Just the facts on religion.


Protestantism arose in the 16th century during the Reformation, which took place mainly in Germany, Switzerland, and Britain. Protestants do not acknowledge the authority of the Pope, reject many traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Church, 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.

One of the three major branches of the Christian religion, 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. "Protestantism" is less a denomination than a general branch of Christianity, along with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, encompassing numerous denominations and a wide theological spectrum ranging from conservative to liberal.

Lutheranism is rooted in the teachings of the German Reformer, Martin Luther. 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. And out of this branch came Pentecostalism in the early 20th century.

Protestant denominations differ in the degree to which they reject Roman 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." [2] 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.


  1. "Protestantism." Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions, 459.
  2. "The Protestant Heritage." Encyclop√¶dia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.

Article Info

Title Protestantism
URL www.religionfacts.com/protestantism
Short URLrlft.co/1477
UpdatedNovember 26, 2016
MLA Citation“Protestantism.” ReligionFacts.com. 26 Nov. 2016. Web. Accessed 21 Jan. 2017. <www.religionfacts.com/protestantism>

Share This Page