The seeds of the Protestant Reformation were sewn in the churches many abuses of power; both political and religiously. Important positions were given away to relatives of the clergy or bought by the wealthy enough to afford them. The Renaissance was getting under way and people of the laity began to ask questions of their religious leaders.
The brief move of the Church base to Avignon served to weaken the papacy faster. It occurred in a time when the nations of Europe were beginning to more clearly establish themselves as separate nations where that the rulers were the highest authority within their borders, not the Church in Rome. Kings and queens could see that the Church was using it’s influence to rule for them in some cases.
It was these and other grievances which prompted Martin Luther to post his Ninety Five Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. They outlined his observations of how the Church had strayed. Among them were the sale of indulgences or paying the church to be absolved f sins, the notion that only those of the church could interpret the bible (namely because at the time the bible and church services were suppose to be in Latin-the language of the papacy), and the fact that Jesus lead a life of poverty that the church did not exemplify. Luther also contended that there was no actually basis for acts of penance as a way to ask for forgiveness or for the power the papacy held in the bible. Luther also compared the current Church to Babylon in his “Babylonia Captivity of the Church” essay and as a result, his works were banned and it was declared a serious crime to have any association with him. With the help of friends, he continued his writings and work for reformation until his death.
John Calvin added to the growing reformation several ideas including the idea of God as the one true governing body and original sin and how it resulted in the fall of humanity from divine creation to it’s base nature. From the works...