The Protestant Reformation Essay, Research Paper
During the late 1400’s, England became a country plagued by changes, both good and bad. Knights, who were once prominent in England faded away and became less popular. Soon after that, the Renaissance swept into and changed England dramatically. The Renaissance, which started in France and many other western European nations, was a time of prospering for literature, art, science and learning. At the same time the Renaissance was occurring, a religious revolution was beginning, which was known as the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation helped to influence and strengthen the Renaissance that was just arising in England. Many people became instrumental in bringing about the Protestant Reformation like John Calvin and most importantly Martin Luther.
Martin Luther and John Calvin were two of the men who wanted changes in the Roman Church. Martin Luther, who was a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg had protested against the Roman Catholic Church priciples. As stated in the encyclopedia, “on October 31, 1517, he posted on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, his 95 theses, inviting debate on matters of practice and doctrine (Reformation, pg. 1).” These 95 theses caused debate on matters of practice and doctrine. These actions were not considered a revolt against the church because Luther wanted the church to only reform. John Calvin, whom many considered to be the greatest theologian of Protestantism, also helped in the Reformation. He wrote Institutes of the Christian Religion, which was published at Basal in 1536 (Reformation,Shoup 2
pg. 3). Calvin and Luther disagreed on only one principle, the Doctrine of Predestination, which means that God choose those to be saved. The impact that Both these men had helped to begin the reformation of the church that furthered the continuance of the Renaissance.
As the Reformation continued in England, a conflict formed between the Roman Catholic Church and King Henry VIII. King Henry VIII was married to a Roman Catholic named Catherine of Aragon. She was the widow of King Henry VIII’s brother, therefore making their marriage illegal under church law, but the Pope used special “papal dispensation”, which means the Pope allowed the marriage to happen (Reformation, pg. 1). Since Catherine could not produce any male offspring, King Henry VIII claimed the “papal dispensation” went against ecclesiastical law and that the marriage was therefore invalid (Reformation, pg. 1). However, the Pope said the marriage was legal and did not annul it. At the same time this was happening, the King fell in love with a woman named Ann Boleyn and eventually married her. King Henry VIII then had the Archbishop of Canterbury announce his divorce from Catherine; thus forcing the pope to kick him out of the church In 1534, King Henry VIII created the Church of England from the Act of Supremacy (Act…, pg. 1). This established a separate church from the Catholics. The Church of England continued under the reign of King Edward VI, repealing any laws the Roman Catholic Church had passed against the Church of England. Mary I tried to restore Roman Catholicism, but the people protested. Finally, under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Protestantism was restored, keeping the Church of England the main religion.
Overall, the Protestant Reformation contributed greatly to the continuance of, and shaping of the Renaissance. The Renaissance gave a chance for people in England to reform the
religion, mainly because many other things in England were changing also. Along with theShoup 3
people wanting change many great theologians like Calvin and Luther wanted change too, and
when the church refused to change, the Protestant Reformation began.