Protestant Reformation

EQ: Are religious beliefs more of a uniting or dividing factor within a society?

Protestant Reformation Timeline

Here is a basic timeline over the Protestant Reformation, that includes what happened before the Protestant Reformation began and also what happened during the Protestant Reformation itself.  

1507- Martin Luther became a monk after his life flashed before his eyes (literally)

1510- Martin Luther goes to Rome and realizes the Church is untrustworthy and rotten

1513-1518- Martin Luther realizes you go to Heaven through faith only, not by any other factors

1517 (October 31st)- Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the Catholic Church door *This started the Protestant Reformation*

1520- "To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation" was released. (This basically said that the Pope had no spiritual authority whatsoever and that the papacy wasn't important at all)

"The Babylonian Captivity" was also released. (This basically said that there should only be 3 sacraments instead of 7 sacraments)

1521- Martin Luther went in front of the Roman Empire and defended his argument against the church. This was also known as the "Diet of Worms". As a result, he was exiled from the Roman Catholic Church

1522- The Bible was translated from Latin into German


Where Did this All Start?

The Protestant Reformation took place in Europe, where the Roman Catholic Church was located

Now lets take a closer look at the location of the church:

Protestant Reformation Beginning

In the 1500s, a man named Martin Luther sparked the revolution for something new. In this time period, the Roman Catholic Church was head of power spiritually and politically and everybody listened to what the Pope had to say, and would do anything the church told them to do. People would do all these things because they believed the church had the most power since the church owed 1/3 of land, gave services, and had priests that were the only people able to read The Bible (Since it was in Latin). However, Martin Luther changed that.

Martin Luther was a monk who went to Rome on a mission. He had originally gone there for political reasons, but ended up seeing the light on something else. He saw how terrible Rome was and how disgusting it was. He saw that everything in Rome was a fraud because it does not support the basic ideas and morals of Christianity. This made him see things in a different perspective and changed how he viewed things.

He realized that you could go to Heaven through faith, and faith alone. Not by what the church says is right or wrong. This went completely against what the Roman Catholic Church was saying and doing. The church made people believe that the only way to go to Heaven was if you signed an Indulgence, which is basically signing a piece of paper and paying your way to get to Heaven and clearing your sins. People would go and pay for this and get the indulgences so that they could go to Heaven, and they truly believed that was the only way to get there.

Along with saying that the church was wrong, he also stated how the Pope had no spiritual authority and that the papacy wasn't important at all. He released books saying this and believed that Faith could get you to Heaven, not a piece of paper with the Church's signature saying you would go to Heaven.

In order to get back at the church and fight for a change, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of The Roman Catholic Church, which stated all the complaints he had and also how Indulgences were not right. When Martin Luther made this bold move, this started The Protestant Reformation.   

Below is a quick video overview of the Beginning of the Protestant Revolution and a short quiz to check to see if you understand so far what you read.

What Happened During the Protestant Reformation

After Martin Luther nailed the theses to the door, he released two pieces of writing that said one again that the Church had no real authority and that they all need to learn from The Bible and focus on their faith.   

There was one very important factor is the Protestant Reformation, and that was the printing press. The printing allowed the message of Martin Luther to travel all throughout Europe. Because of this, Martin Luther's writing were printed and sent to different parts of Europe. This caused more and more people to read what he believed in and make people start to join him. Also, the printing press caused a major change this time period. As we stated before, the Catholic Church was held very high because of all the spiritual authority people thought it had and also because it had the very few priests that could translate what The Bible said, since it was in Latin. However, because of the new printing press system, The Bible was translated into German, which allowed everybody to be able to read the Bible by themselves. Since people more people could read The Bible, they saw how differently the teachings were that Christ taught versus what the Church taught them.

Here is a quick recap of the printing press and its effects:

Negative Effects of the Protestant Reformation

Even though the translating of the Bible created a great effect, it also caused many problems. Because people were able to read The Bible by themselves, they started to interpret what The Bible said differently than one another, which caused problems. These problems included people creating new ways to worship God and then fighting over who's method is the right way. This caused disputes and corruption within the society.

Below is a short video about the effects of the Protestant Reformation:

Finally, you will take one last quiz to check for your understanding over the Protestant Reformation:

EQ: Are Religious Beliefs more of a Uniting or Dividing Factor within a society?

Critical Thinking Question: Would the Protestant Reformation be as widespread without the Printing Press?

By: Laura Herrera and Allison Davis

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