Abstract and Keywords
Protestant Christianity originated in Europe and, although currently found throughout the world, is still characterized by its European origins. Its most distinctive social feature is its structural plurality. Despite their long history of division, the pluralism of Protestants has led them to search for an apparent unity within all Christian churches. Hence, plurality offers opportunities as well as obstacles and is a vital mark of Protestant self-identity in an era of globalization. The ecclesia semper reformanda, or constant renewal of the church, aims at the true God-given church. The main Protestant confessions of Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Zwinglinism developed from small groups in the sixteenth century into established churches. At the same time, however, the pre-reformatory movements of the Waldensian and the Bohemian brothers as well as the post-reformatory Baptists, Congregationalists, and Methodists developed into free churches. Both developments are mirrored in their relation to the state. Protestantism made secularization possible. The rediscovery of the spiritual dimension in Protestant communities can be regarded as a reaction to the secularized Protestant habitus.
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