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Christianity: Changes and Challenges

1. What has been the main changes in Christianity and challenges to Christianity since the 16th century Reformation?

2. What historical impact has Christianity had on the Western world, the East and the third World?

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1. What has been the main changes in Christianity and challenges to Christianity since the 16th century Reformation?

A basic understanding of the Martyrs is important. Despite these ties, however, it still takes a major effort of historical imagination to enter the minds of those who were willing to suffer martyrdom or martyr others for what we would regard as minor doctrinal differences. It happened however. In fact, through differences and conflicts about doctrines, changes resulted in three broad religious traditions in Reformation era that endured during these years:

o Roman Catholicism, both as it existed on the cusp of the Reformation and as it changed to meet the Protestant challenge.
o Protestantism, meaning the forms approved by political authorities, such as Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anglicanism.
o "Radical" Protestantism, meaning the forms often at odds with political authorities, such as Anabaptism.

There were some overall ramifications of religious conflict for the subsequent course of modern Western history. These crisis in
the Reformation era were through the many influential figures, including:

o Erasmus (c. 1466-1536): The leading Christian humanist of the early 16th century, whose "philosophy of Christ" sought the gradual moral improvement of Christendom.

o Martin Luther (1483-1546): An obscure monk and professor in 1517, but by the spring of 1521 he had defied both the pope and Holy Roman Emperor on behalf of his understanding of Christian faith and life. The reaction of the Church drove him to more and more radical positions.

o Charles V (1500-1558): Holy Roman Emperor from 1519 until 1556, and staunch defender of Catholicism and opponent of Protestantism. In 1521, he issued the Edict of Worms condemning Luther.

o Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531): The reformer whose influence was responsible for the abolition of Catholicism and the adoption of Protestantism in the Swiss city of Zurich. His sharp disagreement with Luther over the nature of the Lord's Supper found dramatic expression in the Marburg Colloquy of 1529, preventing a political alliance between Zwinglian and Lutheran cities and setting the Lutheran and Reformed Protestant traditions on divergent paths.

o Thomas Müntzer (c. 1490-1525): An apocalyptic reformer who preached violent revolution during the Peasants' War of 1525. Originally sympathetic to Luther, Müntzer progressively moved away from and ridiculed him as a panderer to princes. In 1525, he led several thousand underarmed peasants into battle at Frankenhausen, where they were slaughtered. Shortly thereafter, Müntzer was captured and executed.

o Henry VIII (1491-1547): The English king at whose behest the country severed its longstanding institutional links to the Roman Catholic Church and created a separate national church under royal control.

o Ignatius Loyola (1491?-1556): The founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), the most important Catholic religious order of the Reformation era.

o Jan van Leiden (1509-1536): The self-proclaimed prophet-king and ruler of the Anabaptist Kingdom of Münster in 1534-1535. Under van Leiden, the "New Jerusalem" practiced communal ownership of goods and polygamy. A siege finally broke the regime in 1535, and Jan was executed.

o John Calvin (1509-1564): The leading reformer and theologian in the second generation of the Protestant Reformation. Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is the single most important Protestant theological work of the Reformation era. Calvinism became the most dynamic, influential form of Protestantism in Europe in the second half of the 16th century.

o John Knox (c. 1514-1572): An impassioned, uncompromising Calvinist reformer who played a leading role in the Scottish Reformation.

o Menno Simons (c. 1496-1561): The most influential Dutch Anabaptist leader in the wake of the ill-fated Anabaptist Kingdom of Münster.

o Henry IV (de Navarre) (1553-1610): The French king whose conversion from Calvinism to Catholicism in 1593 helped bring an end to the French Wars of Religion with the Edict of Nantes in 1598 (

In the European Reformation of the 1500s, Protestants and numerous similar churches ...

Solution Summary

This solution responds in detail to the two questions related to Christianity.