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The Protestant Reformation Essay

1227 words - 5 pages

There are many types of protestant churches existing today including Baptist, one of the largest denominations in America. This was not always the case before the 16th. To understand how it all began, it is important to go back in history when the Roman Catholic Church was the only church in Western Europe. This paper will look at the history of the protestant reformation movement, its causes, and how it changed the church (Cameron, 2012).
During the 1500s, the Roman Catholic Church was very powerful in western Europe. The church controlled both spiritual and political matters, although there were a number of other political forces at work. Initially, the reformation began as an effort to reform the church by a number of priests who were not in agreement with what the felt were false doctrines as well as ecclesiastic malpractice. Reformers were particularly in opposition to the selling of indulgences in addition to the selling and purchasing of the clerical offices, which they perceived as corruption within the church.
Between the 1300s and 1400, the church was plagued by internal power struggles, and was ruled by 3 popes at the same time. Popes, who claimed temporal and spiritual powers would command armies, make political alliances and even wage war.
With the corruption and power struggles, the church did little for the people, which resulted in a number of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church by a number of individuals who included John Wyclif as well as Jan Hus among others. However, it was not until martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk, posted 95 theses on the door of the church in the university town of Wittenberg that the movement began gaining adherents in Scandinavia, Scotland, German states as well as some portions of France (Spalding, 2010).
Luther was a German monk as well as a professor at the University of Wittenberg. In 1517, he sparked the reformation through posting 95 theses. This was composed of a list of statements that expressed his concerns about a number of practices by the church. Luther was particularly concerned about the practices of the church, and its doctrine.
The sale of indulgences involved a practice where the church acknowledged charitable works, or a donation with apiece of paper, referred to as an indulgence. This certified that one's would get to heaven more quickly since their time would be reduced in purgatory.
Pope Leo x was one of those who granted indulgences for the purposes of raising money so as to rebuild St. Peter's basilica in Rome (Simon, 1966).
However, this was not the only problem Luther had with the church. He did not agree with some of the teachings of the church, such as the teaching that good works would help them gain entrance in to heaven.
With other reformers, he turned to the bible as the only reliable source of instruction contrary to the teachings of the church.
Before the invention of the printing press in the middle of the 15th century, the bible was largely...

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