the English churches during Henry’s lifetime. •The Church of England was essentially the Catholic Church renamed and overseen locally instead of from faraway Rome.
The Church of England •The tide of Reform sweeping central and northern Europe was strong in the sixteenth century. •Once Henry VIII died, the leaders of the Church of England adopted many of the changes advocated by the Protestant Reformers. •It took more than a century for the tumult to settle. •Over the long run though, the Church of England remained closer to Catholicism than any of the other Protestant churches.
The Anglican & Episcopal Churches •Today, the Church of England lives on as the Anglican Church in England and the Episcopal Church in the United States (and elsewhere). •Its worship services are quite similar to those of Catholicism. •Like Catholicism, the Episcopal Church has a top-down bureaucratic structure with higher officials appointing and overseeing priests on a local level. •Episcopal priests can marry, however. •Mary and the saints are not venerated as they are in Catholicism, though greater attention is paid to them than in some other Protestant denominations.
The Radical Reformation •From the beginning of Luther’s agitation against the Catholic church, some Europeans caught up in the whirlwind of changing theology and shifting political alignments felt that Luther and other mainstream Protestant reformers were not going far enough. •Especially among the lower classes, the message received from the Protestant reformers was a strongly democratic, even anarchistic one. •If individuals were responsible for reading and interpreting scripture for themselves, the state should have no involvement in religion. •Perhaps it should not exist at all.
Muntzerites •The movement that called for an end to the religious authority of the state was called the Radical Reformation. •At the extreme were those, like Thomas Muntzer and his followers in Germany, who saw in the Protestant Reformation an opportunity to overthrow not only Roman Catholic priestly authority, but all civil authorities as well. •These revolts were quickly crushed, not by the Roman Catholic Church, but by the new Protestant churches, who were also intensely interested in preserving their authority.
Anabaptists •The Anabaptists formed another part of the Radical Reformation. •They were called “Anabaptists” (meaning “no baptism”) because they insisted that baptism should be a voluntary commitment on the part of an adult individual, as it was in the New Testament, and not a rite performed on unknowing infants. •Unlike the Muntzerites, the Anabaptists were pacifists, believing that true Christianity precluded any violence toward another human.
Anabaptists •Following the Protestant injunction of sola scriptura, Anabaptists turned to the New Testament and made a profound effort to live as the earliest Christians lived. •In their thinking, this meant that they, like the early Christians, must have no connection to civil government. •