is that Leo X then
summoned Luther to seem before him in Rome. Befor age this occurred, an agreement was
reached whereby Luther would meet with the pope’s r epresentative Cardinal Cajetan in
Augsburg, Germany. This is an endeavor by the churc h to reign Luther in before
anymore harm might be done. Meanwhile, Rome issued a papal bull obliging all
Christians to acknowledge the pope’s authority and power to grant indulgences. Neither
of these efforts ended up being successful inside their attempts t o intimidate Luther into recanting his
writings. After a year of unproductive negotiations, the pope issued the Exsurge Domine in
1520. This
papal bull had been an immediate assault on Luther and ordere d the withdrawal of some
41 theological mistakes the Church found contention w ith in his writings. Luther ended up being given
sixty days to adhere to this new papal bull. Thro ughout Germany the papal bull was
received with contempt. In many instances, the d ocument was publicly burned. Luther
himself set their own content to flame and severa l volumes of the Catholic Church’s
ecclesiastical Canon Law. The pope viewed this as a direct assault on his au thority and
responded by having Martin Luther excommunicated fr om the Catholic Church.
In 1521, Leo X issued a Decet Romanun Pontificem banishing Luther from the
Church. The situation ended up being then turned to secular authorities and Luther ended up being ordered to
appear before the Diet of Worms. It was a general set up associated with Holy Roman
Empire carried out in-may of that same year. Emperor Charles V physically directed the
assembly. Luther would be to deal with the construction concer ning whether he'd authored the
various writings caused by him and in case he espous ed their contents. Fearing for Luther’s
safety, the Elector Prince Frederick III of Saxony secured an assuranc age that Luther would
receive free passage to and through the installation. Luth er’s get to Worms set the phase for
the theological showdown that has been to follow. Johann Eck, a former buddy of Luther’s t urned enemy, represented the Empire as
the associate to your Archbishop of the archdiocese. Eck had been in charge of the
delivery of several papal bulls regarding Luther. U pon questioning, Luther refused to
recant or retract any one of his writings on grounds th at by both Holy Scripture and his
own conscience as led by God, he had been determined to face company by his beliefs. The
assembly then moved to confidential conferences to render its decisions. These
conferences would endure a few days before phrase could be passed away regarding Luther’s
fate. In the end the verdict pronounced upon Martin Luther was to be most unfortunate. He
was declared become a heretic and an outlaw. Their literature was to be prohibited, an d he was to
be arrested. It also became a crime for anyone with within the kingdom to give Luther safe
haven. Further, the construction sanctioned the death o f Martin Luther with no legal
consequences in legislation. Inside eyes of many the Church had been now forgiving the used
secular authorities to condone murder. The final proclamation of construction be came known as The Edict of Worms and
all but put a bounty on Luther’s mind. To safeguard h im, Prince Frederick had Luther
secretly removed to Wartburg Castle in which however live in exile for the following year. It
was here he proceeded their doctrinal attacks on Catholic Church, expanding these
to add needed confessions together with Church’s in terpretation of “good works’. It was
during this time around that Luther also translated the New Testament into German, allowing for
the expanded reading of the Scriptures inside verna cular. His interpretation would soon
increase specific reading associated with the Bible and bring additional to concern what the
Church taught, in place of whatever they read in the scriptures.
Growing Protest Toward Reform as well as the Internal Disp ute
By 1522, Luther’s writings had started a wave of reform and instigated disorder
and revolt within his own Augustinian purchase, plus in towns across Germany. As the
situation deteriorated and civil unrest increased, Luther felt compelled ahead out of
hiding and he secretly returned to Wittenberg. He d elivered several sermons on value
of patience and freedom, condemning the prior vi olence and calling on the
townspeople to put their faith in Jesus to supply re type. His return had instant results
in restoring order and acted as a conservative voic e within the “reform movement”. He
advocated moderation in the brand new movement’s prac tices, establishing the basis for what by
then had get to be the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
Control of this Holy Roman Empire had enter into contention between the Emperor
and the pope by the 1520’s. With the crowning of Ch arlemagne, the Catholic Church had
laid claim to religious authority plus power over secular rulers associated with the kingdom.
Charles V’s power within the German states ended up being limi ted by that of the provincial princes,
opening the entranceway for reform with the assembly of th age First Diet of Speyer. The food diet was
held inside summer time of 1526 to handle the advancing Protestant Reformation and the
implementation regarding the Edict of Worms. Among other t hings, the edict made it a crime to
spread or show the writings and opinions espoused b y Martin Luther. 1 by 1, German
Protestant princes profess their new beliefs on Diet. While the Diet of Speyer was not
convened to annul the Edict of Worms, it had a simi lar impact in Germany. The Diet
unanimously figured every province held the proper to call home, guideline and think as it
may, in hopes of being answerable and then Jesus. In the German provinces associated with Holy Roma n Empire, this provided each prince the
temporary directly to act as he pleased regarding r eligious reform until an over-all meeting
of the Emperors Council could be held. This could n ot happen for 20 years, and in
the meantime the princes relocated to advance Protestan tism in privilege of
independent action. Luther comprehended the ruling as having provided him temporary acquittal
of the cost of heresy. The Holy Roman Emperor Cha rles V did not formally contest
the Diet of Speyer, although he opposed granting spiritual threshold to Protestants.
By this time around the Reformation had spread t o other lands too, in which discontent
with the Roman Catholic Church and its own techniques ha d raised the protest for reform. In
Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli became the catalyst for change as he raised problems with
the customized of fasting, clerical wedding, therefore the u se of iconic pictures. Zwingli began to
develop a new liturgy for communion in place of the Catholic mass. Zwing li’s beliefs
began to distribute through the entire Swiss Confederation and divided it along spiritual lines.
War into the Confederation would narrowly be averted. By 1522, Zwingli had publicly
confronted Catholic authority by publishing their ide as in regards to the corruption within
the church’s ecclesiastical hierarchy.
As the Reformation charged forward, disputes within the protestant movement
would need change, causing arbitration. In 152 9, the Marburg Colloquy was called
to purchase to shut the ranks. Moreover, the meeting was called to address
growing political issues of unity, but at hea rt of the problem ended up being the necessity for
religious harmony. A unified Protestant theology wa s had a need to get together again the differing
views within the motion, particularly between Lut her and Zwingli. Both sides
were to find consensus on fourteen points of disput e. But they might leave the
conference with divergent views regarding the Eucharist.
The sacrament of Holy Communion in rememb rance of the Lord’s Supper was the
one point the two sides could not agree upon. Luthe r thought the sacraments of bread
and wine were united with Christ’s human body and bloodstream f or all communicants, while Zwingli
held them become only symbols of the two. Lutherans would leave the seminar refusing
to acknowledge Zwingli and his followers as true Pr otestants, but a general consensus
had been reached. The meeting had produced an allia nce within Protestant ranks while
strengthening the emperor’s place from the th reat of Roman Catholic forces.
The Reformation Spreads
England would see Henry VIII break with t he Roman Catholic Church, although
for much different reasons. In 1525, Henry VIII loo ked to possess his marriage to Catherine
of Aragon annulled. As soon as the pope refused allowing the annulment, the master then looked
to the theological universities and Parliament in a n attempt to challenge papal supremacy
over religious issues. Parliament reacted by pas sing a few legislations, which
little by small started to remove the Catholic clergy in England of its power. Finally,
Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy in 1534, dec laring Henry VIII the supreme
authority over the church in England. The king therefore became the head of this Church in
England. Henry VIII had been additionally offered control of churc h funds and appointments. This
new Anglican Church, headed by appointments of Henr y’s selecting annulled his
previous wedding and moved with Parliament to validate Henry’s wedding to his
mistress Ann Boleyn. Pope Clement VII responded with Henry VIII
excommunicated. This was an act following the reality, giv en that Henry had already been
declared your head of their own church, consequently havi ng already eliminated “himself” for the
Roman Church. Protestantism in England would see a reve rsal in its royal acceptance after the
death of Henry VIII. Their son Edward VI, now the sec ond Protestant master of England
would die at age fifteen, and after a quick energy s truggle, Mary Tudor, Henry’s daughter
by Catherine of Aragon would assume the throne. Bei ng a staunch Roman Catholic,
Mary reconciled England with Rome. She then worked through Parliament the passage of
several “Marian Religious Acts” that effectively re saved Catholicism in England and
reinstate several “Heresy Acts”. Queen Mary then be gan a number of persecutions that
would last nearly four years to check out the execution of several leading Protestants, several
hundred being burned within stake. She would eventu ally be referred to as “Bloody Mary”
among English Protestants. With Mary Tudor’s death, another of Henry ’s daughters assumed the throne.
Elizabeth I would start to see the reinstatement associated with the “Sup remacy Act” making her mind of the
Church. Elizabeth then relocated to reestablish the Protestant Anglican Church as the
official spiritual authority in England. Pope Pius V then had Elizabeth excommunicated.
This act released Catholics from their allegiance t o the queen, but put them in peril of
being traitors should they put to work this. An uneasy t olerance settled over England in the
ensuing years and Catholics had been susceptible to monetar y fines, imprisonment, and even
execution when they revealed any objection to the Queen ’s secular authority. Inside following
centuries, Catholics had been become viewed with suspici on in England, as Catholic forces in
Europe would over repeatedly help plots in an attempt to spot a Catholic ruler right back on the
throne of England. In France, John Calvin was going to becom e the catalyst the Protestant reform
movement. Trained as legal counsel, Calvin started to ques tion their Catholicism and in 1536
published the Institutes of the Christian Religion. This moved to set in place a theocratic
structure the Protestant Church, and an activity for Protestant Christian instruction. As
leader regarding the Huguenot movement in France, Calvin directed the assault aga inst Catholic
beliefs in rituals, purgatory, saints, hierarchy, a nd the pope’s worldly kingdom. First from
Geneva, Calvin would commence to support the Huguenot church before going to Strasburg.
He seen the Roman Catholic Church as well as its hierarc hy as a mockery of God’s elegance,
and a human tyranny over Christianity. The Protesta nt break because of the Catholic Church in
France would cause years of religious wars. Pea ce ended up being finally based in the Edict of
Nantes in 1598, which granted religious and governmental fre edom to Protestants in France
under Henry of Navarre. This edict of toleration wo uld stay static in spot until Louis XIV
came to power nearly one-hundred year later on. As a protégé of John Calvin’s in Geneva, John Knox would first rise to prominence
in the Church of England as a clergyman after their e xile from Scotland. Utilizing the rise of
Mary Tudor and brief renovation of Catholicism in England, Knox moved to the
continent to prevent prosecution. His very first Blast of the Trumpet had been a protest against the
“unnatural” guideline of females, which under Mary Tudor a nd Mary Stuart he viewed to be
wicked and tyrannical. With his go back to Edinburgh, Scotland, Knox would become a
leader regarding the Scottish Revolution contrary to the Catho lic regency in 1560. As one of the
authors associated with Scotts Confession, Knox was instrumental in the Scottish Parliament’ s
abolishing the jurisdiction regarding the pope in Scotland and banning the party of Mass
there. The establishment of the Church of Scotland led to the formation of reformed
theology in Scotland and the foundation of Presbyte rianism.
Throughout the 16
th century, Protestantism would turned out to be widely emb raced in
Scandinavia also. In Sweden and Finland, the Vat ican started to lose its control by the
late 1500’s as a rest between the king plus the pop music e developed over ecclesiastical
affairs. The crown had taken control of church prop erty, church appointments, and placed
the clergy under civil legislation, successfully yielding t o the recommendation of Protestant ideals.
Denmark, Norway, and Iceland were ruled by equivalent monarch, so when the throne of
Denmark moved from Catholic arms and into those associated with the Protestant Christian III, a
reformation for the official state church occurred. By the middle of the 16
th century the
majority of Scandinavians claimed to be Protestants .
The Thirty Year War additionally the Peace of Westphalia
When Charles V ended up being replaced as Holy Roman Emperor, the alliance of Protestant
princes ended up being strengthened. In Germany, the signing o f the comfort of Augsburg officially
ended the religious struggles and confirmed the leg al and permanent division of
Christendom inside the empire. The agreement in 155 5, now allowed the princes too
permanently choose their spiritual affiliation with in their controlled domain names. It also
successfully offered Protestantism official status wit hin the kingdom and. The agreement
also efficiently removed the threat of heresy. Whil age not totally all Protestants had been covered
under the agreement, nearly all German Luthera ns now had protection under its
jurisdiction. The Protestant Reformation which had star ted with Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five
Theses had now swept across European countries and entrenched i tself, making a clean break from
the Roman Catholic Church and also the pope’s authority. The struggle would carry on for
another 100 years and culminate because of the Thirty Years War. Beginning in 1618,
Europe erupted in available warfare on the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Church
would sanction army action in its efforts to cr ush Protestantism. The German
provinces would be an “open battlefield” for re ligious supremacy.
By 1648, nearly every major European energy had get embroiled. The impact of
the war would devastate the peoples of Europe. Some areas in Germany would see two-
thirds of these populations killed. The higher pow ers of European countries would ravage Germany.
As the war waged in, in many instances, the warfare had less to do with religious affairs,
and more regarding conquest and their “grab for po wer”. By the finish associated with war the
dominance associated with Emperor was in fact severely curtaile d, the authority of this pope had
been all but eliminated. In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia would end the spiritual wars in European countries a nd
validated religious freedom for Protestants. By tha t time, Europe was torn apart, the
German provinces had heard of destruction of half i ts population in a few provinces, and
the Church had forever been divided.
Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses had st arted a religious revolution. From the
time he first begun to question Church authority, t o when he nailed the Theses to the
doors of Castle Church in Wittenberg he had just wa nted answers. When none were
forthcoming, he attempted to drive the Church to alter, so when it was rebuked he
stripped the church’s authority over him. His prote st for reform had quickly begun to
inspired other doing likewise. As a result had spa rked not just a call for reform, but a
demand for religious change. The Protestant church’s calendar is fille d with “Holy Days”, but none are more
central to its presence than compared to October 31, k nown as Reformation Day. On this day,
Protestantism celebrates Martin Luther’s Ninety-Fiv e Theses. The document is heralded
as the start of the conclusion towards the Catholic Church’s claim to regulate of all of the religious
affairs, and to exactly what lots of that time saw as the c laim to regulate over salvation.
The Protestant Reformation would alter C hristianity from a religion with one
omnipotent power, the Catholic Church, to now encom pass many brand new values using
a split Protestant context. That context is base d on differing scriptural interpretations,
not only different than compared to the Roman Catholic Church, however in numerous instances
different from one another. This pluralism has cont inued even today and will be found in
the large number of denominations within Protestant ism, and the ones that stay outside of
that framework also. The Reformation also changed the face area of European countries. It served to additionally release the
growing social and political discontent of the time. Kings and princes began to move
away from authority of this Catholic Church as w ell. The sweeping changes that
occurred had been resisted and religious wars had been foug ht for pretty much one-hundred years
before there clearly was spiritual toleration, recognition, and reconciliation between Catholics
and Protestants. The Protestant Reformation stands today as a testament to men’s desire to find a
greater understanding of the “Scriptures” and of Go d. The Protestant Reformation also
stands as a reminder that when one omnipotent autho rity claims supremacy over the
affairs of men, whether they be spiritual or secula r, it's in the interest of most men to
question where that authority comes from, and if it is simply, and/or mistaken.
Questions ___________________________________________
1. Exactly what facets led Martin Luther to create their Ninety- five Theses, and was he looking
to start a fresh religious movement?
2. How did the Church first answer Luther’s accusati ons and needs for change?
According to Luther’s theses, what abuses ended up being the C hurch responsible for
3. What part did Zwingli, Calvin, and Knox play inside spread for the Protestant
Reformation throughout European countries?
Further Readings and Credits
For a definite understand regarding the Protestant Reformatio n, Diarmaid MacCulloch, The
Reformation (New York, 2005). For Luther’s movement, Edwin Booth, Martin Luther:
The Great Reformer (Philadelphia, 1999). Also Michael Mullet’s, Martin Luther (London,
2004). Concerning Huldrych Zwingli, Peter Stephens, Zwingli: An Introduction to his
Thought (Oxford, 1992). For John Knox see Iain Murray, John Knox (London, 1983).
Alister McGrath recounts John Calvin’s rise in, the life span of John Calvin
(Oxford, 1990).
On England’s relocate to Protestantism, Nicholas Tyacke, England’s longer Reformation:
1500 — 1800 (London, 2003).

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