So why all of these religious wars in Europe? What is Protestantism?
Protestantism is one of the three major divisions of Christendom, the other two being Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. It is a form of Christian faith and practice that originated with the Protestant Reformation, where the Reformation was a movement against what its followers considered to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church.
In actuality, the term “Protestantism” refers to a letter of protestation from Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict comdemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical. Having its origins in Germany, the Protestant movement is widely considered to have begun in 1517, when Martin Luther published a document called “The Ninety-Five Theses” in response to perceived abuses in the sale of Indulgences, which the Roman Catholic Church suggested offered a reduction of sin to purchasers.
Politically, there was an uproar around Europe because Protestants rejected the Supremacy of the Pope over the universal Church. In addition, Protestants also denied the Roman Catholic doctrine of “Transubstantiation”. Within the Roman Catholic Church, transubstantiation is the change by which the bread and wine used in the sacrament of the Eucharist become, not merely as a sign or a figure, but also in actual reality the body and blood of Christ. This is not insignificant because the Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper) is a major rite considered to be a sacrament.
Ultimately, Protestantism differed from Catholicism via a number of important principles (or “solas”) that were in stark contrast to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. In most of the earliest articulations of the solas, three were typically specified: “Scripture over tradition”, “Faith over works”, and “Grace over merit”, each intended to represent an important distinction compared to Catholicism.
Today’s featured image is a picture of “The Ninety-Five Theses” by Martin Luther in 1517, widely regarded as the initial catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.
Did you know about all of these conflicts between Catholics and Protestants?
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