Protestantism is an umbrella term that was given to a collection of traditions that came into existence following the Reformation. From out of the Religious revolutions of the early 1500’s, this collection of traditions and beliefs emerged.
Calls within the church for reform were becoming more and more insistent. Complaints about abuses were on the increase. Complaints that centered on the money hungry bureaucracy, the practice of concubines by too many members of clergy that were sworn to celibacy and the strife among the religious and military alliances.
Doctrinal misunderstandings concerning the practice of indulgences (payments to excuse sin), and the Grace won by Christ for believers, was confusing for many. When attempts to bring reform to the Roman Church internally failed, the result was the formation of a number of churches separating from papal authority.
The driving force behind the Reformation was Martin Luther’s famous 95 Theses, which he said, was nailed on the door of the church in Wittenberg in 1517. Martin Luther was a professor of Theology, whose intent was not to separate from the Roman Church by posting his 95 Theses, but to address matters of salvation that concerned him. Martin Luther became convinced that faith alone justified the Christian, which was in conflict with the doctrines of indulgences and need for good works. While Christians recognize that works are essential, they believe they are a result of God’s forgiveness and Grace.
Over the next few years debate over doctrinal issues led to much conflict with church authorities and in 1521 Martin Luther was excommunicated by the Pope and condemned by the Holy Roman Empire.
The Protestant Believers were united on these beliefs:
Denying the universal authority of the pope.
Affirming the Reformation Principles of justification by faith alone.
The Priesthood for all Believers.
The Bible is the only source of infallible, revealed truth.
Some of the many Religions that have come out of the Reformation are; The Anglican Church also known as Episcopal Church in America, The Lutheran, Methodist, Adventist, Baptist, Congregationalism, Pentecostalism, Church of God, Assemblies of God, Presbyterians, and Fundamentalism.
Based on the very broad scope of denominations under the Protestantism umbrella, it is difficult to attempt to generalize any doctrines, beliefs or faith.