Protestantism is one of the three major divisions (Roman Catholicism, The Orthodox Church, and Protestantism) within Christianity. It is a movement that began in northern Europe in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices.[1]

The doctrines of the various Protestant denominations and non-denominations vary, but most non-denominational doctrines include justification by grace through faith and not through works, known as Sola Fide, the priesthood of all believers, and the Bible as the ultimate authority in matters of faith and order, known as Sola Scriptura, which is Latin for ‘by scripture alone’.

In the sixteenth century the followers of Martin Luther established the evangelical churches of Germany and Scandinavia. Reformed churches in Switzerland were established by John Calvin and more radical reformers such as Huldrych Zwingli. Thomas Cranmer reformed the Church of England and later John Knox established a more radical Calvinist communion in the Church of Scotland.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Luther’s 95 theses
* 3 Protestant doctrines
o 3.1 Conservative/Liberal
o 3.2 Dissension in the ranks of Protestantism
* 4 History
* 5 Fundamental principles
* 6 Major groupings
* 7 Other groups rejecting Protestant label
* 8 Denominations
o 8.1 Anglicans / Episcopalians
o 8.2 Main denominations
* 9 Theological tenets of the reformation
* 10 Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper
* 11 Catholicism
* 12 Radical Reformation
* 13 Movements within Protestantism
o 13.1 Pietism and Methodism
o 13.2 Evangelicalism
o 13.3 Adventism
o 13.4 Modernism and Liberalism
o 13.5 Pentecostalism
o 13.6 Fundamentalism
o 13.7 Neo-orthodoxy
o 13.8 New Evangelicalism
o 13.9 Paleo-Orthodoxy
o 13.10 Ecumenism
* 14 Founders: the first Protestant major reformers and theologians
* 15 Protestantism by country
* 16 See also
* 17 References
* 18 External links

Protestant iconoclasm: the Beeldenstorm during the Dutch reformation.

The term Protestant is derived (via French or German Protestant[2]) from the Latin protestari[3][4] meaning publicly declare/protest which refers to the letter of protestation by Lutheran princes against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, which reaffirmed the edict of the Diet of Worms in 1521, banning Martin Luther’s 95 theses of protest against some beliefs and practices of the early sixteenth century Catholic Church.

The term Protestant was not initially applied to the reformers, but later was used to describe all groups protesting Roman Catholic orthodoxy.

Since that time, the term Protestant has been used in many different senses, often as a general term merely to signify Christians who belong to neither the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, or Oriental Orthodoxy.
Luther’s 95 theses

In 1517, Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk, posted 95 theses on the church door in the university town of Wittenberg. That act was common academic practice of that day. It served as an invitation to debate. Luther?s propositions challenged some portions of Roman Catholic doctrine and a number of specific practices.

Luther was particularly criticizing a common church practice of the day, the selling of indulgences. In Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. To Luther, it appeared that selling indulgences was tantamount to selling salvation, something that he felt was against biblical teaching. At the time, Rome was using the sale of indulgences as a means to raise money for a massive church project, the construction of St. Peter?s Basilica.

The Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences (now known as the 95 theses)[5][6] debated and criticized the Church and the Pope, concentrating upon the sale of indulgences, the doctrines of purgatory, and the authority of the Pope. Luther maintained that justification (salvation) was granted by faith alone, saying that good works and the sacraments were not necessary in order to be saved.

Luther sent a copy of his challenges to his bishop, who in turn forwarded the theses to Rome.[7]
Protestant doctrines
Destruction of icons in Zurich, 1524.

Although the doctrines of Protestant denominations are far from uniform, some beliefs extending across Protestantism are the doctrines of sola scriptura and sola fide.

* Sola scriptura maintains that the Bible (rather than church tradition or ecclesiastical interpretations of the Bible)[8] is the final source of authority for all Christians.
* Sola fide holds that salvation comes by faith alone in Jesus as the Christ, rather than through good works.

Protestant churches generally reject the Catholic and Orthodox doctrines of apostolic succession and the sacramental ministry of the clergy.[9] Exceptions are found mostly in countries, such as in the southern parts of Europe, that came under non-Catholic influences long before the Reformation.

Protestant ministers and church leaders have somewhat different roles and authority in their communities than do Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox priests and bishops.

Protestantism has both conservative and liberal theological strands within it. Protestant styles of public worship tend to be simpler and less elaborate than those of Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Eastern Christians, sometimes radically so, though there are exceptions to this tendency.
Dissension in the ranks of Protestantism

The reformers soon disagreed among themselves and divided their movement according to doctrinal differences?first between Luther and Zwingli, later between Martin Luther and John Calvin?consequently resulting in the establishment of diverse Protestant denominations such as the Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and others.
Main article: History of Protestantism
This section requires expansion.
Fundamental principles

The three fundamental principles of traditional Protestantism are the following:

* Scripture Alone

The belief in the Bible as the only source of authority for the church. The early churches of the Reformation believed in a critical, yet serious, reading of Scripture and holding the Bible as a source of authority higher than that of Church Tradition. The many abuses that had occurred in the Western Church prior to the Protestant Reformation led the Reformers to reject much of the Tradition of the Western Church, though some would maintain Tradition has been maintained and reorganized in the liturgy and in the confessions of the Protestant Churches of the Reformation. In the early 20th century there developed a less critical reading of the Bible in the United States that has led to a “fundamentalist” reading of Scripture. Christian Fundamentalists read the Bible as the “inerrant, infallible” Word of God, as do the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches, to name a few, but interpret it in a literalist fashion without using the historical critical method.

* Justification by Faith Alone

The subjective principle of the Reformation is justification by faith alone, or, rather, by free grace through faith operative in good works. It has reference to the personal appropriation of the Christian salvation, and aims to give all glory to Christ, by declaring that the sinner is justified before God (i.e., is acquitted of guilt, and declared righteous) solely on the ground of the all-sufficient merits of Christ as apprehended by a living faith, in opposition to the theory ?then prevalent, and substantially sanctioned by “the Council of Trent? which makes faith and good works co-ordinate sources of justification, laying the chief stress upon works. Protestantism does not depreciate good works; but it denies their value as sources or conditions of justification, and insists on them as the necessary fruits of faith, and evidence of justification.”[10]

* Universal Priesthood of Believers

The universal priesthood of believers implies the right and duty of the Christian laity not only to read the Bible in the vernacular, but also to take part in the government and all the public affairs of the Church. It is opposed to the hierarchical system which puts the essence and authority of the Church in an exclusive priesthood, and makes ordained priests the necessary mediators between God and the people.[10]

Major groupings

The term Protestant is often used loosely to denote all non-Roman Catholic varieties of Western Christianity, rather than to refer to those churches adhering to the principles described below. Trinitarian Protestant denominations are divided according to the position taken on baptism:

* “Mainline Protestants,” a North American phrase, are Christians who trace their tradition’s lineage to Lutheranism, Calvinism or Anglicanism (many Anglicans influenced by the Oxford Movement of the 19th century would dispute a Protestant classification, however). These groups are often considered to be part of the Magisterial Reformation and traditionally have adhered to the central doctrines and principles of the Reformation. Lutheranism, Calvinism, and a Zwinglian theology are typically mainline, and as denominations, “mainline” is typically seen as referring to Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians (disputed), Moravians, and Lutherans, all large denominations with significant liberal and conservative wings.
* Anabaptists (lit. “baptized twice”) were so named from the fact that they re-baptised converts. While not all agree, today’s scholars believe that Anabaptists, by name, began with the Radical Reformers in the 16th century. A minority of other people and groups may still legitimately claim that there were earlier forerunners. A full discussion of the origins of the Anabaptists is available at the article on their origins.
* Baptists do not believe baptism is a sacrament. They practice believer’s baptism by immersion. The predominant view of Baptist origins today is that Baptists came along in historical development in the century after the rise of the original Protestant denominations.[11] This perspective on Baptist history holds that the Baptist faith originated from within the Separatist movement?Protestant Christians that decided they must leave the Church of England because of their dissatisfaction that it had not made corrections of what some considered to be errors and abuses in Catholicism.[12] This Separatist view of the origin of Baptists traces the earliest Baptist church back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as its pastor.[13] An older position held by the majority of Baptist in 18th 19th and early 20th Centuries and still held by some Baptists today, mostly those associated with the Landmark movement, hold that Baptist churches trace their origins back to Christ and the Apostles, and that Baptists therefore are not Protestants.
* Today, denominations such as the Schwarzenau Brethren/German Baptists, Mennonites, Hutterites, and Amish eschew infant baptism and have historically been Peace churches. Typically, independent Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations, and the house church movement belong in this category, too.
* Certain Protestant denominations including the Quakers and the Shakers, do not practice baptism sacramentally.[14] These denominations view baptism as part of a process on ongoing renewal. Antecedents of these beliefs may be found in Strigolniki theology. Normatively, the Salvation Army does not practice baptism.

There are many independent, non-aligned or non-denominational Trinitarian congregations that may take any one of these or no particular position on baptism.
Other groups rejecting Protestant label

Some religious movements, such as the Latter Day Saint movement, other Nontrinitarian movements, and the New Religious Movements, which share certain characteristics of Protestant churches, are often included in lists of Protestants by some outsiders. However, neither mainline Protestants nor the groups themselves would consider the designation appropriate. Some groups associated with the Restoration Movement also do not consider themselves to be Protestant.
Main article: Protestants by country
Anti-papal painting showing the enmity between Edward VI of England and the Pope.

Protestants refer to specific Protestant groupings of churches that share in common foundational doctrines and the name of their groups as “denominations”. They are differently named parts of the whole “church”; Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine that it is the one true church. Some Protestant denominations are less accepting of other denominations, and the basic orthodoxy of some is questioned by most of the others. Individual denominations also have formed over very subtle theological differences. Other denominations are simply regional or ethnic expressions of the same beliefs. Because the five solas are the main tenets of the Protestant faith, Non-denominational groups and organizations are also considered Protestant.

Various ecumenical movements have attempted cooperation or reorganization of the various divided Protestant denominations, according to various models of union, but divisions continue to outpace unions, as there is no overarching authority to which any of the churches owe allegiance, which can authoritatively define the faith. Most denominations share common beliefs in the major aspects of the Christian faith, while differing in many secondary doctrines, although what is major and what is secondary is a matter of idiosyncratic belief. According to World Christian Encyclopedia, there are “over 33,000 denominations in 238 countries,” having increased in number from 8,196 in 1970. Every year there is a net increase of around 270 to 300 denominations.[15]

There are about 800 million Protestants worldwide,[16] among approximately 2.2 billion Christians.[17][18] These include 170 million in North America, 160 million in Africa, 120 million in Europe, 70 million in Latin America, 60 million in Asia, and 10 million in Oceania.

Protestants can be differentiated according to how they have been influenced by important movements since the magisterial Reformation and the Puritan Reformation in England. Some of these movements have a common lineage, sometimes directly spawning later movements in the same groups. Only general families are listed here (due to the above-stated multitude of denominations); some of these groups do not consider themselves as part of the Protestant movement, but are generally viewed as such by the public at large.[citation needed]
Anglicans / Episcopalians

The original separation of the Church of England (then including the Church in Wales) and the Church of Ireland from Rome under King Henry VIII largely took a Catholic form. Through the efforts of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Thomas Cromwell, both with Lutheran sympathies,[19] the churches later assumed a more Protestant character and under King Edward VI the Churches became more distinctly Protestant in doctrine and worship, adopting Calvinist doctrines in the Forty-Two Articles, restored under Queen Elizabeth I. Thereafter the defence of Protestantism in Britain and Ireland became a major political issue, culminating in the deposition of James II amd James VII and the settlement of the Crown in the line of Princess Sophia and “the heirs of her body being Protestant”.[citation needed]

In the 19th century some of the Tractarians proposed that the Church of England and the other Anglican churches were not Protestant, but a middle path between Rome and Protestantism (via media). This assertion was attacked by, amongst others, the Church Association.[20] Today, the Anglican Communion continues to be composed of theologically diverse traditions, from Reformed Sydney Anglicanism to High-Church Anglo-Catholicism. The Episcopal Church USA, as an example, asserts that it is “Protestant, yet Catholic” in the via media tradition.

Even by the mid-20th century, however, the Church of English was still considered Protestant (at least officially), as evidenced by the coronation oath of Elizabeth II in 1953:

Archbishop: … Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?…etc.

Queen: All this I promise to do.

Main denominations
Christian Denominations
in English-speaking countries
Australian Christian bodies v ? d ? e
Australian Interchurch

Australian Evangelical Alliance ? site
National Council of Churches
Catholic & Anglican

Anglican Church of Australia
Roman Catholic Church
Holiness & Pietist

Christian and Missionary Alliance
Christian Outreach Centre
Church of the Nazarene
Salvation Army
Seventh-day Adventist Church
Historical Protestantism

Australian Friends
Baptist Union of Australia
Open Brethren
Christian Reformed Churches of Australia
Churches of Christ
Fellowship of Congregational Churches
Lutheran Church of Australia
Presbyterian Church of Australia
Uniting Church in Australia
Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia

Antiochian Orthodox of Australia & New Z.
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Serbian Orthodox of Australia & New Z.


Coptic Orthodox Church in Australia
Pentecostal & Related

Australian Christian Churches (AOG)
Christian City Church Intl.
CRC Churches International
Revival Centres International
Vineyard Churches Australia
Worldwide Church of God
Canadian Christian bodies v ? d ? e
Canadian Interchurch

Canadian Council of Churches
S. Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America
North Am. Presbyterian & Reformed Council
Anabaptist & Friends

Canadian Mennonite Brethren Churches
Canadian Yearly Meeting (Quakers)
Mennonite Church Canada
Baptist & Stone-Campbell


Association of Regular Baptist Churches
Baptist General Conference of Canada
Canadian Baptist Ministries
Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists
Fellowship of Evgcl. Baptist Churches, Canada
North American Baptist Conference

Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Christian Church in Canada
Catholic & Anglican

Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church in North America
Polish National Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
Holiness & Pietist

Christian and Missionary Alliance, Canada
Church of the Nazarene
Evangelical Free Church of Canada
Salvation Army
Seventh-day Adventists, North America
Wesleyan Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Lutheran Church-Canada
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

British Methodist Episcopal Church
Free Methodist Church in Canada
United Church of Canada

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, N.Am.
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Orthodox Church in America
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada


Armenian Apostolic Diocese of Am.
Coptic Orthodox Church in Canada

Canadian Assemblies of God
Church of God of Prophecy
Intl. Foursquare Gospel, Canada
Intl. Pentecostal Holiness Church
Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
Pentecostal Church of God

Oneness Pentecostal

United Pentecostal Church Intl.
Presbyterian & Reformed

Canadian and American Reformed Churches
Christian Reformed Church in North America
L’?glise r?form?e du Qu?bec
Presbyterian Church in Canada
Presbyterian Church in America
Reformed Church in America
United Church of Canada

Messianic Jewish Alliance of America
Plymouth Brethren
Vineyard Canada
United Kingdom
Christian denominations in the UK v ? d ? e
UK Interchurch

Affinity (formerly British Evangelical Council)
Churches Together in Britain & Ireland
Evangelical Alliance, UK
Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches
Churches Together in England
Action of Churches Together, Scotland (ACTS)
Associating Evangelical Churches of Wales ? site
Churches Together in Wales
Evangelical Movement of Wales

Church of England
Free Church of England
Church of Ireland
Scottish Episcopal Church
Church in Wales

Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Baptist Union of Scotland
Baptist Union of Wales
Grace Baptist Assembly
Old Baptist Union

Roman Catholicism

England & Wales

Old Catholicism

British Old Catholic Church ? site
Old Catholic Church in Europe
Old Catholic Mariavite Church
Old Catholic Church of Great Britain
Holiness & Pietist

Christian Outreach Centre
Church of the Nazarene
British Moravian Church
Salvation Army
Seventh-day Adventist Church
Wesleyan Holiness Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church of England
Lutheran Church in Great Britain
Methodist & Wesleyan

Free Methodist of the UK
Methodist Church in Ireland
Methodist Church of Great Britain
Wesleyan Reform Union
New Church Movement

Vineyard Churches UK
Ichthus Christian Fellowship
Pioneer Church ? site

Eastern Orthodox Church

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of G.B.
Russian Orthodox Diocese, G.B. & Ire.
Russian Tradition Vicariate, G.B. & Ire.

Oriental Orthodox Church

British Orthodox Church
Celtic Orthodox Church

Assemblies of God
Church of God in Christ
Elim Pentecostal Church
Foursquare Gospel Church
Worldwide Church of God
Presbyterian & Reformed

Asso. Presbyterian Churches, Scotland
Church of Scotland
Congregational Federation
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Free Church of Scotland
Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)
Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland
Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
Non-subscribing Presbyterian, Ireland
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Presbyterian Church of Wales
Reformed Presbyterian Church
United Free Church of Scotland
United Reformed Church

Brethren in Christ
Churches of Christ
Fellowship of Ind. Evangelical Churches
Latter-day Saints
Quakers/ Britain Yearly Meeting
Quakers/ Ireland Yearly Meeting
United States
United States Christian bodies v ? d ? e
United States Interchurch

National Association of Evangelicals
National Council of Churches
Churches Uniting in Christ
S. Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America
North Am. Presbyterian & Reformed Council
Anabaptist & Friends

Brethren Church
Church of the Brethren
Evangelical Friends International
Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Friends General Conference
Friends United Meeting
Mennonite Brethren Churches
Mennonite Church USA
Old Order Amish Mennonite Church
Baptist & Stone-Campbell


Alliance of Baptists
American Baptist Association
American Baptist Churches
Baptist Bible Fellowship International
Baptist General Conference
Baptist Missionary Association of America
Conservative Baptist Association of America
General Association of Regular Baptist Churches
National Association of Free Will Baptists
National Primitive Baptist Convention
North American Baptist Conference
Southern Baptist Convention

African-American Baptist

National Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention, USA
National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
Progressive National Baptist Convention

Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ
Churches of Christ
International Churches of Christ
Catholic & Anglican

Anglican Church in North America
Episcopal Church
Old Roman Catholic Church
Polish National Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
Holiness & Pietist

Christian and Missionary Alliance
Church of God (Anderson)
Evangelical Covenant Church
Evangelical Free Church of America
Church of the Nazarene
Salvation Army
Seventh-day Adventist Church
Wesleyan Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

African Methodist Episcopal Church
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Free Methodist Church
United Methodist Church

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Orthodox Church in America
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Serbian Orthodox Church


Armenian Apostolic of Am.
Armenian Apostolic Diocese of Am.
Coptic Orthodox Church

Assemblies of God
Church of God (Cleveland, TN)
Church of God in Christ
Church of God of Prophecy
Full Gospel Fellowship
Intl. Church of the Foursquare Gospel
Intl. Pentecostal Holiness Church
Pentecostal Church of God

Oneness Pentecostal

Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
United Pentecostal Church Intl.
Presbyterian & Reformed

Christian Reformed Church in North America
Conservative Congregational Christian Conference
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Korean Presbyterian Church in America
International Council of Community Churches
National Asso. of Congregational Christian Churches
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbyterian Church in America
Reformed Church in America
United Church of Christ

Church of Christ, Scientist
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Community of Christ
Grace Gospel Fellowship
Independent Fundamental Churches of America
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Messianic Jewish Alliance of America
Plymouth Brethren
Vineyard USA
See also: Non-denominational Christianity
International Associations

Interdenominational Associations

World Council of Churches
World Evangelical Alliance

Denominational Associations

Friends World Committee for Consultation
Mennonite World Conference
Anglican Communion
Baptist World Alliance
World Convention of Churches of Christ
Eastern Orthodox Church
Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference
International Lutheran Council
Lutheran World Federation
World Methodist Council
Pentecostal World Conference
International Conference of Reformed Churches
Reformed Ecumenical Council
World Communion of Reformed Churches
World Reformed Fellowship

Regional Associations

All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)
Association of Evangelicals of Africa (AEA)
All Africa Baptist Fellowship
Africa Lutheran Communion

Christian Conference of Asia (CCA)
Evangelical Fellowship of Asia
Asia Pacific Baptist Federation
Asia Lutheran Communion

Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC)
Evangelical Association of the Caribbean
Caribbean Baptist Fellowship

Conference of European Churches (CEC)
European Evangelical Alliance
European Baptist Federation
Pentecostal European Fellowship
Middle East

Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)
Latin America

Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI)
Latin American Evangelical Fellowship (FIDE)
Union of Baptists in Latin America
North America

North American Baptist Fellowship
Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America
North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council

Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC)
Evangelical Fellowship of the South Pacific (EFSP)
Asia Pacific Baptist Federation
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* Anglicanism
* Lutheranism
* Methodism
* Calvinist
* Congregational
* Presbyterian
* Reformed

Theological tenets of the reformation
Main article: Five solas

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers’ basic differences in theological beliefs in opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church of the day. The Latin word sola means “alone”, “only”, or “single”.

The use of the phrases as summaries of teaching emerged over time during the reformation, based on the over-arching principle of sola scriptura (by scripture alone). This idea contains the four main doctrines on the Bible: that its teaching is needed for salvation (necessity); that all the doctrine necessary for salvation comes from the Bible alone (sufficiency); that everything taught in the Bible is correct (inerrancy); and that, by the Holy Spirit overcoming sin, believers may read and understand truth from the Bible itself, though understanding is difficult, so the means used to guide individual believers to the true teaching is often mutual discussion within the church (clarity).

The necessity and inerrancy were well-established ideas, garnering little criticism, though they later came under debate from outside during the Enlightenment. The most contentious idea at the time though was the notion that anyone could simply pick up the Bible and learn enough to gain salvation. Though the reformers were concerned with ecclesiology (the doctrine of how the church as a body works), they had a different understanding of the process in which truths in scripture were applied to life of believers, compared to the Catholics’ idea that certain people within the church, or ideas that were old enough, had a special status in giving understanding of the text.

The second main principle, sola fide (by faith alone), states that faith in Christ is sufficient alone for eternal salvation. Though argued from scripture, and hence logically consequent to sola scriptura, this is the guiding principle of the work of Luther and the later reformers. As sola scriptura placed the Bible as the only source of teaching, sola fide epitomises the main thrust of the teaching the reformers wanted to get back to, namely the direct, close, personal connection between Christ and the believer, hence the reformers’ contention that their work was Christocentric.

The other solas, as statements, emerged later, but the thinking they represent was also part of the early reformation.

* Solus Christus: Christ Alone.

The Protestants characterize the dogma concerning the Pope as Christ’s representative head of the Church on earth, the concept of works made meritorious by Christ, and the Catholic idea of a treasury of the merits of Christ and his saints, as a denial that Christ is the only mediator between God and man. Catholics, on the other hand, maintained the traditional understanding of Judaism on these questions, and appealed to the universal consensus of Christian tradition.[21]

* Sola Gratia: Grace Alone.

Protestants perceived Roman Catholic salvation to be dependent upon the grace of God and the merits of one’s own works. The Reformers posited that salvation is a gift of God (i.e., God’s act of free grace), dispensed by the Holy Spirit owing to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ alone. Consequently, they argued that a sinner is not accepted by God on account of the change wrought in the believer by God’s grace, and that the believer is accepted without regard for the merit of his works ?for no one deserves salvation.[Matt. 7:21]

* Soli Deo Gloria: Glory to God Alone

All glory is due to God alone, since salvation is accomplished solely through his will and action ?not only the gift of the all-sufficient atonement of Jesus on the cross but also the gift of faith in that atonement, created in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit. The reformers believed that human beings ?even saints canonized by the Catholic Church, the popes, and the ecclesiastical hierarchy? are not worthy of the glory

Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper
Main articles: Real Presence and Eucharist

The Protestant movement began to coalesce into several distinct branches in the mid-to-late sixteenth century. One of the central points of divergence was controversy over the Lord’s Supper. Early Protestants rejected the Roman Catholic dogma of transubstantiation, which teaches that the bread and wine used in the sacrificial rite of the Mass lose their natural substance by being transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. They disagreed with one another concerning the presence of Christ and his body and blood in Holy Communion.

* Lutherans hold that within the Lord’s Supper the consecrated elements of bread and wine are the true body and blood of Christ “in, with, and under the form” of bread and wine for all those who eat and drink it,[1Cor 10:16] [11:20,27] [22] a doctrine that the Formula of Concord calls the Sacramental union.[23] God earnestly offers to all who receive the sacrament,[Lk 22:19-20][24] forgiveness of sins,[Mt 26:28][25] and eternal salvation.[26]
* The Reformed closest to Calvin emphasize the real presence, or sacramental presence, of Christ, saying that the sacrament is a means of saving grace through which only the elect believer actually partakes of Christ, but merely with the Bread and Wine rather than in the Elements. Calvinists deny the Lutheran assertion that all communicants, both believers and unbelievers, orally receive Christ’s body and blood in the elements of the sacrament, but instead affirm that Christ is united to the believer through faith?toward which the supper is an outward and visible aid. This is often referred to as dynamic presence. Why this aid is necessary in addition to faith differs according to the believer. Some Protestants (such as the Salvation Army) do not believe it is necessary at all.
* A Protestant holding a popular simplification of the Zwinglian view, without concern for theological intricacies as hinted at above, may see the Lord’s Supper merely as a symbol of the shared faith of the participants, a commemoration of the facts of the crucifixion, and a reminder of their standing together as the Body of Christ (a view referred to somewhat derisively as memorialism).


The official view of the Catholic Church on the matter is that Protestant denominations cannot be considered “churches”, but rather that they are mere ecclesial communities or “specific faith-believing communities” because their ordinances, doctrines, are not historically the same as the Catholic sacraments and dogmas, and the Protestant communities have no sacramental/ministerial priesthood, and therefore lack true apostolic succession.[27]

Contrary to how the Protestant reformers were often characterized, the concept of a catholic or universal Church was not brushed aside during the Protestant Reformation. On the contrary, the visible unity of the Catholic Church was an important and essential doctrine of the Reformation. The Magisterial Reformers, such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli, believed that they were “reforming” the Catholic Church, which they viewed as having become corrupted. Each of them took very seriously the charges of schism and innovation, denying these charges and maintaining that it was the Catholic Church that had left them.[28] In order to justify their departure from the Catholic Church, Protestants often posited a new argument, saying that there was no real visible Church with divine authority, only a “spiritual”, “invisible”, and “hidden” church? this notion began in the early days of the Protestant Reformation.

Wherever the Magisterial Reformation, which received support from the ruling authorities, took place, the result was a reformed national Protestant church envisioned to be a part of the whole “invisible church”, but disagreeing, in certain important points of doctrine and doctrine-linked practice, with what had until then been considered the normative reference point on such matters, namely the Papacy and central authority of the Catholic Church. The Reformed churches thus believed in some form of Catholicity, founded on their doctrines of the five solas and a visible ecclesiastical organization based on the 14th and 15th century Conciliar movement, rejecting the Papacy and Papal Infallibility in favor of Ecumenical councils, but rejecting the latest ecumenical council, the Council of Trent. Religious unity therefore became not one of doctrine and identity, but one of invisible character, wherein the unity was one of faith in Jesus Christ, not common identity, doctrine, belief, and collaborative action.

Today there is a growing movement of Protestants, especially of the Reformed tradition, that reject the designation “Protestant” because of its negative “anti-catholic” connotations, preferring the designation “Reformed”, “Evangelical” or even “Reformed Catholic” expressive of what they call a “Reformed Catholicity”[29] and defending their arguments from the traditional Protestant Confessions.[30]
Radical Reformation

Unlike mainstream Evangelical (Lutheran), Reformed (Zwinglian and Calvinist) Protestant movements, the Radical Reformation, which had no state sponsorship, generally abandoned the idea of the “Church Visible” as distinct from the “Church Invisible”. It was a rational extension of the State-approved Protestant dissent, which took the value of independence from constituted authority a step further, arguing the same for the civic realm.

Protestant ecclesial leaders such as Hubmaier and Hofmann preached the invalidity of infant baptism, advocating baptism as following conversion, called “believer’s baptism”, instead. This was not a doctrine new to the reformers, but was taught by earlier groups, such the Albigneses in 1147.

In the view of many associated with the Radical Reformation, the Magisterial Reformation had not gone far enough, with radical reformer, Andreas von Bodenstein Karlstadt, for example, referring to the Lutheran theologians at Wittenberg as the “new papists”.[31] A more political side of the Radical Reformation can be seen in the thought and practice of Hans Hut, although typically Anabaptism has been associated with pacifism.

Early Anabaptists were severely persecuted by both Calvinist and Catholic civil authorities.
Movements within Protestantism
Evolution of major branches and movements within Protestantism
Pietism and Methodism
Main articles: Pietism and Methodism

The German Pietist movement, together with the influence of the Puritan Reformation in England in the seventeenth century, were important influences upon John Wesley and Methodism, as well as new groups such as the Religious Society of Friends (“Quakers”) and the Moravian Brethren from Herrnhut, Saxony, Germany.

The practice of a spiritual life, typically combined with social engagement, predominates in classical Pietism, which was a protest against the doctrine-centeredness Protestant Orthodoxy of the times, in favor of depth of religious experience. Many of the more conservative Methodists went on to form the Holiness movement, which emphasized a rigorous experience of holiness in practical, daily life.
Main article: Evangelicalism

Beginning at the end of eighteenth century, several international revivals of Pietism (such as the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening) took place across denominational lines, largely in the English-speaking world. Their teachings and successor groupings are referred to generally as the Evangelical movement. The chief emphases of this movement were individual conversion, personal piety and Bible study, public morality often including Temperance and Abolitionism, de-emphasis of formalism in worship and in doctrine, a broadened role for laity (including women) in worship, evangelism and teaching, and cooperation in evangelism across denominational lines.
Main article: Adventism

Adventism, as a movement, began in the United States in middle nineteenth century. The Adventist family of churches are regarded today as conservative Protestants.[32]
Modernism and Liberalism
Main article: Liberal Christianity

Modernism and Liberalism do not constitute rigorous and well-defined schools of theology, but are rather an inclination by some writers and teachers to integrate Christian thought into the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment. New understandings of history and the natural sciences of the day led directly to new approaches to theology.
Main article: Pentecostalism

Pentecostalism, as a movement, began in the United States early in the twentieth century, starting especially within the Holiness movement. Seeking a return to the operation of New Testament gifts of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues as evidence of the “baptism of the Holy Ghost” or to make the unbeliever believe became the leading feature. Divine healing and miracles were also emphasized. Pentecostalism swept through much of the Holiness movement, and eventually spawned hundreds of new denominations in the United States. A later “charismatic” movement also stressed the gifts of the Spirit, but often operated within existing denominations, rather than by coming out of them.
Main article: Christian fundamentalism

In reaction to liberal Bible critique, fundamentalism arose in the twentieth century, primarily in the United States, among those denominations most affected by Evangelicalism. Fundamentalism placed primary emphasis on the authority and sufficiency of the Bible, and typically advised separation from error and cultural conservatism as an important aspect of the Christian life.
Main article: Neo-orthodoxy

A non-fundamentalist rejection of liberal Christianity, associated primarily with Karl Barth, neo-orthodoxy sought to counter-act the tendency of liberal theology to make theological accommodations to modern scientific perspectives. Sometimes called “Crisis theology”, according to the influence of philosophical existentialism on some important segments of the movement; also, somewhat confusingly, sometimes called neo-evangelicalism.
New Evangelicalism
Main article: Evangelicalism

Evangelicalism is a movement from the middle of the twentieth century, that reacted to perceived excesses of Fundamentalism, adding to concern for biblical authority, an emphasis on liberal arts, cooperation among churches, Christian Apologetics, and non-denominational evangelization.
Main article: Paleo-orthodoxy

Paleo-orthodoxy is a movement similar in some respects to Neo-evangelicalism but emphasizing the ancient Christian consensus of the undivided Church of the first millennium AD, including in particular the early Creeds and councils of the Church as a means of properly understanding the Scriptures. This movement is cross-denominational and the theological giant of the movement is United Methodist theologian Thomas Oden.
Main article: Christian ecumenism

The ecumenical movement has had an influence on mainline churches, beginning at least in 1910 with the Edinburgh Missionary Conference. Its origins lay in the recognition of the need for cooperation on the mission field in Africa, Asia and Oceania. Since 1948, the World Council of Churches has been influential, but ineffective in creating a united Church. There are also ecumenical bodies at regional, national and local levels across the globe; but schisms still far outnumber unifications. One, but not the only expression of the ecumenical movement, has been the move to form united churches, such as the Church of South India, the Church of North India, The US-based United Church of Christ, The United Church of Canada, Uniting Church in Australia and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines which have rapidly declining memberships. There has been a strong engagement of Orthodox churches in the ecumenical movement, though the reaction of individual Orthodox theologians has ranged from tentative approval of the aim of Christian unity to outright condemnation of the perceived effect of watering down Orthodox doctrine. [33]

A Protestant baptism is held to be valid in a Catholic church because it is a sacrament borrowed from the Catholic Church and derives its efficacy from Christ. However, Protestant ministers are not recognized as valid Church leaders, due to their lack of apostolic succession and their disunity from the Catholic Church. Therefore, laymen who convert are not re-baptized, although Protestant ministers who convert are ordained to the Catholic priesthood (cf Apostolicae Curae).

In 1999, the representatives of Lutheran World Federation and Catholic Church signed The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, apparently resolving the conflict over the nature of Justification which was at the root of the Protestant Reformation, although some conservative Lutherans did not agree to this resolution. This is understandable, since there is no compelling authority within them. On July 18, 2006 Delegates to the World Methodist Conference voted unanimously to adopt the Joint Declaration. [34][35]
Founders: the first Protestant major reformers and theologians

Twelfth century

* Peter Waldo, French reformer, founder of the earliest Protestant church, the Waldensians

Fourteenth century

* John Wycliffe, English reformer, the “Morning Star of the Reformation”.

Fifteenth century

* Jan Hus, Catholic Priest and Professor, father of an early Protestant church (Moravianism), Czech reformist/dissident; burned to death in Constance, Holy Roman Empire in 1415 by Roman Catholic Church authorities for unrepentant and persistent heresy. After the devastation of the Hussite Wars some of his followers founded the Unitas Fratrum in 1457, “Unity of Brethren”, which was renewed under the leadership of Count Zinzendorf in Herrnhut, Saxony in 1722 after its almost total destruction in the 30 Years War and Counter Reformation. Today it is usually referred to in English as the Moravian Church, in German the Herrnhuter Br?dergemeine.

Sixteenth century

* Jacobus Arminius, Dutch theologian, founder of school of thought known as Arminianism.
* Heinrich Bullinger, successor of Zwingli, leading reformed theologian.
* John Calvin, French theologian, Reformer and resident of Geneva, Switzerland, he founded the school of theology known as Calvinism.
* Balthasar Hubmaier, influential Anabaptist theologian, author of numerous works during his five years of ministry, tortured at Zwingli’s behest, and executed in Vienna.
* John Knox, Scottish Calvinist reformer.
* Martin Luther, church reformer, Father of Protestantism,[36][37] theological works guided those now known as Lutherans.
* Philipp Melanchthon, early Lutheran leader.
* Menno Simons, founder of Mennonitism.
* John Smyth, early Baptist leader.
* Huldrych Zwingli, founder of Swiss reformed tradition.

Protestantism by country
Distribution of Protestantism (including Anglicanism) in Europe
Main article: Protestantism by country
This section requires expansion.

See also

* Anti-Catholicism
* Anti-Protestantism
* Islam and Protestantism
* List of Protestant churches
* Protestant work ethic

(The Ninety-Five Theses)

The Reformation

Pre-Reformation movements

Hussites ? Lollards ? Waldensians

Reformation era movements

Anabaptism ? Anglicanism ? Calvinism ? Counter-Reformation ? Dissenters and Nonconformism ? Lutheranism ? Polish Brethren ? Remonstrants

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