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What were the religious conflicts that took place in the Reformation?

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2008-10-23 23:44:33
2008-10-23 23:44:33

The usual term for the religious movement which made its appearance in Western Europe in the sixteenth century, and which, while ostensibly aiming at an internal renewal of the Church, really led to a great revolt against it, and an abandonment of the principal Christian beliefs.

With the revival of learning and the rebirth in man's breasts of a thirst for truth, the dark ages were doomed. Beginning the the 14th century, the Lord began to prepare those social, educational, religious, economic, and governmental conditions under which he could more easily restore the gospel for the last time among men. The spirit of inspiration rested upon Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox, and others, causing them to rebel against the religious evils of the day and seek to make the Bible and other truth available to all who would receive such. The age of Renaissance and Reformation were part of the Lord's program preparatory to ushering in his great latter-day work.

The Reformation itself is often viewed as one big conflict. However, under its umbrella were a number of other conflicts, which different parties would rate as being more or less important. Prominent Lutheran/Catholic conflicts included: The role that active works (or charity) play in salvation, the role of the papacy (and other clergy) in the church, the nature of sin, the state of the human will, the role of tradition in Christianity, the number of sacraments, the nature of the Lord's Supper (or Eucharist), etc. Prominent Lutheran/Reformed conflicts included: The nature of the Lord's Supper, the relationship of church and state, (to varying degrees) the nature of the person of Christ, (to varying degrees) how to treat traditions in the church, and (to varying degrees) the nature of sin and the role of human will in conversion. Prominent Catholic/Reformed conflicts included all of the conflicts mentioned above. It is notable that the Reformation still carries some very different interpretations from all sides. Catholics tend to blend the Lutheran and Reformed parties into one category, "Protestants," and often blame Martin Luther for unleashing the plague of Christian denominations that can be seen throughout the world today. This is undoubtedly a simplified, somewhat biased view. Martin Luther himself called the various Reformed parties "scharmerei," literally swarmers, because he felt that they came up like an unexpected swarm of bees, going too far with and taking advantage of his reforms. Reformed Christians today, at least those I am familiar with, tend to disagree with Luther as far as the letter, but claim commonality with him in spirit. That is, Luther has become a kind of icon to them, despite his vehement condemnation of some Reformed doctrines, and they often fail to make a obvious distinction between Lutheran reformers and their own. Lutherans on the other hand, have historically understood the Reformation as a three-party conflict, with themselves playing the part of the concerned, investigative Christians motivated by love for the church, the Catholics being the uninformed or weak-willed traditionalists at best (and/or power-hungry tyrants at worst), and the Reformed playing the part of the kids who took it too far. One of the best known conflicts I know of was the Hussite wars.The Hussites were the followers of Hus who was a major reformist in Bohemia, better known today as the Czech Republic with the capital being Prague. When Hus was burned at the stake by the Catholics his followers rebelled. The Pope at the time declared a crusade against the Hussites to wipe them out once and for all. Armies were raised through out Europe at the request of the Pope. The Hussites were outnumbered 4-1 and faced certain defeat, but they beat the crusaders in every battle with the crusaders suffering massive losses. These crusades were ordered over a period of 10 years by the Popes and were defeated everytime. in one case historicle writings say that on one occasion the crusaders were lined up to fight the hussites and all of a sudden fear struck every one of the crusaders at the same time and they fled like scared rabbits. I believe this was the hand of God scattering them as they had the numbers and tactical advantage to beat the Hussites. Finally the Pope gave up in trying to defeat the Hussites by means of war and took the political approach and had his revenge that way.

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