Search This Blog

Thursday, 11 May 2017


Protestantism is one of main divisions of Christianity, consisting of many separate denominations. It emerged from Roman Catholicism at the Reformation.

The oldest Protestant churches, such as the Unitas Fratrum and Moravian Church, date their origins to the Bohemian religious reformer Jan Hus in the early 15th century. Hus attacked the corruption of the clergy and condemned the sale of indulgences and stressed the importance of Scripture. Hus also criticized clerics for refusing to let the congregation partake of the wine during communion, a right that was reserved just for the clergy.

Hus was excommunicated and burned at the stake in Constance, Bishopric of Constance in 1415 by secular authorities for unrepentant and persistent heresy. After his execution, a revolt erupted and Hussites defeated five continuous crusades proclaimed against them by the Pope.

Execution of Jan Hus in 1415

Within fifty years of Hus' death, a contingent of his followers had become independently organised as the "Bohemian Brethren" or Unity of the Brethren, which was founded in the village of Kunvald, on the Bohemian-Moravian borderland in 1457. These were some of the earliest Protestants, rebelling against Rome some fifty years before Martin Luther. By the middle of the 16th century as many as 90 per cent of the inhabitants of the Bohemian Crown were Protestant.

The later Protestant Churches generally date their doctrinal separation from the Roman Catholic Church to the 16th century. The Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, by priests who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice. It is generally dated to October 31, 1517 in Wittenberg, Saxony, when the German monk Martin Luther sent his Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences to the Archbishop of Mainz. The theses debated and criticized the Church and the papacy, but concentrated upon the selling of indulgences and doctrinal policies about purgatory, particular judgment, and the authority of the pope.

Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, the site where Luther posted his Ninety Five Theses. By Chris06; 

At the 1529 Second Diet of Speyer in Germany the princes within the Holy Roman Empire were denied the right to choose which religious reforms would take effect in their individual states. Instead, everyone was told to return to the Catholic religion and the innovations reformers such as Martin Luther had made were condemned. On April 19, 1529, six of Germany's Lutheran princes and the burghers of 14 cities vigorously protested against the finding because the decisions of the Diet, they felt are contrary to both God's Word and their own consciences. As a result the word "Protestant" was first used for those who protested against the intolerant decisions of the Catholic majority there.

In England, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I found a compromise between orthodox Catholicism and reforming Protestantism in the Church of England.

The first Protestant services in America were conducted by the Protestant Francis Drake for his men whilst docked in San Francisco in 1579. The English sea captain was undertaking an expedition against the Spanish along the Pacific coast of the Americas.

Today, Protestantism encompasses numerous denominational groups, including Anglicans, Baptists, Episcopalians, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Methodists, Pentecostals and Presbyterians.

The supreme authority of scripture is a fundamental principle of Protestantism.

The Bible translated into vernacular by Martin Luther

Most Protestant churches recognize only two sacraments directly commanded by the Lord - baptism and communion - as opposed to the seven sacraments accepted by the Catholic Church.

No comments:

Post a Comment