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Lutheran Origins: 6 Things That Led to Development of Protestant Christian Denomination

By    |   Friday, 06 February 2015 05:46 PM

The origins of the Lutheran Protestant Christian denomination can be traced back to the theology of Martin Luther, a German monk who has been called the "Father of Reformation." Currently the Lutheran Church has a global membership of over 80 million and it is considered the oldest Protestant denomination.

Here are six things that led to the development of the Lutheran Christian Church:

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1. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther, who had originally planned to become a lawyer, changed his course and instead became a monk. By many accounts, he thought the monastery would help him find salvation. However, after spending time in Rome, he became disillusioned by what he considered the immorality of Catholic priests and corruption within the church. Luther went through a period of spiritual anguish, which he attempted to ameliorate with study of the scriptures, eventually receiving his doctorate from the University of Wittenberg in Germany.

2. Luther continued to examine the practices of the Catholic Church and in 1517, he nailed a document called the "95 Theses" on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church with the intention of inspiring theological debate. Central to the Theses were the concepts that repentance and faith alone could lead to salvation and that "indulgences," which in the Catholic Church were opportunities to repay offenses caused by sin, were wrong. These "indulgences" were sold by the church to raise money.

3. Luther's challenges to papal authority and questions about the basic tenants of Roman Catholicism garnered him a significant following and he became the leader of the Protestant Reformation. According to History.com, the actions of Luther and other reformers led to "religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered Catholic Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would define the continent in the modern era."

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4. In 1518, Pope Leo X condemned Luther's writings as heretical and the Catholic Church demanded he recant his views. Luther refused and in 1521, he was excommunicated, and declared a convicted heretic, which made him a wanted man.

5. Luther returned to Wittenberg and continued in his role as the leader of the Protestant Reformation, eventually officially forming the Lutheran Church. Thanks to the support of some of the German royalty, he was never arrested and over time, he garnered a large "Lutheran: following.

6. According to Biography.com, "From 1533 to his death in 1546, Martin Luther served as the dean of theology at University of Wittenberg. During this time he suffered from many illnesses, including arthritis, heart problems and digestive disorders, and the physical pain and emotional strain of being a fugitive might have been reflected in his writings. Some works contained strident and offensive language against several segments of society, particularly Jews and Muslims. During a trip to his hometown of Eisleben, he died on February 18, 1546, at age 62."

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The origins of the Lutheran Protestant Christian denomination can be traced back to the theology of Martin Luther, a German monk who has been called the Father of Reformation.
Lutherans, Protestant, Christians, Denomination
Friday, 06 February 2015 05:46 PM
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