Protestantism is a form of Christianity
that originated with the 16th-century Reformation
, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors
in the Catholic Church
. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy
, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence
in the Eucharist
, and matters of ecclesiastical polity
and apostolic succession
. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers
; justification by faith alone
(') rather than by good works
; the teaching that salvation
comes by divine grace
or "unmerited favor" only, not as something merited ('); and affirm the Bible
as being the sole highest authority (' or scripture alone), rather than also with sacred tradition
. The five ''solae''
summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Catholic Church.
Protestantism began in Germany
). in 1517, when Martin Luther
published his ''Ninety-five Theses
'' as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgence
s by the Catholic Church, which purported to offer the remission of the temporal punishment
of sins to their purchasers. The term, however, derives from the letter of protestation
from German Lutheran princes
in 1529 against an edict
of the Diet of Speyer
condemning the teachings of Martin Luther
. Although there were earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo
, John Wycliffe
and Jan Hus
—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider, lasting and modern
movement. In the 16th century
spread from Germany into Denmark
churches spread in Germany, Hungary
, the Netherlands
by Protestant Reformers
such as John Calvin
, Huldrych Zwingli
and John Knox
. The political separation of the Church of England
from the pope
under King Henry VIII
, bringing England
into this broad Reformation movement.
Today, Protestantism constitutes the second-largest form
of Christianity (after Catholicism), with a total of 800 million to 1 billion adherents worldwide or about 37% of all Christians
Protestants have developed their own culture
, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts and many other fields.
[Karl Heussi, ''Kompendium der Kirchengeschichte'', 11. Auflage (1956), Tübingen (Germany), pp. 317–319, 325–326]
Protestantism is diverse, being more divided theologically
than the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church
or Oriental Orthodoxy
Without structural unity or central human authority,
Protestants developed the concept of an invisible church
, in contrast to the Catholic, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East
and the Ancient Church of the East
, which all understand themselves as the one and only original church—the "one true church
"—founded by Jesus Christ.
do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership, while others are confined to a single country.
A majority of Protestants are members of a handful of Protestant denominational families: Adventists
, and Pentecostals
, and other churches are on the rise, and constitute a significant part of Protestantism.
Six princes of the Holy Roman Empire
and rulers of fourteen Imperial Free Cities
, who issued a protest
(or dissent) against the edict of the Diet of Speyer (1529)
, were the first individuals to be called Protestants.
The edict reversed concessions made to the Lutherans
with the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V three years earlier
. The term ''protestant'', though initially purely political in nature, later acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of any Western church which subscribed to the main Protestant principles.
Any Western Christian who is not an adherent of the Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox Church
is a Protestant. A Protestant is an adherent of any of those Christian bodies that separated from the Church of Rome during the Reformation, or of any group descended from them.
During the Reformation, the term ''protestant'' was hardly used outside of German politics. People who were involved in the religious movement used the word ''evangelical'' (german: evangelisch). For further details, see the section below. Gradually, ''protestant'' became a general term, meaning any adherent of the Reformation in the German-speaking area. It was ultimately somewhat taken up by Lutherans
, even though Martin Luther
himself insisted on ''Christian'' or ''evangelical'' as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. French
Protestants instead preferred the word ''reformed'' (french: réformé), which became a popular, neutral, and alternative name for Calvinists
The word ''evangelical'' (german: evangelisch), which refers to the gospel
, was widely used for those involved in the religious movement in the German-speaking area beginning in 1517. Nowadays, ''evangelical'' is still preferred among some of the historical Protestant denominations in the Lutheran, Calvinist, and United Protestant (Lutheran & Reformed) traditions in Europe, and those with strong ties to them (e.g. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
). Above all the term is used by Protestant bodies in the German-speaking area
, such as the Evangelical Church in Germany
. In continental Europe, an ''Evangelical'' is either a Lutheran, a Calvinist, or a United Protestant (Lutheran & Reformed). The German
word ' means Protestant, and is different from the German ', which refers to churches shaped by Evangelicalism
. The English word ''evangelical'' usually refers to evangelical Protestant
churches, and therefore to a certain part of Protestantism rather than to Protestantism as a whole. The English word traces its roots back to the Puritans
in England, where Evangelicalism originated, and then was brought to the United States.
Martin Luther always disliked the term ''Lutheran'', preferring the term ''evangelical'', which was derived from ''euangelion'', a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "gospel
[Espín, Orlando O. and Nickoloff, James B. ''An introductory dictionary of theology and religious studies''. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, p. 796.]
The followers of John Calvin
, Huldrych Zwingli
, and other theologians linked to the Reformed tradition
also began to use that term. To distinguish the two evangelical groups, others began to refer to the two groups as ''Evangelical Lutheran'' and ''Evangelical Reformed''. Nowadays, the word also pertains in the same way to some other mainline groups, for example ''Evangelical Methodist''. As time passed by, the word ''evangelical'' was dropped. Lutherans themselves began to use the term ''Lutheran'' in the middle of the 16th century, in order to distinguish themselves from other groups such as the Philippists
The German word ', which roughly translates to English as "reformational" or "reforming", is used as an alternative for ' in German, and is different from English ''reformed'' (german: reformiert), which refers to churches shaped by ideas of John Calvin
, Huldrych Zwingli
and other Reformed theologians. Being derived from the word "Reformation", the term emerged around the same time as ''evangelical'' (1517) and ''protestant'' (1529).
Various experts on the subject tried to determine what makes a Christian denomination a part of Protestantism. A common consensus approved by most of them is that if a Christian denomination is to be considered Protestant, it must acknowledge the following three fundamental principles of Protestantism.
The belief, emphasized by Luther, in the Bible as the highest source of authority
for the church. The early churches of the Reformation believed in a critical, yet serious, reading of scripture and holding the Bible as a source of authority higher than that of church tradition
. The many abuses that had occurred in the Western Church before the Protestant Reformation led the Reformers to reject much of its tradition, though some would maintain tradition has been maintained and reorganized in the liturgy and in the confessions of the Protestant churches of the Reformation. In the early 20th century, a less critical reading of the Bible developed in the United States, leading to a "fundamentalist" reading of Scripture. Christian fundamentalists read the Bible as the "inerrant, infallible" Word of God, as do the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches, but interpret it in a literalist fashion without using the historical-critical method.
"Biblical Christianity" focused on a deep study of the Bible is characteristic of most Protestants as opposed to "Church Christianity", focused on performing rituals and good works, represented by Catholic and Orthodox traditions. However Quakers and Pentecostalists, emphasize the Holy Spirit and personal closeness to God.
;Justification by faith alone:
The belief that believers are justified
, or pardoned for sin, solely on condition of faith in Christ
rather than a combination of faith and good works
. For Protestants, good works are a necessary consequence rather than cause of justification.
However, while justification is by faith alone, there is the position that faith is not ''nuda fides''.
John Calvin explained that "it is therefore faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone: just as it is the heat alone of the sun which warms the earth, and yet in the sun it is not alone."
;Universal priesthood of believers:
The universal priesthood of believers
implies the right and duty of the Christian laity not only to read the Bible in the vernacular
, but also to take part in the government and all the public affairs of the Church. It is opposed to the hierarchical system which puts the essence and authority of the Church in an exclusive priesthood, and which makes ordained priests the necessary mediators between God and the people.
It is distinguished from the concept of the priesthood of all believers, which did not grant individuals the right to interpret the Bible apart from the Christian community at large because universal priesthood opened the door to such a possibility. There are scholars who cite that this doctrine tends to subsume all distinctions in the church under a single spiritual entity. Calvin referred to the universal priesthood as an expression of the relation between the believer and his God, including the freedom of a Christian to come to God through Christ without human mediation.
He also maintained that this principle recognizes Christ as prophet
, priest, and king and that his priesthood is shared with his people.
Protestants who adhere to the Nicene Creed
believe in three person
s (God the Father
, God the Son
, and the Holy Spirit
) as one God.
Movements emerging around the time of the Protestant Reformation, but not a part of Protestantism, e.g. Unitarianism
also reject the Trinity. This often serves as a reason for exclusion of the Unitarian Universalism
, Oneness Pentecostalism
and other movements from Protestantism by various observers. Unitarianism continues to have a presence mainly in Transylvania, England and the United States, as well as elsewhere.
The Five ' are five Latin
phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Protestant Reformation
and summarize the reformers' basic differences in theological beliefs in opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church
of the day. The Latin word ' means "alone", "only", or "single".
The use of the phrases as summaries of teaching emerged over time during the Reformation, based on the overarching principle of ' (by scripture alone). This idea contains the four main doctrines on the Bible: that its teaching is needed for salvation (necessity); that all the doctrine necessary for salvation comes from the Bible alone (sufficiency); that everything taught in the Bible is correct (inerrancy); and that, by the Holy Spirit overcoming sin, believers may read and understand truth from the Bible itself, though understanding is difficult, so the means used to guide individual believers to the true teaching is often mutual discussion within the church (clarity).
The necessity and inerrancy were well-established ideas, garnering little criticism, though they later came under debate from outside during the Enlightenment. The most contentious idea at the time though was the notion that anyone could simply pick up the Bible and learn enough to gain salvation. Though the reformers were concerned with ecclesiology (the doctrine of how the church as a body works), they had a different understanding of the process in which truths in scripture were applied to life of believers, compared to the Catholics' idea that certain people within the church, or ideas that were old enough, had a special status in giving understanding of the text.
The second main principle, ' (by faith alone), states that faith in Christ is sufficient alone for eternal salvation and justification. Though argued from scripture, and hence logically consequent to ', this is the guiding principle of the work of Luther and the later reformers. Because ' placed the Bible as the only source of teaching, ' epitomises the main thrust of the teaching the reformers wanted to get back to, namely the direct, close, personal connection between Christ and the believer, hence the reformers' contention that their work was Christocentric.
The other solas, as statements, emerged later, but the thinking they represent was also part of the early Reformation.
* ': ''Christ alone''
: The Protestants characterize the dogma concerning the Pope as Christ's representative head of the Church on earth, the concept of works made meritorious by Christ, and the Catholic idea of a treasury of the merits of Christ and his saints, as a denial that Christ is the ''only'' mediator between God
and man. Catholics, on the other hand, maintained the traditional understanding of Judaism on these questions, and appealed to the universal consensus of Christian tradition.
* ': ''Grace alone''
: Protestants perceived Catholic salvation to be dependent upon the grace of God and the merits of one's own works. The reformers posited that salvation is a gift of God (i.e., God's act of free grace), dispensed by the Holy Spirit owing to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ alone. Consequently, they argued that a sinner is not accepted by God on account of the change wrought in the believer by God's grace, and that the believer is accepted without regard for the merit of his works, for no one ''deserves'' salvation.
* ': ''Glory to God alone''
: All glory is due to God alone since salvation is accomplished solely through his will and action—not only the gift of the all-sufficient atonement
on the cross
but also the gift of faith in that atonement, created in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit
. The reformers believed that human beings—even saints canonized
by the Catholic Church, the popes, and the ecclesiastical hierarchy—are not worthy of the glory.
Christ's presence in the Eucharist
The Protestant movement began to diverge into several distinct branches in the mid-to-late 16th century. One of the central points of divergence was controversy over the Eucharist
. Early Protestants rejected the Catholic dogma
, which teaches that the bread and wine used in the sacrificial rite of the Mass lose their natural substance by being transformed into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. They disagreed with one another concerning the presence of Christ and his body and blood in Holy Communion.
* Lutherans hold that within the Lord's Supper
the consecrated elements of bread and wine are the true body and blood of Christ "in, with, and under the form" of bread and wine for all those who eat and drink it, a doctrine that the Formula of Concord
calls the Sacramental union
. God earnestly offers to all who receive the sacrament, forgiveness of sins, and eternal salvation.
* The Reformed churches
emphasize the real ''spiritual'' presence
, or ''sacramental presence'', of Christ, saying that the sacrament is a sanctifying grace through which the elect believer does not actually partake of Christ, but merely ''with'' the bread and wine rather than in the elements. Calvinists deny the Lutheran assertion that all communicants, both believers and unbelievers, orally receive Christ's body and blood in the elements of the sacrament
but instead affirm that Christ is united to the believer through faith—toward which the supper is an outward and visible aid. This is often referred to as ''dynamic presence''.
* Anglicans and Methodists refuse to define the Presence, preferring to leave it a mystery.
The Prayer Books describe the bread and wine as outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace which is the Body and Blood of Christ. However, the words of their liturgies suggest that one can hold to a belief in the Real Presence and Spiritual and Sacramental Present at the same time. For example, "... and you have fed us with the spiritual food in the Sacrament of his body and Blood;" "...the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, and for assuring us in these holy mysteries..." American Book of Common Prayer, 1977, pp. 365–366.
* Anabaptists hold a popular simplification of the Zwinglian view
, without concern for theological intricacies as hinted at above, may see the Lord's Supper merely as a symbol of the shared faith of the participants, a commemoration of the facts of the crucifixion, and a reminder of their standing together as the body of Christ (a view referred to as ''memorialism'').
In the late 1130s, Arnold of Brescia
, an Italian canon regular
became one of the first theologians to attempt to reform the Catholic Church. After his death, his teachings on apostolic poverty
gained currency among Arnoldists
, and later more widely among Waldensians
and the Spiritual Franciscans
, though no written word of his has survived the official condemnation. In the early 1170s, Peter Waldo
founded the Waldensians. He advocated an interpretation of the Gospel that led to conflicts with the Catholic Church. By 1215, the Waldensians were declared heretical and subject to persecution. Despite that, the movement continues to exist to this day in Italy, as a part of the wider Reformed tradition
In the 1370s, John Wycliffe
—later dubbed the "Morning Star of Reformation"—started his activity as an English reformer. He rejected papal authority over secular power, translated the Bible
into vernacular English
, and preached anticlerical and biblically-centred reforms.
Beginning in the first decade of the 15th century, Jan Hus
—a Catholic priest, Czech reformist and professor—influenced by John Wycliffe's writings, founded the Hussite
movement. He strongly advocated his reformist Bohemian
religious denomination. He was excommunicated
and burned at the stake
, Bishopric of Constance
in 1415 by secular authorities for unrepentant and persistent heresy. After his execution, a revolt erupted. Hussites defeated five continuous crusades proclaimed against them by the Pope
Later on, theological disputes caused a split within the Hussite movement. Utraquists
maintained that both the bread and the wine should be administered to the people during the Eucharist. Another major faction were the Taborites
, who opposed the Utraquists in the Battle of Lipany
during the Hussite Wars
. There were two separate parties among the Hussites: moderate and radical movements. Other smaller regional Hussite branches in Bohemia
The Hussite Wars concluded with the victory of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund
, his Catholic allies and moderate Hussites and the defeat of the radical Hussites. Tensions arose as the Thirty Years' War
reached Bohemia in 1620. Both moderate and radical Hussitism was increasingly persecuted by Catholics and Holy Roman Emperor's armies.
Starting in 1475, an Italian Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola
was calling for a Christian renewal. Later on, Martin Luther himself read some of the friar's writings and praised him as a martyr and forerunner whose ideas on faith and grace anticipated Luther's own doctrine of justification by faith alone.
Some of Hus' followers founded the Unitas Fratrum
—"Unity of the Brethren"—which was renewed under the leadership of Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf
in 1722 after its almost total destruction in the Thirty Years' War
and the Counter-Reformation
. Today, it is usually referred to in English as the Moravian Church
and in German as the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine
The Protestant Reformation
began as an attempt to reform the Catholic Church.
On 31 October 1517 (All Hallows' Eve
) Martin Luther
allegedly nailed his Ninety-five Theses
(Disputation on the Power of Indulgences) on the door of the All Saints' Church
, Germany, detailing doctrinal and practical abuses of the Catholic Church, especially the selling of indulgence
s. The theses debated and criticized many aspects of the Church and the papacy, including the practice of purgatory
, particular judgment
, and the authority of the pope. Luther would later write works against the Catholic devotion to Virgin Mary
, the intercession of and devotion to the saints, mandatory clerical celibacy, monasticism, the authority of the pope, the ecclesiastical law, censure and excommunication
, the role of secular rulers in religious matters, the relationship between Christianity and the law, good works, and the sacraments.
[Schofield ''Martin Luther'' p. 122]
was a triumph of literacy and the new printing press
invented by Johannes Gutenberg
[Cameron ''European Reformation'']
Luther's translation of the Bible into German was a decisive moment in the spread of literacy, and stimulated as well the printing and distribution of religious books and pamphlets. From 1517 onward, religious pamphlets flooded much of Europe.
[Edwards ''Printing, Propaganda, and Martin Luther'']
Following the excommunication of Luther and condemnation of the Reformation by the Pope, the work and writings of John Calvin were influential in establishing a loose consensus among various groups in Switzerland, Scotland, Hungary, Germany and elsewhere. After the expulsion of its Bishop in 1526, and the unsuccessful attempts of the Bern
reformer William Farel
, Calvin was asked to use the organisational skill he had gathered as a student of law to discipline the city of Geneva
. His ''Ordinances of 1541'' involved a collaboration of Church affairs with the City council and consistory to bring morality to all areas of life. After the establishment of the Geneva academy in 1559, Geneva became the unofficial capital of the Protestant movement, providing refuge for Protestant exiles from all over Europe and educating them as Calvinist missionaries. The faith continued to spread after Calvin's death in 1563.
Protestantism also spread from the German lands into France, where the Protestants were nicknamed Huguenots
. Calvin continued to take an interest in the French religious affairs from his base in Geneva. He regularly trained pastors to lead congregations there. Despite heavy persecution, the Reformed tradition made steady progress across large sections of the nation, appealing to people alienated by the obduracy and the complacency of the Catholic establishment. French Protestantism came to acquire a distinctly political character, made all the more obvious by the conversions of nobles during the 1550s. This established the preconditions for a series of conflicts, known as the French Wars of Religion
. The civil wars gained impetus with the sudden death of Henry II of France
in 1559. Atrocity and outrage became the defining characteristics of the time, illustrated at their most intense in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre
of August 1572, when the Catholic party annihilated between 30,000 and 100,000 Huguenots across France. The wars only concluded when Henry IV of France
issued the Edict of Nantes
, promising official toleration of the Protestant minority, but under highly restricted conditions. Catholicism remained the official state religion
, and the fortunes of French Protestants gradually declined over the next century, culminating in Louis XIV's Edict of Fontainebleau
which revoked the Edict of Nantes and made Catholicism the sole legal religion once again. In response to the Edict of Fontainebleau, Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg
declared the Edict of Potsdam
, giving free passage to Huguenot refugees. In the late 17th century many Huguenots fled to England, the Netherlands, Prussia, Switzerland, and the English and Dutch overseas colonies. A significant community in France remained in the Cévennes
Parallel to events in Germany, a movement began in Switzerland under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli. Zwingli was a scholar and preacher, who in 1518 moved to Zurich. Although the two movements agreed on many issues of theology, some unresolved differences kept them separate. A long-standing resentment between the German states and the Swiss Confederation
led to heated debate over how much Zwingli owed his ideas to Lutheranism. The German Prince Philip of Hesse
saw potential in creating an alliance between Zwingli and Luther. A meeting was held in his castle in 1529, now known as the Colloquy of Marburg
, which has become infamous for its failure. The two men could not come to any agreement due to their disputation over one key doctrine.
In 1534, King Henry VIII
put an end to all papal jurisdiction in England
, after the Pope failed to annul
his marriage to Catherine of Aragon
; this opened the door to reformational ideas. Reformers in the Church of England alternated between sympathies for ancient Catholic tradition and more Reformed principles, gradually developing into a tradition considered a middle way (') between the Catholic and Protestant traditions. The English Reformation followed a particular course. The different character of the English Reformation
came primarily from the fact that it was driven initially by the political necessities of Henry VIII. King Henry decided to remove the Church of England from the authority of Rome. In 1534, the Act of Supremacy recognized Henry as ''the only Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England''. Between 1535 and 1540, under Thomas Cromwell
, the policy known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries
was put into effect. Following a brief Catholic restoration during the reign of Mary I, a loose consensus developed during the reign of Elizabeth I
. The Elizabethan Religious Settlement
largely formed Anglicanism into a distinctive church tradition. The compromise was uneasy and was capable of veering between extreme Calvinism on the one hand and Catholicism on the other. It was relatively successful until the Puritan Revolution or English Civil War
in the 17th century.
The success of the Counter-Reformation
on the Continent and the growth of a Puritan party
dedicated to further Protestant reform polarised the Elizabethan Age
. The early Puritan movement was a movement for reform in the Church of England. The desire was for the Church of England to resemble more closely the Protestant churches of Europe, especially Geneva. The later Puritan movement, often referred to as dissenters
, eventually led to the formation of various Reformed denominations.
The Scottish Reformation
of 1560 decisively shaped the Church of Scotland
. The Reformation in Scotland culminated ecclesiastically in the establishment of a church along Reformed lines, and politically in the triumph of English influence over that of France. John Knox is regarded as the leader of the Scottish Reformation. The Scottish Reformation Parliament
of 1560 repudiated the pope's authority by the Papal Jurisdiction Act 1560
, forbade the celebration of the Mass and approved a Protestant Confession of Faith. It was made possible by a revolution against French hegemony under the regime of the regent Mary of Guise
, who had governed Scotland in the name of her absent daughter
Some of the most important activists of the Protestant Reformation included Jacobus Arminius
, Theodore Beza
, Martin Bucer
, Andreas von Carlstadt
, Heinrich Bullinger
, Balthasar Hubmaier
, Thomas Cranmer
, William Farel
, Thomas Müntzer
, Laurentius Petri
, Olaus Petri
, Philipp Melanchthon
, Menno Simons
, Louis de Berquin
, Primož Trubar
and John Smyth
In the course of this religious upheaval, the German Peasants' War
of 1524–25 swept through the Bavaria
n and Swabia
n principalities. After the Eighty Years' War
in the Low Countries
and the French Wars of Religion
, the confessional division of the states of the Holy Roman Empire eventually erupted in the Thirty Years' War
between 1618 and 1648. It devastated much of Germany
, killing between 25% and 40% of its population. The main tenets of the Peace of Westphalia
, which ended the Thirty Years' War, were:
* All parties would now recognize the Peace of Augsburg
of 1555, by which each prince would have the right to determine the religion of his own state, the options being Catholicism, Lutheranism, and now Calvinism. (the principle of ''cuius regio, eius religio
* Christians living in principalities where their denomination was ''not'' the established church were guaranteed the right to practice their faith in public during allotted hours and in private at their will.
* The treaty also effectively ended the papacy's pan-European political power. Pope Innocent X
declared the treaty "null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all times" in his bull '. European sovereigns, Catholic and Protestant alike, ignored his verdict.
[Cross, (ed.) "Westphalia, Peace of" ''Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church'']
The Great Awakenings were periods of rapid and dramatic religious revival in Anglo-American religious history.
The First Great Awakening
was an evangelical and revitalization movement that swept through Protestant Europe and British America
, especially the American colonies
in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American Protestantism
. It resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of deep personal revelation of their need of salvation by Jesus Christ. Pulling away from ritual, ceremony, sacramentalism and hierarchy, it made Christianity intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual conviction and redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality.
The Second Great Awakening
began around 1790. It gained momentum by 1800. After 1820, membership rose rapidly among Baptist
congregations, whose preachers led the movement. It was past its peak by the late 1840s. It has been described as a reaction against skepticism, deism
, and rationalism
, although why those forces became pressing enough at the time to spark revivals is not fully understood. It enrolled millions of new members in existing evangelical
denominations and led to the formation of new denominations.
The Third Great Awakening
refers to a hypothetical historical period that was marked by religious activism in American history
and spans the late 1850s to the early 20th century. It affected pietistic
Protestant denominations and had a strong element of social activism. It gathered strength from the postmillennial
belief that the Second Coming
of Christ would occur after mankind had reformed the entire earth. It was affiliated with the Social Gospel
Movement, which applied Christianity to social issues and gained its force from the Awakening, as did the worldwide missionary movement. New groupings emerged, such as the Holiness
, and Christian Science
[Robert William Fogel, ''The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism'' (2000)]
The Fourth Great Awakening
was a Christian religious awakening that some scholars—most notably, Robert Fogel
—say took place in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, while others look at the era following World War II
. The terminology is controversial. Thus, the idea of a Fourth Great Awakening itself has not been generally accepted.
In 1814, Le Réveil
swept through Calvinist regions in Switzerland and France.
In 1904, a Protestant revival in Wales
had a tremendous impact on the local population. A part of British modernization, it drew many people to churches, especially Methodist and Baptist ones.
A noteworthy development in 20th-century Protestant Christianity was the rise of the modern Pentecostal movement
. Sprung from Methodist and Wesleyan
roots, it arose out of meetings at an urban mission on Azusa Street
in Los Angeles. From there it spread around the world, carried by those who experienced what they believed to be miraculous moves of God there. These Pentecost-like manifestations have steadily been in evidence throughout history, such as seen in the two Great Awakenings. Pentecostalism, which in turn birthed the Charismatic movement
within already established denominations, continues to be an important force in Western Christianity
In the United States and elsewhere in the world, there has been a marked rise in the evangelical wing
of Protestant denominations, especially those that are more exclusively evangelical, and a corresponding decline in the mainstream liberal churches
. In the post–World War I
era, Liberal Christianity
was on the rise, and a considerable number of seminaries held and taught from a liberal perspective as well. In the post–World War II
era, the trend began to swing back towards the conservative camp in America's seminaries and church structures.
In Europe, there has been a general move away from religious observance and belief in Christian teachings and a move towards secularism
. The Enlightenment
is largely responsible for the spread of secularism. Several scholars have argued for a link between the rise of secularism and Protestantism, attributing it to the wide-ranging freedom in the Protestant-majority countries. In North America, South America and Australia Christian religious observance is much higher than in Europe. United States remains particularly religious in comparison to other developed countries
. South America, historically Catholic, has experienced a large Evangelical
infusion in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Unlike mainstream Lutheran
and Zwinglian movements, the Radical Reformation
, which had no state sponsorship, generally abandoned the idea of the "Church visible" as distinct from the "Church invisible". It was a rational extension of the state-approved Protestant dissent, which took the value of independence from constituted authority a step further, arguing the same for the civic realm. The Radical Reformation was non-mainstream, though in parts of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, a majority would sympathize with the Radical Reformation despite the intense persecution it faced from both Catholics and Magisterial Protestants.
The early Anabaptists
believed that their reformation must purify not only theology but also the actual lives of Christians, especially their political and social relationships.
[Gonzalez, ''A History of Christian Thought'', 88.]
Therefore, the church should not be supported by the state, neither by tithes and taxes, nor by the use of the sword; Christianity
was a matter of individual conviction, which could not be forced on anyone, but rather required a personal decision for it.
Protestant ecclesial leaders such as Hubmaier
preached the invalidity of infant baptism, advocating baptism as following conversion ("believer's baptism"
) instead. This was not a doctrine new to the reformers, but was taught by earlier groups, such as the Albigenses
in 1147. Though most of the Radical Reformers were Anabaptist, some did not identify themselves with the mainstream Anabaptist tradition. Thomas Müntzer
was involved in the German Peasants' War
. Andreas Karlstadt
disagreed theologically with Huldrych Zwingli and Martin Luther, teaching nonviolence and refusing to baptize infants while not rebaptizing adult believers.
and Sebastian Franck
were influenced by German mysticism
In the view of many associated with the Radical Reformation, the Magisterial Reformation
had not gone far enough. Radical Reformer, Andreas von Bodenstein Karlstadt
, for example, referred to the Lutheran theologians at Wittenberg
as the "new papists". Since the term "magister" also means "teacher", the Magisterial Reformation is also characterized by an emphasis on the authority of a teacher. This is made evident in the prominence of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli as leaders of the reform movements in their respective areas of ministry. Because of their authority, they were often criticized by Radical Reformers as being too much like the Roman Popes. A more political side of the Radical Reformation can be seen in the thought and practice of Hans Hut
, although typically Anabaptism has been associated with pacifism.
Anabaptism in shape of its various diversification such as the Amish
came out of the Radical Reformation. Later in history, Schwarzenau Brethren
, and the Apostolic Christian Church
would emerge in Anabaptist circles.
Protestants refer to specific groupings of congregations or churches that share in common foundational doctrines and the name of their groups as denominations
. The term denomination (national body) is to be distinguished from branch (denominational family; tradition), communion (international body) and congregation (church). An example (this is no universal way to classify Protestant churches, as these may sometimes vary broadly in their structures) to show the difference:
Branch/denominational family/tradition: Methodism
Communion/international body: World Methodist Council
Denomination/national body: United Methodist Church
Congregation/church: First United Methodist Church (Paintsville, Kentucky)
Protestants reject the Catholic Church's doctrine that it is the one true church
, believing in the ''invisible church'', which consists of all who profess faith in Jesus Christ. Some Protestant denominations are less accepting of other denominations, and the basic orthodoxy of some is questioned by most of the others. Individual denominations also have formed over very subtle theological differences. Other denominations are simply regional or ethnic expressions of the same beliefs. Because the five solas are the main tenets of the Protestant faith, non-denominational
groups and organizations are also considered Protestant.
Various ecumenical movements
have attempted cooperation or reorganization of the various divided Protestant denominations, according to various models of union, but divisions continue to outpace unions, as there is no overarching authority to which any of the churches owe allegiance, which can authoritatively define the faith. Most denominations share common beliefs in the major aspects of the Christian faith while differing in many secondary doctrines, although what is major and what is secondary is a matter of idiosyncratic belief.
Several countries have established
their national church
es, linking the ecclesiastical structure with the state. Jurisdictions where a Protestant denomination has been established as a state religion include several Nordic countries
; Denmark (including Greenland),
the Faroe Islands
being independent since 2007), Iceland
[Constitution of the Republic of Iceland]
Government of Iceland
[Løsere bånd, men fortsatt statskirke](_blank)
, ABC Nyheter
have established Evangelical Lutheran
has the only established church in Reformed tradition
in the world, while Tonga
—in the Methodist tradition
. The Church of England
is the officially established religious institution in England,
and also the Mother Church
of the worldwide Anglican Communion
In 1869, Finland was the first Nordic country to disestablish its Evangelical Lutheran church
by introducing the Church Act. Although the church still maintains a special relationship with the state, it is not described as a state religion
in the Finnish Constitution
or other laws passed by the Finnish Parliament
In 2000, Sweden was the second Nordic country to do so.
United and uniting churches
United and uniting churches are churches formed from the merger or other form of union of two or more different Protestant denominations.
Historically, unions of Protestant churches were enforced by the state, usually in order to have a stricter control over the religious sphere of its people, but also other organizational reasons. As modern Christian ecumenism
progresses, unions between various Protestant traditions are becoming more and more common, resulting in a growing number of united and uniting churches. Some of the recent major examples are the United Protestant Church of France
(2013) and the Protestant Church in the Netherlands
(2004). As mainline Protestantism shrinks in Europe
and North America
due to the rise of secularism
denominations merge, often creating large nationwide denominations. The phenomenon is much less common among evangelical
churches as new ones arise and plenty of them remain independent of each other.
Perhaps the oldest official united church is found in Germany
, where the Evangelical Church in Germany
is a federation of Lutheran
, United (Prussian Union
) and Reformed churches
, a union dating back to 1817. The first of the series of unions was at a synod in Idstein
to form the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau
in August 1817, commemorated in naming the church of Idstein Unionskirche
one hundred years later.
Around the world, each united or uniting church comprises a different mix of predecessor Protestant denominations. Trends are visible, however, as most united and uniting churches have one or more predecessors with heritage in the Reformed tradition
and many are members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches
Protestants can be differentiated according to how they have been influenced by important movements since the Reformation, today regarded as branches. Some of these movements have a common lineage, sometimes directly spawning individual denominations. Due to the earlier stated multitude of denominations
, this section discusses only the largest denominational families, or branches, widely considered to be a part of Protestantism. These are, in alphabetical order: Adventist
, Calvinist (Reformed)
. A small but historically significant Anabaptist
branch is also discussed.
The chart below shows the mutual relations and historical origins of the main Protestant denominational families, or their parts. Due to factors such as Counter-Reformation
and the legal principle of ''Cuius regio, eius religio
'', many people lived as Nicodemite
s, where their professed religious affiliations were more or less at odds with the movement they sympathized with. As a result, the boundaries between the denominations do not separate as cleanly as this chart indicates. When a population was suppressed or persecuted into feigning an adherence to the dominant faith, over the generations they continued to influence the church they outwardly adhered to.
Because Calvinism was not specifically recognized in the Holy Roman Empire until the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, many Calvinists lived as Crypto-Calvinists
. Due to Counter-Reformation related suppressions in Catholic lands during the 16th through 19th centuries, many Protestants lived as Crypto-Protestants
. Meanwhile, in Protestant areas, Catholics sometimes lived as crypto-papist
s, although in continental Europe emigration was more feasible so this was less common.
Adventism began in the 19th century in the context of the Second Great Awakening
revival in the United States
. The name refers to belief in the imminent Second Coming (or "Second Advent") of Jesus Christ
. William Miller
started the Adventist movement in the 1830s. His followers became known as Millerites
Although the Adventist churches hold much in common, their theologies
differ on whether the intermediate state
is unconscious sleep
or consciousness, whether the ultimate punishment of the wicked is annihilation
or eternal torment, the nature of immortality, whether or not the wicked are resurrected after the millennium, and whether the sanctuary of refers to the one in heaven
or one on earth.
The movement has encouraged the examination of the whole Bible
, leading Seventh-day Adventists and some smaller Adventist groups to observe the Sabbath
. The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
has compiled that church's core beliefs in the 28 Fundamental Beliefs
(1980 and 2005), which use Biblical references as justification.
In 2010, Adventism claimed some 22 million believers scattered in various independent churches.
The largest church within the movement—the Seventh-day Adventist Church
—has more than 18 million members.
File:James and Ellen White.jpg|James Springer White and his wife, Ellen G. White founded the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
File:Mozambique baptism1.JPG|An Adventist pastor baptizes a young man in Mozambique.
File:Loma Linda University Church 01.jpg|Loma Linda University Seventh-day Adventist Church in Loma Linda, California, United States.
Anabaptism traces its origins to the Radical Reformation
. Anabaptists believe in delaying baptism
until the candidate confesses his or her faith. Although some consider this movement to be an offshoot of Protestantism, others see it as a distinct one. The Amish
, and Mennonites
are direct descendants of the movement. Schwarzenau Brethren
, and the Apostolic Christian Church
are considered later developments among the Anabaptists.
The name ''Anabaptist'', meaning "one who baptizes again", was given them by their persecutors in reference to the practice of re-baptizing converts who already had been baptized as infants. Anabaptists required that baptismal candidates be able to make their own confessions of faith and so rejected baptism of infants
. The early members of this movement did not accept the name ''Anabaptist'', claiming that since infant baptism was unscriptural and null and void, the baptizing of believers was not a re-baptism but in fact their first real baptism. As a result of their views on the nature of baptism and other issues, Anabaptists were heavily persecuted during the 16th century and into the 17th by both Magisterial Protestants
[ Since the middle of the 20th century, the German-speaking world no longer uses the term "Wiedertäufer" (translation: "Re-baptizers") considering it biased. The term "Täufer" (translation: "Baptizers") is now used, which is considered more impartial. From the perspective of their persecutors, the "Baptizers" baptized for the second time those "who as infants had already been baptized". Since the denigrative term ''Anabaptist'' signifies ''re-baptizing'', it is considered a polemic term and therefore has been dropped from use in modern German. However, in the English-speaking world it is still in use in order to distinguish the "Baptizers" more clearly from the "Baptists" who emerged later.]
While most Anabaptists adhered to a literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount
, which precluded taking oaths, participating in military actions, and participating in civil government, some who practiced re-baptism felt otherwise.
[For example, the followers of Thomas Müntzer and Balthasar Hubmaier.]
They were thus technically Anabaptists, even though conservative Amish
, and Hutterites
and some historians tend to consider them as outside of true Anabaptism. Anabaptist reformers of the Radical Reformation are divided into Radical and the so-called Second Front. Some important Radical Reformation theologians were John of Leiden
, Thomas Müntzer
, Kaspar Schwenkfeld
, Sebastian Franck
, Menno Simons
. Second Front Reformers included Hans Denck
, Conrad Grebel
, Balthasar Hubmaier
and Felix Manz
. Many Anabaptists today still use the ''Ausbund
'', which is the oldest hymnal still in continuous use.
File:Dirk.willems.rescue.ncs.jpg|Dirk Willems saves his pursuer. This act of mercy led to his recapture, after which he was burned at the stake.
File:Lancaster County Amish 03.jpg|An Amish family in a horse-drawn square buggy.
File:Alexanderwohl-church.jpg|Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church in rural Goessel, Kansas, United States.
Anglicanism comprises the Church of England
and churches which are historically tied to it or hold similar beliefs, worship practices and church structures.
The word ''Anglican'' originates in ', a medieval Latin
phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the ''English Church''. There is no single "Anglican Church" with universal juridical authority, since each national or regional church has full autonomy
. As the name suggests, the communion is an association of churches in full communion
with the Archbishop of Canterbury
. The great majority of Anglicans are members of churches which are part of the international Anglican Communion
which has 85 million adherents.
The Church of England declared its independence from the Catholic Church at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement
Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded closely to those of contemporary Reformed tradition. These reforms were understood by one of those most responsible for them, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer
, as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism. By the end of the century, the retention in Anglicanism of many traditional liturgical forms and of the episcopate was already seen as unacceptable by those promoting the most developed Protestant principles.
Unique to Anglicanism is the ''Book of Common Prayer
'', the collection of services that worshippers in most Anglican churches used for centuries. While it has since undergone many revisions and Anglican churches in different countries have developed other service books, the Book of Common Prayer is still acknowledged as one of the ties that bind the Anglican Communion together.
File:Thomas Cranmer by Gerlach Flicke.jpg|Thomas Cranmer, one of the most influential figures in shaping Anglican theology and self-identity.
File:Book of Common Prayer 1760.jpg|The various editions of the ''Book of Common Prayer'' contain the words of structured services of worship in the Anglican Church.
File:Westminster abbey west.jpg|British coronations are held in Westminster Abbey, a royal peculiar under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch.
Baptists subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers (believer's baptism
, as opposed to infant baptism
), and that it must be done by complete immersion
(as opposed to affusion
). Other tenets
of Baptist churches include soul competency
through faith alone
, Scripture alone
as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation
. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, pastor
s and deacon
s. Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity.
Retrieved 23 September 2011.
Diverse from their beginning, those identifying as Baptists today differ widely from one another in what they believe, how they worship, their attitudes toward other Christians, and their understanding of what is important in Christian discipleship.
Historians trace the earliest church labeled ''Baptist'' back to 1609 in Amsterdam
, with English Separatist John Smyth
as its pastor.
[Gourley, Bruce. "A Very Brief Introduction to Baptist History, Then and Now." ''The Baptist Observer.'']
In accordance with his reading of the New Testament
, he rejected baptism of infants and instituted baptism only of believing adults.
Baptist practice spread to England, where the General Baptists considered Christ's atonement to extend to all people, while the Particular Baptists believed that it extended only to the elect
. In 1638, Roger Williams
established the first Baptist congregation in the North American colonies
. In the mid-18th century, the First Great Awakening
increased Baptist growth in both New England and the South.
" 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
The Second Great Awakening
in the South in the early 19th century increased church membership, as did the preachers' lessening of support for abolition
, which had been part of the 18th-century teachings. Baptist missionaries have spread their church to every continent.
The Baptist World Alliance
reports more than 41 million members in more than 150,000 congregations. In 2002, there were over 100 million Baptists and Baptistic group members worldwide and over 33 million in North America.
The largest Baptist association is the Southern Baptist Convention
, with the membership of associated churches totaling more than 14 million.
File:Roger Williams statue by Franklin Simmons.jpg|Roger Williams was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
File:Baptism by immersion.jpg|Baptists subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers.
File:First Baptist Church in America from Angell St 2.jpg|The First Baptist Church in America. Baptists are roughly one-third of U.S. Protestants.
Calvinism, also called the Reformed tradition, was advanced by several theologians such as Martin Bucer
, Heinrich Bullinger
, Peter Martyr Vermigli
, and Huldrych Zwingli, but this branch of Christianity bears the name of the French reformer John Calvin because of his prominent influence on it and because of his role in the confessional and ecclesiastical debates throughout the 16th century.
Today, this term also refers to the doctrines and practices of the Reformed churches
of which Calvin was an early leader. Less commonly, it can refer to the individual teaching of Calvin himself. The particulars of Calvinist theology may be stated in a number of ways. Perhaps the best known summary is contained in the five points of Calvinism
, though these points identify the Calvinist view on soteriology
rather than summarizing the system as a whole. Broadly speaking, Calvinism stresses the sovereignty or rule of God in all things—in salvation but also in all of life. This concept is seen clearly in the doctrines of predestination
and total depravity
The biggest Reformed association is the World Communion of Reformed Churches
with more than 80 million members in 211 member denominations around the world. There are more conservative Reformed federations like the World Reformed Fellowship
and the International Conference of Reformed Churches
, as well as independent churches
File:John Calvin - Young.jpg|John Calvin's theological thought influenced a variety of Congregational, Continental Reformed, United, Presbyterian, and other Reformed churches.
File:Lorimer, Ordination.jpg|The Ordination of Elders in a Scottish Kirk, by John Henry Lorimer, 1891.
File:First_Congregational_Church,_Cheshire_CT.jpg|A Congregational church in Cheshire, Connecticut, United States.
Lutheranism identifies with the theology
of Martin Luther—a German
monk and priest, ecclesiastical
reformer, and theologian.
Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone
through faith alone
on the basis of Scripture alone
", the doctrine that scripture is the final authority on all matters of faith, rejecting the assertion made by Catholic leaders at the Council of Trent
that authority comes from both Scriptures and Tradition
. In addition, Lutherans accept the teachings of the first four ecumenical councils
of the undivided Christian Church.
Unlike the Reformed tradition, Lutherans retain many of the liturgical
practices and sacramental
teachings of the pre-Reformation Church, with a particular emphasis on the Eucharist
, or Lord's Supper. Lutheran theology differs from Reformed theology in Christology
, the purpose of God's Law
, divine grace
, the concept of perseverance of the saints
, and predestination
Today, Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism. With approximately 80 million adherents, it constitutes the third most common Protestant confession after historically Pentecostal denominations
The Lutheran World Federation
, the largest global communion of Lutheran churches represents over 72 million people. Both of these figures miscount Lutherans worldwide as many members of more generically Protestant LWF member church bodies do not self-identify as Lutheran or attend congregations that self-identify as Lutheran. Additionally, there are other international organizations such as the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran Forum
, International Lutheran Council
and the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference
, as well as Lutheran denominations
that are not necessarily a member of an international organization.
File:LutherRose.jpg|Luther's rose seal, a symbol of Lutheranism
File:EinFesteBurg.jpg|Luther composed hymns still used today, including "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"
File:Lucas Cranach (I) - The Law and the Gospel.jpg|Moses and Elijah direct the sinner looking for salvation to the cross in this painting illustrating Luther's Theology of the Cross (as opposed to a Theology of Glory).
Methodism identifies principally with the theology
of John Wesley
priest and evangelist. This evangelical movement originated as a revival
within the 18th-century Church of England
and became a separate Church following Wesley's death. Because of vigorous missionary activity, the movement spread throughout the British Empire
, the United States, and beyond, today claiming approximately 80 million adherents worldwide. Originally it appealed especially to laborers and slaves.
, most Methodists are Arminian
, emphasizing that Christ accomplished salvation for every human being, and that humans must exercise an act of the will to receive it (as opposed to the traditional Calvinist doctrine of monergism
). Methodism is traditionally low church
in liturgy, although this varies greatly between individual congregations; the Wesleys themselves greatly valued the Anglican liturgy and tradition. Methodism is known for its rich musical tradition; John Wesley's brother, Charles
, was instrumental in writing much of the hymnody
of the Methodist Church,
and many other eminent hymn writers come from the Methodist tradition.
File:John Wesley by George Romney crop.jpg|John Wesley, the primary founder of the Methodism.
File:Methodistcommunion3.jpg|A United Methodist elder celebrating the Eucharist.
File:Methodist Central Hall.JPG|Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, London.
Pentecostalism is a movement that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God
through the baptism with the Holy Spirit
. The term ''Pentecostal'' is derived from Pentecost
, the Greek
name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks
. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit
upon the followers of Jesus Christ
, as described in the second chapter
of the Book of Acts
This branch of Protestantism is distinguished by belief in the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an experience separate from conversion
that enables a Christian to live a Holy Spirit–filled and empowered life. This empowerment includes the use of spiritual gift
s such as speaking in tongues
and divine healing
—two other defining characteristics of Pentecostalism. Because of their commitment to biblical authority, spiritual gifts, and the miraculous, Pentecostals tend to see their movement as reflecting the same kind of spiritual power and teachings that were found in the Apostolic Age
of the early church
. For this reason, some Pentecostals also use the term ''Apostolic'' or ''Full Gospel
'' to describe their movement.
Pentecostalism eventually spawned hundreds of new denominations, including large groups such as the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ, both in the United States and elsewhere. There are over 279 million Pentecostals worldwide, and the movement is growing in many parts of the world, especially the global South
. Since the 1960s, Pentecostalism has increasingly gained acceptance from other Christian traditions, and Pentecostal beliefs concerning Spirit baptism and spiritual gifts have been embraced by non-Pentecostal Christians in Protestant and Catholic
churches through the Charismatic Movement
. Together, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity
numbers over 500 million adherents.
File:Charlesparham.png|Charles Fox Parham, who associated glossolalia with the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
File:RH Worship Team.jpg|Contemporary Christian worship in Rock Harbor Church, Costa Mesa, United States.
File:Ravensburg Freie Christengemeinde Saal.jpg|A Pentecostal church in Ravensburg, Germany.
There are many other Protestant denominations that do not fit neatly into the mentioned branches, and are far smaller in membership. Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenets identify themselves simply as "Christians" or "born-again
Christians". They typically distance themselves from the confessionalism
or creedalism of other Christian communities by calling themselves "non-denominational
" or "evangelical
". Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations.
follows the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus, who became the best-known representative of the Bohemian Reformation
and one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation. An early hymnal was the hand-written ''Jistebnice hymn book
''. This predominantly religious movement was propelled by social issues and strengthened Czech
national awareness. Among present-day Christians, Hussite traditions are represented in the Moravian Church
, Unity of the Brethren
, and the refounded Czechoslovak Hussite
[Nĕmec, Ludvík "The Czechoslovak heresy and schism: the emergence of a national Czechoslovak church," American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1975, ]
The Plymouth Brethren
are a conservative
, low church, evangelical movement
, whose history can be traced to Dublin
, Ireland, in the late 1820s, originating from Anglicanism
Among other beliefs, the group emphasizes '. Brethren generally see themselves not as a denomination, but as a network, or even as a collection of overlapping networks, of like-minded independent churches. Although the group refused for many years to take any denominational name to itself—a stance that some of them still maintain—the title ''The Brethren'', is one that many of their number are comfortable with in that the Bible designates all believers as ''brethren''.
The Holiness movement refers to a set of beliefs and practices emerging from 19th-century Methodism, and a number of evangelical denominations, parachurch organization
s, and movements that emphasized those beliefs as a central doctrine. There are an estimated 12 million adherents in Holiness movement churches. The Salvation Army
and The Wesleyan Church
are notable examples.
, or Friends, are members of a family of religious movements collectively known as the Religious Society of Friends. The central unifying doctrine of these movements is the priesthood of all believers
. Many Friends view themselves as members of a Christian denomination. They include those with evangelical
, and traditional conservative Quaker
understandings of Christianity
. Unlike many other groups that emerged within Christianity, the Religious Society of Friends has actively tried to avoid creed
s and hierarchical structures.
is sometimes considered Protestant due to its origins in the Reformation and strong cooperation with other Protestants since the 16th century. It is excluded due to its Nontrinitarian
theological nature. Unitarians can be regarded as Nontrinitarian Protestants, or simply Nontrinitarians. Unitarianism has been popular in the region of Transylvania
within today's Romania
, England, and the United States. It originated almost simultaneously in Transylvania and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
File:Fox by Lely 2.jpg|George Fox was an English dissenter and a founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or Friends.
File:Friedensthal Moravian.jpg|Friedensthal Moravian Church Christiansted, St Croix, USVI founded in 1755.
File:Armee-du-salut.jpg|A night shelter of The Salvation Army in Geneva, Switzerland.
_[[megachurch_.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="megachurch.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church [[megachurch">Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church [[megachurch ">megachurch.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church [[megachurch">Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church [[megachurch
There are also Christian movements which cross denominational lines and even branches, and cannot be classified on the same level previously mentioned forms. [[Evangelicalism is a prominent example. Some of those movements are active exclusively within Protestantism, some are Christian-wide. Transdenominational movements are sometimes capable of affecting parts of the Catholic Church, such as does it the Charismatic Movement
, which aims to incorporate beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostals
into the various branches of Christianity. Neo-charismatic churches
are sometimes regarded as a subgroup of the Charismatic Movement. Both are put under a common label of Charismatic Christianity
(so-called ''Renewalists''), along with Pentecostals. Nondenominational churches
and various house church
es often adopt, or are akin to one of these movements.
es are usually influenced by interdenominational movements. Globally, these large congregations are a significant development in Protestant Christianity. In the United States, the phenomenon has more than quadrupled in the past two decades. It has since spread worldwide.
The chart below shows the mutual relations and historical origins of the main interdenominational movements and other developments within Protestantism.
Evangelicalism, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, transdenominational movement which maintains that the essence of the gospel
consists in the doctrine of salvation by grace
in Jesus Christ
Evangelicals are Christians
who believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience
in receiving salvation, believe in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity and have a strong commitment to evangelism or sharing the Christian message.
It gained great momentum in the 18th and 19th centuries with the emergence of Methodism
and the Great Awakenings
in Britain and North America. The origins of Evangelicalism are usually traced back to the English Methodist
movement, Nicolaus Zinzendorf
, the Moravian Church
, Lutheran pietism
Among leaders and major figures of the Evangelical Protestant movement were John Wesley
, George Whitefield
, Jonathan Edwards
, Billy Graham
, Harold John Ockenga
, John Stott
and Martyn Lloyd-Jones
There are an estimated 285,480,000 Evangelicals, corresponding to 13% of the Christian population
and 4% of the total world population
. The Americas, Africa and Asia are home to the majority of Evangelicals. The United States has the largest concentration of Evangelicals.
Evangelicalism is gaining popularity both in and outside the English-speaking world, especially in Latin America and the developing world
File:Wilberforce john rising.jpg|William Wilberforce, a British evangelical abolitionist.
File:Bundesarchiv Bild 194-0798-29, Düsseldorf, Veranstaltung mit Billy Graham.jpg|Billy Graham, a prominent evangelical revivalist, preaching in Duisburg, Germany in 1954.
File:Église Nouvelle Vie culte.jpg|Worship service at Église Nouvelle vie, an evangelical Pentecostal church in Longueuil, Canada.
File:Hämeenlinna modern protestant church.JPG|An Evangelical Protestant church in Hämeenlinna, Finland.
The Charismatic movement is the international trend of historically mainstream congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostals
. Fundamental to the movement is the use of spiritual gift
s. Among Protestants, the movement began around 1960.
In America, Episcopalian Dennis Bennett
is sometimes cited as one of the charismatic movement's seminal influence. In the United Kingdom
, Colin Urquhart
, Michael Harper
, David Watson
and others were in the vanguard of similar developments. The Massey
conference in New Zealand, 1964 was attended by several Anglicans, including the Rev. Ray Muller, who went on to invite Bennett to New Zealand in 1966, and played a leading role in developing and promoting the ''Life in the Spirit'' seminars. Other Charismatic movement leaders in New Zealand include Bill Subritzky
Larry Christenson, a Lutheran theologian based in San Pedro, California
, did much in the 1960s and 1970s to interpret the charismatic movement for Lutherans. A very large annual conference regarding that matter was held in Minneapolis
. Charismatic Lutheran congregations in Minnesota became especially large and influential; especially "Hosanna!" in Lakeville, and North Heights in St. Paul. The next generation of Lutheran charismatics cluster around the Alliance of Renewal Churches. There is considerable charismatic activity among young Lutheran leaders in California centered around an annual gathering at Robinwood Church in Huntington Beach. Richard A. Jensen
's ''Touched by the Spirit'' published in 1974, played a major role of the Lutheran understanding to the charismatic movement.
In Congregational and Presbyterian churches which profess a traditionally Calvinist
or Reformed theology
there are differing views regarding present-day continuation
of the gifts (') of the Spirit.
Generally, however, Reformed charismatics distance themselves from renewal movements with tendencies which could be perceived as overemotional, such as Word of Faith
, Toronto Blessing
, Brownsville Revival
and Lakeland Revival
. Prominent Reformed charismatic denominations are the Sovereign Grace Churches
and the Every Nation
Churches in the US, in Great Britain there is the Newfrontiers
churches and movement, which leading figure is Terry Virgo
A minority of Seventh-day Adventists
today are charismatic. They are strongly associated with those holding more "progressive" Adventist beliefs
. In the early decades of the church charismatic or ecstatic phenomena were commonplace.
Neo-charismatic churches are a category of churches
in the Christian Renewal
movement. Neo-charismatics include the Third Wave
, but are broader. Now more numerous than Pentecostals (first wave) and charismatics (second wave) combined, owing to the remarkable growth of postdenominational
and independent charismatic groups.
Neo-charismatics believe in and stress the post-Biblical availability of gifts of the Holy Spirit
, including glossolalia
, healing, and prophecy. They practice laying on of hands and seek the "infilling" of the Holy Spirit
. However, a specific experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit
may not be requisite for experiencing such gifts. No single form, governmental structure, or style of church service characterizes all neo-charismatic services and churches.
Some nineteen thousand denominations, with approximately 295 million individual adherents, are identified as neo-charismatic. Neo-charismatic tenets and practices are found in many independent, nondenominational or post-denominational congregations, with strength of numbers centered in the African independent church
es, among the Han Chinese house-church movement
, and in Latin American churches.
Other Protestant developments
Plenty of other movements and thoughts to be distinguished from the widespread trans-denominational ones and branches appeared within Protestant Christianity. Some of them are also in evidence today. Others appeared during the centuries following the Reformation and disappeared gradually with the time, such as much of Pietism
. Some inspired the current trans-denominational ones, such as Evangelicalism
which has its foundation in the Christian fundamentalism
Arminianism is based on theological
ideas of the Dutch Reformed
theologian Jacobus Arminius
(1560–1609) and his historic supporters known as Remonstrants
. His teachings held to the five solae
of the Reformation, but they were distinct from particular teachings of Martin Luther
, Huldrych Zwingli
, John Calvin
, and other Protestant Reformers
. Jacobus Arminius was a student of Theodore Beza
at the Theological University of Geneva. Arminianism is known to some as a soteriological
diversification of Calvinism
. However, to others, Arminianism is a reclamation of early Church theological consensus. Dutch Arminianism was originally articulated in the Remonstrance (1610), a theological statement signed by 45 ministers and submitted to the States General of the Netherlands
. Many Christian denominations have been influenced by Arminian views on the will of man being freed by grace prior to regeneration, notably the Baptists
in the 16th century, the Methodists
in the 18th century and the Seventh-day Adventist Church
in the 19th century.
The original beliefs of Jacobus Arminius himself are commonly defined as Arminianism, but more broadly, the term may embrace the teachings of Hugo Grotius
, John Wesley
, and others as well. Classical Arminianism
and Wesleyan Arminianism
are the two main schools of thought. Wesleyan Arminianism is often identical with Methodism. The two systems of Calvinism and Arminianism share both history and many doctrines, and the history of Christian theology
. However, because of their differences over the doctrines of divine predestination
and election, many people view these schools of thought as opposed to each other. In short, the difference can be seen ultimately by whether God allows His desire to save all to be resisted by an individual's will (in the Arminian doctrine) or if God's grace is irresistible and limited to only some (in Calvinism). Some Calvinists assert that the Arminian perspective presents a synergistic system of Salvation and therefore is not only by grace, while Arminians firmly reject this conclusion. Many consider the theological differences to be crucial differences in doctrine, while others find them to be relatively minor.
Pietism was an influential movement within Lutheranism
that combined the 17th-century Lutheran principles with the Reformed
emphasis on individual piety and living a vigorous Christian
It began in the late 17th century, reached its zenith in the mid-18th century, and declined through the 19th century, and had almost vanished in America by the end of the 20th century. While declining as an identifiable Lutheran group, some of its theological tenets influenced Protestantism generally, inspiring the Anglican
priest John Wesley
to begin the Methodist
movement and Alexander Mack
to begin the Brethren
movement among Anabaptists
Though Pietism shares an emphasis on personal behavior with the Puritan
movement, and the two are often confused, there are important differences, particularly in the concept of the role of religion in government.
File:Philipp Jakob Spener.jpg|Philipp Jakob Spener, German pioneer and founder of Pietism.
File:Pietism.JPG|Pietism has been a strong cultural influence in Scandinavia.
File:Der breite und der schmale Weg 2008.jpg|''The Broad and the Narrow Way'', a popular German Pietist painting, 1866.
Puritanism, English dissenters and nonconformists
The Puritans were a group of English Protestants in the 16th
and 17th centuries
, which sought to purify the Church of England
of what they considered to be Catholic practices, maintaining that the church was only partially reformed. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some of the returning clergy exiled under Mary I
shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England
in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England
Puritans were blocked from changing the established church from within, and were severely restricted in England by laws controlling the practice of religion. Their beliefs, however, were transported by the emigration of congregations to the Netherlands (and later to New England), and by evangelical clergy to Ireland (and later into Wales), and were spread into lay society and parts of the educational system, particularly certain colleges of the University of Cambridge
. The first Protestant sermon delivered in England was in Cambridge, with the pulpit that this sermon was delivered from surviving to today. They took on distinctive beliefs about clerical dress and in opposition to the episcopal
system, particularly after the 1619 conclusions of the Synod of Dort
they were resisted by the English bishops. They largely adopted Sabbatarianism
in the 17th century, and were influenced by millennialism
They formed, and identified with various religious groups advocating greater purity of worship
, as well as personal and group piety
. Puritans adopted a Reformed theology
, but they also took note of radical criticisms of Zwingli in Zurich and Calvin in Geneva. In church polity, some advocated for separation from all other Christians, in favor of autonomous gathered church
es. These separatist and independent
strands of Puritanism became prominent in the 1640s, when the supporters of a Presbyterian polity
in the Westminster Assembly
were unable to forge a new English national church.
Nonconforming Protestants along with the Protestant refugees from continental Europe were the primary founders of the United States of America.
File:John.Cotton.cropped.jpg|John Cotton, who sparked the Antinomian Controversy with his free grace theology.
File:Landing-Bacon.PNG|Pilgrim Fathers landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
File:OldShipEntrance.jpg|Built in 1681, the Old Ship Church in Hingham, Massachusetts is the oldest church in America in continuous ecclesiastical use.
Neo-orthodoxy and paleo-orthodoxy
A non-fundamentalist rejection of liberal Christianity along the lines of the Christian existentialism
of Søren Kierkegaard
, who attacked the Hegelian
state churches of his day for "dead orthodoxy," neo-orthodoxy is associated primarily with Karl Barth
, Jürgen Moltmann
, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer
. Neo-orthodoxy sought to counter-act the tendency of liberal theology to make theological accommodations to modern scientific perspectives. Sometimes called "crisis theology," in the existentialist sense of the word crisis, also sometimes called ''neo-evangelicalism'', which uses the sense of "evangelical" pertaining to continental European Protestants rather than American evangelicalism. "Evangelical" was the originally preferred label used by Lutherans and Calvinists, but it was replaced by the names some Catholics used to label
a heresy with the name of its founder.
is a movement similar in some respects to neo-evangelicalism but emphasizing the ancient Christian consensus of the undivided church of the first millennium AD, including in particular the early creeds and church councils as a means of properly understanding the scriptures. This movement is cross-denominational. A prominent theologian in this group is Thomas Oden
, a Methodist.
In reaction to liberal Bible critique, fundamentalism
arose in the 20th century, primarily in the United States, among those denominations most affected by Evangelicalism.
Fundamentalist theology tends to stress Biblical inerrancy
and Biblical literalism
Toward the end of the 20th century, some have tended to confuse evangelicalism and fundamentalism; however, the labels represent very distinct differences of approach that both groups are diligent to maintain, although because of fundamentalism's dramatically smaller size it often gets classified simply as an ultra-conservative branch of evangelicalism.
Modernism and liberalism
Modernism and liberalism do not constitute rigorous and well-defined schools of theology, but are rather an inclination by some writers and teachers to integrate Christian thought into the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment
. New understandings of history and the natural sciences of the day led directly to new approaches to theology. Its opposition to the fundamentalist teaching resulted in religious debates, such as the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy
within the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America
in the 1920s.
Although the Reformation was a religious movement, it also had a strong impact on all other aspects of life: marriage and family, education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy, and the arts.
Protestant churches reject the idea of a celibate priesthood and thus allow their clergy to marry.
Many of their families contributed to the development of intellectual elites in their countries. Since about 1950, women have entered the ministry, and some have assumed leading positions (e.g. bishop
s), in most Protestant churches.
As the Reformers wanted all members of the church to be able to read the Bible, education on all levels got a strong boost. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the literacy rate in England was about 60 percent, in Scotland 65 percent, and in Sweden eight of ten men and women were able to read and to write. Colleges and universities were founded. For example, the Puritans
who established Massachusetts Bay Colony
in 1628 founded Harvard College
only eight years later. About a dozen other colleges followed in the 18th century, including Yale
also became a center of learning.
Members of mainline Protestant
denominations have played leadership roles in many aspects of American life
, including politics, business, science, the arts, and education. They founded most of the country's leading institutes of higher education.
[McKinney, William. "Mainline Protestantism 2000." ''Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science'', Vol. 558, Americans and Religions in the Twenty-First Century (July 1998), pp. 57–66.]
Thought and work ethic
The Protestant concept of God and man allows believers to use all their God-given faculties, including the power of reason. That means that they are allowed to explore God's creation and, according to Genesis 2:15, make use of it in a responsible and sustainable way. Thus a cultural climate was created that greatly enhanced the development of the humanities
and the sciences
. Another consequence of the Protestant understanding of man is that the believers, in gratitude for their election and redemption in Christ, are to follow God's commandments. Industry, frugality, calling, discipline, and a strong sense of responsibility are at the heart of their moral code. In particular, Calvin rejected luxury. Therefore, craftsmen, industrialists, and other businessmen were able to reinvest the greater part of their profits in the most efficient machinery and the most modern production methods that were based on progress in the sciences and technology. As a result, productivity grew, which led to increased profits and enabled employers to pay higher wages. In this way, the economy, the sciences, and technology reinforced each other. The chance to participate in the economic success of technological inventions was a strong incentive to both inventors and investors. The Protestant work ethic
was an important force behind the unplanned and uncoordinated mass action
that influenced the development of capitalism
and the Industrial Revolution
. This idea is also known as the "Protestant ethic thesis."
However, eminent historian Fernand Braudel
(d. 1985), a leader of the important Annales School
wrote: "all historians have opposed this tenuous theory he Protestant Ethic
although they have not managed to be rid of it once and for all. Yet it is clearly false. The northern countries took over the place that earlier had been so long and brilliantly been occupied by the old capitalist centers of the Mediterranean. They invented nothing, either in technology or business management." Social scientist Rodney Stark
moreover comments that "during their critical period of economic development, these northern centers of capitalism were Catholic, not Protestant—the Reformation still lay well into the future," while British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper (d. 2003) said, "The idea that large-scale industrial capitalism was ideologically impossible before the Reformation is exploded by the simple fact that it existed."
In a factor analysis
of the latest wave of World Values Survey
data, Arno Tausch
(Corvinus University of Budapest
) found that Protestantism emerges to be very close to combining religion and the traditions of liberalism
. The Global Value Development Index, calculated by Tausch, relies on the World Values Survey dimensions such as trust in the state of law, no support for shadow economy, postmaterial activism, support for democracy, a non-acceptance of violence, xenophobia and racism, trust in transnational capital and Universities, confidence in the market economy, supporting gender justice, and engaging in environmental activism, etc.
, as well as other WASPs
, tend to be considerably wealthier
and better educated (having graduate
degrees per capita) than most other religious groups in United States
, and are disproportionately represented in the upper reaches of American business
, especially the Republican Party
. Numbers of the most wealthy and affluent American families
as the Vanderbilts
and the Astors
, Du Pont
, the Morgans
and Harrimans are Mainline Protestant
Protestantism has had an important influence on science. According to the Merton Thesis
, there was a positive correlation
between the rise of English Puritanism
and German Pietism
on the one hand and early experimental science
on the other.
The Merton Thesis has two separate parts: Firstly, it presents a theory that science changes due to an accumulation of observations and improvement in experimental technique and methodology
; secondly, it puts forward the argument that the popularity of science in 17th-century England and the religious demography
of the Royal Society
(English scientists of that time were predominantly Puritans or other Protestants) can be explained by a correlation
between Protestantism and the scientific values.
Merton focused on English Puritanism and German Pietism as having been responsible for the development of the scientific revolution
of the 17th and 18th centuries. He explained that the connection between religious affiliation
and interest in science was the result of a significant synergy between the ascetic
Protestant values and those of modern science.
Protestant values encouraged scientific research by allowing science to identify God's influence on the world—his creation—and thus providing a religious justification for scientific research.
According to ''Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States'' by Harriet Zuckerman, a review of American Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 1972, 72% of American Nobel Prize laureates identified a Protestant background.] [Harriet Zuckerman, ] Overall, 84% of all the Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans in Chemistry,
Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States
' New York, The Free Press, 1977, p. 68: Protestants turn up among the American-reared laureates in slightly greater proportion to their numbers in the general population. Thus 72 percent of the seventy-one laureates but about two-thirds of the American population were reared in one or another Protestant denomination-)
60% in Medicine, and 59% in Physics between 1901 and 1972 were won by Protestants.
According to ''100 Years of Nobel Prize (2005)'', a review of Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 2000, 65% of Nobel Prize Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference (423 prizes). [Baruch A. Shalev, ] While 32% have identified with Protestantism in its various forms (208 prizes),
100 Years of Nobel Prizes
' (2003), Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, p. 57: between 1901 and 2000 reveals that 654 Laureates belong to 28 different religion Most 65% have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.
While separating Catholics from Protestants among Christians proved difficult in some cases, available information suggests that more Protestants were involved in the scientific categories and more Catholics were involved in the Literature and Peace categories.
Atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers comprise 11% of total Nobel Prize winners; but in the category of Literature, these preferences rise sharply to about 35%. A striking fact involving religion is the high number of Laureates of the Jewish faith—over 20% of total Nobel Prizes (138); including: 17% in Chemistry, 26% in Medicine and Physics, 40% in Economics and 11% in Peace and Literature each. The numbers are especially startling in light of the fact that only some 14 million people (0.02% of the world's population) are Jewish. By contrast, only 5 Nobel Laureates have been of the Muslim faith—1% of total number of Nobel prizes awarded—from a population base of about 1.2 billion (20% of the world's population)
although Protestant comprise 12% to 13% of the world's population.
In the Middle Ages, the Church and the worldly authorities were closely related. Martin Luther separated the religious and the worldly realms in principle (doctrine of the two kingdoms). The believers were obliged to use reason to govern the worldly sphere in an orderly and peaceful way. Luther's doctrine of the priesthood of all believers upgraded the role of laymen in the church considerably. The members of a congregation had the right to elect a minister and, if necessary, to vote for his dismissal (Treatise ''On the right and authority of a Christian assembly or congregation to judge all doctrines and to call, install and dismiss teachers, as testified in Scripture''; 1523). Calvin strengthened this basically democratic approach by including elected laymen (church elders, presbyters) in his representative church government. The Huguenots added regional synods and a national synod, whose members were elected by the congregations, to Calvin's system of church self-government. This system was taken over by the other reformed churches and was adopted by some Lutherans beginning with those in Jülich-Cleves-Berg during the 17th century.
Politically, Calvin favored a mixture of aristocracy and democracy. He appreciated the advantages of democracy: "It is an invaluable gift, if God allows a people to freely elect its own authorities and overlords." Calvin also thought that earthly rulers lose their divine right and must be put down when they rise up against God. To further protect the rights of ordinary people, Calvin suggested separating political powers in a system of checks and balances (separation of powers). Thus he and his followers resisted political absolutism and paved the way for the rise of modern democracy. Besides England, the Netherlands were, under Calvinist leadership, the freest country in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It granted asylum to philosophers like Baruch Spinoza and Pierre Bayle. Hugo Grotius was able to teach his natural-law theory and a relatively liberal interpretation of the Bible.
Consistent with Calvin's political ideas, Protestants created both the English and the American democracies. In seventeenth-century England, the most important persons and events in this process were the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell, John Milton, John Locke, the Glorious Revolution, the English Bill of Rights, and the Act of Settlement. Later, the British took their democratic ideals to their colonies, e.g. Australia, New Zealand, and India. In North America, Plymouth Colony (Pilgrim Fathers; 1620) and Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628) practised democratic self-rule and separation of powers. These Congregationalists were convinced that the democratic form of government was the will of God. The Mayflower Compact was a social contract.
Rights and liberty
Protestants also took the initiative in advocating for religious freedom. Freedom of conscience had a high priority on the theological, philosophical, and political agendas since Luther refused to recant his beliefs before the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire at Worms (1521). In his view, faith was a free work of the Holy Spirit and could, therefore, not be forced on a person. The persecuted Anabaptists and Huguenots demanded freedom of conscience, and they practiced separation of church and state. In the early seventeenth century, Baptists like John Smyth and Thomas Helwys published tracts in defense of religious freedom. Their thinking influenced John Milton and John Locke's stance on tolerance. Under the leadership of Baptist Roger Williams, Congregationalist Thomas Hooker, and Quaker William Penn, respectively, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania combined democratic constitutions with freedom of religion. These colonies became safe havens for persecuted religious minorities, including Jews. The United States Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the American Bill of Rights with its fundamental human rights made this tradition permanent by giving it a legal and political framework. The great majority of American Protestants, both clergy and laity, strongly supported the independence movement. All major Protestant churches were represented in the First and Second Continental Congresses. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the American democracy became a model for numerous other countries and regions throughout the world (e.g., Latin America, Japan, and Germany). The strongest link between the American and French Revolutions was Marquis de Lafayette, an ardent supporter of the American constitutional principles. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was mainly based on Lafayette's draft of this document. The Declaration by United Nations and Universal Declaration of Human Rights also echo the American constitutional tradition.
Democracy, social-contract theory, separation of powers, religious freedom, separation of church and state—these achievements of the Reformation and early Protestantism were elaborated on and popularized by Enlightenment thinkers. Some of the philosophers of the English, Scottish, German, and Swiss Enlightenment—Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Toland, David Hume, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Christian Wolff, Immanuel Kant, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau—had Protestant backgrounds. For example, John Locke, whose political thought was based on "a set of Protestant Christian assumptions", derived the equality of all humans, including the equality of the genders ("Adam and Eve"), from Genesis 1, 26–28. As all persons were created equally free, all governments needed "the consent of the governed."
Also, other human rights were advocated for by some Protestants. For example, torture was abolished in Prussia in 1740, slavery in Britain in 1834 and in the United States in 1865 (William Wilberforce, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln—against Southern Protestants). Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf were among the first thinkers who made significant contributions to international law. The Geneva Convention, an important part of humanitarian international law, was largely the work of Henry Dunant, a reformed pietist. He also founded the Red Cross.
Protestants have founded hospitals, homes for disabled or elderly people, educational institutions, organizations that give aid to developing countries, and other social welfare agencies. In the nineteenth century, throughout the Anglo-American world, numerous dedicated members of all Protestant denominations were active in social reform movements such as the abolition of slavery, prison reforms, and woman suffrage. As an answer to the "social question" of the nineteenth century, Germany under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck introduced insurance programs that led the way to the welfare state (health insurance, accident insurance, disability insurance, old-age pensions). To Bismarck this was "practical Christianity". These programs, too, were copied by many other nations, particularly in the Western world.
The Young Men's Christian Association was founded by Congregationalist George Williams, aimed at empowering young people.
The arts have been strongly inspired by Protestant beliefs.
Martin Luther, Paul Gerhardt, George Wither, Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, William Cowper, and many other authors and composers created well-known church hymns.
Musicians like Heinrich Schütz, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Henry Purcell, Johannes Brahms, Philipp Nicolai and Felix Mendelssohn composed great works of music.
Prominent painters with Protestant background were, for example, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein the Younger, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Rembrandt, and Vincent van Gogh.
World literature was enriched by the works of Edmund Spenser, John Milton, John Bunyan, John Donne, John Dryden, Daniel Defoe, William Wordsworth, Jonathan Swift, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Allan Poe, Matthew Arnold, Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Theodor Fontane, Washington Irving, Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thomas Stearns Eliot, John Galsworthy, Thomas Mann, William Faulkner, John Updike, and many others.
File:Martin-Luther-Denkmal, Worms.JPG|Luther Monument in Worms, which features some of the Reformation's crucial figures.
File:ReformationsdenkmalGenf2.jpg|The International Monument to the Reformation in Geneva, Switzerland.
File:Albrecht Dürer - Adoration of the Trinity (Landauer Altar) - Google Art Project.jpg|The ''Adoration of the Trinity '' by Albrecht Dürer.
File:Lucas Cranach d. Ä. - The Lamentation of Christ - The Schleißheim Crucifixion - Alte Pinakothek.jpg|The ''Crucifixion of Christ'' by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
File:Lucas Cranach d. J. - Adam and Eve - WGA05729.jpg|The ''Adam and Eve'' by Lucas Cranach the Younger.
File:Huguenot lovers on St. Bartholomew's Day.jpg|''A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge'' by John Everett Millais.
File:Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn - Return of the Prodigal Son - Google Art Project.jpg|''The Return of the Prodigal Son'', detail, c. 1669 by Rembrandt.
File:Vincent van Gogh - The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise, View from the Chevet - Google Art Project.jpg|''The Church at Auvers'', 1890. Musée d'Orsay, Paris. By Vincent van Gogh.
The view of the Catholic Church is that Protestant denominations cannot be considered churches but rather that they are ''ecclesial communities'' or ''specific faith-believing communities'' because their ordinances and doctrines are not historically the same as the Catholic sacraments and dogmas, and the Protestant communities have no sacramental ministerial priesthood and therefore lack true apostolic succession.
According to Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev) the Eastern Orthodox Church shares the same view on the subject.
Contrary to how the Protestant Reformers were often characterized, the concept of a ''catholic'' or universal Church was not brushed aside during the Protestant Reformation. On the contrary, the visible unity of the ''catholic'' or ''universal church'' was seen by the Protestant reformers as an important and essential doctrine of the Reformation. The Magisterial reformers, such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli, believed that they were reforming the Catholic Church, which they viewed as having become corrupted. Each of them took very seriously the charges of schism and innovation, denying these charges and maintaining that it was the Catholic Church that had left them. The Protestant Reformers formed a new and radically different theological opinion on ecclesiology, that the visible Church is "catholic" (lower-case "c") rather than "Catholic" (upper-case "C"). Accordingly, there is not an indefinite number of parochial, congregational or national churches, constituting, as it were, so many ecclesiastical individualities, but one great spiritual republic of which these various organizations form a part, although they each have very different opinions. This was markedly far-removed from the traditional and historic Catholic understanding that the Roman Catholic Church was the one true Church of Christ.
Yet in the Protestant understanding, the ''visible church'' is not a genus, so to speak, with so many species under it. In order to justify their departure from the Catholic Church, Protestants often posited a new argument, saying that there was no real visible Church with divine authority, only a ''spiritual, invisible, and hidden church''—this notion began in the early days of the Protestant Reformation.
Wherever the Magisterial Reformation, which received support from the ruling authorities, took place, the result was a reformed national Protestant church envisioned to be a part of the whole ''invisible church'', but disagreeing, in certain important points of doctrine and doctrine-linked practice, with what had until then been considered the normative reference point on such matters, namely the Papacy and central authority of the Catholic Church. The Reformed churches thus believed in some form of Catholicity, founded on their doctrines of the five solas and a visible ecclesiastical organization based on the 14th- and 15th-century Conciliar movement, rejecting the papacy and papal infallibility in favor of ecumenical councils, but rejecting the latest ecumenical council, the Council of Trent. Religious unity therefore became not one of doctrine and identity but one of invisible character, wherein the unity was one of faith in Jesus Christ, not common identity, doctrine, belief, and collaborative action.
There are Protestants, especially of the Reformed tradition, that either reject or down-play the designation ''Protestant'' because of the negative idea that the word invokes in addition to its primary meaning, preferring the designation ''Reformed'', ''Evangelical'' or even ''Reformed Catholic'' expressive of what they call a ''Reformed Catholicity'' and defending their arguments from the traditional Protestant confessions.
The ecumenical movement has had an influence on mainline churches, beginning at least in 1910 with the Edinburgh Missionary Conference. Its origins lay in the recognition of the need for cooperation on the mission field in Africa, Asia and Oceania. Since 1948, the World Council of Churches has been influential, but ineffective in creating a united church. There are also ecumenical bodies at regional, national and local levels across the globe; but schisms still far outnumber unifications. One, but not the only expression of the ecumenical movement, has been the move to form united churches, such as the Church of South India, the Church of North India, the US-based United Church of Christ, the United Church of Canada, the Uniting Church in Australia and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines which have rapidly declining memberships. There has been a strong engagement of Orthodox churches in the ecumenical movement, though the reaction of individual Orthodox theologians has ranged from tentative approval of the aim of Christian unity to outright condemnation of the perceived effect of watering down Orthodox doctrine.
A Protestant baptism is held to be valid by the Catholic Church if given with the trinitarian formula and with the intent to baptize. However, as the ordination of Protestant ministers is not recognized due to the lack of apostolic succession and the disunity from Catholic Church, all other sacraments (except marriage) performed by Protestant denominations and ministers are not recognized as valid. Therefore, Protestants desiring full communion with the Catholic Church are not re-baptized (although they are confirmed) and Protestant ministers who become Catholics may be ordained to the priesthood after a period of study.
In 1999, the representatives of Lutheran World Federation and Catholic Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, apparently resolving the conflict over the nature of justification which was at the root of the Protestant Reformation, although Confessional Lutherans reject this statement.
This is understandable, since there is no compelling authority within them. On 18 July 2006, delegates to the World Methodist Conference voted unanimously to adopt the Joint Declaration.
Spread and demographics
There are more than 900 million Protestants worldwide,
[Jay Diamond, Larry. Plattner, Marc F. and Costopoulos, Philip J. ''World Religions and Democracy''. 2005, p. 119] among approximately 2.4 billion Christians.
(saying "''Not only do Protestants presently constitute 13 percent of the world's population—about 800 million people—but since 1900 Protestantism has spread rapidly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.''")
[~34% of ~7.2 billion world population (under the section 'People') ] In 2010, a total of more than 800 million included 300 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 260 million in the Americas, 140 million in Asia-Pacific region, 100 million in Europe and 2 million in Middle East-North Africa. Protestants account for nearly forty percent of Christians worldwide and more than one tenth of the total human population. Various estimates put the percentage of Protestants in relation to the total number of world's Christians at 33%, 36%, 36.7%, and 40%, while in relation to the world's population at 11.6% and 13%.
In European countries which were most profoundly influenced by the Reformation, Protestantism still remains the most practiced religion. These include the Nordic countries and the United Kingdom. In other historical Protestant strongholds such as Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Latvia, and Estonia, it remains one of the most popular religions. Although Czech Republic was the site of one of the most significant pre-reformation movements, there are only few Protestant adherents; mainly due to historical reasons like persecution of Protestants by the Catholic Habsburgs, restrictions during the Communist rule, and also the ongoing secularization. Over the last several decades, religious practice has been declining as secularization has increased. According to a 2019 study about Religiosity in the European Union in 2019 by Eurobarometer, Protestants made up 9% of the EU population. According to Pew Research Center, Protestants constituted nearly one fifth (or 18%) of the continent's Christian population in 2010. Clarke and Beyer estimate that Protestants constituted 15% of all Europeans in 2009, while Noll claims that less than 12% of them lived in Europe in 2010.
Changes in worldwide Protestantism over the last century have been significant. Since 1900, Protestantism has spread rapidly in Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America. That caused Protestantism to be called a primarily non-Western religion. Much of the growth has occurred after World War II, when decolonization of Africa and abolition of various restrictions against Protestants in Latin American countries occurred. According to one source, Protestants constituted respectively 2.5%, 2%, 0.5% of Latin Americans, Africans and Asians. In 2000, percentage of Protestants on mentioned continents was 17%, more than 27% and 6%, respectively. According to Mark A. Noll, 79% of Anglicans lived in the United Kingdom in 1910, while most of the remainder was found in the United States and across the British Commonwealth. By 2010, 59% of Anglicans were found in Africa. In 2010, more Protestants lived in India than in the UK or Germany, while Protestants in Brazil accounted for as many people as Protestants in the UK and Germany combined. Almost as many lived in each of Nigeria and China as in all of Europe. China is home to world's largest Protestant minority.
Protestantism is growing in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania, while declining in Anglo America and Europe, with some exceptions such as France, where it was eradicated after the abolition of the Edict of Nantes by the Edict of Fontainebleau and the following persecution of Huguenots, but now is claimed to be stable in number or even growing slightly. According to some, Russia is another country to see a Protestant revival.
In 2010, the largest Protestant denominational families were historically Pentecostal denominations (11%), Anglican (11%), Lutheran (10%), Baptist (9%), United and uniting churches (unions of different denominations) (7%), Presbyterian or Reformed (7%), Methodist (3%), Adventist (3%), Congregationalist (1%), Brethren (1%), The Salvation Army (<1%) and Moravian (<1%). Other denominations accounted for 38% of Protestants.
United States is home to approximately 20% of Protestants. According to a 2012 study, Protestant share of U.S. population dropped to 48%, thus ending its status as religion of the majority for the first time. ["Nones" on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation](_blank) The decline is attributed mainly to the dropping membership of the Mainline Protestant churches,
, Pew Research Center (The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life), 9 October 2012
while Evangelical Protestant and Black churches are stable or continue to grow.
By 2050, Protestantism is projected to rise to slightly more than half of the world's total Christian population. According to other experts such as Hans J. Hillerbrand, Protestants will be as numerous as Catholics. [Hillerbrand, Hans J.]
According to Mark Jürgensmeyer of the University of California, popular Protestantism is the most dynamic religious movement in the contemporary world, alongside the resurgent Islam.
"Encyclopedia of Protestantism: 4-volume Set"
p. 1815, "Observers carefully comparing all these figures in the total context will have observed the even more startling finding that for the first time ever in the history of Protestantism, ''Wider Protestants'' will by 2050 have become almost exactly as numerous as Catholics—each with just over 1.5 billion followers, or 17 percent of the world, with Protestants growing considerably faster than Catholics each year."
* The Reformation and its influence on church architecture
* Criticism of Protestantism
* European wars of religion
* Protestantism and Islam
* Protestantism in Germany
* Jehovah's Witnesses
* Latter Day Saint movement
* Islamic Protestantism
* Messianic Judaism
* Protestant Eastern Christianity
* Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement
* The New Church (Swedenborgianism)
* Bruce, Steve. ''A house divided: Protestantism, Schism and secularization'' (Routledge, 2019).
* Cook, Martin L. (1991). ''The Open Circle: Confessional Method in Theology''. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. xiv, 130 p. N.B.: Discusses the place of Confessions of Faith in Protestant theology, especially in Lutheranism.
* Dillenberger, John, and Claude Welch (1988). ''Protestant Christianity, Interpreted through Its Development''. Second ed. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.
* Giussani, Luigi (1969), trans. Damian Bacich (2013)
American Protestant Theology: A Historical Sketch
Montreal: McGill-Queens UP.
* Grytten, Ola Honningdal. "Weber revisited: A literature review on the possible Link between Protestantism, Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth." (NHH Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper 08, 2020)
* Howard, Thomas A. ''Remembering the Reformation: an inquiry into the meanings of Protestantism'' (Oxford UP, 2016).
* Howard, Thomas A. and Mark A. Noll, eds. ''Protestantism after 500 years'' (Oxford UP, 2016).
* Leithart, Peter J. ''The end of Protestantism: pursuing unity in a fragmented church'' (Brazos Press, 2016).
* Nash, Arnold S., ed. (1951). ''Protestant Thought in the Twentieth Century: Whence & Whither''? New York: Macmillan Co.
* – comprehensive scholarly coverage on Protestantism worldwide, current and historical; 2195pp
index in vol 4 is online
* Melton, J, Gordon. ''Encyclopedia of Protestantism'' (Facts on File, 2005), 800 articles in 628 pp
* Ryrie, Alec ''Protestants: The Radicals Who Made the Modern World'' (Harper Collins, 2017).
* Ryrie, Alec "The World's Local Religion
''History Today'' (Sept 20, 2017) online
from the 1917 ''Catholic Encyclopedia''
World Council of Churches
World body for mainline Protestant churches