When did Protestant Christianity begin?
Video: How did the Protestant Church come about?
The Protestant Church emerged from the movement of the Reformation in the 15th century. The Reformation was initiated by the monk Martin Luther, who criticized the Catholic Church's indulgence trade. Until then, the Catholic Church was the only Christian church.
The Roman Catholic Church - for a long time the only Christian church
The Roman Catholic Church has its origins over 2000 years ago. Some theologians even believe that Jesus Christ himself founded the church with the so-called "word in the rock" to the apostle Peter. But this is controversial among Roman Catholic theologians. In any case, for a long time the Catholic Church was the only Christian church and had an all-encompassing effect. It shaped people's values and accompanied their lives from birth to death. In addition, the church was responsible for hospitals, poor houses and schools and operated numerous monasteries. In the Middle Ages in particular, the monasteries were centers of education, culture and trade.
The Roman Catholic Church: purgatory and indulgences
So the Roman Catholic Church became very influential and powerful. In the Middle Ages it had great treasures and riches. Just like the nobles, the churchmen owned rural land and had political power, for example by participating in the election of a king. Science at the universities was also subordinate to the Church. This abundance of power led the Catholic Church to abuse its position. She scared the believers of hell and purgatory and he found a dubious business model: By buying letters of indulgence, believers could buy themselves free from their sins and thus escape hell. That made the church immensely rich.
Martin Luther and the Reformation
The monk and theologian Martin Luther, who lived from the end of the 15th to the middle of the 16th century, found the indulgence trade dishonest. He looked in the Bible for arguments that contradicted this business model of the Catholic Church. And he found what he was looking for: In 1517, Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church - according to legend. The theses prove that the indulgence trade cannot be reconciled with the Bible. Believers should be free, God's grace cannot be bought. The Catholic Church was not enthusiastic about Luther's theses and fought against the theologian and his followers. But Luther defied the Catholic Church, translated the Latin Bible into German and won more and more supporters for his ideas. Luther's movement is known today as the Reformation (renewal). The Protestant Church emerged from the Reformation movement.
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