The aspiration or tendency to return to a religious
life in accordance with the Protestant spirit.
The entirety of the religious
movements of the church reform movement promoted by
Lutero, who proposed a more personal encounter with the Bible
and its "free examination" of the same by all its believers, the
abolition of indulgences, the reduction of the sacraments, the
abolition of ecclesiastical celibacy. The name derives from the
protest which the princes and Lutheran cities of Germany raised on
the Diet of Speyer (1529) against the decision of the emperor
Charles V to execute Luther's sentence on behalf of the pope. The
first forms of Protestantism were Lutheranism, Zwinglism,
Calvinism, Anglicanism; other more radical currents subsequently
developed (Anabaptists, Spiritualists etc.).
Beyond the diversities, the various protestant churches claim sovereignty of the grace of God that is the only saviour of man. Three unified and extremely diverse moments of the protestant church doctrine can be identified. The first unifying moment is the return to the Bible, it being the source of faith for Christians and for their work in the world; the second is the judgement concerning the systems and institutions of the Church, considered valid according to the service they are to carry out in testifying the faith, yet absolutely not fundamental or without intrinsic value; the third link amongst the numerous Protestant communities is the importance given to the carrying out of the faith by the single Christians, called to testify the faith in the world through their personal life conduct. Currently, the pattern of the confessions and communities that relate to Protestantism is extremely varied.
The most numerous confessional protestant community community is made up of the Lutheran or Evangelical Churches. The Protestant and Presbyterian Churches relate to the Calvinist tradition. The Anglican Church is rooted in Great Britain and in the USA. In the 18th century the Methodist Church developed from the Anglican stock, with which the Waldensian Church in Italy has integrated. The Quakers, the Baptist Church and the Pentecostalism trends derive from the more radical trends of Protestantism.