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Symbol of the Evangelical Church in Germany , the largest Protestant church federation in Germany.

The use of the Latin cross is common to all Protestant communities.

The originally political term Protestants , which has been used since 1529, is used in a narrower sense to denote the members of the Christian denominations who, starting from Germany (actually from the Electorate of Saxony , from 1517) and Switzerland (actually from the Canton of Zurich , from 1519), above all originated in Central and Northern Europe through the Reformation of the 16th century and have since developed into various groups worldwide.

There are around 900 million Protestants on earth, including 300 million in the churches that were directly influenced by the Reformation ( Evangelicals ) and 600 million in new Protestant churches (partly influenced by the revival movements of the 18th and 19th centuries) (mostly Evangelicals ).

Most Protestants are only scattered in a handful of denominational families: Lutherans , Reformed (including Calvinists , Zwinglians , Presbyterians , Congregationalists ), Anglicans (including Episcopalian ), Anabaptists (including Mennonites , Amish , Hutterites ), Baptists , Methodists , Adventists and Pentecostalists . There are also a number of small groups such as B. Arminians (including Remonstrants ), Quakers and other English dissenters (including the former Puritans and Independents ), the Brethren Movement , the Sanctification Movement (including the Salvation Army ), Pietists (including the Haugians ) or the Moravian Church .

Since 1817 ( beginning in Germany ) Protestant churches of different denominations have come together in unions .

There are several non-denominational directions that shape the various Protestant churches, e. B. Christian fundamentalism , liberalism , neo-orthodoxy or paleo-orthodoxy .

The Protestantism : Evangelicalism , the Charismatic Movement , the neo-charismatic movement , the house church movement (esp. Chinese house churches ), the African Independent Churches and other new flows (including many non-denominational, non-denominational and independent churches and mega-churches ) grow and represent a significant part of total Protestantism.

Protestant and Evangelical

Expression of denominational diversity: signs for two different Protestant churches in Wiesbaden

In the 16th century, the “protestation” was a traditional legal instrument of imperial law, with which a minority of estates and imperial cities could raise their concerns at a diet. The Latin verb protestari has a positive basic meaning: “to be called to witness for something”, “to bear witness to something”. Today the terms “Protestant” ( coined from the outside perception by the Roman Curia ) and “ Protestant ” (coined from the self-perception of the parishioners and their regional churches ) are used interchangeably in German colloquial language. However, the German churches in the tradition of the Reformation describe themselves as "Evangelical" and not as "Protestant". The Evangelical Church of the Palatinate (Protestant State Church) is an exception . The terms "Church (s) of the Reformation" and "Reformation Church (s)" are also used.

There are also the terms “Lutheran” or “AB (Augsburg Confession)” , which denote the churches in the tradition of the Wittenberg Reformation, and “Reformed” or “HB (Helvetian Confession)” , which denotes the churches in the tradition of the Swiss The reformers Ulrich Zwingli ( Zurich ), Johannes Calvin ( Geneva ) and Johannes Oekolampad ( Basel ) name. Depending on the form of organization, there are associations that give up a differentiation, such as the United Churches of the Bremen Evangelical Church or the United Church of Christ in the United States. In the area of ​​the Protestant Free Churches, there are terms such as Protestant-Free Church , Protestant-Methodist , Free Evangelical Congregation , Old Evangelical Baptist or Evangelical Free Congregation .

“Evangelical” must be distinguished from the term “ evangelical ”, which emerged in the 20th century , especially when it comes to translations into or from other languages. In the English-speaking world, the terms “Protestantism” and “Protestant” are indispensable, since “evangelical” also means “evangelical” in addition to “evangelical”, especially in North America. There is also no English equivalent for the adjective "Reformation". The adjective “reformed” means “reformed” and is used, for example, in terms of certain churches, such as Dutch Reformed Church. The historical term "evangelical" originated in the context of Puritanism in England.


More generally, denominations that emerged after the Reformation are also referred to as Protestant, which represent the same or similar principles as the Reformation churches and therefore distance themselves from the Roman Catholic Church. In this sense, for example, the Anglican Church is counted as part of Protestantism. After the Declaration of Independence, the American Anglicans called themselves the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America . The Protestant free churches also belong to the Protestant spectrum. In the German-speaking countries, these include the Mennonites , who emerged during the Reformation, as well as the Baptists , the Methodists , the Seventh-day Adventists and the Pentecostals . The Waldensians , who emerged as early as the 12th century, joined Swiss and French Protestantism in the 16th century. The Presbyterians , congregationalists and a number of other churches widespread in English-speaking countries belong to the Reformed church fellowship. The Unitarians also emerged as a Reformation church, but some of them broke away from Christianity in the late 19th century. The Quakers also emerged around the English Reformation.

The most influential reformers were Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon ( Evangelical Lutheran Churches ), Ulrich Zwingli , Johannes Calvin and John Knox (Reformed Churches) and Thomas Cranmer and Martin Bucer (Anglican Church). The leading theologians in the early days of the Free Churches with the largest number of members were Konrad Grebel , Felix Manz and Menno Simons ( Anabaptists / Mennonites), Robert Browne and John Cotton (Congregationalists), Thomas Helwys and John Smyth (Baptists), George Fox (Quakers) and John Wesley , Charles Wesley and George Whitefield (Methodists).

The German Protestant regional churches have organized themselves in the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). The Protestant Free Churches are grouped together in the Association of Evangelical Free Churches . As a result of emigration and missions, larger or smaller Protestant churches emerged in many countries around the world (World Protestantism). They are growing particularly strongly in China and Latin America . Most of the Lutheran churches are united in the Lutheran World Federation , the Reformed churches in the World Fellowship of Reformed Churches . The Protestant Free Churches are also familiar with corresponding international associations such as the World Council of Methodist Churches , the Baptist World Federation and the Mennonite World Conference . The great majority of the Protestant churches are members of the World Council of Churches . Evangelicals make up the majority of the population in Scandinavia , the United Kingdom , the United States , Australia , Iceland, and New Zealand . In Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland there are roughly the same number of Protestant and Catholic Christians.

History and theology of the term

of Protestant History
year event
1517 Theses posted in Wittenberg
1519 Foundation of the Reformed Church
1521 Edict of Worms
1525 Foundation of the Anabaptists
First Protestant State
1529 Speyer Protestation
Marburg Religious Discussion
1534 Foundation of the Anglican Church
1545 Council of Trent
1555 Augsburg religious peace
1609 Foundation of the first Baptist church in Amsterdam
1618 The climax of confessionalization and the beginning of the Thirty Years' War
1648 Peace of Westphalia
1730 Beginning of the first great revival
1790 Beginning of the second great revival
1817 First United Church
1906 Beginning of the Pentecostal movement
since 1960 Increasing secularization of
Europe and North America;
worldwide expansion of the evangelical movement and other forms of new Protestantism

Reformation to the Enlightenment

The term Protestants goes back to the Speyer protestation of the evangelical estates at the Reichstag in Speyer in 1529 : They protested against the lifting of the farewell to Speyer in 1526 , with which the states and imperial cities that had carried out the Reformations had been guaranteed legal security , and they appealed thereby on the freedom of belief of the individual.

Secular rulers, led by Emperor Charles V , feared for the imperial unity of their Catholic-permeated sphere of influence, whereby the papal sphere of influence could be regarded as its own. In a number of wars, Protestantism has been the more or less serious subject; these include the Huguenot Wars in France and the Thirty Years' War , which affected almost all of Europe and especially Germany . The Lutheran denomination was not recognized until the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 and the Reformed denomination was recognized with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Anabaptists and other movements of the so-called radical Reformation were denied any form of recognition in Germany and other European countries until the 18th century.

The external consolidation of the denominations was followed by an internal consolidation of Protestant teaching. That led to Lutheran orthodoxy . This rigid doctrine is broken with the Enlightenment and Pietism . Pietism placed its emphasis on the active action of Christians and the Enlightenment criticized the literal interpretation of the Bible and the validity of the old dogmas. This changed Protestantism itself. Only in this epoch did the term Protestantism become a self-description in German theology. It was reintroduced into English in the 18th century, primarily through neology . Here the term was used as an antithesis to the Roman Church. At the same time, this term emphasized the emancipation potential and the independent relationship of the individual to God. The term therefore functioned as a collective term for various denominations. Conversely, this means that the term provokes the question of what the denominations have in common, which became a key question of the 19th century.

Concept of Protestantism in the 19th century

In the German-speaking countries, the strictly confessional territories were disrupted by the coalition wars (1792 to 1815), the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss (1803), the Rhine Confederation (1806 to 1813) and the Congress of Vienna (1814/15), so that after this period of upheaval many confessionally mixed territories have emerged. The fact that both Lutheran and Reformed areas united in many countries led to very different forms of ecclesiastical union of the Protestant churches. The fact that the differences between the two Protestant denominations were leveled out suited both the Enlightenment and the Pietist revival theologians.

The best known and most controversial church union is the Prussian church union of 1817. On September 27, 1817 on the occasion of the anniversary of the Reformation, the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III proclaimed . (ruled 1797–1840) the church union of Lutherans and Calvinists. With this proclamation came the question of a fundamental church reform. It was argued in the context of a general synod about the organization of the church in a consistorial constitution or a synodal constitution . In the course of the restoration , however, this synod was suspended (1823) and the “displacement of liberal forces from the Prussian church system”. The synodal path was seen by the Prussian royal family as too close to parliamentarianism and therefore rejected. At the same time, a dispute arose over the sovereign's right to regulate church affairs. The Prussian king tried to decree a uniform agenda for the Prussian Union and thus liturgically unify the denominations. This sparked the so-called agendas dispute . In the end, the king had to withdraw the agendas because of the great public pressure. Only in 1850 was there a partial self-government of the churches and in 1873 a real church constitution in Prussia.

Schleiermacher was heavily involved in these church political developments . He voted for the synodal constitution and took a position on the role of the confessional writings , whereby he does not understand the confessional writings as literally binding, but rather as binding in their common sense. He then took this topic as an opportunity to reflect on the concept of Protestantism and to define commonalities between the denominations. Overall, Schleiermacher was a friend of the Church Union. To this day, many of his doctrine of faith are considered union dogmatics.

A (mostly Lutheran) confessionalism emerged in the 19th century against the church union and subsequently also against the concept of Protestantism. Most of them were those who particularly valued the institution of the church and were therefore concerned about splitting off from their own doctrine, which was certified in the church. These “pious people” made a special effort to preserve the teaching of Lutheran orthodoxy and to preserve it in the form of standardization of church building and new congregational hymn books.

Confessionalism has become particularly powerful through two people: the Bavarian lawyer Friedrich Julius Stahl (1802–1861) and the Bavarian theologian Wilhelm Löhe (1808–1872).

Based on a conservative concept of the state, Friedrich Julius Stahl provided the legal conception of conservatism. He thinks of the Christian sovereign state, which is set by God over all people. This state is responsible for the observance of boundaries and rules and only in these enables the freedom of the individual (i.e. freedom does not proceed from the natural law of the individual, but exists as freedom granted by the state). So people have to submit to the given rule and possibly suffer from an unjust ruler. Applied to the church, this means that it stands above people and is in the best sense of God in its given form. Since both powers (worldly and spiritual) are directly legitimized by God, the sovereign with the spiritual class may direct the church together. And their primary goal is the preservation of pure teaching, because “ there is only a religious community based on pure confessional teaching ”. On the legal side, a really functioning church suddenly depends on the unity of teaching.

Wilhelm Löhe spells out this demand for a uniform creed theologically. He is concerned with the complete truth, which can only be found in a specific confession. For him, this confession is Lutheran, whereby, unlike Stahl, he wants a church administered entirely by the parish itself; with the sovereign church regiment, however, can live. As a result of this theology, the invisible church is identified with the visible confessional church and the church officials are held in absolute esteem. From this it is concluded: “ There is no middle way between unbroken faithfulness to the confession and apostasy from Christianity. "

Concept of Protestantism in the 20th and 21st centuries

Around 1900 the question of Protestantism arose in a new way. Georg Jellinek, Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch, all three of whom had met in Heidelberg, asked themselves what influence Protestantism had had on the development of modernity. This question is shaped by the loss of religious self-evidentness around 1900. Religion now saw itself in competition with other explanations of the world (Marxism, Darwinism, materialism) that claimed to be particularly modern.

In the book “The Declaration of People and Civil Rights” from 1895, Georg Jellinek put forward the thesis that American human rights were largely initiated by the need of the Calvinist settlers for religious freedom and for a separation of state and church. Theologically, Calvinism stood for greater self-restraint on the part of the state in religious matters and therefore for separating religious beliefs from citizenship. This notion gave rise to a demand for religious freedom (particularly in the case of the preacher Roger Williams), which was an essential reason for the codification of human and civil rights in the USA. Ernst Troeltsch then modified this thesis by insisting that this in no way applies to all of Calvinism, which also established state churches in North America, but only to the Protestant sects (which were mainly of Calvinist origin). Troeltsch refers in particular to the Quakers.

In a series of articles around 1905, Max Weber raised the question of the economic consequences of Protestantism. Max Weber assumed that a spiritual basis is required for successful and capitalist business. For him, the ethical views of a time are shaped, among other things, by religious convictions. Since England, the Netherlands and the USA were the economically most successful countries of the 18th and 19th centuries, it was obvious that Calvinism was able to produce such an economic foundation. Weber found this in ascetic Protestantism , which emerged from Calvinist teaching. He valued the profession of the individual and established successful work as evidence of God's predestination for salvation. This resulted in a concentration of the entire lifestyle on work and successful economic activity. This spirit helped capitalism to break through and in the course of time it has secularized itself in that work no longer had a religious purpose but became a profane end in itself.

Ernst Troeltsch showed in his work "The Significance of Protestantism for the Emergence of the Modern World" from 1906 that there is no contradiction between Protestantism and modernity, but that both have influenced each other. Many principles of modernity go back at least in part to principles of Protestantism, for example the secular individualism of modernity emerged from the religious individualism of Protestantism. Troeltsch sees these principles already applied in Christianity, but only elevated to a principle through Protestantism. However, while the two major denominations, Lutheranism and Calvinism, were still very medieval at the beginning, a development took place in the 18th century. From the anti-modern old Protestantism, the new Protestantism arose by taking up ideas of the Christian sects, Christian mysticism, the Enlightenment and humanism . This is a form of Protestantism that is compatible with modernity.

Since the 1920s, the main controversy in German Protestant theology has been the distinction between dialectical and liberal theology . While the former focuses on revelation against the existing culture (especially as a distinction from National Socialism), the latter sees Protestantism at home in the respective culture. The main representative of dialectical theology is Karl Barth. Jörg Lauster is a contemporary representative of liberal theology. Paul Tillich, on the other hand, distinguishes himself from dialectical theology and continues to think the liberal concept of Protestantism in the context of his existentialist theology.

Karl Barth replies against Ernst Troeltsch that Protestantism and modernity are just as incompatible with one another as Protestantism and the Middle Ages. Only when old Protestantism turned away from the actual principles and turned to new Protestantism did it reveal its essence. In doing so, he took up the ideas of modernity without reflecting on them. According to Barth, Protestant thinking has its starting point not in the human but in the divine. It wants to understand the earth in the light of heaven and not the heaven of earth. But when the old Protestantism took up the ideas of modernism and became new Protestantism, it betrayed its essence. Protestant theology since the 18th century has violated the first commandment (“You shall have no gods next to me”) as a theological axiom by assigning further axioms to Revelation, some of which were more relevant than the first, and the interpretation of Revelation certain. Barth considers this problematic, since the new axioms, unlike Revelation, are chosen arbitrarily and so, in his opinion, do not lead to God.

Paul Tillich was a 20th century theologian who worked first in Germany and then in the USA. For Tillich, Protestantism is criticism and design. He recognizes Protestant thinking as the only way to do justice to the special nature of Christianity. Because the Christian church has a clear relation to God, but runs the risk of embodying salvation exclusively in itself. Therefore a prophetic criticism is necessary. For Tillich, prophetic criticism is based on transcendent experience and thus from the hereafter (this is what Tillich also calls "that which concerns us unconditionally") and overcomes the self-related human horizon. The task of Protestantism is to bring this criticism to the fore. However, he also warns against reducing Protestantism to this criticism. Protestantism must also be shaping by shaping religion into a church for the gathering of believers. In order not to neglect its creative principle, Protestantism must remain in a fruitful dialogue with the Catholic understanding of the sacramental.

In 2017, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Reformation, Jörg Lauster presented his idea of ​​Protestantism as an expression of the “eternal protest”. This is an inherent principle of Christianity, which was particularly well visible in the Reformation. It is directed against "everything that makes the heart of the religious smaller and narrower." This danger exists when the church sets its religious expressions absolutely and forgets that the holy and the Christian message are never depicted in their completeness by human language and ideas leaves. Therefore, the "Eternal Protest" always works against an exaggeration of one's own institution and its traditions and doctrines. Rather, he urges people to exchange ideas with one another and the church to constantly change. The Reformation only brought this principle back to light. The Protestant churches go wrong when they think they have reached an ideal state.

Beliefs and Characteristics

Schematic representation of Luther's doctrine of justification , modified from P. Blickle (1992)
Martin Luther: German Mass and Order of Gotesdienst , 1526
Confession of the Anabaptist Movement (under the direction of Michael Sattler ): Schleitheimer Artikel , 1527
Johannes Calvin : Institutio Christianae Religionis , 1559 (first published in 1536)
Anglican Book of Common Prayer , 1760 (first published in 1549)

Formative are the concentration on the Bible , the recognition of Jesus Christ as the sole authority for the church and the individual believer, as well as the teaching that man is saved “by grace alone” - and not because of his actions. Man experiences justification “only through faith”. Correspondingly, indulgences (reduction of temporal penalties for sin against money, penance exercises or other good works) are rejected.

The evangelical doctrine is often summarized in the "four solos" - solus Christ (only Christ), sola scriptura (only through Scripture), sola gratia (only through grace) and sola fide (only through faith).

Some of the sacraments known from the Catholic Church (e.g. Confirmation , Marriage , Ordination and Anointing of the Sick ) are not recognized by the Protestant churches because they are not regarded as instituted by Christ. Martin Luther spoke of the general “ priesthood of all believers ”. The sacraments clearly instituted by Christ are baptism and the Lord's Supper . Luther stuck to confession , but as a rule it is no longer officially a sacrament; only some Lutheran churches recognize confession as a sacramental character. In the evangelical reformed churches and in many evangelical free churches, the sacraments are merely symbolic. Even if Luther initially developed a Latin missal, at the latest since his publication of a mass in German (Deutsche Messe B), services and masses have been held in all Reformation churches in the respective national language, while the Catholic Church officially adheres to the Latin language to this day , but in practice it has also switched to the vernacular since the Second Vatican Council . However, with a recent decision by Pope Benedict XVI. to make the Tridentine Mass fully accessible again, the Latin language in Catholic worship once again gained importance.

The Reformation was essentially a religious movement, but it had the greatest impact on all areas of life. The Reformers and (early) Protestantism developed a comprehensive model for state and society, the further development of which took place above all in the Anglo-American world, which was shaped by Calvin's thinking. The main features of this model were gradually adopted by non-Protestants in many parts of the world.

In the churches of the Reformation the clergy are not obliged to be celibate . The Protestant rectory had an enormous influence on the emergence of a spiritual elite. For example, around 1955, the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie recorded 861 pastor sons of the approximately 1,600 great Germans. The same applies to the other Protestant countries. Especially since the middle of the 20th century, women have been admitted to the pastor's office in many Protestant churches , including in leadership positions, e. B. the former Lutheran bishop and council chairwoman of the Evangelical Church in Germany , Margot Käßmann , and since summer 2014 Antje Jackelén has headed the Lutheran Church of Sweden as Archbishop . That was an essential contribution to legal and factual equality between women and men.

In Scotland in particular, as well as in England and its colonies in North America, Protestants created democratic structures in the secular sphere ( John Milton , Oliver Cromwell , John Locke , William Bradford , John Winthrop , Roger Williams , Thomas Hooker , William Penn , George Washington , Thomas Jefferson , John Adams et al.). American democracy in particular became a model for many states, including Germany, in creating their own democratic form of society and government. The basic separation of the spiritual and the secular had already been accomplished through Luther's doctrine of the two kingdoms . By granting the general priesthood to all baptized Luther, he made the laity in the Church extremely valuable; He carried this out, among other things, in his writing That a Christian assembly or community has the right and power to judge all doctrine and to appoint teachers, install and remove from 1523. This democratic element was in the reformed area by creating presbyteries ( church council ) and synods cooperated whose members were elected by the church members and in which clergy and laity equally in the governance of the Church, significantly enhanced (ecclesiastical self-government).

The educational system took off in the areas covered by the Reformation, as every church member was to be enabled to read the Bible for themselves. Philipp Melanchthon was given the honorary name Praeceptor Germaniae (Germany's teacher) for his commitment in this area . Compulsory schooling for both boys and girls ensured a high level of literacy. The Reformation image of God and man has the consequence that the person chosen and redeemed in Christ is set in motion. He may and should freely develop all powers given to him by the Creator, including understanding and reason - in social gatherings, in business, in the sciences and in art. He may and should research God's good creation and use it sustainably in the sense of Gen 2.15  LUT . This created a favorable cultural climate for the humanities , natural sciences, and technology to flourish . According to the Merton thesis developed by the American sociologist Robert King Merton in 1938 , the scientific and technological revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries was essentially supported by Protestants, especially English Puritans and German Pietists . The natural law lawyers Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf as well as the philosophers of the English and German Enlightenment John Locke , John Toland , Matthew Tindal , Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , Christian Wolff , Christian Thomasius , Immanuel Kant and the Geneva Jean-Jacques Rousseau came from and were from Protestantism embossed. They took decisions made during the Reformation and in parts of early Protestantism and developed them further, e.g. B. Freedom of religion, equality of people and democracy. For example, Locke, who was deeply rooted in Protestant thought, derived the equality of human beings, including the equality of men and women, not from philosophical premises, but from Genesis 1.27–28 LUT ( Imago Dei ). The principle of equality is an indispensable basis for democracy under the rule of law. The most important philosopher of German idealism Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel studied at the Evangelical Monastery in Tübingen. The ideas of the Enlightenment were implemented primarily by the Protestant bourgeoisie. The Catholic Church rejected the enlightenment.

The reformers advocated a lifestyle that included diligence, (self-) discipline, a sense of duty, honesty, frugality, frugality and - especially with Calvin - renouncing luxury. Max Weber concluded in his Protestant ethics that this freed up money for investments, which gave a lasting boost to economic life in the Protestant areas. Weber's popular theses, at least in the German-speaking world, do not stand up to empirical testing. In contrast, the American sociologist Gerhard Lenski found in an empirical study carried out in 1958 in the Detroit area (US state Michigan) essential parts of Weber's theses confirmed, in particular with regard to the different attitudes towards economic life and the natural sciences among Catholics on the one hand and (white ) Protestants as well as Jews on the other hand. The sociologist Eduard Heimann concluded that business on the one hand and natural sciences and technology on the other strengthened each other, since the latest and most effective knowledge, methods and machines were used in business to increase productivity. This has led to a steadily increasing standard of living, also for the lower social classes. This development continues as before.

Luther's fundamental separation of the spiritual and the secular was supposed to make a church inquisition procedure impossible in Protestant areas and countries. Belief, according to Luther, cannot be forced. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. However, Luther saw the rejection of the oath, military service and, in part, property by the Anabaptists as a political danger to the community. As a result, Anabaptists were persecuted not only in Catholic, but also in Lutheran and Reformed areas. They tirelessly demanded religious tolerance and advocated it through their patient suffering. They and the also persecuted minority church of the Reformed Huguenots practiced the complete separation of church and state from their beginnings in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century, the Baptist churches emerged from English Puritanism under the influence of Dutch Mennonitism. Baptists like John Smyth , Thomas Helwys, and Roger Williams advocated religious freedom in pamphlets. You had a strong influence on John Milton and Locke. In “Milton, all tolerance motives of the time are embodied in great unity. For him, freedom of conscience was the original Christian and Protestant principle and the basis of all civil liberties. That is why he called for a complete separation of church and state beyond Cromwell. ”He also spoke out for the right to divorce and freedom of the press. The latter was introduced in England in 1694, a fruit of the Glorious Revolution . In some English colonies in North America, freedom of religion was linked to democratic self-government (Roger Williams in Rhode Island (1636); Thomas Hooker in Connecticut (1639); William Penn in Pennsylvania (1682)). The American Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution continued this tradition. The abolition of torture ( Christian Thomasius , Frederick the Great ) and slavery ( William Wilberforce , Abraham Lincoln , Harriet Beecher Stowe and others) was mainly the initiative of Protestants.

For some time in Bavaria, Lutheran and Reformed Christians had come closer to one another in the sense of "one religious party". Only after the Congress of Vienna in 1815 in the course of the restoration were the denominations clearly differentiated again. The 1824 as a Protestant church called Lutheran congregation was based on the religious status of the Bavarian church.

Right from the start, Protestants felt responsible for the sick and socially disadvantaged. Hospitals, homes and other aid facilities for disabled, old and poor people were built around the world, in Germany for example Diakonisches Werk and Bread for the World . The pioneers were mainly Johann Hinrich Wichern and Friedrich von Bodelschwingh senior. In response to the impoverishment of large parts of the urban and rural population in Great Britain around 1845, Anglicans and members of free churches founded cooperatives as self-help organizations. In Germany, the staunch Reformed Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen and the Prussian Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch created a rapidly growing network of cooperatives from 1862 onwards. Under the pressure of the “social question” of the 19th century, Prussia passed social security laws during Otto von Bismarck's chancellorship from 1881 to 1889 . International humanitarian law was greatly enriched by the Reformed Pietist Henry Dunant . He was the driving force behind the creation of the Geneva Convention , and the Red Cross goes back to his commitment .

The Reformation churches and their theologians have a wide theological spectrum, ranging from strictly conservative positions (e.g. Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod ) to very liberal views. In the 20th century, the liberal pole was particularly occupied by Friedrich Gogarten , Rudolf Bultmann , Gerhard Ebeling , Ernst Fuchs , Ernst Käsemann and Günther Bornkamm ; Eduard Thurneysen , Dietrich Bonhoeffer , Helmut Thielicke , Karl Barth and his students ( Otto Weber and others) were moderately conservative; the conservative wing was occupied by evangelical-pietist theologians. In addition to Tillich, the American churches had outstanding scholars in Richard Niebuhr and Reinhold Niebuhr . Other theologians were involved in the ecumenical movement, for example Nathan Söderblom and Willem Adolf Visser 't Hooft . In the beginning of the 21st century, nothing essential has changed in this theological situation.

Protestantism had a fruitful effect on art. In the German-speaking area, for centuries, more people could memorize the texts of the hymns by Martin Luther and Paul Gerhardt than poems by Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller , who also had a Protestant background. Composers such as Heinrich Schütz , Johann Hermann Schein , Samuel Scheidt , Georg Philipp Telemann , Georg Friedrich Händel , Johann Sebastian Bach , Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy created highlights in secular and sacred music. The painters Albrecht Dürer , Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ä. and Lucas Cranach the Elder J. joined the Reformation. Rembrandt , Frans Hals , Vincent van Gogh a . a. came from Dutch Protestantism. Protestant thinking and belief has inspired great writers such as William Shakespeare , John Milton , John Bunyan , Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock , Johann Gottfried Herder , Nathaniel Hawthorne , Jeremias Gotthelf , Conrad Ferdinand Meyer , Samuel Taylor Coleridge , William Wordsworth , Hans-Christian Andersen to the present day , Jane Austen , Emily Brontë , Charles Dickens , Wilhelm Raabe , Theodor Fontane , Selma Lagerlöf , Agatha Christie , William Faulkner , Thomas Mann , Friedrich Dürrenmatt , John Updike , Sibylle Lewitscharoff and others. v. a. m.



The world

See also

Related movements



Web links

Wikibooks: Protestantism  - Learning and Teaching Materials

Individual evidence

  1. Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population. (PDF) (No longer available online.) In: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life . December 2011, p. 27 , archived from the original on September 4, 2018 ; accessed on May 8, 2019 (English, pdf; 12 MB).
  2. Christianity 2015: Religious Diversity and Personal Contact. In: January 2015, accessed May 29, 2015 .
  3. ^ Hans J. Hillerbrand: Encyclopedia of Protestantism: 4-volume set . Routledge, 2004, ISBN 978-1-135-96028-5 ( ).
  4. a b Ernst Wolf:  Protestantism . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 5, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1961, Sp. 648.
  5. evangelical . Merriam-Webster , accessed January 21, 2018.
  6. Hermann Fischer: Protestantism I . In: TRE . tape 27 . Berlin / New York 1997, p. 543 .
  7. ^ Kurt Nowak: History of Christianity in Germany. Religion, Politics and Society from the End of the Enlightenment to the Middle of the 20th Century . Munich 1995, p. 79 .
  8. ^ Kurt Nowak: History of Christianity in Germany. Religion, Politics and Society from the End of the Enlightenment to the Middle of the 20th Century . Munich 1995, p. 77-80 .
  9. Jan Rohls: Protestant Theology of the Modern Era I. The requirements and the 19th century . Tübingen 1997, p. 386-387 .
  10. Jan Rohls: Protestant Theology of the Modern Era I. The requirements and the 19th century . Tübingen 1997, p. 387-389 .
  11. ^ Kurt Nowak: History of Christianity in Germany. Religion, Politics and Society from the End of the Enlightenment to the Middle of the 20th Century . Munich 1995, p. 99-100 .
  12. Emanuel Hirsch: History of the modern Protestant theology . tape V . Gütersloh 1954, p. 184 .
  13. Emanuel Hirsch: History of the modern Protestant theology . tape V . Gütersloh 1954, p. 178-185 .
  14. Emanuel Hirsch: History of the modern Protestant theology . tape V . Gütersloh 1954, p. 185-196 .
  15. Emanuel Hirsch: History of the modern Protestant theology . tape V . Gütersloh 1954, p. 193 .
  16. ^ Georg Jellinek: The declaration of human and civil rights . 4th edition. Leipzig / Munich 1927, p. 42-50 .
  17. ^ Ernst Troeltsch: The social doctrines of the Christian churches and groups . Tübingen 1912, p. 912-914 .
  18. Jan Rohls: Protestant Theology of the Modern Age II. The 20th Century . Tübingen 1997, p. 124-125 .
  19. Already in the dissertation: Ernst Troeltsch: Vernunft and Revelation with Johann Gerhard and Melanchthon ; 1891; KGA 1, 204-206; as a basic thesis in: Ernst Troeltsch: Protestant Christianity and the Church of the Modern Age ; 1906, 2nd expanded edition 1909; KGA 7; de Gruyter, Berlin 2004. Corresponding explanations by Volker Drehsen and Christian Albrecht in the introduction to this volume.
  20. ^ Karl Barth: The Theology of the Reformed Confessional Scriptures (1923) . In: Ernst Busch (Ed.): Karl Barth Complete Edition . tape II.30 . Zurich 1998, p. 321-326 .
  21. Karl Barth: The first commandment as theological axiom (1933) . In: Karl Barth Complete Edition . tape III.6 . Zurich 2013, p. 234 .
  22. Karl Barth: The first commandment as theological axiom (1933) . In: Karl Barth Complete Edition . tape III.6 . Zurich 2013, p. 240 .
  23. ^ Paul Tillich: Protestantism as a critical and creative principle . In: GW . tape VII . Stuttgart 1962, p. 29-53 .
  24. ^ Paul Tillich: The lasting importance of the Catholic Church for Protestantism . In: GW . tape VII . Stuttgart 1962, p. 124-132 .
  25. Jörg Lauster: The Eternal Protest. Reformation as a principle . Munich 2017.
  26. Jörg Lauster: The Eternal Protest. Reformation as a principle . Munich 2017, p. 61 .
  27. Peter Blickle : The Reformation in the Empire. 2nd Edition. UTB 1181, Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-8001-2626-5 , p. 44.
  28. ^ Karl Heussi : Compendium of Church History. 11th edition. Mohr Siebeck , Tübingen 1956, pp. 386, 439.
  29. ^ Karl Heussi: Compendium of Church History. 11th edition. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1956, p. 319.
  30. Allen Weinstein, David Rubel: The Story of America: Freedom and Crisis from Settlement to Superpower. Agincourt Press, 2002, p. 52 ff.
    Robert Middlekauff: The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution 1763–1789. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 30 ff.
  31. ^ Karl Kupisch:  Frankfurt Parliament . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 2, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1958, Sp. 1024-1028.
  32. ^ Karl Heussi: Compendium. 1956, p. 325.
  33. Otto Weber:  Calvin . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 1, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1957, Sp. 1596.
  34. Georg Süssmann:  Science and Christianity . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 4, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1960, Sp. 1377-1382.
    C. Graf von Klinckowstroem:  Technology. Historical . In: Religion Past
    and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 4, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1960, Sp. 664-667.
  35. ^ I. Bernard Cohen (Ed.): Puritanism and the Rise of Modern Science: the Merton Thesis . Rutgers University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-8135-1530-0 .
  36. ^ Piotr Sztomka: Robert Merton. In: George Ritzer (Ed.): Blackwell Companion to Major Contermporary Social Theorists . Blackwell Publishing, 2003, ISBN 1-4051-0595-X .
  37. Jeremy Waldron, God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations in Locke's Political Thought. Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 15ff.
  38. After 1814 the writings of Descartes , Spinoza , Locke , Bayle , Voltaire , Rousseau , Friedrich II. , Lessing , Immanuel Kant , Leopold von Ranke and Hippolyte Taine were placed on the index Librorum Prohibitorum (list of forbidden books). Karl Heussi: Compendium , 1956, p. 444.
  39. Max Weber : The Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism.
  40. ^ D. Cantoni: The Economic Effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber Hypothesis in the German Lands . Forthcoming, Journal of the European Economic Association (pdf).
  41. ^ Gerhard Lenski: The Religious Factor: A Sociological Study of Religion's Impact on Politics, Economics, and Family Life. Garden City, NY, Revised Edition 1963, pp. 356-359.
  42. ^ Eduard Heimann:  Capitalism . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 3, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1959, Sp. 1136-1141.
  43. ^ Heinrich BornkammTolerance. In the history of Christianity . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 6, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1962, Sp. 937-938.
  44. ^ Heinrich Bornkamm:  Tolerance. In the history of Christianity . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 6, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1962, Sp. 942.
  45. ^ Karl Heussi: Compendium. 1956, p. 397.
  46. ^ Karl Heussi: Compendium of Church History. 1956, 11th edition, pp. 403, 424-425.
  47. Martin Elze: The Evangelical Lutheran Church. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2, Theiss, Stuttgart 2001-2007; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 , pp. 482-494 and 1305 f., Here: p. 486 f.
  48. ^ JM Back:  Cooperatives in economic life . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 3, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1959, Sp. 1387-1388.
    Wilhelm Dietrich: Cooperatives, Agricultural. In: Evangelisches Soziallexikon, 3rd edition. Kreuz-Verlag, Stuttgart, Sp. 411-412.
  49. ^ S. Wendt:  welfare state . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 6, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1962, Sp. 1796-1798.
  50. ^ R. Pfister:  Switzerland. Since the Reformation . In: Religion Past and Present (RGG). 3. Edition. Volume 5, Mohr-Siebeck, Tübingen 1961, Sp. 1614-1615.
  51. ^ Karl Heussi: Compendium. 1956, p. 319.