Protestant reformation was a religious revolution that occurred in the Western church in the sixteenth Century (George & George, 2015). Having far-reaching social, political, and economic impacts, the movement became the foundation of Protestantism, one of the major branches of Christianity (Bishop, 2014). Before the reformation, the Roman Catholic Church dominated Western Europe, occupying at least one-third of European land (Johnston, 2014). With accepted doctrines, extreme financial value, and political influence, the Roman Catholic Church became authoritative in the ways of worship (Mullett, 2010). The doctrines and beliefs of Catholicism faced criticisms, resulting in Protestant reformation spearheaded by Martin Luther. The protestant reformation was responsible for branching out Christianity from Catholic’s indulgence system and beliefs, thus, creating a new way of thinking within Christianity. By doing so, the movement led to the beginning of new churches and denominations within the Christian Church, which changed Christianity forever.
Martin Luther’s Rejection
One of the benefits of protestant reformation is that that it led to the beginning of Protestantism and the protestant faith following Martin Luther’s rejection of the Catholic doctrine and beliefs. According to Luther, Catholicism was marred with flaws that created confusion for the believers. Catholics believe in purgatory: - an intermediate state for purification after death before one goes to heaven (Mullett, 2010). The belief in purgatory created the system of indulgences. Bishop (2014) clarified that the sale of indulgences was a practice where the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged a donation or any charitable work with a piece of paper known as indulgence. This indulgence certified entry to heaven by reducing the time in purgatory.
According to George & George (2015), the Catholic Church sold indulgences as a way of pushing believers to heaven by reducing their time in purgatory. Through his Biblical studies, Luther found the flaws of this belief. He pointed out that salvation is received only through faith in God. His 95 theses exposed the fundamental corruption behind the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the sale of indulgences (George & George, 2015). This document discredited the sale of indulgences as a way of gaining salvation and introduced the idea of salvation through faith.
New Way of Thinking
Secondly, the Protestant Reformation triggered a new way of thinking among Christians. This revolution influenced Christians to oppose the teachings and immorality of Catholicism and embrace the new concept of receiving salvation individually (Johnston, 2014). In other words, the protestant reformation diverted the reliance of people from the Catholic Church to a more concept where a relationship with God and scripture is based on the individual soul. In other words, this movement incorporated a new concept of individual salvation as opposed to the Catholic teachings of salvation.
Thirdly, the protestant reformation encouraged self-immersion in scripture. Before the movement, the scripture was in Latin. According to Mullett (2010), Luther Translated the Bible from Latin to German. His Bible translation idea gained public attention because it was done immediately after the invention of the press. For the first time, the Bible that people could understand became accessible since it was not in Latin (Bishop, 2014). Luther’s translation of the Bible from Latin to German enabled ordinary people to read the scripture themselves instead of depending on the Catholic Church for translation.
Individual Scripture Study
With the new concept of individual scripture study, many people began to establish different interpretations of the Bible (George & George, 2015). Simply put, the protestant reformation enabled Christians to read the Bible on their own and understand what the scripture says without depending on the Roman Catholic Church for everything. As a result, Christians began to identify the Bible as the only source of instructions and information for spiritual growth. The protestant reformation further influenced a series of Christian movements throughout Europe as individuals started to explore the scripture and formulate their interpretations. Additional reformations that occurred during this period include the Calvinist, Anabaptist, and Zwinglian movements that shaped the future of Christianity (Johnston, 2014).
Finally, the Protestant Reformation stirred a Counter-reformation that existed within the Roman Catholic Church (Hall, 2018). The first Pope of the Counter-Reformation, Pope Paul III, together with other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, attended three conferences of the Trent Council during the sixteenth Century to make their own reforms (Hall, 2018). To attain this, they responded to the Protestants’ criticisms with well-defined Church doctrines. Other results of the Trent Council involved penalizing the corrupt clergy and establishing regulations to avoid issues like undertrained clergy, clergy living luxuriously, and clergy selecting their relatives to fill top positions in the church (Hall, 2018).
In conclusion, Protestant Reformation has a positive impact on Christianity. It led to the evolution of Protestantism that shaped the future of Christianity. The movement also exposed the corruption practiced by the Roman Catholic Church through the sale of indulgences. In this context, the Protestant Reformation promoted a new way of thinking where Christians began to believe that it is only faith in God that enables a person to be saved. Besides, this revolution led to the translation of the Bible, which promoted the understanding and interpretation of the scripture instead of relying on the Roman Catholic Church for everything. Lastly, the Protestant Reformation inspired a Counter-reformation within the Catholic Church. In other words, Protestant Reformation was an important movement in Christianity religion because it not only eliminated the dominance of the Catholic Church but also shaped Christianity and Christian life.
Bishop, P. A. (2014). Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Sheffield: Hillsborough Community College.
George, C. H., & George, K. (2015). Protestant Mind of English Reformation, 1570-1640. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Hall, E. (2018). Christianity. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from
Johnston, A. (2014). The Protestant Reformation in Europe. Abingdon: Routledge.
Mullett, M. (2010). Historical Dictionary of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Lanham: Scarecrow Press.
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