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The Protestant Reformation

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The protestant reformation resulted from the differences arising from theological issues that Martin Luther, John Calvin and their followers questioned. The theological issues included the continued downplay of the Bible as the true authority of over a believer. Luther and his followers challenged the Catholic religion that was founded on the Pope as the authority over believers (Arrunada 2). Martin Luther also had reservations with teachings that through faith and good works people are justified before God and get salvation. Luther and his team maintained that salvation comes through faith in the grace of God revealed through Christ Jesus and not through individual works and accomplishments (Arrunada 2-3). 

The sale of indulgences was a great source of theological conflict. This catholic practice was based on the belief that a person could buy his/her way from the eternal purgatory and that the Pope could intervene divinely for the shortening of one’s period in hell (Linder 21). Luther and his followers instead maintained that everybody was equal before God and that even the Pope shall stand before the judgment seat. These theological differences, added to the claim by Luther that believers could pray for themselves, read scriptures and interpret it, caused sharp antagonism. Luther championed his belief in the scripture; what popularly came to be known as sola scriptura (Linder 21). 

The religious belies and practices of Protestantism differed greatly from those of the Roman Catholicism. For example, the Protestants believed that salvation is received by the grace and justification of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Weaver and Brakke 90). Catholicism was founded on the belief that people are justified and therefore get salvation through good works and accomplishments. Further, Protestantism gave the followers the liberty to read the scriptures, understand, interpret and apply in their lives contrary to the Catholicism’s reservation that the scripture is only carried, read and interpreted by the Pope and the priests on behalf of the followers. The Roman Catholicism also taught that atonement of sin is acquired through confession to the Pope and priests and prayer is made to God through Virgin Mary the Mother of Jesus. On the contrary, the Protestants maintained that every believer had the liberty to approach the throne of God and pray through Jesus Christ, the chief Priest (Weaver and Brakke 91-92).

The rise of Protestantism resulted into conflicts. Much of these conflicts were religious based. For example, the peasants rose against the government of the day which was generally headed by the Pope. The rise of Protestantism led to mass movements forming against the rule of the Pope that was considered to be repressive, exploitative and corrupt. The Protestants and their followers thus launched attacks targeting the legitimacy of the Papal rule (Duiker and Spielvogel 368-369). Thhe Catholic through the approval of the office of the Pope aggressively reinforced their rule and was not ready to separate the state from religion. The Irish rebellion of 1641 is one example of the conflicts that developed in the aftermath of the rise of Protestantism. The Irish Catholic gentry were determined to seize control of Ireland and to impose concessions for the Roman Catholics that were under the English rule.

The conflicts that resulted from the rise of Protestantism had impact on Renaissance culture. Renaissance culture was a culture that was characterized by secularization and renewed search for empirical justifications of truth. The conflicts that arose as a result of the development of Protestantism fueled renaissance even further. For example, the rise of positivism and empiricism as philosophical schools of thought were caused by the onset of the disapprovals of beliefs in the invisible. This was the initial stand of Catholicism that was challenged by Protestantism leading to conflicts. Thus, the conflicts that resulted from the schism between Catholicism and Protestantism served to promote renaissance culture.

In conclusion, the Protestant Reformation that was stirred by Martin Luther led to great revolutions touching on the social, religious economic and political aspects of the society. To date, Luther is in the annals of history as the figure behind the separation of the Protestantism from the ancient Roman Catholicism. 

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