• Why did the Protestant movement emerge in Christianity?

    Protestant views
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    By the end of the 15th century, the Church of Rome, with parishes, monasteries, and convents throughout its domain, had become the largest landholder in all Europe. It was reported that it owned as much as half the land in France and Germany and two fifths or more in Sweden and England. The result? The splendor of Rome grew immeasurably during the late 1400’s and early 1500’s, and its political importance prospered temporarily, says the book “A History of Civilization”
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    By the beginning of the 16th century,Machiavelli, a famous Italian philosopher of that period said–:”the nearer people are to the Roman Church, the head of their religion, the less religious are they.�
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    Had the Catholic church been more serious at housecleaning, there would possibly have been no Reformation. But, as it was, cries for reform began to be heard from inside and outside the church.
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    In the years following the Diet of Worms, the Reformation movement gained so much popular support that in 1526 the emperor granted each German state the right to choose its own form of religion, Lutheran or Roman Catholic.
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    Answer
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    The Protestant Reformation took hold once the Bible was printed for the first time. When people started reading the Bible and understood it they realized that the Catholic Church’s doctrines were opposite to what the Bible taught and that they had been lied to. The Bible became such a threat to the churches existence it took to violence, torture and murder if a person was found in possession of one because the church was finally exposed for what it was and in a big part still is today.
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    Catholic perspective
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    The Catholic Church, in 325AD put together what is referred to today as the “new testament”. They knew that since the Church was growing and spreading across the known world, they needed to make sure that teaching of what Jesus taught was uniform.
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    Tradition, Mass and scripture remained Universal for the next 1200 years. Then in 1516AD, Martin Luther, a monk, decided he didn’t like what was being taught. It was too strict. No room for anyone to choose what they did or did not want to believe. So he found something that would make life easier. “Sola scritpura”. Scripture alone! We should just believe what the bible says and not what has been passed down from generation to generation. That caused quite a stir. It attracted the attention of another reformer, John Calvin. Calvin took this looser way of honoring God and ran with it creating Calvinism in 1536AD. These are the main two factors of the Protestant Reform.
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    Answer
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    One of the main reasons Luther wrote his 95 theses was to reform the practice of selling indulgences which had become corrupted through the excesses of one Johann Tetzel in Germany, who, in order to raise money both for church building programs and to finance war, taught ‘as soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.’ This false doctrine, not taught in scripture, was a clear case where a tradition was allowed to grow up and flourish which was clearly contrary to scripture.
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    Luther originally intended to remain in the Catholic church and merely reform it, but the corrupt church leadership of the time would not listen. (such corruption both in Luther’s time and prior to it is acknowledged in the Catholic Encyclopedia – including grossly immoral Popes) Luther, while visiting Rome on business with his monastic order also noted gross profanity and sacriligeous attitudes from priests as they performed their rites in a hasty and irreverent manner, which the Catholic church today certainly would not countenance. He saw that this practice arose from the false teaching, also not Biblical, that the religious act was itself Holy and the character of the person performing it was irrelevant – yet the Bible teaches that God’s servants must be of good character.
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    While in Rome Luther was also horrified to discover that the church leaders were of the most immoral character, and so a degree of disillusionment set in, although at this early stage he believed the church could be reformed. It is interesting to note that some have said that, given the degree of theological diversity permitted in the Catholic church today, that Luther would have remained a good Catholic were he around today. However, that is mere speculation, as he certainly was of strong character and stood for what he believed to be true, highlighting what he saw, in the light of clear scriptural truth, to be in error, including many church traditions which conflicted with scripture. Luther of course, like all humans, including the Pope, was not infallible and so some of the separation must be attributed to him. He was also a man of his times and the polemical and abusive style which many would today find grossly offensive (he would get blocked and so would his opponents if they talked like that on this forum), calling each other ‘goats’ etc, must not have helped the cause of unity.
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    In the end, there was most certainly a need for reform and this has been acknowledged by Catholic church historians, yet it had to come at a later time and so he had to leave as the Catholic church of his day was not ready to change.