Christianity Knowledge Base

The Protestant Reformation is a general name for a series of movements begun in 1517 by Martin Luther and his nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the Catholic church in Wittenberg, Germany, protesting the selling of indulgences by the Church. It became a major turning point in Western Church history, as it began a movement back to Biblical principles. Even though many groups split away from the Roman Catholic Church, it provided the impetus for the Counter Reformation, in which the Catholics addressed some of the issues that began the reformation in the first place.

The Catholic church branded him a heretic and eventually summoned him to appear in front of a type of court, called the Diet of Worms where he defended his interpretation of the Bible, and after that, the attempts to reform the church began. The term "Protestant" came about later, when the Holy Roman Empire decided to enforce Catholicism, and several princes and cities protested the decision.

The reformation had five different movements:

  • Lutheran Reformation: Lead by Martin Luther
  • Reformed Reformation: Lead by Huldrych Zwingli and later by John Calvin
  • Radical Reformation: Diverse. Produced the Mennonite, Amish, and Hutterite denominations.
  • Counter Reformation: The Roman Catholic internal reformation
  • English Reformation: Sometimes considered a misnomer, since it was initially only a change of the hierarchy and not an actual reformation of church practices.
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