“What is a Protest-ant?” 


Chapter 12, Page 113 –

What is a Protestant? Or let’s say it this way: What is a Protest-ant? 

In 1517 [Martin Luther] nailed a list of 95 Theses or Beliefs to the church door, principles on which he took issue with the Mother Church. Call to mind that at this time there was only one Christian church recognized in Europe. And remember also that in 1521 at the Diet of Worms, Luther’s teachings were condemned as heresy and the people propagating his teachings as heretics, allowing them to be persecuted and even put to death. 

In 1526 at the Diet of Speyer the German princes decided that each ruler could decide which religion would be upheld in his own territory. Essentially, this put on hold the edicts of persecution and death from Worms.

In 1529 the Second Diet of Speyer reversed this decision, deciding rather that the Holy Roman Empire would force all rulers to recognize the Mother Church and abide by its edicts. In response, several German Princes “protested”. They “spoke for” the right of their subjects to hold to their own religion, which is the meaning of “pro-test.” “Pro” is Latin for “for” or “in favor of” and “test” is Latin for “to speak up or about” from which we get the word “testify”. The German Princes “spoke up in favor of” allowing those they represented to follow their conscience in religious matters and against the coercive edicts of the Mother Church.

At that meeting the German Princes “protested.” At the Second Diet of Speyer in 1529, for the first time, the word “Protestant” was used to designate those who spoke for the right to hold to their own religion and who spoke against the errors being taught by the Mother Church.