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James Jordan on the Forgotten Reformation

The Protestant Reformation was a reform movement within Western Catholic Christendom, not a revolt against it. While there were some movements at the time of the Reformation that continued various revolutionary medieval outbursts, and others that extended medieval notions of separated and highly discipled pacifist communities, these were not part of the Protestant movement itself.

The word “protestant” comes from the latin “pro” meaning “before” and “sto, stare, status” meaning “stand.” To protest is to “stand before” someone, either to make a positive declaration or to make a criticism. Protestantism was both a declaration against various corruptions of liturgy, life, and doctrine in the Western Church, and a declaration in favor of Biblical and patristic understandings of the Church and Christendom.