Protestant Reformation in one Page
During the Medieval Age and through the Renaissance, the Catholic Church was the domina...
Protestants fought Civil Wars for religious and political control of their countries. The whole big mess was
finally settl...
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6 protestant reformation in one page


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6 protestant reformation in one page

  1. 1. Protestant Reformation in one Page During the Medieval Age and through the Renaissance, the Catholic Church was the dominant power politically, economically and, of course, religiously. Although many people had tried to change the church, none succeeded because they had no political support and the Pope’s power over the people was unchallenged. Martin Luther changed that in 1517 when he posted the 95 theses and then in 1521 when Frederick of Saxony chose to protect Luther against the Pope (Leo X) and the Emperor (Charles V) after the Diet of Worms. Lutheranism was formalized with the Confession of Augsburg in 1530 and many Princes joined Lutheranism because of the political and economic benefits they would reap from abandoning the Catholic Church. Lutheranism split from the Catholics over “faith versus works”, corruption of the Papacy and the Priests, and the 7 Sacraments. Luther sought a church founded on faith, with a dedicated, honest leadership and the only 2 Sacraments mentioned in Scripture by Jesus (Baptism and Communion). Ulrich Zwingli agreed with Luther at first but then split from Luther over the Holy Communion. Transubstantiation and Consubstantiation divided Zwingli and his followers from Luther and began the many splits that would continue to be a part of Protestantism today. The next split came over baptism. The Ana-Baptists (again-Baptists) staked their claim on adult Baptism as a prerequisite for going to Heaven. Because they also advocated a social and economic interpretation of the Luther’s “freedom for the soul”, both the Catholics and the Protestants attacked and destroyed the heart of the Ana-Baptist movement. Those who remained had to go underground and many abandoned their faith to save their hide and joined the Catholics or the Protestants in Germany. Unlike the other reformers, Henry VIII’s motives were personal and political. His desire to divorce Catherine and marry Anne led to his break with the Catholic Church. Henry VIII created the Anglican Church and made the monarch the head of the new Church. At first, the Anglican Church was little different than the Catholic Church. When Henry VIII died however, his only son Edward VI took over at age 10. His advisors pushed the church farther toward Calvinism. Six years later Mary I (daughter of Catholic Catherine, Henry’s 1st wife) became Queen and she returned England to Catholicism. She also married the Catholic King of Spain Philip II. When she died, her Protestant sister Elizabeth became queen and returned England to Anglicanism. She believed a person’s loyalty to their country was more important than their religion and so was relatively lenient so long as the person was loyal to England. John Calvin split Protestantism again over the Free Will (Luther) versus Predestination (Calvin) question. Calvin followers believed that if God was really omnipotent then He must know who was and who was not going to Heaven. On earth, they theorized, those headed for heaven would act as if they were going to heaven and so the key to convincing people you were going to heaven was to behave perfectly. Any deviation from perfection and you were gone. With this strategy, Calvin and his followers settled in Geneva and created a perfect city. Soon, many people left Geneva and spread the ideals of Calvinism around Europe. In France the Calvinists were called Huguenots, Knox formed the Scottish Congregationalists, and Puritans formed in England and then later moved to the Netherlands and America. The Catholics responded in what is often called the Counter-Reformation. Their first response was to ignore the problem in hopes that it would go away. They had bigger problems. The Turks invading Eastern Europe had to be stopped. The French were invading Rome. The Spanish were conquering (and converting) most of South and Central America. They had a lot going on and a monk in Germany didn’t make their high priority list. When Protestantism caught hold in Germany, Catholics responded in several ways. The Pope restarted the Inquisition, created the Index which banned anti-Catholic books and called the Council of Trent which decided that no doctrine should be changed. Instead, Catholics should be better educated, held accountable for their actions and encouraged to more carefully follow the precepts of their faith. Spain, the bastion of Catholicism, sent missionaries around the world as they explored. Ignatious Loyola founded the Jesuits as a Catholic educational force that started grammar schools and universities all over the world. The Jesuits also acted as the Popes soldiers and “encouraged” many people across Europe to go back to the Catholic fold. In Germany, France, the Netherlands, and England, Catholics and
  2. 2. Protestants fought Civil Wars for religious and political control of their countries. The whole big mess was finally settled with the 30 Years War that ended in 1648.