The Protestant Reformation refers to the European Christian reforms, which established Protestantism actually as a constituent group of contemporary Christianity. The reformation movement began early in 1517 a time when Martin Luther king published and made public The Ninety-Five Theses (Pelican 56-87). The reformation concluded in the late 1648 with the Westphalia Treaty, which ended over one hundred and thirty-one years embodied by consecutive wars of the European religious groups (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87).
The Protestant Reformation solemnly began as a sole attempt to reform the Catholic Church doctrinally. It started from Catholics from Western Europe who opposed literally, what they perceived as untrue about the ecclesiastic malpractice and the doctrine (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87). This was especially the sale of indulgences, teachings and simony, the buying and selling of clerical offices among many other controversial issues, which reformers saw as concrete evidence of the systemic corruption within the church’s hierarchy including the Pope (Simon 120-121).
Martin Luther shock was directed towards the corruption of the appointed clergy on a trip to Rome early in 1510. Pope Alexander VI corrupt acts exemplified especially the sale of indulgences, which prompted Luther to announce a synopsis of his grievances about the door of a church Wittenberg and launched officially the Protestant Reformation (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87). The massive protests against the church corruption emanating from Rome started in earnest immediately when Martin Luther king, an Augustinian monk studying at the University of Wittenberg, lobbied in 1517 for a reopening of the heated debate on the indulgences sale and the sole authority to absolve sin as well as remit an individual from purgatory. Luther's rebellion marked a sudden outbreak of an irresistible and new force of discontent. The upcoming Reformers made use of inexpensive pamphlets (with the use of new printing press) therefore; there was fast movement of ideas and documents on reformist messages including The Ninety-Five Theses (Pelican 56-87).
After this particular first stage of the Reformation, after the excommunication of Luther followed by Reformation condemnation from the Pope, John Calvin works of writing were influential and they established loose consensus particularly among several groups in Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Scotland, and elsewhere (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87).
The Reformation foundations collaborated with Augustinianism. Luther and Calvin were on the same wave lengths linked with the teachings of theological from Augustine of Hippo (Simon 120-121). The Augustinianism of the vibrant Reformers struggled aligned with Pelagianism, a sacrilege that they literally perceived in the Roman Catholic Church of those days. In the event of the religious upheaval, the vibrant Peasants' War of 1524–1525 started all over Bavarian, Swabian and Thuringian principalities and left scores of Catholics slaughtered by the Protestant bands, Martin Luther, nonetheless, condemned the revolt, therefore contributing to its ultimate defeat. Over 100,000 peasants died from the revolt (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87).
The frustrated humanists following a delay of reformism ushered in a stronger Renaissance for the reformists’ movement. This contributed to impatience growing among reformers. Erasmus and prominent figures like Zwingli and Martin Luther emerges from this debate and contribute eventually to another enormous schism of Christendom (Spitz 67-79). The theology crisis beginning with Ockham’s William in the fourteenth century occurred in conjunction with the new-fangled burgher discontent (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87). After the breakdown of the country’s scholasticism philosophical foundations, the concept of nominalism did not bode well for the church because of its legitimization, as an intermediary between God and man. New thinking was in favor of the notion that no doctrine could have the support from philosophical arguments, therefore eroding the alliance between faith and reason of the medieval period (Pelican 56-87).
The major individualistic movements for reforms, which revolted against scholasticism of the medieval times and the institutions underpinning it, were humanism, observantine and scholasticism tradition (Spitz 67-79). Particularly in Germany, devotionalism was very vibrant in the universities, which required a redefinition of God, a concept that no longer was rational as a governing principle but an arbitrary concept. God was a ruler now, and religion became more emotional and fervent (Simon 120-121). Therefore, the ensuing Augustinian theology revival, which stated that man, would not experience salvation by his own efforts except by the grace of God tended to erode the rigid institutions legitimacy of the church (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87).
This provided a channel for every man to do good works in hope of getting to heaven. Humanism, however, as a movement was an educational reform movement originating in the Renaissance's revival precisely of classical thought and learning (Spitz 67-79). An Aristotelian logic revolt placed emphasis on individual reforms through eloquence in opposition to reason. The European Renaissance was the vibrant movement, which laid the foundation actually for the Northern humanists reinforcing the traditional use of Latin as the unifying language (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87).
The rise of the burghers, their desire to run new businesses free of institutional barriers as well as outmoded cultural practices, was a great contribution to the humanist individualism appeal. For many individuals, papal institutions remained rigid, particularly on their views on usury and just price. In the North, there were unions of burghers and monarchs because of frustration and this made unions revolt and join the reformists’ movements (Spitz 67-79).
The new trends heightened reformist’s demands for revitalization and reforms along with anticlericalism. There was an apparent divide between the flock and the priests (Pelican 56-87). The clergy, for instance, did not have adequate education and Parish priests did not often know Latin with rural parishes not having great opportunities to earn theological education (Simon 120-121). Because of its large institutional rigidity and landholdings, many bishops were studying law, not theology. On the other hand, priests emphasized religiosity works (Spitz 67-79).
Because of the conflicts in the church, the respectability of the institution started diminishing, particularly among well-educated people living in the urban areas owing to political humiliation of the church for instance Pope Boniface VIII apprehension by Philip IV of France (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87). The division of the church and many conflicts among its leaders gave way to condemnation of the institution and thronged the protestant reformations leading to a split of the church (Pelican 56-87).
Following the protestant reformation, there were emergent series of religious wars culminating in the Thirty Years' War. This devastated more of Germany, and was the cause of over 40% of the country’s population killing (Spitz 67-79). Up to 1648, the House of Habsburg together with its allies fought the Protestant Germany princes, supported severally by Denmark, France and Sweden (Simon 120-121). The Habsburgs, at the time who were the rulers of Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, Austria, and much of Italy and Germany, were staunch Catholic Church defenders. Some major historians believe that this era of the church Reformation came to end when Catholic France became allies with other emergent groups, first secretly and later during battlefield events with Protestant states to fight against the dynasty of Habsburg (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87). For the first time, national AND political convictions outweighed religious convictions again in Europe.
The protestant reformation highlighted also other results with foundations of the Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years' War. During this time, there was a universal where all parties recognized the Peace of Augsburg through which all the princes had the right to resolve the religion of their own state, with options being Lutheranism, Catholicism, and Calvinism (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87). Also, Christians living particularly in principalities with their denomination not being the established church had a guarantee of the right to practice own faith in public within the allotted hours and also in private at their own will (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87).
Additionally, the treaty effectively was the end to Pope's pan-European power. Fully aware of what they lost during the reforms, Pope Innocent X made a declaration of the treaty as "void, null, invalid, unjust, iniquitous, damnable, inane, empty of meaning, reprobate, and effect for all times." Sovereigns of the European persons, Protestant and Catholic alike, ignored the pope’s verdict ending the reforms persisting for the extended period (Simon 120-121).
In Spirit of Capitalism and The Protestant, Weber suggested that cultural values could have an effect on economic success, with an argument that the Protestant Reformation was the start of values driving people toward a hard work ethic, worldly achievements, and saved to accumulate wealth later for investment (Simon 120-121). It was therefore quite apparent that the protestant reformations resulted to new religions for instance Calvinism as well as other austere Protestant sects, which effectively were against wastefully usage of hard-earned money and proclaimed the purchase of luxuries as wasteful and a sin (Simon 120-121; Spitz 67-79; Pelican 56-87). In conclusion, it is arguable that the protestant reformations were vibrant and influential leading to many changes in the economic, social and religious aspects (Pelican 56-87). There is evidence that they left a mark in the respective fields of life that facilitated changes evident even up to today in the economic, social and religious fields.