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Articles about Protestant Reformation

The Protestant Reformation was a movement in Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that challenged the doctrines and religious and political power of the Roman Catholic Church. Many consider Martin Luther to have started the Reformation by publishing his ninety-five theses. The result of his actions was an edict that prohibited anyone in the Roman Empire from defending or spreading his ideas.

A primary doctrine involved in the dispute was the power, and very existence, of the Pope…and the idea of apostolic succession that underlies the papal system of authority. Other ideas challenged were the sale of indulgences, the Pope’s authority over purgatory, the distinction between Law and Gospel, that participation in the Roman Catholic church was the only path to salvation, that the church was the sole interpreter of Scripture, and that salvation comes by faith alone.

The invention of the printing press allowed for the spread of these ideas, contributing to the speed at which changes occurred…and to the availability of Scripture in each reader’s own language.

October 31st is Reformation Day, a religious holiday in remembrance of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Most attribute this to Martin Luther posting his famous 95 Theses on the door of All Saint's Church in Wittenburg, Germany on October 31st, 1517.

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