The Protestan Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a defining event that occurred during the 16th century and affected the lives of many up to the present day. The goal of the Reformation was to change the Catholic Church but it became the beginning of the Protestant Church. Two important figures of the Reformation were Martin Luther and John Calvin. Martin Luther started the Reformation movement to reform, not divide, the Church and help people of the faith practice their faith more easily. John Calvin talked about idolatry being wrong before God’s eyes. The Protestant Reformation was the first time anyone challenged the Catholic Church’s faith, rules, and beliefs. Its effects were so powerful that people continue to practice their Christian faith through Lutheranism today.
Luther was the first person brave enough to challenge the Church. In his Freedom of a Christian, he was determined to make known his beliefs and the fault of the Catholic Church. In his writing, Luther “attacked church authority, clerical celibacy, and the sacraments” (Lualdi, p. 24) in order to explain and clarify his beliefs. Luther wanted the people to know the important role of faith that an individual can have in God. He believed that if people “have not experienced it and have never tasted the great strength there is in faith” (Luther, Lualdi, p. 24), they would not be able to understand the purpose for the Reform. Luther also stated that “one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom” (Luther, Lualdi, p. 25), and that the people could get it by the Word of God. Luther believed that people did not need to access God through priests, other humans, in the Catholic faith. He believed that their faith alone could give them salvation.
At this time, the relationship between the Church and the government was so powerful that the Church influenced government. The leaders thought “that they were above the law... and claimed that the rulers received their power directly from God” (Levack, p. 494), and from no one else. They invented laws according to the situation at the moment. The rulers didn’t care for the people, and whoever was against the law would be thrown in jail or killed. The leaders cared about the authority to reign over the people and because the Church was so powerful, they used the Church to gain more authority. To demonstrate this authority, they forced the people to pay unlawful taxes to support the army. Just as the government wanted to have control over the people, so did the Church. The Church was so controlling that they made up more rules to keep the Protestants separated from the Catholics and to prevent any kind of trouble:
We prohibit most expressly to all those of the said religion, to hold any exercise of it...except in places permitted and granted in the present edict. As also no to exercise the said religion in our court...we prohibit all preachers, readers and others who speak in public, to use any words, discourse, or propositions tending to excite the people to sedition; and we enjoin them to contain and comport themselves modestly, and to say nothing which shall not be for instruction and edification of the listeners, and maintaining the peace and tranquility established by us in our said kingdom... we ordain, that there shall no be made any difference or distinction upon the account of the said religion, in receiving scholars to be instructed in the universities, colleges, or schools, nor of the sick or poor into hospital sick houses or public almshouses... (Henry IV, Luadi, p. 35)
Luther and Calvin disagreed with the Church and its influence over the government. As the Reformation gained momentum, the Church wanted to control them. They had a lot of resentment toward the Protestants, and they made sure all Protestants were treated differently.
It seems to me that The Church was afraid of losing its members, so they created a “new system” that was based on