The Protestant Reformation: A critical assessment

The Reformation is a religious movement that began in 1517 as a reaction to medieval Catholic doctrines and practices, which broke up the institutional unity of the church in Western Europe and established the third great branch of Christianity, called Protestantism, which can be distinguished for its emphasis on the absolute and sufficient authority of the Bible and on justification by faith alone.

Many factors such as feudalism, social, political, economic as well as religious life of several countries paved the way for the conditions that resulted in the Reformation. Furthermore, nationalistic fervour, rise of lay piety, theological awareness and humanism also contributed to the development of the Reformation which led to the renewal of morals, worship, liturgy, spirituality as well as study of Christian doctrines.

Several fundamental doctrines can be found in the four Solas that are stated in the Augsburg Confession of 1530 that was edited by Philipp Melanchthon, a professor at the University of Wittenberg and close friend of Martin Luther sums up the theological thrust of the Reformation movement.

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