The Reasons Behind the Protestant Reformation

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The Protestant Reformation was not only a pivotal time in European history, but in world history as well. It was time of immense religious, political, and social change. The most well known religious reformer of the time was Martin Luther, who famously nailed his list of 95 grievances to the church door in Wittenberg. Changes during the Reformation were not just the work of one man. John Calvin, and John Knox both also played focal roles during this time of great change. Religious pioneers, such as these men, would forever change religion in Europe and the new world.

Martin Luther was born to Hans and Margaretha Luther in Eisleben, Germany on November 10, 1483. Upon turning seventeen, Luther entered the University of Erfurt where he earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree. His father had hoped that he would go on to attend law school, but this would not come. One day while Luther was returning from the university, a horrifying thunderstorm began. "Fearing for his life, Luther prayed to God that if he let him survive, he would become a monk" (Forell, "Martin Luther). Keeping his promise, Luther entered into religious life. During his years in the monastery, Luther carefully studied numerous manuscripts on church dogma and religious thought. On October 31, 1517, Luther nailed 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg Castle. "The Theses condemned greed and worldliness in the Church as an abuse and asked for a theological disputation on what indulgences could grant" (Forell, "Martin Luther"). Luther's theses challenged the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the nature of penance, the authority of the pope, and the shady practice of selling indulgences. This was the act of one giving the church money in exchange for a shorter time in purgatory for yourself, or a loved one. With the newly invented printing press, Luther's ideas spread rapidly throughout Europe, causing church officials to worry. In an attempt to stop this religious change,...
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