The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, was a devout Catholic and certainly didn’t like or approve of areas within his empire adopting “heretical” views and forms of worship. But, politically, there was little he could do about it at first. Shortly after the Diet of Worms, the Holy Roman Empire was both attacked by the Turks, and got re-involved in the on-going war with France in Italy. With two wars going on, Charles could not alienate any of his major princes by insisting they hew to his religious orthodoxy. So, in 1526, Charles called a meeting, or Diet, at Speyer. At this first Diet of Speyer, Charles agreed to allow the ruler of an area to decide whether or not to bring in Luther’s religious changes. This was known as the principle of cuius regio, eius religio– literally, “his realm, his religion,” meaning that the religion of an area will be decided by its ruler.By 1529, Charles was winning both wars, so he decided to take a tougher stance on Lutheranism. That year, Charles called a second Diet of Speyerin which he ordered Catholic orthodoxy practiced throughout the Holy Roman Empire. By then, six major princes and fourteen independent citieshad become Lutheran, and they protested this violation of the principle of cuius regio, eius religio, hence earning the nickname “Protestants,” which came to apply to all those who rejected papal authority and adhered to the fundamental religious tenets that originated with Luther. While Protestantism would develop several offshoots, all of them retained certain common characteristics, what we might call the “Protestant Consensus:”1. Justification (or salvation) came by faith alone, as opposed to faith and works.
2. The only authority for religious belief was the Bible.3. Both the Bible and religious services were in the vernacular (local language.)4. The only sacraments recognized as sacraments were baptism and communion; in regard to communion, Protestants rejected transubstantiation, the idea that the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ.5. Since ordination was no longer a sacrament and works like celibacy no longer gained special spiritual merit, Protestants rejected monasticism and allowed their clergy, whom they called a minister or a pastor instead of a priest, to marry.6. Protestants rejected all other things which derived from a belief in works or an inequality in spiritual merit among the saved, including: purgatory, indulgences, the cult of the saints, veneration of theVirgin Mary, and pilgrimages.7. Protestants rejected the authority of the pope.In 1530, the Emperor Charles decided to try a more conciliatory approach. Surely these religious differences could be resolved? So Charles called for another meeting, the Diet of Augsburg, and invited both the Lutherans and the Catholics to come and resolve their differences. In preparation for this meeting, Luther’s right-hand man, Philip Melanchthon, drew up a comprehensive statement of Lutheran beliefs, known as the Augsburg Confession. This became the starting point for debate, which broke downagain and again on the issue of salvation by faith alone or faith and works. Finally, angry and impatient,
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