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The Reformation: A Brief Survey of Events

Protestantism as an ideology and historical force emerged as a result of a critique of the spiritual monopoly of Catholicism. Martin Luther was a theologian and monk who lectured in theology, but when he looked at the situation in Rome from a different angle, his worldview changed, and in 1517 he protested openly. Luther’s main ideas were the overthrow of indulgence and the secular power of the church (Ryrie 234). In his writings, he called for reducing the sacraments to the two expressly mentioned in the Gospels: baptism and communion. Luther’s work bore fruit in the form of many reforms: abolition of the group, removal of icons, preaching acted as the main occupation.

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It is worth noting that Jean Calvin and his associates (e.g., Zwingli) acted more radically. A strictly disciplined theocracy included punishments for moral offenses, prohibitions against non-attendance at church, and imposed curfews. In 1559 Calvin published his major work, The Exhortation of the Christian Faith, whose principles became the classic code of Protestantism. Calvin’s diligent work in France led to Calvinism becoming a major Protestant denomination.

The Counter-Reformation included an ecclesiastical reform whose purpose was to renew the Catholic Church following the spirit of the times. The Vatican responded with all the adulteries for which the Reformed cities imposed penalties in response to the Protestants. At the Council of Trent, the postulates of strengthening the authority of Catholicism were formulated, followed by several battles with the Protestants (Ryrie 306). In the first period of its sessions, the Council of Trent affirmed the scholastic doctrine of the Middle Ages on justification. Thus there was a final separation between Catholicism and Protestantism.

The Reformation in England and Scotland followed a peaceful path: the goal of ideology was political change. Despite the rise of the Calvinists, their oppression lasted long enough. Soon the Congregationalists emerged from them, becoming the radical branch, and after that, Catholicism never returned to England. The religious confrontation in France was long and bitter. Protestantism was exterminated during several bloody battles (including the Night of Bartholomew) and several decades, and its followers left for England and the Netherlands. In Germany, the revolutionary movement was led by Lutherans, who received support from many lands. As a result, Charles V agreed to a truce, and the Peace of Augsburg was established in 1555.

Work Cited

Ryrie, Alec. Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World. Penguin Books, 2018.

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