Essay about Factors Leading to Protestant Reformation

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Three Causes of the Protestant Reformation

The sixteenth century was a time when the acts and teachings of all religions came under a great amount of scrutiny. As a result, there was a great division from the dominant Roman Catholic Church; this was known as the Protestant Reformation. There were many factors in the coming of the Reformation, but the three worthy of note are the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church, the leadership of Martin Luther, and the invention of the printing press.

The Roman Catholic Church was a strong force in sixteenth century Europe and as such became overly voracious in its desire for both political and economical power. Under Pope Leo X the church began the sale of indulgences in Mainz, Germany.
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His studies led him to believe in a loving God who offered salvation by grace through Christ. But an area of special disgust to Luther was the selling of indulgences, which led him to write the famous ninety-five theses on the subject. In 1517 Luther marched up to the castle church at Wittenberg and nailed the theses to the door, the first of many events for which he became known as the founder of the Reformation. Luther's protest was met with rage from the church; the Pope demanded that he recant his views and, according to Ostling, called him "the wild boar which hath invaded the Lord's vineyard" (2). Luther came to not only question indulgences but to reject the papacy all together. The former monk turned rebel refused to turn back and went on to argue his views in front of the Diet of Worms, resulting in a death sentence from Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. However, instead of being put to death, Luther went on to become a major figure in European political matters and his writings led to the rise of the Protestants and the founding of the Lutheran Church.

Luther's ninety-five theses as well as his various other writings fueled the Protestant Reformation, but how were his views so widely known? Around a hundred years before Luther's birth, a silver smith named Johann Gutenberg invented the device that would give Luther's writings the wings they needed to soar all over Europe. Reading Today says Gutenberg's printing press along with his

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