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Category: History / Topics: Beliefs History Religion

October 31, 1517

by Dan Seagren

Posted: October 31, 2017

The beginnings of today's diverse Christian church…

On October 31 (Halloween now) but not so 500 years ago, Martin Luther took issue with the Christian Church by posting 99 issues he had against the church. He posted them on the door to the Cathedral so everyone could see. We will not go into the charges he made, but things had been brewing for some time and came to a boil when he took action. At the time, there were Two major Christian Churches (or divisions): The Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

As a result of considerable anguish, Luther was excommunicated and a protest ended in a Third Christian church known as the Protestant Church. Unlike its predecessors which remained as more solidarity institutions, the Protestants multiplied over those 500 years or so into many forms of Protestantism such as Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians (perhaps more akin to the Orthodox and Catholic than many other congregations) and many others.

Then for various reasons (ethnic, theological, geographical, nationality and so on), subdivisions occurred, at times as unpleasant splits or more congenial reasons. My own church like some others is due to immigrant formations, one of many reasons for existing. Considerable variability occurred and is still in progress with contemporary Protestant churches ranging from traditional to contemporary, high to low in ritual, conservative and liberal in theology, large and small in size, and scattered throughout cities, suburbs, villages and rural. The image for this article is a family tree found on the website for the Evangelical Covenant Church, which has it s roots in Scandivania (branches from the Lutheran church at the right side of the tree)

It is amazing that Protestantism survives as a unit although there are so-called cults and isms with variable theologies and procedures borrowed from the Christian Church at-large and other practices. How about a word about other major religions: fuel for another column?

Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: October 31, 2017   Accessed 402 times

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