in October 1517, a Catholic theologian named Luther (1483-1546) wrote a letter to his p listing 95 theses critical of church practices. pracIn particular he objected to the granting of
es—paying the church for forgiveness of acts. even those not yet committed. The theses became public—according to some, Luther his theses to the door of All Saint's Church in
rg in modern-day Germany.
lather had wanted to start a debate about church n and authority. Instead he ignited a relirevolt. He articulated the idea of justification by alone, where, through faith and by the grace of humans achieve salvation. Reformers simplified doctrines and rituals, their church leaders preached from the Bible, and services were conducted in the local languages, not in Latin. Protestants.were encouraged to read the Scriptures themselves—Luther completed his German translation of the Bible in 1534.
Within 50 years, Lutheranism and other dissenting sects like Calvinism and Presbyterianism had swept through northern Europe in a movement that is now known as the Protestant Reformation, which lasted until 1648. To counter Protestantism, the Catholic Church reinvigorated the Inquisition; the Reformation unintentionally helped usher in a century of religious warfare, which raged across Europe from 1545 to 1650.