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Reformation

Lutherans, The Reformed, Other Confessions, Confessionalism, Bibliography

The Reformation was a movement in Europe of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that broke the monopoly over religion held by the Roman Catholic Church since the later years of the Roman Empire and that created a new set of alternative Protestant churches that have henceforth helped supply the needs of Christians in Western Europe and in countries influenced by Europe. Each of these churches developed a set of ideas drawn from the common Christian tradition to justify its separate existence, and the Catholic Church restricted itself to yet another set of received ideas. Some of these new churches called themselves Evangelical. They looked to Martin Luther (1483–1546) for their primary inspiration. Others called themselves Reformed. Beginning in a second generation, they looked to John Calvin (1509–1564) for their primary inspiration. An independent Church of England created its own middle way. A variety of radical churches, many of them called by their opponents Anabaptist, had trouble gaining toleration. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church responded to the challenge by reforming itself.

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