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Protestant Church Origins: 6 Major Events in History of Key Branch of Christianity

By    |   Wednesday, 11 February 2015 02:54 PM

After German monk Martin Luther challenged some Roman Catholic teachings and that church excommunicated him, Luther in 1529 formed the Lutheran Church. It was the first of the Christian Protestant faiths. According to Pew Research Center,  Protestants today make up about 37 percent of the world's Christian population.

Here are six major events in the history of that key branch of Christianity.

1. The Birth of Protestantism: Roman Catholic Pope Leo X in 1517 authorized the sale of indulgences — documents issued by the church that supposedly relieved their owners of time in Purgatory, a place where Catholics believe they must purge themselves of their sins before going to heaven. Luther denied the indulgences were valid and nailed a placard to the church door in Wittenburg criticizing church practices in an effort to stimulate discussion. After Catholic authorities sought to change Luther's mind, he became defiant of the church, which excommunicated him. Luther then formed Lutheranism in 1529.

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2. The Swiss Reformation: The Swiss Reformation began in 1519 and was initially led by Ulrich Zwingli, whose teachings largely paralleled Luther's. According to History.com, John Calvin, a French Protestant who had outlined his beliefs regarding God's power and humanity's predestined fate in a book called "Institutes of the Christian Religion," was invited in 1541 to settle in Geneva, Switzerland, and put his Reformed doctrine into practice. The result was a theocratic regime of enforced, austere morality. Calvinism quickly spread to other countries and became a religious and economic force for the next 400 years, said history.com.

3. The English Reformation: English King Henry VIII in 1534 established the Church of England and made himself its supreme head after breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church. The King made the move after Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cramer in 1533 declared Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon to be null and void, in defiance of the Roman Catholic Church. After divorcing Catherine, Henry married Anne Boleyn.

4. The Birth of the Methodist Movement: During the 1700s, Church of England ministers John Wesley, his younger brother, Charles Wesley, and George Whitefield sought to reform that church. A significant number of Anglican clergy members joined the Wesleys and Whitefield in what became known as the "Methodist" movement, and formed a separate denomination after John Wesley’s death in 1791.

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5. The Great Awakenings: Three spiritual revivals known as the "Great Awakenings" between 1720 and 1906 saw the development of evangelical churches in North America. The First Great Awakening in the 1730s and 1740s mostly affected Congregational, Presbyterian, Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, Baptist and Methodist churches, and also spread within the slave population. The Second Great Awakening took place between the 1800s and 1830s and focused on the unchurched. That websi Third Great Awakening lasted from 1857 to 1906, spreading Protestantism throughout the world while also spurring the emergence of Pentecostalism.

6. Emergence of the Charismatic movement: The Neo-Pentecostal or Charismatic Movement, through which Pentecostalism entered Protestant mainline churches, began in 1960 in an Episcopalian Church in Van Nuys, Calif., according to Oral Roberts University. Within a decade, the movement had reached 55 million Protestants and spread to all the world's 150 major Protestant families.

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After German monk Martin Luther challenged some Roman Catholic teachings and that church excommunicated him, Luther in 1529 formed the Lutheran Church.
Protestant Christian, History, Religion, Faith, Christianity
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 02:54 PM
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