Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism is popularly considered to have begun in Germany in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers.
However, the term derives from the letter of protestation from German Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict of the Diet of Speyer condemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical. Although there were earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider and modern movement. In the 16th century, Lutheranism spread from Germany into Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Iceland. Reformed denominations spread in Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland and France by reformers such as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox; the political separation of the Church of England from the pope under King Henry VIII began Anglicanism, bringing England and Wales into this broad Reformation movement. Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, many other fields. Protestantism is diverse, being more divided theologically and ecclesiastically than either the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, or Oriental Orthodoxy.
Without structural unity or central human authority, Protestants developed the concept of an invisible church, in contrast to the Roman Catholic view of the Catholic Church as the visible one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Some denominations do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership, while others are confined to a single country. A majority of Protestants are members of a handful of Protestant denominational families: Adventists, Anglicans, Reformed, Lutherans and Pentecostals. Nondenominational, charismatic and other churches are on the rise, constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity. Proponents of the branch theory consider Protestantism one of the three major divisions of Christendom, together with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodoxy. Six princes of the Holy Roman Empire and rulers of fourteen Imperial Free Cities, who issued a protest against the edict of the Diet of Speyer, were the first individuals to be called Protestants; the edict reversed concessions made to the Lutherans with the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V three years earlier.
The term protestant, though purely political in nature acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of any Western church which subscribed to the main Protestant principles. However, it is misused to mean any church outside the Roman and Eastern Orthodox communions. Protestantism as a general term is now used in contradistinction to the other major Christian traditions, i.e. Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. During the Reformation, the term protestant was hardly used outside of German politics. People who were involved in the religious movement used the word evangelical. For further details, see the section below. Protestant became a general term, meaning any adherent of the Reformation in the German-speaking area, it was somewhat taken up by Lutherans though Martin Luther himself insisted on Christian or evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. French and Swiss Protestants instead preferred the word reformed, which became a popular and alternative name for Calvinists.
The word evangelical, which refers to the gospel, was used for those involved in the religious movement in the German-speaking area beginning in 1517. Nowadays, evangelical is still preferred among some of the historical Protestant denominations in the Lutheran and United Protestant traditions in Europe, those with strong ties to them. Above all the term is used by Protestant bodies in the German-speaking area, such as the Evangelical Church in Germany. In continental Europe, an Evangelical is either a Calvinist, or a United Protestant; the German word evangelisch means Protestant, is different from the German evangelikal, which refers to churches shaped by Evangelicalism. The English word evangelical refers to evangelical Protestant churches, therefore to a certain part of Protestantism rather than to Protestantism as a whole; the English word traces its roots back to the Puritans in England, where Evangelicalism originated, was brought to the United States. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term evangelical, derived from euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "gospel".
The followers of
Gottfried Arnold was a German Lutheran theologian and historian. Arnold was born in Saxony, where his father was schoolmaster. In 1682 he went to the Gymnasium at Gera, three years to the University of Wittenberg. Here made a special study of theology and history, afterwards, through the influence of Philip Jacob Spener, the father of pietism, became tutor in Quedlinburg, his first work, Die Erste Liebe zu Christo, appeared in 1696. It went through five editions before 1728, gained the author a high reputation. In the year after its publication he was invited to Gießen as professor of church history, he disliked academic politics and academic life so much that he resigned in 1698, returned to Wittenberg. The next year he began to publish his largest work, his Unparteyische Kirchen- und Ketzer-historie, two hefty volumes in which some thought he showed more sympathy towards heresy than towards any established Church, or the clergy; this book is described by Tolstoy as “remarkable, although little known.”
In this major revision of church history, Arnold directed his sharpest criticism against those who wrote biased apologetic “orthodox” histories instead of trying to understand where substantial religious differences came from. In his view, “heresy making” was the defensive reaction of those in authority, rather than a true indictment of unconventional thinkers, he thought that the worst calamity in Church history was its establishment as the accepted and orthodox faith by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. Arnold evinced a remarkable sympathy for a huge variety of “heretics.” This “impartial history” exercised a wide influence on the German Enlightenment and won approval from such thinkers as Johann Wolfgang Goethe in addition to Leo Tolstoy. His next work, Geheimniss der göttlichen Sophia, showed that he had developed a form of mysticism including a female image of wisdom as a kind of divinity. Soon afterwards, his marriage and his acceptance of a pastorate marked a sharp change of views, he produced a number of noteworthy works on practical theology.
He was a learned and prominent Pietist Lutheran, with a wide range of influence, at least in his early career a radical Pietist, vehemently opposed to the unbending ecclesiastical structures of his time. His sacred poems made a substantial contribution to the treasury of hymns within the Lutheran church, a poem of his was used by Johann Sebastian Bach. Peter C. Erb, Pietists and Mysticism: The use of late medieval spiritual texts in the work of Gottfried Arnold Dietrich Blaufuss and Friedrich Niewöhner, eds. Gottfried Arnold. Mit einer Bibliographie der Arnold Literatur ab 1714 One of the important contributions to this volume is Reinhard Breymayer: “Der wiederentdeckte Katalog zur Bibliothek Gottfried Arnolds,” pp. 55–143. Contents: scholarly articles, pp. 1–336. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Arnold, Gottfried". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press
Laestadianism known as Laestadian Lutheranism and Apostolic Lutheranism, is a pietistic Lutheran revival movement started in Lapland in the middle of the 19th century. Named after Swedish Lutheran state church administrator and temperance movement leader Lars Levi Laestadius, it is the biggest pietistic revivalist movement in the Nordic countries, it has members in Finland, North America, Norway and Sweden. There are smaller congregations in Africa, South America and Central Europe. In addition Laestadians have missionaries in 23 countries; the number of Laestadians worldwide is estimated to be between 144,000 and 219,000. Most Laestadians in Finland are part of the national Lutheran Church of Finland, but in America, where there is no official Lutheran church, they founded their own denomination, which split into several sub-groups in the mid-20th century; because of doctrinal opinion differences and personality conflicts, the movement split into 19 branches, of which about 15 are active today.
The three large main branches are Conservative Laestadianism. These comprise about 90 percent of Laestadians. Other branches are small and some of them inactive. In Finland, the Elämän Sana group, as the most "mainline" of the different branches of Laestadianism, has been prominent within the hierarchy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland: Two members have been elected bishops of Oulu, one has served as Chaplain General. All branches share many essential teachings including a central emphasis on the Lutheran doctrine of justification. Another core teaching concerns essential differences in lifestyle and beliefs between true believers on one hand, false Christians and unbelievers on the other; the leaders of the two largest Laestadian sub-groups, the Conservative Laestadians and Firstborn Laestadians, have for decades excluded each other and all other Laestadian sub-groups from the kingdom of Heaven though the denominations' core doctrines are nearly indistinguishable. The leadership of the smaller third main sub-group, the Federation, has continued to regard the other sub-groups as of living faith, after having unsuccessfully sought to preserve unity within Laestadianism when its larger counterparts' leaders in the 1930s called for, required, dissociation from the Federation and other Laestadian denominations.
The church teaches that every believer has the authority to testify that others' sins are forgiven, sometimes referred to as the audible declaration of the forgiveness of sins. Laestadians proclaim the forgiveness of sins "in Jesus' name and blood". Laestadianism holds that when a Christian has committed a sin, whether in thought or deed, she or he should confess the sin to another believer, thus it is a common practice among Laestadians in or out of church at any time, but during the church service prior to the rite of holy communion, to be confessing their sins to one another or to one of the church ministers performing the sacrament. A common declaration is, "Believe your sin forgiven in Jesus' name and blood." This procedure, ingrained in Laestadianism, differs from absolution in mainstream Lutheran churches in several aspects, including that the request for forgiveness need not be, most is not, to the minister. Because a Laestadian takes seriously the proposition that grace exists only for one whose sins have been forgiven, there is scarcely another rite in this movement that would rival the importance of the declaration of forgiveness.
This doctrine is a unique extension of the priesthood of the believer doctrine. When greeting each other, Laestadians say "God's Peace" in English. To take their leave of each other, they say "God's peace" in English. "Worldliness" is discouraged, Laestadians frown on pre-marital sex and on alcohol consumption except in the sacrament of holy communion. Conservative Laestadians frown upon worldly vices such as dancing, birth control, rhythmic music, make-up, movies and cursing; some conservative elements within the church go further in rejecting the ways of the world, for examples, refusing to buy insurance, prohibiting their children's participation in organized school sports, removing their car radios. Large numbers of Firstborn Apostolic Lutherans and many members of the most conservative congregations within the Word of Peace group, for examples, do not use birth control because they believe that a child is a gift from God; the central activities of Laestadians are annual or more frequent church conventions, including the Summer Services of Conservative Laestadians, attended by members from congregations far and wide.
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original