Short Protestant History

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father of protestants

A short history of the Protestant movement that caused a major blow in Roman Papacy

In the past, anyone who disagreed with the absolute authority of the Pope was called a heretic. When their protest became organized and sophisticated, the two major movements were the Protestant and English Reformation.

Although Roman Catholics retained what Protestant call “pagan influence,” Protestants and Catholics belong to the Judeo-Christian faith, united in the Gospel of Jesus.

4 Important crux of the Protestant Reformation

1. The Pope is not the Vicar of Christ

The Roman Catholic church claims that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ. A vicar is someone who mediates, stands in the place of someone else. This gives the Pope supremacy over all its teaching (Catholic Dogma). However, the Bible refers to the “vicar of Christ” as the Holy Spirit.

  • John 14:26 – “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” 
  • John 14:16-18 – “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth

2. The church is built upon Jesus, not St. Peter

According to Catholic tradition, the Apostle Peter was the rock, making him the first Bishop of Rome, thus the first Pope, starting the unbroken line of succession (Read interpretation on Matthew 16:18). However, Peter never claimed supremacy over the other apostles.

Nowhere in Scripture does Peter, or any other apostle, state that their apostolic authority would be passed on to successors. Peter points us all to the Overseer of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:25). “The church” is built upon Jesus, not Peter.

3. The Bible should be read by ordinary people

Many people contributed to the build-up of the Reformation. In England, John Wycliffe was the first to translate the Bible into English in 1382. William Tyndale was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts and the first to take advantage of the printing press around 1530.

4. Salvation is by faith alone

Luther was a priest and professor of theology in Germany. He was excommunicated and called “heretic” because of his opposition to Rome’s religious atrocities. His pivotal point was “Indulgence.”

Notably, he wanted the church to reform its dogma. That salvation is by faith alone, the Bible should be the authority in matters of faith, and the priesthood of all believers.

He wrote a Ninety-five Theses in 1517, arguing the errors of the church. After his excommunication, Luther married and became the symbol of the Protestant Reformation in Europe.

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