The Reformation, which began in the early 16th century, would divide western Christianity into two camps. The movement led by Martin Luther believed that neither the visible Church nor its leader, the Pope, were mediators of salvation. Redemption was not earned through good works but was a gift from God transmitted by his son Jesus. Believers did not have to depend on the clergy or others for their salvation but could help themselves on this path through their unwavering faith and adherence to Holy Scripture.
The message of the Reformation spread quickly, particularly in towns and cities. It appealed primarily to the educated, and was adopted and shaped by Humanists. The advent of the printing press played a decisive role in the success of the Reformation. Basel and, latterly, Geneva became important printing centres in Europe.