Population and the Reformation


I finally realized why it doesn’t matter why “The Reformation” began so late in history. The reason for that is population. From the years 950AD- 1600 there have been an estimated 750 million people who lived on the planet. The Reformation began in 1517. From 1600-2007 it is estimated that 15 billion people have lived on the earth. So it is obvious that it was Gods timing for the Reformation. The rapid growth of population began about the same time the printing press was invented. Presently there are 6.6 billion people alive today who have the opportunity to hear the Evangelical Gospel.


That is spurious reasoning at best.

But if we want to roll with that for just a moment before addressing the logic of it, do you contend that in the course of the past 500 years the some 15B souls that have labored here temporarily before their final destination in the hereafter were better served in timing as a result of a dramatic rupture in Western Christendom some 1500 years after the Incarnation?

By that logic one has to wonder why it was not the case that Evangelicalism didn’t come into the form we have it far SOONER - if it were to serve greater numbers. Given exponential reproduction capacity given to the generations, perhaps starting with a smaller cohesive group would have lead to some - I dunno, let’s say 1.1B people being… Catholic?

Of course that God in His Divine Providence could use new technologies for the spreading of the Gospel is not lost on those of us who so actively participate on ***www.Catholic.com***.


If the Evangelical version of the Gospel (understood by the Reformers) was the truth, my belief is that God, in His love, would have ensured the message would have been relayed from the start throughout the ages. Otherwise, what would that say about God if He did not? (Not something good – Christianity was therefore lost for well over a millenium.)

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit would guide His people into all truth. We know that the Early Church did not believe in being saved by faith alone, they did not believe in “once saved, always saved,” and we know they were not Evangelical in countless other ways.

Furthermore, Catholicism is the largest branch of Christianity, by far. Your assumption (if correct) that God waited until there was a population explosion would only support a Catholic position. However, clearly I do not agree with your assumption. The Catholic Church is the oldest institution on the face of the planet. This is because she is God’s Holy Church, right from the start.

You are welcome to come home. May God bless you in your journey with Him, whatever you decide to do.

All the best!



An invalid premise always arrives at a invalid conclusion.

A better premise: Mass media (the printing press) enabled Satan’s work to be done by the likes of Wesley, Calvin and Luther and lead more astray faster than previous heresies.



Now, now. Let’s not confuse the issue with facts. :smiley:


So I take it you are for censorship? Throughout the ages the CC has tried to surpress Protestantism but that has only made it grow stronger so feel free to persecute us. I warn you though… in the long run it will be to your determant.


No, I am not for censorship nor is the Catholic Church. Ideas are freely discussed, within bounds of respect.

Throughout the ages the CC has tried to surpress Protestantism but that has only made it grow stronger so feel free to persecute us.

The Church has rightfully suppresed heresy and encouraged the wayward to return to the single church that Christ endorsed. Your speaking to persecution of Protestants by Catholics is akin to the kettle calling the pot black. Secular misdeeds can be laid at the feet of both parties historically.

I warn you though… in the long run it will be to your determant.

Actually, in the eternal long run it is to your detriment to turn away from Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and Magisterium.



You mention China. I think it helps to pinpoint the cultural setting in which the Reformation took place. It was not, and is not, a universal event.

You also mention the spreading of the Reformation, but are you also noting the fracturing that started right from the git-go? To say that modern evangelicalism in the United States is identical to Luther’s theologies is wrong. There are of course similarities, but Luther would be shocked to see Benny Hinn, wouldn’t you agree?

If Protestantism were a move of God, it would have retained a consistent theological framework. It would look the same now as it did in 1600. There would be no Benny Hinn, or if there were, he’d be in chains somewhere. No, Protestantism is less about a move of God and more about the rise of nation-states, powerful kings, and ultimtely the disintegration of Church authority over everyday human life.


Please help me to understand your reasoning because if you are right that makes God a lier. Or show me where Jesus says. What I have tought isn’t for you but for some future generation. Did Jesus say, I’m giving you (the Church before 1500) the task of telling what books are scriptural (belong in the bible) and civilizing the known world but My salvation isn’t for you.



I’m just pointing out that even though the Catholic Church has been around longer than Protestantism the Reformation has been more successful than Catholicism. There have been more converts to Protestantism than Catholicism and in a shorter time span. There should have been at least another billion Catholics on the Earth by now but God in his infinite wisdom chose to raise up another church.


There are today about 2.1 billion Christians. Less about 1/3 billion are protestants. The rest are the Catholic and Orthodox. The Catholic church is the fast growing Christian Church.

The reformation has hardly been more successful then Catholicism. God did not create another church as protectionism is not one church … there are around 20,000 protestant denominations. Protestants cannot agree among themselves what they believe. I don’t think God is responsible for the fragmentation.

There were reformers long before Luther came along we both know that. The CC was successful in stopping those people up until the time of Luther.
Yes there have always been heretics.

The legitimate reformers were those who stayed with the Church and reformed it from within. There were counsels in the church before Luther. The problem was that people like Luther thought that they were the only ones who had the truth. They would not work with anyone who did not agree with their new way of doing things.

The reformers were no more accepting of people who believed differently then they did…. As is shown by their own killing of those they believed to be heretics. If they though that the CC was wrong, they were certainly no better. The reformation fixed nothing but has caused untold damage to Christiandom.



Perhaps one could read this as a sign of God’s providence. However, I find it hard to believe when Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion and even by the projections I’ve read, only about 30% of the world’s population will be Christian by 2020. Christianity, Islam, Hindism and Buddhism, along with various forms of unbelief/secular humanism, will be the world’s major religions in the next century. This doesn’t mean efforts to bring to Gospel to those in need should stop, but one should not expect a miraculous conversion of the world. The Middle East and Byzantium used to be dominated by Christianity, but are now dominated by Islam. Likewise, Buddhism and Communism dominate China but Christianity is expanding very quickly there.


Hello? Anyone here know about the Black Death? Sure the Polos brought back all sorts of new ideas from China - including moveable type. Brought them right back into solidly feudal Europe where only the clergy, nobility, and those pesky merchants in the growing mercantile class could read. The world in 1300 is not today and many make a grave mistake in asserting that the world of the Reformation was yearned for in 1300.

Comes the year 1348 when the Black Death or Black Plague makes it’s appearance. A full third to two thirds of the population of Europe dies. Serf, peasant, bishop, priest, noble - the plague was no respecter of person. The entire feudal order is upset…and the merchant class which can read steps into its own.


I read this book many, many years ago. It is a masterpiece of historical writing. It is also a very long book. Barbara Tuchman explains everything you need to know. She sets the stage for both the Renaissance and the Reformation. It’s not about Catholic versus Protestant - it’s about the upseting of the feudal order. The closest analogy I can give you of a similar situation would be to look at the Civil Rights Movement without understanding what happened a hundred years earlier. You put the cart before the horse.

Same thing here. You cannot understand the Reformation without understanding what went on in the 14th century.

Not religion, folks. History.


Interesting. Sounds about right.


Excellent point! Another good book is by Regine Pernoud “Those Terrible Middle Ages”. This one is a nice short book… I just recently managed to get her book “Women In The Days of The Cathedrals”. I’m looking forward to reading it.


I was reading about Pope Gregory and how he would preach sermons in public. He was the pope who started the homily in your church. The reason he wanted the homily was because the average priest was ignorant about the Bible (so much for oral teaching). It was not available to most people including the clergy. The first homilies were taken from sermons by the church fathers. Most priests concentrated on performing the Mass. Can you honestly say that there were no false teachings in the church when most priests didn’t even know what the Bible or their church taught? This ignorance along with forced conversions under Constantine weakened the original church and paganism was incorporated into Catholic teaching. Even under Constantine less than half of the population in the Roman Empire called themselves Christian.

It is about Gods timing! That and the fact that protestants placed so some much emphasis on making the Bible available to every individual.

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