Christianity: Protestant


Primary Author
Chara Scroope,

Protestant is one of three major branches of Christianity. Protestant is not necessarily a denomination of Christianity but rather an overarching term that refers to numerous churches, traditions and denominations. As a movement, Protestantism emerged in 16th century Europe when particular key figures (such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli) protested against the institutional structure and doctrinal position of the Roman Catholic Church. This revolution is known as the Protestant Reformation.

Although originating in Europe, the Protestant movement has spread across the world through missionary activity. Today, Protestant traditions make up the second largest group of Christians in the world. Major Protestant churches and traditions include Lutheran, Presbyterian (also known as Reformed), Anglican (Church of England), Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal. The Protestant denominations are diverse in terms of doctrines, histories, institutional structures and practices. Nonetheless, most Protestant traditions share common features – such as upholding the Bible as the ultimate authority, a relationship with God and an emphasis on faith as opposed to formal religious ritual.

Get a downloadable PDF that you can share, print and read.

Guaranteed secure stripe badge

A unified, searchable interface answering your questions on the world's cultures and religions

Sign up for free