Protestantism Protestantism fast facts and introduction
Protestantism arose in the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, which took place mainly in Germany, Switzerland, and Britain. Protestants reject the authority of the Pope and many other Catholic traditions and beliefs, emphasize the importance of reading the Bible, and hold to the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. Protestantism encompasses numerous denominational groups, including Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals and Evangelicals.
In a 2002 study conducted by the Pew Research Council, 53 percent of Americans identified themselves as Protestant Christians. There are approximately 500 million Protestants in the world.[^2517397]
"Protestantism" is less a denomination than a general branch of Christianity encompassing numerous denominations and a wide theological spectrum ranging from conservative to liberal.
Protestantism originated in the 16th-century Reformation and most modern Protestant denominations can trace their heritage to one of the major movements that sprung up in the 16th century.
Presbyterians are indebted to John Calvin and Reformed theology, as well as to John Knox and the Church of Scotland.
Anglicans and Episcopalians trace their heritage to the Church of England that resulted from King Henry VIII's break from the authority of Rome.
Evangelicalism (and to a slightly lesser degree, Methodism) is indebted to Pietism, a 17th century Protestant movement emphasizing a holy life, individual study of the scriptures, and better training of ministers.
Protestant denominations differ in the degree to which they reject Catholic belief and practice. Some churches, such as Anglicans and Lutherans, tend to resemble Catholicism in their formal liturgy, while others, like Baptists and Presbyterians, retain very little of the liturgy and tradition associated with the Catholic Church.
In common with Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Protestants adhere to the authority of the Bible and the doctrines of he early creeds. Protestants are distinguished by their emphasis on the doctrines of "justification by grace alone through faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the supremacy of Holy Scripture in matters of faith and order."[^2517398]
Most Protestant churches recognize only two sacraments directly commanded by the Lord - baptism and communion - as opposed to the seven sacraments accepted by the Catholic Church.