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Characteristics of the Protestant Reformation

One of the great changes that Europe underwent during the Modern Age was the emergence of Protestantism, being a religion that broke the usual religious centrism of Europe during much of the Middle Ages and caused the emergence of religious disputes in the center of the world of the time. To talk about the movement that changed the religious world forever and caused the rise of Protestantism, in this lesson from a Teacher we must talk about the characteristics of the Protestant Reformation.

The Protestant Reformation, also known as the Reformation to refer to the contrast with the Counter-Reformation, is a religious movement that took place in Germany in the 16th century protesting against the Christian ideals of the time, being initiated and defended by the theologian Martin Luther.

The importance of the Reformation was such that divided Europe into two parts:

  • the one that maintained Christian ideals with the Counter-Reformation
  • the one who changed his religion towards reformism

This caused a huge division that for years led to wars and persecutions.

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In a crisis situation caused by what frowned upon that the papacy was due to its corruption and the, increasingly common, indulgence sales so that the rich could cleanse their sins with money, on November 10, 1517, Martin Luther published a work called The Ninety-Five Theses Against Selling Indulgences where numerous criticisms were made against the Church of the moment. Luther criticized indulgences and asked Christians to return to the time when salvation was achieved through faith and not money.

Luther's work spread rapidly throughout Europe, and soon many nations changed their religion to Lutheran, Protestant, or other similar versions. With all this, Europe was never the same again and the European map underwent great changes.

Characteristics of the Protestant Reformation - What is the Reformation and what are its causes?

To continue with this lesson from a Teacher we must talk about the Characteristics of the Protestant Reformation, in order to understand the main elements that defined this great religious change and its great differences with respect to the religion used up to now.

We must bear in mind that the characteristics of the Protestant Reformation were not used in all later regions, since the appearance of numerous religions that emerged from his ideas such as Calvinism mean that not all of them followed all Luther's thoughts to the letter. On the other hand, we must understand that some of these characteristics passed to the Catholic religion after the Counter Reformation, being the reason for its great importance.

Loss of the pope's power

The figure of the Pope had surrounded himself with corruption and riches that much of the Christian population considered as too extravagant and not faithful to the Bible. Luther's criticisms led the Protestant Reformation to focus on diminishing the power of the Pope, so in religions resulting from reformism the Pope has no function, disappearing the authority figure of the papacy.

The importance of faith

Faith is the only possible way to salvation, so believing in God and keeping his word is the only way to get to Paradise and avoid Hell, denying totally the possibility of buying the ticket to heaven with elements such as indulgences, and centering all religion on a faith that seemed forgotten by society European. This was one of the ideas that the Catholic religion used in its Counter-Reformation, admitting that they had largely lost the faith.

Sacrament reduction

The Catholic Christian religion was considered to use too many sacraments, which clashed with the ideals that faith should be the only way to salvation. The creation of the reformist religions led to the disappearance of most of the sacraments used up to now, remaining only the Eucharist and baptism, although some Protestant religions kept some more sacrament according to their political interests and economic.

There is no ecclesiastical hierarchy

The religious offices had only served to increase corruption and to create serious crises in the nations by seeking to have people from their countries in the highest positions of the Church. In Protestant religions it is believed that there should not be any kind of hierarchy, and that any religious believer can become a priest if he has the necessary knowledge.

Take back the original Christianity

Christianity had become a false religion and full of corrupt people, so Luther called for a return to the original values ​​of Christianity. All the characteristics of the Protestant Reformation are based on the return to primitive Christianity, being the one who followed the teachings of the Bible and in which wealth and power were secondary elements.

Importance of the Bible

The Bible should be the center of any Christian religion, not being worth the texts written by other religious later. The Bible was the only source of the word of God and therefore the priests had to study it to understand the ideas that should govern religion. This being true, the reality is that the Protestants used other texts, since for example the Luther's books form an important part of the religious thought of the religions born by the Reform.

Characteristics of the Protestant Reformation - Characteristics of the Protestant Reformation
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