What Happened During the Reformation?

During the Reformation, several key leaders including John Calvin, Henry VIII and Martin Luther challenged the authority of the Catholic Church and created what became known as Protestantism. The Reformation came about as these leaders felt that there was not a fair distribution of power among the people in the church and that some of the teachings of the church could not be justified using the Bible. A key point of the Reformation occurred when King Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church and established the Church of England.

The Protestant Reformation is typically considered to have started in 1517 when Martin Luther published his “95 Theses” questioning the church. It is commonly considered to have ended in 1555 at the Peace of Augsburg. This summit allowed the Catholic Church and the new Lutheran Church to exist peacefully in Germany. The Protestant Reformation aimed to purify the church and to create new churches that focused on the Bible rather than tradition.

Luther was especially significant in the Reformation because he was the first person to use the printing press in a way that allowed common people access to his thoughts. The power of the press spread Luther’s ideas in a significant way. He published more religious works from 1518 to 1525 than the other 17 prolific reformers combined.