Sociology Index

Protestantism

Protestant Ethic

The word 'Protestant' took root from the protests made by German princes at the Diet of Speyer in 1529. The Diet of Speyer voted to end the toleration of those who followed the teachings of Martin Luther within Germany.

Protestantism dates from the 16th century. History should be something that all Christians can learn from. The reformers saw themselves as returning to a bibliocentric form of Christianity and the reformation was seen by some as tragic, but still necessary. The core of Protestant teaching lies within the Five Soli (Latin: 'Alone').

Protestant doctrine, also known in continental European traditions as Evangelical doctrine, is in opposition to that of Roman Catholicism. A number of those sections of the old Empire which were most highly developed economically and most favored by natural resources and situation, in particular a majority of the wealthy towns went over to Protestantism in the sixteenth century.

The results of that circumstance favor the Protestants even today in their strug gle for economic existence.

Protestantism is characterised by emphasis on the Bible as the sole source of infallible truth and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone.

Protestants have traditionally encouraged private interpretation of the scriptures by individuals rather than relying on the interpretation of the church (as is the case in Roman Catholicism). Differing groups have emerged (e.g. Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists), each holding distinctive doctrines.

The fundamental principles of traditional Protestantism are the following:

  • Supremacy of the Bible as the sole infallible authority.
  • Justification by Faith Alone. Rather, by free grace through faith operative in good works.
  • The universal priesthood of believers implies the right and duty of the Christian laity not only to read the Bible in the vernacular, but also to take part in the government and all the public affairs of the Church. It is opposed to the hierarchical system, which puts the essence and authority of the Church in an exclusive priesthood, and makes ordained priests the necessary mediators between God and the people. - Johann Jakob Herzog, Philip Schaff, Albert. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.