Examples of writings from the early Church Fathers the first Christians in the early centuries after the Apostles showing they were Catholic, not Protestant 1. The Protestant reformers had no legitimate mission from God or from someone given power by God to reform the Church: Jesus Christ instructed His Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world, therefore they had an "immediate" mission from God.
Go back 16th century: Reformation The world was changing and there was an increasing awareness that the way the Christian church led people in their faith needed to change with it. Exploration had revealed entire nations of which Europeans had been previously unaware.
Education and culture were changing as historians rediscovered the values of civilisations from before the time of Jesus. At the start of the 16th century it was hard to recognise the simplicity and goodness of Jesus in the way his church was organised.
Its senior leaders were powerful politicians. In contrast its local leaders were living in poverty. Some of them did not model Christian morality in an honourable way. It is true, however, that there were also many devout and inspirational Christians such as Thomas a Kempis, whose book The Imitation of Christ is still a bestseller many centuries late.
Individuals had been seeing the need for reform for many years. For instance, at the end of the 12th century Thomas a Becket, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury, preached that the church should be independent from the monarchy.
It cost him his life. In the present-day Czech Republic three hundred years later Jan Hus believed that the Bible has a greater authority than any church leader. Peter Waldo, in southern France, founded a Christian community which rejected luxury and ritual, and finally rejected the need for church altogether.
In 14th century England the Lollards, under their leader John Wycliffe, despaired that the Bible was only available in Latin, which meant that only the educated could understand it. They urged that Christians should be educated properly and that the Bible should be available in English.
This meant they would understand their faith and not have to rely on priests to explain it in any way that suited them.
In Germany a young priest called Martin Luther found in the Bible a life-changing assurance that God would forgive people their sins and unite them with himself. He wrote a furious point sermon and sent it to the Pope.
He was commanded not to share his views with anyone. He responded by having thousands of copies printed and nailing one of them to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. Congregations longing for God to give meaning and peace to their lives responded positively.
The Roman Catholic Church authorities were taken by surprise and excommunicated him at a council in Worms. He was put on trial for heresy, but he escaped before he was sentenced.
His movement for reformation grew, but church leaders resisted it. Lutheran churches multiplied, especially in Germany and Scandinavia. They wanted the church to be an institution which put people in touch with God, rather than controlling the way people were able to access God.
Reformation of the church was also taking place in other European countries. In Switzerland more radical reform was taking place under the leadership of Ulrich Zwingli.
He taught that when Christians ate bread and drank wine Jesus was spiritually present not actually and miraculously present, which was the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.
He died violently, attacking Catholic troops near Zurich, but his influence continues in Reformed Churches today.
The Frenchman John Calvin established a school in Geneva where the beliefs of the reformers were thought through in a systematic way. Leaders from this academy spread Protestant theology throughout Europe in the middle of the 16th century.
His strict some would say narrow understanding of how God saves Christian men and women still forms the foundation of the beliefs of those Protestant churches which have a conservative outlook.
Elsewhere groups of Christians attempted to recreate the life of the church in Jerusalem in the early days of Christianity. They set up self-sufficient communities and looked to the Holy Spirit of God to communicate with them directly rather than seeking God with their intellect.
They believed in the baptism of those who were old enough to take responsibility for their faith, rather than infants. They were violently opposed by both Protestants and Roman Catholics.
Anabaptist Christian groups which flourish today, such as the Amish and Mennonites, are part of their legacy. The transformation in the practices of churches was bound up in turbulent political change taking place at the same time.
This was particularly true in England.
King Henry VIII had expected that his rousing support of the Pope would be reciprocated by permission to annul his marriage.Watch video · The Reformation was a 16th-century religious and political challenge to papal authority in Catholic Europe.
Read more about Martin Luther, the Thirty Years War and the Counter-Reformation. 16th century: Reformation The world was changing and there was an increasing awareness that the way the Christian church led people in their faith needed to change with it.
‘The Renaissance’ was changing the way people thought. Martin Luther’s refusal to recant at the Diet of Worms in April signaled a turning point in the Reformation that swept throughout Europe in the sixteenth century. The Reformation followed centuries of effort by clerics and theologians to address moral and religious decline in the Western church.
In the early 16th century the Catholic Church experienced a large separation which significantly changed Christianity. The separation, which became known as the "Protestant Reformation", was initiated when Martin Luther (), a Catholic priest, began to publicly challenge numerous teachings of the Catholic Church.
English Reformations takes a refreshing new approach to the study of the Reformation in England. Christopher Haigh's lively and readable study disproves any facile assumption that the triumph of Protestantism was inevitable, and goes beyond the surface of official political policy to explore the religious views and practices of ordinary English people.
The Catholic Reformation in the Sixteenth Century This article, from , examines the achievements of the 16th-century Catholic reformation as well as the obstacles encountered as a result of.