Scriptures or by clear reason, for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves, I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise.”
In May, 1521 the emperor signed the Edict of Worms, which declared Luther to be an outlaw whom anyone could kill without punishment. Luther led the Protestant movement until his death in 1546. Without Luther’s leadership, the light was short lived. In 1555 the Holy Roman Empire officially recognized the Lutheran Churches.
In 1520 King Gustavus I of Sweden took over much church property and introduced Lutheranism in Sweden and Finland. In 1536 King Christian of Denmark made Lutheranism the state religion.
In France a series of religious wars from 1562-1598. The pro Catholic party murdered thousands of Huguenots, (a protestant group).
England broke from the Catholic Church in 1534 because Pope Clement VII would not annul Henry VIII’s marriage to his first wife. The British parliament passed the Act of Supremacy which made the Monarch the head of the church. As the new head of the church Henry VIII, was soon free to divorce his first wife Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn.
Queen Mary I, known as “Bloody Mary” restored much of the Catholic teachings; however, protestant teaching by John Calvin gained some converts. These Puritans opposed Anglicanism because it was episcopal, (meaning governed by bishops).
In 1560 John Knox introduced Calvin’s teaching and presbyterian system in Scotland and the Scots soon adopted Protestantism as the state religion. Irish remained loyal Catholics. This loyalty still causes a serious conflict today between Catholics and the Protestants which colonized Northern Ireland.
With the discovery of America a new conflict began. Common people longing for freedom of religion started settling North America. The Roman Catholic Church seeing new opportunity started sending their armies into Mexico, Central and South America to teach those heathens religion, again at the point of a spear or sword.
The settlers in North America formed colonies and in 1776 declared their independence from England. Their new government adopted a form of government based on freedom of religion. Their new constitution guarantees that they will not impose any religion on the people, but will allow each individual to worship God as they feel is right.
People came from all parts of the world to settle this new world. They brought with them a great variety of beliefs. All of their various beliefs were tolerated in this new world. Churches sprang up in every village. The United States of America was based on the principle of “In God We Trust.” Everyone was finally free from state run churches and able to worship God as they believed to the dictates of their own heart.
Samuel Wesley, 1662-1735, was at first a dissenter from the Church of England; however, in his later life he converted back to the Church of England.
John Wesley, 1703-1791, son of Samuel, was a leader of the Holy Club, a club formed by his Brother Charles Wesley. This club attempted to lead a Christian life through method, (discipline).
John went as a chaplain to the Georgia colonies, 1735-1738, in hope to convert the Indians, (not as much to save their souls), but as penance to save his own soul. (World