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The Protastant Reformation Weakened the Christian Church

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,068 times Debate No: 72954
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
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First round to accept argument.


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Debate Round No. 1


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The Protestant reformation was the religious upheaval of the 16th century that lead to the disunity of Organized Christianity in the Western world. I am arguing that the fallout from the Protestant Reformation, and specifically the splintering of the Catholic church, lead to a politically, socially, and spiritually weaker Christian church (meaning organized Christianity.)

Social Weakness

The fragmentation of the church caused by the protestant reformation drastically reduced the church's economic power; and thus their ability to promote social change through their various institutions, i.e schools, orphanages, hospitals, etc. The various denominations of economic power would be stronger combined than they are separated.

Political Weakness

The fragmented church caused by the protestant reformation lacks the unity needed to effect social change through democracy. One example is the divisions between Christian denominations about abortion. If their position was the same they would hold a larger voice in the political landscape of today.

Spiritual Weakness

The descent into denominationalism caused competition between the different churches. This competition urges the leaders of these churches to have doctrines that appeal to their congregations instead of doctrines that are meant to "save" their congregation. An example of this is the prosperity theology practiced by many denominations today.


Opening Statement:
:::::I want to make it clear
that I am a Christian, and while not Catholic, I do not believe that the Catholic church of today is bad, or wrong. I do not identify with the practices of the church, and by saying the Pre-Reformation church was evil and wrong does NOT mean I think Catholics of today are evil or wrong! I view them as fellow Christians, and want that to be abundantly clear:::::

Con Case:
I do not believe that the Reformation made the spirituality of Christianity any weaker. This is plainly visible because the BASIC tenants of Christianity were not being followed by the church at the times, and if the church is not following these things, then it being overthrown can not weaken Christianity as a belief. I contend that the Reformation STRENGTHENED Christianity.

Argument 1: Pre- Reformation the Catholic Church was unchecked, powerful, and corrupt: The Catholic church pre 1517 (Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses) was engaged in MANY non-biblical, non Christian practices. The one that sparked Martin Luther over the edge was the selling of Indulgences, which is found nowhere in scripture and was a ploy to gain massive wealth for the church. Also, as a result of the reformation people got Bibles in languages they could read, which would never had been allowed by the Church, which valued power and money over truth.

Argument 2: The Church strayed from the teachings of Christ, despite claiming Christianity: This is a severe issue. The point of the Reformation was that people did not agree with some of the teachings of the church, and instead of being heard they were hunted down and killed. These included the worship of Mary, selling of Indulgences, most of the sacraments, and the authority of the Pope. All of these things were never talked about by Christ, and not explicitly spelled out in the Bible, and things that WERE specifically talked about by Jesus, such as they way to Heaven, were being ignored. The church at that time therefore lost its relevance, and the leadership must be overthrown and the church's values be re-established. Which, post-Reformation indulgences, and several other practices were removed. This is proof that they were wrong, and that the Reformation was necessary to remove them.

Arguments 3:The Catholic Church OF THAT TIME was weakening Christianity: Meaning NOT the Church of today. It was teaching people wrong things, stealing, lying, and poisoning the name of Christianity. There were no positive aspects, and things had to change. My point is, if The Church itself was weakening Christianity by teaching lies and non-Christian principles, then its removal will strengthen Christianity as a belief, and Organized Christianity (Churches) of the future generations.

On My Opponents case:

Social Weakness: No kidding it took their economic power! But lets be clear, money isn't necessary to be kind to others and treat them as neighbors and love them and meet their needs. The Church was not teaching these things, the things Jesus taught. The second they strayed from His word, they lost all right to any money, despite the "good" they may do with it.

Political Weakness: Christians of that time period never considered abortion okay, secular governments up till recently never considered abortions okay. This is a large stretch, and while I understand the argument it does not make a solid point. The true political weakness pre-reformation was the Catholic Church's vice grip on the throat of Europe, taking peoples money and having an un-checked influence on their minds.

Spiritual Weakness: While this is true, the Catholic church had already strayed so far from the teachings of Jesus, something HAD to be done. The greater spiritual weakness was the belief that you could buy salvation from the Church. Can't get much more spiritually weak than that. The reformation gave people a choice, and a Bible to read to make that decision with. The "competition" may not be optimal, but since the Church was teaching BUYING salvation was possible, I believe this corruption was more pressing than different understandings of the Bible. And who knows how far downhill the teachings would have gone by today had there been no Reformation

Debate Round No. 2


General Response to Con's Argument:

The con purposes that the Protestant reformation strengthened Christianity by exposing the faults in the Catholic Church, and eventually separating entirely from the Church. I agree that the Protestant Reformation and its leaders largely proved to be honest critics; and spurned some positive change in Christianity as a whole. However, I argue that the positive changes from the Reformation are overshadowed by its negative consequences. The short term benefits don't compare to the long term effects caused by the split of the Church.

The Con's argument also supposes a sort of moral superiority of the instigators of the Protestant Reformation and the early Protestant Churches. I reject this claim of moral superiority; and argue that the split of the Church, caused by the Protestant reformation, neither stopped or slowed down corruption in Christianity. In fact it spread corruption by drastically increasing the numbers of corrupters in the Church.

Con's Argument :1 Pre- Reformation the Catholic Church was unchecked, powerful, and corrupt:

The Catholic Church was unchecked, powerful, and corrupt. However the solution is not to replace the Catholic Church with a far less powerful, just as corrupt, indefinite number of loosely organized institutions that are largely void of any accountability. The Protestant reformation promoted and introduced denominationalism in Christianity. That is Protestants accepted an infinite amount of different denominations and theologies to all be accepted equally. This produced both righteous and unrighteous doctrines and teachings that have to answer to no authority. I again want to bring up the example of prosperity preachers. Or the example of the Church of England; a church that was created and ran by the King of England. The splitting of the Church led to more corruption. The splitting of the Church also led to a lack of accountability on the Protestants; by allowing any minister to interpret and preach the gospel in any way they seen fit, and still be labeled as Christians.

Cons Argument 2: The Church strayed from the teachings of Christ, despite claiming Christianity:

Con's argument largely supposes the moral superiority of the Protestant Church. However, the splitting of the Church itself goes against both Jesus' and biblical teachings. Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. Corinthians 1:12-13 What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? The Protestant Reformation is largely based on the idea of division. Mark Luther founded a doctrine called Universal Priesthood which states that ordinary Christians share a common priest hood

The Con also claims that the wrong doing of the Catholic Church could have only been corrected by being overthrown. This is false. Even while these wrong doings were widespread in the Catholic Church it faced criticism by leaders in the Catholic Church. And the practices were eventually eradicated by the Catholic Church's own process. This issue is equitable to disagreements in government. If their is an issue in congress and the Republicans cant pass a bill. Is it wise for the Republican congress to advocate for a split in the Government. It is wiser to try and make the change through the established process.

Con's Arguments 3:The Catholic Church OF THAT TIME was weakening Christianity:

Again Con's argument is supposing a moral superiority of the Protestants and their reformation. The hard truth is that any institution ran by man will have its flaws. The Protestant reformation didn't put an end to corruption in organized Christianity.

Social Weakness

A Church fundamentally is supposed to provide a social good. They do this mainly by spreading love and hope through the Gospel. They also provide material help by giving away food, taking care of orphans, starting and running schools, hospitals, etc. They do this with the tithes they receive from there congregation. However with the Church fragmented the way it is the individual financial power to promote and influence change is drastically decreased. The question I think is fundamental here is: should Christians pay tithes to keep the light on in their Church? Or should they pay tithes to keep the light spreading throughout the world?

Political Weakness

Why did the Catholic Church have a vice grip on Europe? It was the unity of the believers. This political power shaped itself to have influence in this time of monarchism and feudalism. This power manifested itself in sometimes brutal and manipulative ways. However this type of governance wasn't unusual for its times. This power would have transformed and evolved with systems of Government. It would have held power in the democratic governments today; only if the believers would have stayed united.

Spiritual Weakness:

In the Catholic Church its disciplines, government, and penance can all be changed across the world in unison. For example the restrictions on the selling of indulgences at the Council of Trent in 1562. Or the change allowing the mass to be done in the congregations common tongue at the second Vatican counsel in 1962. The point is that mistakes can be corrected in the Catholic Church. However in the style of Church formed by the Protestant Reformation and advocated by Martin Luther, this type of organization is lost. Churches can teach whatever it is that they want, with the only form of pressure to be accountable coming in the form of tithes and offerings. This denominationalism leads to unholy doctrines.


I will begin by addressing my opponent’s statement about "Moral Superiority". There is no such thing. There is God's morals set forth by His words and teachings, and then there is immorality. In other words, if you are not following the Word of God in your church, you have complete control over Europe, you are killing people that think otherwise, and you are disregarding the teachings of Christ, then you are not moral at all.

Martin Luther was not a perfect person, but the point he was making is that the church was completely straying from the teachings they were supposed to be teaching, they were selling salvation, marketing hate, and killing in the name of Christ, all of which were wrong and non-Christian.

Rebuttals and defense of my case:

Argument 1:
There was no accountability on the Catholic church! No one was powerful enough to question it because everyone who did was cut down. If you are admitting there was a corruption problem, then you are admitting something must be done. And you keep complaining about "Denominationalism". Christianity is the RELIGION. That is the belief. At the end of the day, there is no difference in the Christ-based belief of Catholics and Baptists, Methodists, or Presbyterians. This mindset is wrong. Christ did not say to do lots of things that lots of denominations do, but He definitely said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."(John 14:6) Yet the church sold indulgences. I argue that no amount of denominationalism is as bad for Christianity as SELLING SALVATION. Jesus told his disciples to refuse payment for doing miracles, and yet here salvation was being sold. This to me is the pinnacle of corruption.

Argument 2: Again, there is no "moral superiority". There is moral superiority in the Bible. My brother, you misunderstand the meaning of the passage in Corinthians. Both of these are talking about being unified as a body of believers who are following Christ. The Catholic Church at this time was NOT following Christ. In any way. This is what Jesus has to say about corrupt religious leaders:

Matthew 23 8-12, 27-28 "8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. "

The only problem is you are assuming that the leaders of the church of that time had honest, goodhearted motives. They did not, and the very fact that they could sell salvation is proof of this fact. That is not a heart yearning after God. That is a corrupt, evil, self-seeking heart.

2 Corinthians 2:17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

I honestly have lost all interest in this debate. It has turned into a religion debate, which I feel is a waste of our time as fellow Christians. The simple matter is, the Church of that time was evil and corrupt, with no hope of change. The protestant church strengthened Christianity by giving people true freedom to seek God. You ignore that they taught lies, the people had no way to read Gods word, sold salvation, and it is only because of the Reformation that people of the time got Bibles in languages they could read.

//::On PROs Case::\\

Social weakness:

"They do this mainly by spreading love and hope through the Gospel."

1) They were not teaching the Gospel

2) You keep talking about "prosperity preachers"... the bible warns of these. The Catholic church of that time falls under this category as well

3) On your question, obviously they should choose to spread the light around the world, but you dont need purchased salvation and unbiblical teachings to do this.

Political Weakness:

You keep saying it was a unity of believers. NOT IF THEY ALL HAD BOUGHT SALVATION! This is the POINT I am trying to make here that you keep ignoring. Yeah, the church was on a fast track to being a government. They stole money, lied, and killed people who didn’t agree with them, and refused to admit they were wrong or change.

Spiritual Weakness:

The ONLY REASON the Council of Trent was called was to Re-emphasize Catholic beliefs in the face of Protestantism. Strange that both of these reforms were disputed in the past and nothing had been done. "This denominationalism leads to unholy doctrines." The MOST unholy doctrine, is the selling of Indulgences.

The Bible doesn’t discuss the need for Church accountability to any Higher Power except God, and we have examples of the Catholic leadership failing to keep the teachings of Christ. This was the true weakness to Christianity

Debate Round No. 3


HumbleAfrican forfeited this round.


BootsWithDefer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


My opponents lone argument is that the Catholic Church was too wicked and corrupt to run the Church; and so the Protestant Reformation helped Organized Christianity by ripping it apart and allowing half the Church to practice Christianity however they seen fit. I argue that the split of the Church, caused by the Protestant Reformation, is the worse thing that has happened to organized Christianity. I argue that the Protestant Reformation led to denominationalism and a fractured Church. I argue that this led to politically incohesive and financially weak church.

Corruption and Indulgences

My opponents lone argument is, again, that the corruption of the Catholic Church was so great that it had to lose its power. I have dealt with this argument in previous rounds by stating that the Catholic Church was corrupt, but yet able to change; which was proved in the Council of Trent. My other response, which I would like to focus on now, was that the Protestant branch of Christianity led to an ever increasing amount of corruption in Christianity. MY OPPONENT HAS NEVER ADDRESSED THIS. His only response was -"The protestant church being "right" or "wrong" in view of Catholic faith is inconsequential in determining whether or not the Catholic church of that time was wrong or right." He is right that the morality of the Protestant faith is inconsequential in determining the morality of the Catholic faith. However this by no means, means that the morality of the Protestants faith is off limits or irrelevant in this debate. To the contrary the morality of the Protestant belief comes in direct question when the Con argues that the reason the Protestant belief was formed was to give believers a choice other than the wicked Catholic Church.

I argue that from the very beginning the Protestant Reformation promoted a breeding ground for corruption in the church and has led to the #1 source of corruption in Christianity today. I would like to shed light on Britain's split from Catholicism. This split wasn't done for any righteous or noble reasons. It was done so King Henry VIII could do as he pleased without interference from the Church. King Henry VIII stole all of the Catholic Churches land and money to support his wars. He forced conversion on his subjects and killed Catholics for heresy. Is this not corruption? Is this righteous?

These videos serve as proof of the very evil and increasingly popular theology of seed faith or prosperity doctrine. Preachers basically manipulate scriptures to teach their congregation that if you give the church money you will in return get blessings; usually in the form of money. Selling indulgences is basically the same thing; except their selling forgiveness of sins. They're both evil. However Con says the Protestant Reformation primary goal was to stop this from happening. It failed. It not only failed, it made the problem WORSE.

Con's claims that the Protestant Reformation strengthened Christianity by creating an option for people to get away from the corrupt and evil Catholic Church is null and void, because the Protestant Reformation itself created a plethora of churches who weren't following the basic tenants of Christianity, were unchecked and corrupt, and finally vastly less powerful!!! At best the Protestant Reformation gave people a choice between two evil entities.
"...a supernatural Religion involves an absolute authority, and Private Judgment in matters of faith is nothing else than the beginning of disintegration"- Lord of The World

The universal priesthood doctrine, established by Martin Luther, has caused those within the Christian faith do descend into denominationalism. This has weakened the Church economically spiritually, socially, and politically. I laid out my argument in previous rounds.

Today there is estimated to be anywhere between 30,000 and 40,000 different Christian denominations. In America alone there are an estimated 350,000 disassociated Christian congregations. Its a shame to see 4-5 churches in a five block radius. Or a small town with three competing churches. A competition for tithes has fueled sugared down gospels. Churches have caused confusion by being on different sides of issues. It has made Christianity weaker.


The pros and cons of the Protestant Reformation heavily favors the con. The pros of the protestant reformation are minimal. Corruption in the Church wasn't eradicated. Unholy doctrines are still preached. Preachers are still attempting to sell God's grace. The power of unity, that the Protestant Reformation destroyed, is the cause for many of the troubles that the modern Christian Churches face today.


BootsWithDefer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by HumbleAfrican 1 year ago
Sorry busy weekend. I'll make a closing argument though
Posted by BootsWithDefer 1 year ago
I honestly have lost all interest in this debate. It has turned into a religion debate, which I feel is a waste of our time as fellow Christians. The simple matter is, the Church of that time was evil and corrupt, with no hope of change. The protestant REFORMATION strengthened Christianity by giving people true freedom to seek God. You ignore that they taught lies, the people had no way to read Gods word, sold salvation, and it is only because of the Reformation that people of the time got Bibles in languages they could read.

The protestant church being "right" or "wrong" in view of Catholic faith is inconsequential in determining whether or not the Catholic church of that time was wrong or right.
Posted by BootsWithDefer 1 year ago
Look forward to the debate! I will take about a day to write my thoughts on the matter, so that in the following time i an consider your views. Cant wait!
Posted by HumbleAfrican 1 year ago
Weakened as in weakened its ability to influence change on both an individual and social level. I'm talking about organized Christianity.
Posted by Stefy 1 year ago
What do you mean by weakened? As in it lost power or weakened in some other way? Amd by Churh are you refering to organized christianity in general or the Catholic Church? Im trying to decide whether I want to accept
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