The protestant or evangelical churches were born in the 16th century following the preaching of Martin Luther.
Augustinian biblicist, with a sound knowledge of the Scriptures, he maintained that it was necessary for the Christian church to be reformed according to the Bible; to return, that is, to the Apostolic church. He and his followers called themselves "evangelical" to give voice to their desire to return to the Gospel.
They were called "protestants" because of their claim before the emperor to the right to preach the Word of God with freedom.
The Pope, as representative of the church, condemned the theses of the protestant movement at the Council of Trent, forcing the adherents to form their own organization.
In Germany the movement was influenced by Luther and organized itself into the National Lutheran Churches, while in England, it was the royal power which gave shape to the new church, the Church of England (The Anglican Church). In the rest of Europe, the influence of Jean Calvin, professor at Geneva, left its mark on the movement.
This formulation of the Protestant faith led to an implicit critical reserve towards some of the doctrines which had become traditional in Roman Catholicism.
If, in fact, the preaching of the Gospel is at the heart of Christian worship, Christian devotion cannot accept rituals and ceremonies which are supposed to contain superstitious or magic appearances so often found in natural religiosity. The life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ must be considered fundamental and exclusive to the Christian faith; consequently every kind of veneration of Mary and the saints must be refused. If the sacraments of baptism and eucharest (the only two established by Christ), are tokens of divine grace and not means by which that grace can be obtained, it necessarily follows that the church does not need priests, that is to say persons invested with a particular power, but that all believers share an equal responsibility to preach and to testify.