The harder Luther tried to be a righteous man, the more clear to him his sinfulness became, and all the confessions, pilgrimages, indulgences, and other rites and rituals he could perform were never enough. The Reformation was a huge change within the Church in the C16th. Corrections? Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The desire for reform within the Catholic Church had started before the spread of Luther. Spell. The value of individual labor, the distribution of skills, and a host of other factors greatly shift when so many working-age men are dying suddenly in mass from wars and disease. In spite of its political implications, the reorganization of the church permitted the beginning of religious change in England, which included the preparation of a liturgy in English, the Book of Common Prayer. The English Reformation was a series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. Read next: What Was the Reformation and Why Did it Happen, Part 2: An Explosion of Ideas. The Reformation began in Germany in 1517 because an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther, who lived in Germany, wrote "95 Theses" protesting the Pope's selling indulgences. It led to that, but it didn't start there. It ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Germany - Germany - The Reformation: The Reformation presents the historian with an acute instance of the general problem of scholarly interpretation—namely, whether events are shaped primarily by individuals or by the net of historical circumstances enmeshing them. The Reformation of the 16th century was not unprecedented. There is no single, simple cause one can point to as to why the men like Martin Luther succeeded in launching a thriving Reformation while men with similar insights in previous generations had, at best, accomplished only local and temporary reform movements. Some of the Reformers themselves came to their positions because they had access to a Greek New Testament thanks to Erasmus and the printing press.27  Erasmus's text would later be a key resource for the reformers in producing their common-language translations of the Bible in various lands. : Wright, Jonathan: Amazon.sg: Books The Reformation movement within Germany diversified almost immediately, and other reform impulses arose independently of Luther. The socalled “material” cause was the debate over sola fide (“justification by faith alone”). Study of the Bible and other ancient writings showed that it was not enough to call people back to the traditions of the church because many of the so-called "traditions" were themselves late fabrications. A: The Reformation happened for two main reasons. Much of the continent was beginning to transition from a feudal (land-based) economy to a monetary (money and commodity based) economy. The Reformation popularized the use of comic strips as a form of propaganda. Having far-reaching political, economic, and social effects, the Reformation became the basis for the founding of Protestantism, one of the three major branches of Christianity. The deal involved financing both plans through the sale of indulgences in Germany.30 When Luther chose that particular time to post his 95 theses challenging the theology behind the sale of indulgences, he was unwittingly walking into a political firestorm. Reformers and Reformations: Why Did the Reformation Happen? Huldrych Zwingli built a Christian theocracy in Zürich in which church and state joined for the service of God. Many more examples could be given, but this should be enough to demonstrate that while the unity of all Christendom under the Pope was a theory in which many in Western Europe believed, it was far from a description of the late-Medieval reality. Spain and Italy were to be the great centres of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and Protestantism never gained a strong foothold there. 2010-12-06 15:54:56 2010-12-06 15:54:56. As new research began into ancient writings, a number of important documents that had long been used to uphold the supremacy of the Pope and other Medieval dogmas were exposed as frauds.24 Additionally, Greek manuscripts of the Bible made their way from the east to the Latin west, leading many scholars to note the flaws in the Vulgate and to study the Bible in general with a more critical eye, apart from the artificial lens of official Roman Catholic positions.25 Many began to realize that at least some of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic church were actually late developments found nowhere in the Bible or the early church fathers.26 When a scholar named Erasmus published an edition of the Greek New Testament (paired with a fresh Latin translation) based on the Greek Manuscripts, this provided a crucial resource for those asking these questions. Why did the Protestant reformation happen? But why did the Reformation happen when it did? Reformation, also called Protestant Reformation, the religious revolution that took place in the Western church in the 16th century. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Reformation, History World - History of the Reformation, PBS LearningMedia - The Protestant Reformation | Inside the Court of Henry VIII, Reformation - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Reformation - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). To understand their origins, we need to go back to the early 16th century when there was only one church in Western Europe under the leadership of the Pope in Rome. Terms in this set (11) What was the Reformation? For all this, the Protestant Movement was not started by a man who set out to change the world. The idea that the Reformation introduced schism into an otherwise unified church is a laughable claim. The first was that the church in Western Europe, which was theoretically united under the authority of the pope in Rome, was in crisis. Medieval Catholic worship was centred on the Mass, the church's offering of the sacrifice of … at Cram.com. Entire books have been written to detail all of the various strands of cultural, technological, and religious factors that contributed to the birth and success of the Reformation as a lasting movement. The Protestant Reformation was a movement in the 16th century to reform the Catholic Church in Western Europe. Finally, the recent invention of the printing press made it possible for ideas to spread and literacy to swell in a manner never before possible. Another group of reformers, often though not altogether correctly referred to as “radical reformers,” insisted that baptism be performed not on infants but on adults who had professed their faith in Jesus. The spread of Protestantism in areas that had previously been Roman Catholic had far-reaching political, economic, and social effects. If you have any issues, please call the office at 385-246-1048 or email us at info@carm.org. We come to God, not through pious effort and personal righteousness, but in helpless trust that Jesus is enough. It began as a simple but profound return to the truth that we are dreadfully sinful, God is perfectly holy, and thus our works can contribute nothing to our salvation. In Geneva, Calvin was able to experiment with his ideal of a disciplined community of the elect. More People Reading the Bible During the Middle Ages, few people other than monks and priests knew how to read and write. Wiki User Answered . Calvin also stressed the doctrine of predestination and interpreted Holy Communion as a spiritual partaking of the body and blood of Christ. For any reformation to matter, it couldn't be a mere moral tweaking of things. The Reformation was a clash of two opposed schemes of salvation. Where did they all begin? The greatest leaders of the Reformation undoubtedly were Martin Luther and John Calvin. So, while many factors made it possible for the Protestant Reformation to take hold and flourish, in a very real sense, what caused the Protestant Reformation was simply the reading of the Bible, seeking peace with God by His grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ, sharing that truth with others, and then being willing to be logically consistent with that truth when confronted by unbiblical traditions. Discipline in the church was also very lax. Write. How and why did the Reformation happen? Another important form of Protestantism (as those protesting against their suppressions were designated by the Diet of Speyer in 1529) is Calvinism, named for John Calvin, a French lawyer who fled France after his conversion to the Protestant cause. The movement began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church. 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