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Protestant Reformation

            The Protestant Reformation was a time of change and new ideas for the Europeans. The renaissance values of humanism and secularism stimulated widespread criticism of the Catholic Church. Around 1500, enlightened and educated Europeans began to call for a reformation. In Germany, this urge was so strong that it eventually led to a split in the church that produced a new for of Christianity: Protestantism. .
             A German man named Martin Luther began the reformation. Luther was a good man who became a monk, but spent hours of his time praying, worrying that God might not find him acceptable. One day, however, he read St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans and found one specific quote that interested him: "He who through faith is righteous shall live." Luther interpreted this as meaning that a person could be made just simply by faith in God- or justification by faith. During the time of Luther's new ideas, Pope Leo X, in attempting to raise money to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica, authorized the sale of indulgences. Luther preached against this and also lectured against other church practices he believed were wrong. Eventually, Luther came of with a list of 95 things attacking various church policies. Printed copied of Luther's theses spread quickly. People responded drastically, and sales of indulgences declined. Martin was very encouraged by these results, and he wrote hundreds of essays advocating justification by faith and attacking the church. Luther refused to stop his criticisms, even after persuasions from the Pope himself. He was then excommunicated. In a confrontation with a council of German princes Luther refused to recant anything he had said and was condemned as a heretic and an outlaw. He was rushed away and went into hiding. There he translated the New Testament into German so the common people could now read the Bible. When he submerged, he began a new form of Christianity called Lutheranism.

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