Essay on The Protestant Reformation and Christianity
By Cole S. Rogers, Spring 2016
The Roman Catholic Church dominated Western Europe up until the Protestant Reformation. The church prior to the Reformation owned nearly one-third of all European land. With financial dominance, political influence, and publicly accepted doctrine, the church experienced extraordinary size. With the extreme success of the church, corruption followed, and the church began to profiteer off rituals. The sale of indulgences for profit promoted even further corruption within the church. At the time indulgences were being sold by the Catholic Church, the movement of the Renaissance was sweeping across all of Europe. The movement of the Renaissance created more and more public dissent towards the Catholic Church. This Renaissance would eventually lead to the Protestant Reformation.
The Protestant Reformation changed the religion of Christianity forever. Prior to the Reformation, the Renaissance sparked a change in the way of thinking throughout Europe. This change in thinking promoted a society based on individuality, and finding the truth. Martin Luther, a German monk in the Catholic Church is directly responsible for creating the movement behind the Protestant Reformation. Luther through study and immersion in scripture discovered the corruption behind the Church, and publicly exposed this corruption. Luther in 1517 nailed 95 Theses to the Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The 95 Theses exposed the fundamental corruption behind the Church and specifically the sale of indulgences. Luther introduced the concept of salvation being gained only through faith in God. Luther’s work resulted in religious conflict throughout all of Europe.
The Protestant Reformation promoted self-immersion in scripture. Luther’s translation of the Bible from Latin to German gained extreme attention as for the first time in history average people began to explore scripture themselves rather than relying on the Catholic Church for everything. This ideology influenced the rise in several different movements of Christianity that each found individual similarities throughout scripture. In this time period, a new era of churches arose throughout all of Europe, which challenged the Catholic Church and shaped the future of Christianity.