Protestant Reformation Leaders That influenced the Roman Catholic Church’s Response

The Protestant Reformation was one of the 16th century major European movements that initially aimed at reforming the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. Its religious features were complemented by determined political rulers that wished to extend their control and power at the church expense. The Reformation destroyed the unity created by medieval Christianity and initiated the start of the modern era based on the view of many historians. The Protestant reform was highly facilitated by three leaders that included Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli. Martin Lither dispatched 95 theses on the Wittenberg university town church door, a common act which acted as an invitation for debate. His propositions confronted some parts of Roman Catholic practices and doctrines. Initially, the church ignored Martin Luther, though his ideas spread quickly throughout Europe, he was requested to recant but refused and consequently he was excommunicated (History, n.d.).

John Calvin wrote about the Christian Religion Institutes and Reformed doctrines that insisted on the Power of God and predestined fate of humanity and put them in practice. This resulted to enforcement of theocratic regime referred to as austere morality. Calvin did this in exile and hence the catholic counter-reformation in this case was made to be more spiritual, more educated and more literate. Novel religious orders such as Jesuits, integrated rigorous spirituality with international minded intellectualism came up during this period (Saint-Clair, 2006).

Zwingli focused on sacraments with the major variation being based on the Eucharist where he strongly countered the transformation of bread and wine into body and blood of Jesus. He on the contrary argued that it was just a symbolic commemoration of death of Jesus and how he surrendered his life for the sake of the mankind. This view contradicted the Martin Luther view on sacraments and thus marking the initial division among Protestant Reformists. Zwingli Reformation contribution was terminated suddenly by his murder after German Lutheranism refused to support his army (Saint-Clair, G.  (2006).).

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