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The Protestant Reformation was a major 16th century European movement aimed initially at reforming the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. A movement that quickly gained adherents in the German states, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Scotland and parts of France. With support coming from sincere religious reformers such as John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Knox. The term Protestant was not initially applied to the reformers, but later was used to describe all groups protesting Roman Catholic orthodoxy.
The key event that signalled the beginning of the Reformation happened in 1517. When Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk, posted 95 theses (or propositions) on a church door in the university town of Wittenberg. Which was a common academic practice of the day serving as an invitation to debate. Luther’s propositions challenged various Roman Catholic doctrines and a number of specific practices.
Ultimately the hope of reforming the Roman church faded, forcing the Protestants to separate from Roman Catholicism. This resulted in the formation of Lutheran churches in Germany, Scandinavia and some eastern European countries; the Reformed churches in Switzerland and the Netherlands; Presbyterian churches in Scotland; the Anglican church in England, and other diverse elements all of which have evolved into the Protestant denominations of today.
Underlying the Protestant Reformation lay a number of basic doctrines in which the reformers believed the Roman Catholic Church to be in error.
In answering these questions, the reformers established what would be known as the “Five Solas” of the Reformation. Sola being the Latin word for “alone”. These five essential Biblical doctrines were at the heart of the reformers stand against the Roman Catholic Church.
These five important and fundamental doctrines are the reason for why the Protestant Reformation was necessary to return churches throughout the world to correct doctrine and biblical teaching.
However as the process of reformation continued a variety of new doctrinal errors began to surface. Such as the teaching of Arminianism. In this case the Synod of Dort was called in 1618 which refuted the error on the basis of Calvinist doctrine summarized in five points often referred to by the acronym “TULIP”.