History 101: The Protestant Reformation | National Geographic

Posted By on May 22, 2019



– [Narrator] The Protestant
Reformation of the 16th century shook the very foundation of
Europe's cultural identity. The Reformation was a revolution of religion in western Europe. Essentially, it was the
result of centuries worth of political and social grievances against the Christian
Church as it existed. Christianity, which began
as a fledgling religion in the 1st century, had
grown by the 13th century into an institution powerful enough to rival state governments. For instance, the Pope, then the leader of the Christian Church,
had greater political and military influence than
some emperors and kings. This tension was exacerbated
by the transformative social and intellectual period known as the Renaissance. In particular, this period
involved the rise of humanism. A philosophy that shifted man's fate from being determined
by religious doctrine to being determined by man himself. Additionally, some within the Church believed it had become
increasingly corrupt. Priests like John Wycliffe of England and Jan Hus of Bohemia challenged
the Church's teachings, which they believed had
strayed away from the Bible. However, one of the most
well-known advocates for a reformed Christian Church was a German priest named Martin Luther. Martin Luther began to question the Church in the early 1500s. He believed it was abusing its power and disagreed with some of its practices. For instance, he challenged
the Church's doctrine that stated the Pope, not the Bible, was the ultimate spiritual authority. Plus, he criticized the Church
for selling indulgences, the practice of purchasing
forgiveness of one's sins by giving money to the Church. Luther believed the Church
needed to revise its doctrine by returning to the Bible's teachings and by saying that
salvation could be granted by faith in Christ alone. So on October 31, 1517,
Luther took a stand. In what's considered the birth
of the Protestant Reformation Luther is said to have nailed 95 theses, or arguments against the Church, onto the door of Castle
Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther was later put on trial
in front of Church officials to defend his theses. But in January 1521, the Church
declared Luther a heretic and excommunicated him. While Luther's membership
with the Church ended, the reformation he argued for started to gian momentum. Unlike Luther's predecessors
who challenged the church, Luther had one tool at his disposal that they didn't have. The printing press. This new invention allowed his arguments to be copied and spread across Europe. This unprecedented access
to ideas such as Luther's inspired many others to
challenge the Church, thereby splitting Christianity into two major denominations, Catholic and Protestant,
from the word protest. Also, the Bible became more accessible. Luther and other Reformists
translated Biblical texts from Latin, which was
only known by nobility and Church officials, to
German, English, and French, languages spoken by the general public. While the Protestant
Reformation revolutionized the Christian faith, it had ramifications that extended beyond religion. Prior to the Reformation, many Europeans were dependent on an educated upper class. But perhaps the most resounding
impact of the Reformation was that the common people were empowered to question religion and
other aspects of life. The Reformation, along with
technological innovations, and the introduction of other new ideas, gave many in Europe's general public the freedom and power to
decide their own fates.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 42 comments

  1. I never understood why reformers call themselves reformers as if it’s a little group all of its own,reformed theology etc,anybody who’s not part of catholic teaching is a reformer ,whether baptist or Presbyterian or whichever ,so why make the distinction,I don’t understand,all Protestants are reformers and all reformers are Protestants, we protested and then we reformed and that’s simply all it means,and. Another thing I don’t get is this and maybe somebody can better explain to me but here goes:the Catholic Church never had the truth to start with so why were they concerned about protesting against it?see what I’m saying?God never taught through catholic doctrine to start with!didnt they already know not to follow a lie cause by reforming in essence their acting like there was a time when they thought it was truth and now all of a sudden they realized it’s not,it seems like their grasping at straws or something,didn’t they already know what Jesus taught because their acting like they didn’t,a saved person has always been separate from catholic doctrine of works vs. grace and it wasn’t something that started with Luther nailing a paper to a door!?????see what I mean,it don’t make good sense to reform when their was nothing to reform from to start with🤨here’s another legitimate concern ,if Luther was a catholic priest to start with was he even saved to begin with or was he saved and then nailed the thesis to the door and got out of he Catholic Church,see where I’m going with this?

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  2. Luther standing before the pope etc reminds me of Jesus standing before the religious leaders of his day,all in the same heart

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  3. The Roman Catholic Church is not Christianity. As Romans16:16 the Church of Christ is the only church that belongs to Jesus Christ.

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  4. For by grace are ye saved by faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: not works lest that any men should boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9 Sacraments cant save you salvation is from believing Jesus is the savior

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  5. This is why I’m glad I’m not Catholic, I don’t have to take responsible to the argument that Christian spawned many wars.

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  6. FACT: Mr. Martin Luther DID NOT nail any Thesis, therefore not the 95 theses. NO ONE ever saw it. Maybe u can ask some tourist in regards to that. So how did his famous 95 theses been know public. SOMEBODY foolishly made bunch of copied and give them away to people for free.

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  7. The Pope wasn't the "leader of all christians," but rather western Christianity. And Christianity wasn't split into 2 denominations since the Orthodox in the east has been around for mallenia by this time. Like many western sources, they refuse (or are ignorant of) to talk about Christianity wholeisticly. In the admirable attempt to simplify for the everyday learner they inadvertanly provide subtle misinformation. National Geographic, please hire more thorough academic writers to discuss complex topics. I love ur stuff and support you financially. Blessings.

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  8. COME BACK TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH PLEASE DONT YOU REALIZE THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS THE FIRST CHRISTIAN RELIGION EVER . WE DO WHAT IS WRITTEN IN THE SCRIPTURES. JESUS FOUNDED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NOT THE PROTESTANT. IT WAS A GOOD TIME UNTIL MARTIN LUTHER WAS PROTESTING AGAINST MY COMEBACK AND MAY THE . May the lord be with you all and may you come back to the Catholic Church. Come to Mass for once.

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  9. "Catholics are not Christians" ?? But, seriously do Protestants call themselves just Christians? Cause we call u protestants (from "protest"). Protestants are not the original Christians btw, the first Christians were Catholics. Do you study history at school? 🤦🏻‍♀️ So much ignorance here.

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  10. Wow. As a Lutherian I didnt even know some of these things. Back then people didnt have personal bibles or ones in their native tongues…. (head explodes).

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  11. Before everyone was united in one faith, then they had to give away the word of God, now good job guys everyone is against each other, intellectual debates after debates never agreeing which one is the truth.

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  12. Most religions split due to numerous factors i.e. increased complexification of societies, integration of various cultures, role of government and so on. This is a smart move for christians that saw the negative aspects of catholicism unveiled. To this day catholicism remains controversial as it promotes pedophilia, hypocrisy, and corruption. There are other christian sectors that (in my opinion) don't deserve generally positive feedback. They have the pretty good Pope though.

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  13. However translations of the bible into languages ouside latin, introduced other issues. Like lack of spiritually inspired translations or free interpretation and at times absence of Christ teaching for the salvation of the souls. Turning this excercise into a political instrument far from Martin Luther real conquest and fight. Therefore controlling of the printing is control of the Church.

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  14. ohh please do say Pope of Vatican is the head of the Roman Catholic church,not the Christian Church……There are many other independent churches with their own hierarchy and head…Atleast research it well before such a video

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