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The Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation and the Counter-Reformation were two very important events in European history. They are a vital part of the Renaissance. They signify the point at which the power of the church diminishes and the power of the monarchs increases. The Protestant Reformation began with Martin Luther. Martin Luther had once been a monk for the Church, but, after leaning about the way indulgences were practiced in the Church (particularly practiced by Tetzel), he wrote 95 statements about indulgences and posted them at a local church. He had assumed that the Church would accept these statements. Unfortunately for the Church, the statements were not accepted. By not accepting Luther's teachings, the Church had inadvertently encouraged its own decline. Since they did not kill Luther immediately, he was able to spread his "heresy," and, by the time the Church realized how large a threat he was, it was too late. Luther had, in the 1520's started the religion of Lutheranism. Lutheranism conflicted directly with the Church. It said that only two sacraments were necessary: baptism and communion. This reduced would reduce the power of Lutheran ministers and also save peasants money. This encouraged peasant converts. This also encouraged lords and princes to convert. They would convert to seize the holdings of the Church in their lands and also to gain power over the new religion. Instead of the Church controlling the officials, the officials controlled the (Lutheran) Church. Lutheranism also stressed intent. He said that, for God to forgive a person, the person would have to feel real regret, instead of just paying a fine. Luther also stated that, for a person to have good credited to his/her soul, they would have to have a good intent, not just a fear of Hell. I believe that these facts were unimportant to converts compared to the facts that Luther had defined Lutheranism much better than the Church had defined Christianity.

 



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