Protestant (Four Family ‘sub’ groups) – A term used to describe those Christians who sought to “reform” the Roman Catholic church. Contrary to popular misnomer, the word did not arise as a result of “protesting” the Pope or the Roman Catholic church. Rather, the etymology of “Protestant” is tied to a group of German princes, civic centers, and authorities all of whom voiced their dissent from the Diet of Speyer which was decidedly against Luther reforms. It has since come to be known as a term for “anti papist” groups and although it primarily referred to German reformers (Lutherans) and the term “Reformed Churches” referred to Swiss and French reformers, the term protestant has today come to represent all denominations besides the Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox denominations.
Started by Martin Luther and although some Lutheran pastors have left to join or start other movements, Lutherans have tended to produce other varieties of Lutherans but there have been no other significant denominations that broke from the Lutheran tradition and subsequently trace their roots to Luther. I believe that this can be considered a credit to Lutheran unity.
Martin Luther 1517 A.D.)
Martin Luther was a staunch Catholic Monk that became fed up with the
Catholic practice of indulgences (donating to the Church in order to
relieve or remove a soul from purgatory). Luther posted his 95 thesis on
the Castle Door at Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. Denouncing this and
other practices whereby the authority of the Church and the Pope were
seen to tread on the authority of God Almighty and of the Believer.
Today, the liturgy would be considered “high church” or “orthodox” in practice, however, in America there is a movement among many Lutheran churches to provide a contemporary worship – with guitars, drums, and contemporary worship music. Ultimately, the main differences between this and the Catholic church is the authority of Scripture superseding the authority of the Pope and Catholic Church (both of which hold no authority in the Lutheran Denomination), the absence of “Icons” (religious statues – often given a sort of “mediator” status whereby they can receive honor and prayers on behalf of the Saint they (the statues) represent.), Lutheran Ministers can marry, Salvation to the Lutheran is by Grace through Faith as opposed to Sacramental observation and adherence to Church authority.