The Protestant Reformation

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THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION Martin Luther was one of the most influential reformers of all time. His ideas were rather quickly accepted, not just by a few, but by many. His posting of the 95 theses was the first link of a chain of many transformations. Without such a bold and influential leader, the Protestant reformation, as well as many other changes, may have never occurred.

Luther's first move towards reformation was the 95 theses. He posted them on the door of a Roman Catholic Church. These theses consisted of Luther's ideas, most of which were bashing the selling of indulgences, Latin services, and the fact that the bible was not in the vernacular. Many people agreed with Luther's reasoning, and the selling of indulgences went down. Along with these, Luther published many essays supporting justification by faith and attacking church abuses.

All of this was causing quite an upheaval in the Catholic Church, and the pope decides to excommunicate Luther.

Some German princes choose to meet with Luther in a Diet of Worms, begging him to recant his ideas. Luther refuses, so a friend of his, Prince Frederick of Saxony, hides him in a castle in Wartburg. Luther lives there in seclusion for eight months. During this time, he translated the New Testament into German. This allows many people to read the bible, due to the lack of expense the printing press offered.

Out of this came the new faith of Lutheranism. While this offered new ideas to Europe, it also stirred social chaos. A peasant revolt emerged, in which thousands die. Surprisingly, Luther doesn't support the peasants. This move slows the spread of Lutheranism, but not for long. As the spirit of reform spreads, other leaders appear: Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, John Calvin who starts Calvinism, and John...