The early churches of the Reformation believed in a critical, yet serious, reading of scripture and holding the Bible as a source of authority higher than that of church tradition.
The many abuses that had occurred in the Western Church before the Protestant Reformation led the Reformers to reject much of its tradition, though some would maintain tradition has been maintained and reorganized in the liturgy and in the confessions of the Protestant churches of the Reformation.
The term protestant, though initially purely political in nature, later acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of any Western church which subscribed to the main Protestant principles.
However, it is often misused to mean any church outside the Roman and Eastern Orthodox communions.
In the early 20th century, a less critical reading of the Bible developed in the United States, leading to a "fundamentalist" reading of Scripture.
Christian fundamentalists read the Bible as the "inerrant, infallible" Word of God, as do the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches, but interpret it in a literalist fashion without using the historical critical method.
Being derived from the word "Reformation", the term emerged around the same time as evangelical (1517) and protestant (1529).
Various experts on the subject tried to determine what makes a Christian denomination a part of Protestantism.
The English word traces its roots back to the Puritans in England, where Evangelicalism originated, and then was brought to the United States.
An abundance of church celebrations and scholarly conferences took place.
There were pilgrimages by Lutherans and other Protestants to East Germany to visit the sites of his living and working.
Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term evangelical, which was derived from euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. The followers of John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other theologians linked to the Reformed tradition also began to use that term.
To distinguish the two evangelical groups, others began to refer to the two groups as Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed.
A common consensus approved by most of them is that if a Christian denomination is to be considered Protestant, it must acknowledge the following three fundamental principles of Protestantism.