The Protestant and Catholic Reformation

Martin Luther began to critique the Roman Catholic Church around the time he had his first Anfectungen. In German, Anfectungen meant “a trial”. It further means the struggle a Christian felt when they sensed the abandonment of God. It also could mean a trial that was sent from God, or a temptation from the Devil to destroy one’s faith.

Martin Luther
Martin Luther

Martin Luther began to argue with the indulgence sellers, once he became an evangelical. The confrontations would soon lead to only the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Indulgences were documents approved from the Catholic Church, which were sold to the public. The indulgences were used to reduce their time from purgatory. It has been stated in The Reformation Era, “It proved to be a lucrative source of income. Unfortunately, by the sixteenth century, the income was all that mattered.” (Linder 22).

Martin Luther opposed the selling of indulgences. He wrote his criticism against the indulgences and the Catholic Church, which became known as the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. He gave the Ninety-Five Theses to Wittenberg church. The Ninety-Five Theses were then translated into German and was spread out amongGermany. This had started the Protestant Reformation.

John Calvin
John Calvin

Another person to influence the Protestant Reformation was John Calvin. He wrote Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536. He wrote this to explain the new theology. In 1541, John Calvin also wrote Ecclesiastical Ordinances. Ecclesiastical Ordinances brought up the church government. He believed that there should be equality within the head ministry of the church rather than having the Episcopal hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Calvinism was created after Institutes of the Christian Religion was written. According to WashingtonStateUniversity,

“Calvinism is a system of theological thought found in the doctrinal expressions of the Reformed and Presbyterian churches, from Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.The people who supported Calvin became known as the Presbyterians.

The result of the Protestant Reformation was it started a series of religious wars. InFrance, there were fights between the Calvinist and Catholics. They ended the fighting through the edict ofNantesin 1598. In 1618, the thirty years war began inGermany. This was a war between the Protestants and theHoly Roman Empire. The war ended in 1648 due to the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia. There were also religion issues in the English Civil war that went on in the 1640’s.

While all this was going on the Catholic Church began the Council of Trent in 1545 and lasted for about 18 years. This was considered the Catholic Reformation. The goal for the Council of Trent was to “try to define a common ground of belief and practice for all Christians, and attempt to heal the schism”, according to Le Poulet Gauche. The council tried to discuss the corruption of the church, the attacks being made on the church, and involved clergy. There was hardly any progression or achievement from trying to change the viewpoints of the Protestants. In the end the Council of Trent didn’t heal anything.

Works Cited

Melton, J. Gordon. "Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation: Need To Know." World History: The Modern Era.ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2012.

"indulgences." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2012.

"Jagnow: Martin Luther - The Lutheran Reformation - The Lutheran Church." Bem-vindo ao site da família Jagnow. 01 Apr. 2012


"John Calvin : Biography." Spartacus Educational. 02 Apr. 2012 <>.

"Calvinism in New England." Washington State University. 02 Apr. 2012 <>.

"The Reformation." Le Poulet Gauche. 02 Apr. 2012 <>.

Stearns, Peter N. World Civilizations: The Global Experience. 3rd ed.New York: Pearson Longman, 2004. 365,366. Print.

Linder, Robert Dean. The Reformation Era. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 2008.