Christianity in the 16th century


Christianity in the 16th century

Contents

Age of Discovery (1492–1769)

During the Age of Discovery, the Roman Catholic Church established a number of Missions in the Americas and other colonies in order to spread Christianity in the New World and to convert the indigenous peoples. At the same time, missionaries such as Francis Xavier as well as other Jesuits, Augustinians, Franciscans and Dominicans were moving into Asia and the Far East. Under the Padroado treaty (Portuguese: "patronage") with the Holy See, by which the Vatican delegated to the kings the administration of the local Churches, the Portuguese sent missions into Africa, Brasil and Asia. While some of these missions were associated with imperialism and oppression, others (notably Matteo Ricci's Jesuit China missions were relatively peaceful and focused on integration rather than cultural imperialism.

The expansion of the Catholic Portuguese Empire and Spanish Empire with a significant roled played by the Roman Catholic Church led to the Christianization of the indigenous populations of the Americas such as the Aztecs and Incas. Later waves of colonial expansion such as the Scramble for Africa or the struggle for India, by the Dutch, England, France, Germany and Russia led to Christianization of other native populations across the globe such as the American Indians, Filipinos, Indians and Africans led to the expansion of Christianity eclipsing that of the Roman period and making it a truly global religion.

Protestant Reformation (1521–1579)

The Renaissance yielded scholars the ability to read the scriptures in their original languages and this in part stimulated the Reformation. Martin Luther, a Doctor in Bible at the University of Wittenburg,[1] began to teach that salvation is a gift of God's grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus, who in humility paid for sin.[2] "This one and firm rock, which we call the doctrine of justification," insisted Martin Luther, "is the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness."[3] Along with the doctrine of justification, the Reformation promoted a higher view of the Bible. As Martin Luther said, "The true rule is this: God's Word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel can do so."[4] . These two ideas in turn promoted the concept of the priesthood of all believers. Other important reformers were John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Bucer and the Anabaptists. Their theology was modified by successors such as Theodore Beza, the English Puritans and Francis Turretin.

In the early 16th century, movements were begun by two theologians, Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli, that aimed to reform the Church; these reformers are distinguished from previous ones in that they considered the root of corruptions to be doctrinal (rather than simply a matter of moral weakness or lack of ecclesiastical discipline) and thus they aimed to change contemporary doctrines to accord with what they perceived to be the "true gospel." The word Protestant is derived from the Latin protestatio meaning declaration which refers to the letter of protestation by Lutheran princes against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, which reaffirmed the edict of the Diet of Worms against the Reformation.[5] Since that time, the term has been used in many different senses, but most often as a general term refers to Western Christianity that is not subject to papal authority.[5] The term "Protestant" was not originally used by Reformation era leaders; instead, they called themselves "evangelical", emphasising the "return to the true gospel (Greek: euangelion)."[6]

The beginning of the Protestant Reformation is generally identified with Martin Luther and the posting of the 95 Theses on the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. Early protest was against corruptions such as simony, episcopal vacancies, and the sale of indulgences. The Protestant position, however, would come to incorporate doctrinal changes such as sola scriptura and sola fide. The three most important traditions to emerge directly from the Protestant Reformation were the Lutheran, Reformed (Calvinist, Presbyterian, etc.), and Anglican traditions, though the latter group identifies as both "Reformed" and "Catholic", and some subgroups reject the classification as "Protestant."

The Protestant Reformation may be divided into two distinct but basically simultaneous movements, the Magisterial Reformation and the Radical Reformation. The Magisterial Reformation involved the alliance of certain theological teachers (Latin: magistri) such as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Cranmer, etc. with secular magistrates who cooperated in the reformation of Christendom. Radical Reformers, besides forming communities outside state sanction, often employed more extreme doctrinal change, such as the rejection of tenants of the Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon. Often the division between magisterial and radical reformers was as or more violent than the general Catholic and Protestant hostilities.

The Protestant Reformation spread almost entirely within the confines of Northern Europe, but did not take hold in certain northern areas such as Ireland and parts of Germany. By far the magisterial reformers were more successful and their changes more widespread than the radical reformers. The Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation is known as the Counter Reformation, or Catholic Reformation, which resulted in a reassertion of traditional doctrines and the emergence of new religious orders aimed at both moral reform and new missionary activity. The Counter Reformation reconverted approximately 33% of Northern Europe to Catholicism and initiated missions in South and Central America, Africa, Asia, and even China and Japan. Protestant expansion outside of Europe occurred on a smaller scale through colonisation of North America and areas of Africa.

Protestants generally trace their separation from the Catholic Church to the 16th century. The origin of mainstream Protestantism is sometimes called the Magisterial Reformation because the movement received support from the magistrates, the ruling authorities (as opposed to the Radical Reformation, which had no state sponsorship). In Germany, a hundred years later, the protests erupted in many places at once, during a time of threatened Islamic Ottoman invasion ¹ which distracted German princes in particular. To some degree, the protest can be explained by the events of the previous two centuries in Europe and particularly in Bohemia.

Life of Martin Luther and the heroes of the Reformation

Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli are considered Magisterial Reformers because their reform movements were supported by ruling authorities or "magistrates". Frederick the Wise not only supported Luther, who was a professor at the university he founded, but also protected him by hiding Luther in Wartburg Castle in Eisenach. Zwingli and Calvin were supported by the city councils in Zurich and Geneva. Since the term "magister" also means "teacher", the Magisterial Reformation is also characterized by an emphasis on the authority of a teacher. This is made evident in the prominence of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli as leaders of the reform movements in their respective areas of ministry. Because of their authority, they were often criticized by Radical Reformers as being too much like the Roman Popes. For example, Radical Reformer Andreas von Bodenstein Karlstadt referred to the Wittenberg theologians as the "new papists".[7]

Martin Luther and Lutheranism

Luther's 95 Theses

The protests against Rome began in earnest when Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk and professor at the university of Wittenberg, called in 1517 for a reopening of the debate on the sale of indulgences. Luther's dissent marked a sudden outbreak of a new and irresistible force of discontent which had been pushed underground but not resolved. The quick spread of discontent occurred to a large degree because of the printing press and the resulting swift movement of both ideas and documents, including the 95 Theses. Information was also widely disseminated in manuscript form, as well as by cheap prints and woodcuts amongst the poorer sections of society.

Parallel to events in Germany, a movement began in Switzerland under the leadership of Ulrich Zwingli. These two movements quickly agreed on most issues, as the recently introduced printing press spread ideas rapidly from place to place, but some unresolved differences kept them separate. Some followers of Zwingli believed that the Reformation was too conservative, and moved independently toward more radical positions, some of which survive among modern day Anabaptists. Other Protestant movements grew up along lines of mysticism or humanism (cf. Erasmus), sometimes breaking from Rome or from the Protestants, or forming outside of the churches.

After this first stage of the Reformation, following the excommunication of Luther and condemnation of the Reformation by the Pope, the work and writings of John Calvin were influential in establishing a loose consensus among various groups in Switzerland, Scotland, Hungary, Germany and elsewhere.

Martin Luther, by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Martin Luther was an Augustinian friar and professor at the University of Wittenberg. In 1517, he published a list of 95 Theses, or points to be debated, concerning the illicitness of selling indulgences. Luther had a particular disdain for Aristotelian philosophy, and as he began developing his own theology, he increasingly came into conflict with Thomistic scholars, most notably Cardinal Cajetan.[8] Soon, Luther had begun to develop his theology of justification, or process by which one is "made right" (righteous) in the eyes of God. In Catholic theology, one is made righteous by a progressive infusion of grace accepted through faith and cooperated with through good works. Luther's doctrine of justification differed from Catholic theology in that justification rather meant "the declaring of one to be righteous", where God imputes the merits of Christ upon one who remains without inherent merit.[9] In this process, good works are more of an unessential byproduct that contribute nothing to one's own state of righteousness. Conflict between Luther and leading theologians lead to his gradual rejection of authority of the Church hierarchy. In 1520, he was condemned for heresy by the papal bull Exsurge Domine, which he burned at Wittenberg along with books of canon law.[10]

Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the teachings of the 16th-century German reformer Martin Luther. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched The Reformation. As a result of the reactions of his contemporaries, Christianity was divided.[11]

Luther's insights are generally held to have been a major foundation of the Protestant movement. The relationship between Lutheranism and the Protestant tradition is, however, ambiguous: some Lutherans consider Lutheranism to be outside the Protestant tradition, while some see it as part of this tradition.[12]

Humanism to Protestantism

The frustrated reformism of the humanists, ushered in by the Renaissance, contributed to a growing impatience among reformers. Erasmus and later figures like Martin Luther and Zwingli would emerge from this debate and eventually contribute to another major schism of Christendom. The crisis of theology beginning with William of Ockham in the 14th century was occurring in conjunction with the new burgher discontent. Since the breakdown of the philosophical foundations of scholasticism, the new nominalism did not bode well for an institutional church legitimized as an intermediary between man and God. New thinking favored the notion that no religious doctrine can be supported by philosophical arguments, eroding the old alliance between reason and faith of the medieval period laid out by Thomas Aquinas.

Erasmus

The major individualistic reform movements that revolted against medieval scholasticism and the institutions that underpinned it were humanism, devotionalism, (see for example, the Brothers of the Common Life and Jan Standonck) and the observatine tradition. In Germany, "the modern way" or devotionalism caught on in the universities, requiring a redefinition of God, who was no longer a rational governing principle but an arbitrary, unknowable will that cannot be limited. God was now a ruler, and religion would be more fervent and emotional. Thus, the ensuing revival of Augustinian theology, stating that man cannot be saved by his own efforts but only by the grace of God, would erode the legitimacy of the rigid institutions of the church meant to provide a channel for man to do good works and get into heaven. Humanism, however, was more of an educational reform movement with origins in the Renaissance's revival of classical learning and thought. A revolt against Aristotelian logic, it placed great emphasis on reforming individuals through eloquence as opposed to reason. The European Renaissance laid the foundation for the Northern humanists in its reinforcement of the traditional use of Latin as the great unifying cultural language.

The polarization of the scholarly community in Germany over the Reuchlin (1455–1522) affair, attacked by the elite clergy for his study of Hebrew and Jewish texts, brought Luther fully in line with the humanist educational reforms who favored academic freedom. At the same time, the impact of the Renaissance would soon backfire against traditional Catholicism, ushering in an age of reform and a repudiation of much of medieval Latin tradition. Led by Erasmus, the humanists condemned various forms of corruption within the Church, forms of corruption that might not have been any more prevalent than during the medieval zenith of the church. Erasmus held that true religion was a matter of inward devotion rather than outward symbols of ceremony and ritual. Going back to ancient texts, scriptures, from this viewpoint the greatest culmination of the ancient tradition, are the guides to life. Favoring moral reforms and de-emphasizing didactic ritual, Erasmus laid the groundwork for Luther.

Humanism's intellectual anti-clericalism would profoundly influence Luther. The increasingly well-educated middle sectors of Northern Germany, namely the educated community and city dwellers would turn to Luther's rethinking of religion to conceptualize their discontent according to the cultural medium of the era. The great rise of the burghers, the desire to run their new businesses free of institutional barriers or outmoded cultural practices, contributed to the appeal of humanist individualism. To many, papal institutions were rigid, especially regarding their views on just price and usury. In the North, burghers and monarchs were united in their frustration for not paying any taxes to the nation, but collecting taxes from subjects and sending the revenues disproportionately to the Pope in Italy.

These trends heightened demands for significant reform and revitalization along with anticlericalism. New thinkers began noticing the divide between the priests and the flock. The clergy, for instance, were not always well-educated. Parish priests often did not know Latin and rural parishes often did not have great opportunities for theological education for many at the time. Due to its large landholdings and institutional rigidity, a rigidity to which the excessively large ranks of the clergy contributed, many bishops studied law, not theology, being relegated to the role of property managers trained in administration. While priests emphasized works of religiosity, the respectability of the church began diminishing, especially among well educated urbanites, and especially considering the recent strings of political humiliation, such as the apprehension of Pope Boniface VIII by Philip IV of France, the "Babylonian Captivity", the Great Schism, and the failure of Conciliar reformism. In a sense, the campaign by Pope Leo X to raise funds to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica was too much of an excess by the secular Renaissance church, prompting high-pressure indulgences that rendered the clergy establishments even more disliked in the cities.

Luther borrowed from the humanists the sense of individualism, that each man can be his own priest (an attitude likely to find popular support considering the rapid rise of an educated urban middle class in the North), and that the only true authority is the Bible, echoing the reformist zeal of the Conciliar movement and opening up the debate once again on limiting the authority of the Pope. While his ideas called for the sharp redefinition of the dividing lines between the laity and the clergy, his ideas were still, by this point, reformist in nature. Luther's contention that the human will was incapable of following good, however, resulted in his rift with Erasmus finally distinguishing Lutheran reformism from humanism.

Lutheranism adopted by the German princes

Luther affirmed a theology of the Eucharist called Real Presence, a doctrine of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist which affirms the real presence yet upholding that the bread and wine are not "changed" into the body and blood; rather the divine elements adhere "in, with, and under" the earthly elements. He took this understanding of Christ's presence in the Eucharist to be more harmonious with the Church's teaching on the Incarnation. Just as Christ is the union of the fully human and the fully divine (cf. Council of Chalcedon) so to the Eucharist is a union of Bread and Body, Wine and Blood. According to the doctrine of real presence, the substances of the body and the blood of Christ and of the bread and the wine were held to coexist together in the consecrated Host during the communion service. While Luther seemed to maintain the perpetual consecration of the elements, other Lutherans argued that any consecrated bread or wine left over would revert to its former state the moment the service ended. Most Lutherans accept the latter.

Portrait of Philipp Melanchthon, by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Oil on panel.

A Lutheran understanding of the Eucharist is distinct from the Reformed doctrine of the Eucharist in that Lutherans affirm a real, physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist (as opposed to either a "spiritual presence" or a "memorial") and Lutherans affirm that the presence of Christ does not depend on the faith of the recipient; the repentant receive Christ in the Eucharist worthily, the unrepentant who receive the Eucharist risk the wrath of Christ.

Luther, along with his colleague Philipp Melanchthon, emphasized this point in his plea for the Reformation at the Reichstag in 1529 amid charges of heresy. But the changes he proposed were of such a fundamental nature that by their own logic they would automatically overthrow the old order; neither the Emperor nor the Church could possibly accept them, as Luther well knew. As was only to be expected, the edict by the Diet of Worms (1521) prohibited all innovations. Meanwhile, in these efforts to retain the guise of a Catholic reformer as opposed to a heretical revolutionary, and to appeal to German princes with his religious condemnation of the peasant revolts backed up by the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, Luther's growing conservatism would provoke more radical reformers.

At a religious conference with the Zwinglians in 1529, Melanchthon joined with Luther in opposing a union with Zwingli. There would finally be a schism in the reform movement due to Luther's belief in real presence—the real (as opposed to symbolic) presence of Christ at the Eucharist. His original intention was not schism, but with the Reichstag of Augsburg (1530) and its rejection of the Lutheran "Augsburg Confession", a separate Lutheran church finally emerged. In a sense, Luther would take theology further in its deviation from established Catholic dogma, forcing a rift between the humanist Erasmus and Luther. Similarly, Zwingli would further repudiate ritualism, and break with the increasingly conservative Luther.

Reformation and Counter Reformation in Europe. Protestant lands in blue, Catholic in olive

Aside from the enclosing of the lower classes, the middle sectors of northern Germany, namely the educated community and city dwellers, would turn to religion to conceptualize their discontent according to the cultural medium of the era. The great rise of the burghers, the desire to run their new businesses free of institutional barriers or outmoded cultural practices contributed to the appeal of individualism. To many, papal institutions were rigid, especially regarding their views on just price and usury. In the North, burghers and monarchs were united in their frustration for not paying any taxes to the nation, but collecting taxes from subjects and sending the revenues disproportionately to Italy. In northern Europe, Luther appealed to the growing national consciousness of the German states because he denounced the Pope for involvement in politics as well as religion. Moreover, he backed the nobility, which was now justified to crush the Great Peasant Revolt of 1525 and to confiscate church property by Luther's Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. This explains the attraction of some territorial princes to Lutheranism, especially its Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. However, the Elector of Brandenburg, Joachim I, blamed Lutheranism for the revolt and so did others. In Brandenburg, it was only under his successor Joachim II that Lutheranism was established, and the old religion was not formally extinct in Brandenburg until the death of the last Catholic bishop there, Georg von Blumenthal, who was Bishop of Lebus and sovereign Prince-Bishop of Ratzeburg.

With the church subordinate to and the agent of civil authority and peasant rebellions condemned on strict religious terms, Lutheranism and German nationalist sentiment were ideally suited to coincide.

Though Charles V fought the Reformation, it is no coincidence either that the reign of his nationalistic predecessor Maximilian I saw the beginning of the movement. While the centralized states of western Europe had reached accords with the Vatican permitting them to draw on the rich property of the church for government expenditures, enabling them to form state churches that were greatly autonomous of Rome, similar moves on behalf of the Reich were unsuccessful so long as princes and prince bishops fought reforms to drop the pretension of the secular universal empire.

Germany

Martin Luther

Martin Luther (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German monk,[13] theologian, university professor, priest, father of Protestantism,[14][15][16][17] and church reformer whose ideas started the Protestant Reformation.[18]

Luther taught that salvation is a free gift of God and received only through true faith in Jesus as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the papacy by adducing the Bible as the only infallible source of Christian doctrine[19] and countering "sacerdotalism" in the doctrine that all baptized Christians are a universal priesthood.[20]

Luther's refusal to retract his writings in confrontation with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by Pope Leo X and declaration as an outlaw. His translation of the Bible into the language of the people made the Scriptures more accessible, causing a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation,[21] and influenced the translation of the King James Bible.[22] His hymns inspired the development of congregational singing within Christianity.[23] His marriage to Katharina von Bora set a model for the practice of clerical marriage within Protestantism.[24]

The sale of indulgences shown in A Question to a Mintmaker, woodcut by Jörg Breu the Elder of Augsburg, circa 1530.
Door of the Schlosskirche (castle church) in Wittenberg to which Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses, sparking the Reformation.

In 1516-17, Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar and papal commissioner for indulgences, was sent to Germany by the Roman Catholic Church to sell indulgences to raise money to rebuild St Peter's Basilica in Rome.[25] Roman Catholic theology stated that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man;[26] and that only such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man.[27] These good works could be obtained by donating money to the church.

On 31 October 1517, Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," which came to be known as The 95 Theses.

Luther objected to a saying attributed to Johann Tetzel that "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs,"[28] insisting that, since forgiveness was God's alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.

Luther's 95 Theses

According to Philipp Melanchthon, writing in 1546, Luther nailed a copy of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg that same day — church doors acting as the bulletin boards of his time — an event now seen as sparking the Protestant Reformation,[29] and celebrated each year on 31 October as Reformation Day. The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed, and widely copied, making the controversy one of the first in history to be aided by the printing press.[30] Within two weeks, the theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe. In contrast to the speed with which the theses were distributed, the response of the papacy was painstakingly slow. After three years of debate and negotiations involving Luther, government, and church officials, on 15 June 1520, the Pope warned Luther with the papal bull (edict) Exsurge Domine that he risked excommunication unless he recanted 41 sentences drawn from his writings, including the 95 Theses, within 60 days.

That autumn, Johann Eck proclaimed the bull in Meissen and other towns. Karl von Miltitz, a papal nuncio, attempted to broker a solution, but Luther, who had sent the Pope a copy of his concilatory On the Freedom of a Christian (which the Pope refused to read) in October, publicly set fire to the bull and decretals at Wittenberg on 10 December 1520,[31] an act he defended in Why the Pope and his Recent Book are Burned and Assertions Concerning All Articles.

As a consequence, Luther was excommunicated by Leo X on 3 January 1521, in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.

The start of the Reformation

The sale of indulgences shown in A Question to a Mintmaker, woodcut by Jörg Breu the Elder of Augsburg, circa 1530.
Door of the Schlosskirche (castle church) in Wittenberg to which Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses, sparking the Reformation.

In 1516-17, Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar and papal commissioner for indulgences, was sent to Germany by the Roman Catholic Church to sell indulgences to raise money to rebuild St Peter's Basilica in Rome.[25] Roman Catholic theology stated that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man;[26] and that only such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man.[27] These good works could be obtained by donating money to the church.

On 31 October 1517, Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," which came to be known as The 95 Theses. Hans Hillerbrand writes that Luther had no intention of confronting the church, but saw his disputation as a scholarly objection to church practices, and the tone of the writing is accordingly "searching, rather than doctrinaire."[32] Hillerbrand writes that there is nevertheless an undercurrent of challenge in several of the theses, particularly in Thesis 86, which asks: "Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?"[32]

Luther's seal

Luther objected to a saying attributed to Johann Tetzel that "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs,"[28] insisting that, since forgiveness was God's alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.

The primacy of the Roman Pontiff was again challenged in 1517 when Martin Luther began preaching against several practices in the Catholic Church, including some itinerant friars' abuses involving indulgences. When Pope Leo X refused to support Luther’s position, Luther claimed belief in an "invisible church" and called the Pope the Antichrist.

According to Philipp Melanchthon, writing in 1546, Luther nailed a copy of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg that same day — church doors acting as the bulletin boards of his time — an event now seen as sparking the Protestant Reformation,[29] and celebrated each year on 31 October as Reformation Day. Some scholars have questioned the accuracy of Melanchthon's account, noting that no contemporaneous evidence exists for it.[33] Others have countered that no such evidence is necessary, because this was the customary way of advertising an event on a university campus in Luther's day.[34]

The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed, and widely copied, making the controversy one of the first in history to be aided by the printing press.[30] Within two weeks, the theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe.

Justification by faith

From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Roman Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in their ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity, the most important of which, for Luther, was the doctrine of justification — God's act of declaring a sinner righteous — by faith alone through God's grace. He began to teach that salvation or redemption is a gift of God's grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the messiah.[2]

This one and firm rock, which we call the doctrine of justification," he wrote, "is the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness.[35]

Luther came to understand justification as entirely the work of God. Against the teaching of his day that the righteous acts of believers are performed in cooperation with God, Luther wrote that Christians receive such righteousness entirely from outside themselves; that righteousness not only comes from Christ but actually is the righteousness of Christ, imputed to Christians (rather than infused into them) through faith.[36] "That is why faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law," he wrote. "Faith is that which brings the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ."[37] Faith, for Luther, was a gift from God. He explained his concept of "justification" in the Smalcald Articles:

The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24-25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us ... Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).[38]

Response of the papacy

Cardinal Albrecht of Hohenzollern, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, was using part of the indulgence income to pay bribery debts;[39] portrait by Albrecht Dürer, 1519

In contrast to the speed with which the theses were distributed, the response of the papacy was painstakingly slow.

Cardinal Albrecht of Hohenzollern, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, with the consent of Pope Leo X, was using part of the indulgence income to pay his bribery debts,[39] and did not reply to Luther’s letter; instead, he had the theses checked for heresy and forwarded to Rome.[40]

Leo responded over the next three years, "with great care as is proper,"[41] by deploying a series of papal theologians and envoys against Luther. Perhaps he hoped the matter would die down of its own accord, because in 1518 he dismissed Luther as "a drunken German" who "when sober will change his mind".[42]

Widening breach

Luther's writings circulated widely, reaching France, England, and Italy as early as 1519, and students thronged to Wittenberg to hear him speak. He published a short commentary on Galatians and his Work on the Psalms. At the same time, he received deputations from Italy and from the Utraquists of Bohemia; Ulrich von Hutten and Franz von Sickingen offered to place Luther under their protection.[43]

This early portion of Luther's career was one of his most creative and productive.[44] Three of his best known works were published in 1520: To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and On the Freedom of a Christian.

Finally on 30 May 1519, when the Pope demanded an explanation, Luther wrote a summary and explanation of his theses to the Pope. While the Pope may have conceded some of the points, he did not like the challenge to his authority so he summoned Luther to Rome to answer these. At that point Frederick the Wise, the Saxon Elector, intervened. He did not want one of his subjects to be sent to Rome to be judged by the Catholic clergy so he prevailed on the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who needed Frederick's support, to arrange a compromise.

An arrangement was effected, however, whereby that summons was cancelled, and Luther went to Augsburg in October 1518 to meet the papal legate, Cardinal Thomas Cajetan. The argument was long but nothing was resolved.

First edition of Exsurge Domine.

Excommunication

On 15 June 1520, the Pope warned Luther with the papal bull (edict) Exsurge Domine that he risked excommunication unless he recanted 41 sentences drawn from his writings, including the 95 Theses, within 60 days.

That autumn, Johann Eck proclaimed the bull in Meissen and other towns. Karl von Miltitz, a papal nuncio, attempted to broker a solution, but Luther, who had sent the Pope a copy of On the Freedom of a Christian in October, publicly set fire to the bull and decretals at Wittenberg on 10 December 1520,[31] an act he defended in Why the Pope and his Recent Book are Burned and Assertions Concerning All Articles.

As a consequence, Luther was excommunicated by Leo X on 3 January 1521, in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.

Monasticism

During the Reformation the teachings of Martin Luther led to the end of the monasteries, but a few Protestants followed monastic lives. Loccum Abbey and Amelungsborn Abbey have the longest traditions as Lutheran monasteries. Since the 19th century there have been a renewal in the monastic life among Protestants.

The History of Protestantism with the Reformation movement, which began as an attempt to reform the Catholic Church and led to the fracturing of Christendom. Many western Christians were troubled by what they saw as false doctrines and malpractices within the Church, particularly involving the teaching and sale of indulgences. Another major contention was the rampant Simony and the tremendous corruption found at the time within the Church's hierarchy. At the time, this systemic corruption often reached all the way up to the Bishop of Rome himself, the Pope.

Political maneuvering

What had started as a strictly theological and academic debate had now turned into something of a social and political conflict as well, pitting Luther, his German allies and Northern European supporters against Charles V, France, the Italian Pope, their territories and other allies. The conflict would erupt into a religious war after Luther's death, fueled by the political climate of the Holy Roman Empire and strong personalities on both sides.

In 1526, at the First Diet of Speyer, it was decided that, until a General Council could meet and settle the theological issues raised by Martin Luther, the Edict of Worms would not be enforced and each Prince could decide if Lutheran teachings and worship would be allowed in his territories. In 1529, at the Second Diet of Speyer, the decision the previous Diet of Speyer was reversed — despite the strong protests of the Lutheran princes, free cities and some Zwinglian territories. These states quickly became known as Protestants. At first, this term Protestant was used politically for the states that resisted the Edict of Worms. Over time, however, this term came to be used for the religious movements that opposed the Roman Catholic tradition in the 16th century.

Lutheranism would become known as a separate movement after the 1530 Diet of Augsburg, which was convened by Charles V to try to stop the growing Protestant movement. At the Diet, Philipp Melanchthon presented a written summary of Lutheran beliefs called the Augsburg Confession. Several of the German princes (and later, kings and princes of other countries) signed the document to define "Lutheran" territories. These princes would ally to create the Schmalkaldic League in 1531, which lead to the Schmalkald War, 1547, a year after Luther's death, that pitted the Lutheran princes of the Schmalkaldic League against the Catholic forces of Charles V.

After the conclusion of the Schmalkald War, Charles V attempted to impose Catholic religious doctrine on the territories that he had defeated. However, the Lutheran movement was far from defeated. In 1577, the next generation of Lutheran theologians gathered the work of the previous generation to define the doctrine of the persisting Lutheran church. This document is known as the Formula of Concord. In 1580, it was published with the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Large and Small Catechisms of Martin Luther, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. Together they were distributed in a volume entitled The Book of Concord. This book is still used today.

Results of the Lutheran Reformation

Luther and his followers began a large exodus from the Roman Catholic Church known as the Protestant Reformation. In the years and decades following Luther's posting of the 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg church, large numbers of Europeans left the Roman Church, including the majority of German speakers (the only German speaking areas where the population remained mostly in the Catholic Church were those under the domain or influence of Catholic Austria and Bavaria or the electoral archbishops of Mainz, Cologne, and Trier). Because Luther sparked this mass movement, he is known as the father of the Protestant Reformation, and the father of Protestantism in general.

Calvinism in Switzerland

Calvinism is a system of Christian theology and an approach to Christian life and thought within the Protestant tradition articulated by John Calvin, a Protestant Reformer in the 16th century, and subsequently by successors, associates, followers and admirers of Calvin, his interpretation of Scripture, and perspective on Christian life and theology. Calvin's system of theology and Christian life forms the basis of the Reformed tradition, a term roughly equivalent to Calvinism.

The Reformed tradition was originally advanced by stalwarts such as Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and Peter Martyr Vermigli, and also influenced English reformers such as Thomas Cranmer and John Jewel. However, because of Calvin's great influence and role in the confessional and ecclesiastical debates throughout the 17th century, this Reformed movement generally became known as Calvinism. Today, this term also refers to the doctrines and practices of the Reformed churches, of which Calvin was an early leader, and the system is perhaps best known for its doctrines of predestination and election.

The Reformation foundations engaged with Augustinianism. Both Luther and Calvin thought along lines linked with the theological teachings of Augustine of Hippo. The Augustinianism of the Reformers struggled against Pelagianism, a heresy that they perceived in the Catholic Church of their day. In the course of this religious upheaval, the German Peasants' War of 1524–1525 swept through the Bavarian, Thuringian and Swabian principalities, leaving scores of Catholics slaughtered at the hands of Protestant bands, including the Black Company of Florian Geier,a knight from Giebelstadt who joined the peasants in the general outrage against the Catholic hierarchy.

Even though Luther and Calvin had very similar theological teachings, the relationship between their followers turned quickly to conflict. Frenchman Michel de Montaigne told a story of a Lutheran pastor who once claimed that he would rather celebrate the mass of Rome than participate in a Calvinist service.[citation needed]

Ulrich Zwingli

Ulrich Zwingli, wearing the scholar's cap.

Ulrich Zwingli was a Swiss scholar and parish priest who was likewise influential in the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. Zwingli claimed that his theology owed nothing to Luther, and that he had developed it in 1516, before Luther's famous protest, though his doctrine of justification was remarkably similar to that of the German friar.[45] In 1518, Zwingli was given a post at the wealthy collegiate church of the Grossmünster in Zürich, where he would remain until his death at a relatively young age. Soon he had risen to prominence in the city, and when political tension developed between most of Switzerland and the Catholic Habsburg Emperor Charles V. In this environment, Zwingli began preaching his version of reform, with certain points as the aforementioned doctrine of justification, but others (with which Luther vehemently disagreed) such as the position that veneration of icons was actually idolatry and thus a violation of the first commandment, and the denial of the real presence in the Eucharist.[46] Soon the city council had accepted Zwingli's doctrines and Zürich became a focal point of more radical reforming movements, and certain admires and followers of Zwingli pushed his message and reforms far further than even he had intended, such as rejecting infant baptism.[47] This split between Luther and Zwingli formed the essence of the Protestant division between Lutheran and Reformed theology. Meanwhile, political tensions increased; Zwingli and the Zürich leadership imposed an economic blockade on the inner Catholic states of Switzerland, which led to a battle in which Zwingli, in full armor, was slain along with his troops.

Parallel to events in Germany, a movement began in Switzerland under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli. These two movements quickly agreed on most issues, as the recently introduced printing press spread ideas rapidly from place to place, but some unresolved differences kept them separate. Some followers of Zwingli believed that the Reformation was too conservative, and moved independently toward more radical positions, some of which survive among modern day Anabaptists. Other Protestant movements grew up along lines of mysticism or humanism (cf. Erasmus), sometimes breaking from Rome or from the Protestants, or forming outside of the churches.

John Calvin

John Calvin was a French cleric and doctor of law turned Protestant reformer. He belonged to the second generation of the Reformation, publishing his theological tome, the Institutes of the Christian Religion, in 1536 (later revised), and establishing himself as a leader of the Reformed church in Geneva, which became an "unofficial capital" of Reformed Christianity in the second half of the 16th century. He exerted a remarkable amount of authority in the city and over the city council, such that he has (rather ignominiously) been called a "Protestant pope." Calvin established an eldership together with a "consistory", where pastors and the elders established matters of religious discipline for the Genevan population.[48] Calvin's theology is best known for his doctrine of (double) predestination, which held that God had, from all eternity, providentially foreordained who would be saved (the elect) and likewise who would be damned (the reprobate). Predestination was not the dominant idea in Calvin's works, but it would seemingly become so for many of his Reformed successors.[49]

Following the excommunication of Luther and condemnation of the Reformation by the Pope, the work and writings of John Calvin were influential in establishing a loose consensus among various groups in Switzerland, Scotland, Hungary, Germany and elsewhere.

Geneva became the unofficial capital of the Protestant movement, led by the Frenchman, Jean Calvin, until his death (when Calvin's ally, Zwingli, assumed the spiritual leadership of the group).

The Reformation foundations engaged with Augustinianism. Both Luther and Calvin thought along lines linked with the theological teachings of Augustine of Hippo. The Augustinianism of the Reformers struggled against Pelagianism, a heresy that they perceived in the Catholic Church of their day. Ironically, even though both Luther and Calvin both had very similar theological teachings, the relationship between Lutherans and Calvinists evolved into one of conflict.

Arminianism

Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought in Protestant Christian theology founded by the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius. Its acceptance stretches through much of mainstream Protestantism. Due to the influence of John Wesley, Arminianism is perhaps most prominent in the Methodist movement.

Arminianism holds to the following tenets:

Arminianism is most accurately used to define those who affirm the original beliefs of Jacobus Arminius himself, but the term can also be understood as an umbrella for a larger grouping of ideas including those of Hugo Grotius, John Wesley, Clark Pinnock, and others. There are two primary perspectives on how the system is applied in detail: Classical Arminianism, which sees Arminius as its figurehead, and Wesleyan Arminianism, which (as the name suggests) sees John Wesley as its figurehead. Wesleyan Arminianism is sometimes synonymous with Methodism.

Within the broad scope of church history, Arminianism is closely related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share both history and many doctrines in common. Nonetheless, they are often viewed as archrivals within Evangelicalism because of their disagreement over the doctrines of predestination and salvation.

Anglicanism and the English Reformation

Statue of Richard Hooker, whose emphases on reason, tolerance and inclusiveness influenced Anglicanism.

Anglican doctrine emerged from the interweaving of two main strands of Christian doctrine during the English Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries. The first strand is the Catholic doctrine taught by the established church in England in the early 16th century. The second strand is a range of Protestant Reformed teachings brought to England from neighbouring countries in the same period, notably Calvinism and Lutheranism.

The Church of England was the national branch of the Catholic Church. The formal doctrines had been documented in canon law over the centuries, and the Church of England still follows an unbroken tradition of canon law today. The English Reformation did not dispense of all previous doctrines. The church not only retained the core Catholic beliefs common to Reformed doctrine in general, such as the Trinity, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, the nature of Jesus as fully human and fully God, the Resurrection of Jesus, Original Sin, and Excommunication (as affirmed by the Thirty-Nine Articles), but also retained some Catholic teachings which were rejected by true Protestants, such as the three orders of ministry and the apostolic succession of bishops.

Unlike other reform movements, the English Reformation began by royal influence. Henry VIII considered himself a thoroughly Catholic King, and in 1521 he defended the papacy against Luther in a book he commissioned entitled, The Defence of the Seven Sacraments, for which Pope Leo X awarded him the title Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith). However, the king came into conflict with the papacy when he wished to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, for which he needed papal sanction. Catherine, among many other noble relations, was the aunt of Emperor Charles V, the papacy's most significant secular supporter. The ensuing dispute eventually lead to a break from Rome and the declaration of the King of England as head of the English Church. England would later experience periods of frenetic and eclectic reforms contrasted by periods led by staunch conservatives. Monarchs such as Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Archbishops of Canterbury such as Thomas Cranmer and William Laud pushed the Church of England in many directions over the course of only a few generations. What emerged was a state church that considered itself both "Reformed" and "Catholic" but not "Roman" (and hesitated from the title "Protestant"), and other "unofficial" more radical movements such as the Puritans.

The political separation of the Church of England from Rome under Henry VIII, beginning in 1529 and completed in 1536, brought England alongside this broad Reformed movement. However, religious changes in the English national church proceeded more conservatively than elsewhere in Europe. Reformers in the Church of England alternated, for centuries, between sympathies for Catholic traditions and Protestantism, progressively forging a stable compromise between adherence to ancient tradition and Protestantism, which is now sometimes called the via media.[50]

Monasticism

Monastic life in England came to an abrupt end with Dissolution of the Monasteries during the reign of King Henry VIII. The property and lands of the monasteries were confiscated and either retained by the king or given to loyal protestant nobility. Monks and nuns were forced to either flee for the continent or to abandon their vocations. For around 300 years, there were no monastic communities within any of the Anglican churches.

England

Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland.

The separation of the Church of England or Anglican Church from Rome under Henry VIII, beginning in 1529 and completed in 1536, brought England alongside this broad Reformed movement. However, religious changes in the English national church proceeded more conservatively than elsewhere in Europe. Reformers in the Church of England alternated, for centuries, between sympathies for Catholic traditions and Protestantism, progressively forging a stable compromise between adherence to ancient tradition and Protestantism, which is now sometimes called the via media.

In England, the Reformation followed a different course than elsewhere in Europe. There had long been a strong strain of anti-clericalism, and England had already given rise to the Lollard movement of John Wycliffe, which played an important part in inspiring the Hussites in Bohemia. Lollardy was suppressed and became an underground movement so the extent of its influence in the 1520s is difficult to assess. The different character of the English Reformation came rather from the fact that it was driven initially by the political necessities of Henry VIII. Henry had once been a sincere Catholic and had even authored a book strongly criticizing Luther, but he later found it expedient and profitable to break with the Papacy. His wife, Catherine of Aragon, bore him only a single child, Mary. As England had recently gone through a lengthy dynastic conflict (see Wars of the Roses), Henry feared that his lack of a male heir might jeopardize his descendants' claim to the throne. However, Pope Clement VII, concentrating more on Charles V's "sack of Rome", denied his request for an annulment. Had Clement granted the annulment and therefore admitted that his predecessor, Julius II, had erred, Clement would have given support to the Lutheran assertion that Popes replaced their own judgement for the will of God. King Henry decided to remove the Church of England from the authority of Rome. In 1534, the Act of Supremacy made Henry the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Between 1535 and 1540, under Thomas Cromwell, the policy known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries was put into effect. The veneration of some saints, certain pilgrimages and some pilgrim shrines were also attacked. Huge amounts of church land and property passed into the hands of the crown and ultimately into those of the nobility and gentry. The vested interest thus created made for a powerful force in support of the dissolutions.

There were some notable opponents to the Henrician Reformation, such as Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher, who were executed for their opposition. There was also a growing party of reformers who were imbued with the Zwinglian and Calvinistic doctrines now current on the Continent. When Henry died he was succeeded by his Protestant son Edward VI, who, through his empowered councillors (with the King being only nine years old at his succession and not yet sixteen at his death) the Duke of Somerset and the Duke of Northumberland, ordered the destruction of images in churches, and the closing of the chantries. Under Edward VI the reform of the Church of England was established unequivocally in doctrinal terms. Yet, at a popular level, religion in England was still in a state of flux. Following a brief Roman Catholic restoration during the reign of Mary 1553–1558, a loose consensus developed during the reign of Elizabeth I, though this point is one of considerable debate among historians. Yet it is the so-called "Elizabethan Religious Settlement" to which the origins of Anglicanism are traditionally ascribed. The compromise was uneasy and was capable of veering between extreme Calvinism on the one hand and Catholicism on the other, but compared to the bloody and chaotic state of affairs in contemporary France, it was relatively successful until the Puritan Revolution or English Civil War in the 17th century.

Counter-Reformation

The Counter-Reformation, or Catholic Reformation, was the response of the Catholic Church to the Protestant Reformation. The essence of the Counter-Reformation was a renewed conviction in traditional practices and the upholding of Catholic doctrine as the source of ecclesiastic and moral reform, and the answer to halting the spread of Protestantism. Thus it experienced the founding of new religious orders, such as the Jesuits, the establishment of seminaries for the proper training of priests, renewed worldwide missionary activity, and the development of new yet orthodox forms of spirituality, such as that of the Spanish mystics and the French school of spirituality. The entire process was spearheaded by the Council of Trent, which clarified and reasserted doctrine, issued dogmatic definitions, and produced the Roman Catechism.

The Roman Catholic counter-reformation spearheaded by the Jesuits under Ignatius Loyola took their theology from the decisions of the Council of Trent, and developed Second Scholasticism, which they pitted against Lutheran Scholasticism. The overall result of the Reformation was therefore to highlight distinctions of belief that had previously co-existed uneasily.

Though Ireland, Spain, France, and elsewhere featured significantly in the Counter-Reformation, its heart was Italy and the various popes of the time, who established the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, (the list of prohibited books) or simply the "Index", a list of prohibited books, and the Roman Inquisition, a system of juridical tribunals that prosecuted heresy and related offences. The Papacy of St. Pius V (1566–1572) was known not only for its focus on halting heresy and worldly abuses within the Church, but also for its focus on improving popular piety in a determined effort to stem the appeal of Protestantism. Pius began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor, charity, and hospitals, and the pontiff was known for consoling the poor and sick, and supporting missionaries. The activities of these pontiffs coincided with a rediscovery of the ancient Christian catacombs in Rome. As Diarmaid MacCulloch stated, "Just as these ancient martyrs were revealed once more, Catholics were beginning to be martyred afresh, both in mission fields overseas and in the struggle to win back Protestant northern Europe: the catacombs proved to be an inspiration for many to action and to heroism."[51]

The Council of Trent

The Council in Santa Maria Maggiore church; Museo Diocesiano Tridentino, Trento

The Council of Trent (1545–1563), initiated by Pope Paul III (1534–1549) addressed issues of certain ecclesiastical corruptions such as simony, absenteeism, nepotism, and other abuses, as well as the reassertion of traditional practices and the dogmatic articulation of the traditional doctrines of the Church, such as the episcopal structure, clerical celebacy, the seven Sacraments, transubstantiation (the belief that during mass the consecrated bread and wine truly become the body and blood of Christ), the veneration of relics, icons, and saints (especially the Blessed Virgin Mary), the necessity of both faith and good works for salvation, the existence of purgatory and the issuance (but not the sale) of indulgences, etc. In other words, all Protestant doctrinal objections and changes were uncompromisingly rejected. The Council also fostered an interest in education for parish priests to increase pastoral care. Milan's Archbishop Carlo Borromeo (1538–1584) set an example by visiting the remotest parishes and instilling high standards.

Secular influence

The monasteries also provided refuge to those sick of earthly life like Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor who retired to Yuste in his late years, and his son Philip II of Spain, who was functionally as close to a monastic as his regal responsibilities permitted.

Uniate churches

The Eastern Catholic churches consider themselves to have reconciled the East and West Schism by keeping their prayers and rituals similar to those of Eastern Orthodoxy, while also accepting the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Some Eastern Orthodox charge that joining in this unity comes at the expense of ignoring critical doctrinal differences and past atrocities.[citation needed] From the perspective of many Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholicism is a ploy by Roman Catholicism to undermine and ultimately destroy their church by undermining its legitimacy and absorbing it into the Roman Catholic Church.[citation needed] The Orthodox fear that this ploy would diminish the power of the eastern Patriarchs of the church and would require the acceptance of rejected doctrines and Scholasticism over faith.[52][53]

Since the beginnings of the Uniate movement, there have been periodic conflicts between the Orthodox and Uniate in Poland, Western Russia[54] and later also in Transylvania. During the Time of Troubles there was a plan (by the conquering Polish monarchy) to convert all of Russia to Roman Catholicism.[citation needed] Patriarch Hermogenes was martyred by the Roman Catholics during this period (see also Polish-Lithuanian-Muscovite Commonwealth).[citation needed]

The Reformation elsewhere

In the early 16th century, the church was confronted with the challenge posed by Martin Luther to the traditional teaching on the church's doctrinal authority and to many of its practices as well. The seeming inability of Pope Leo X (1513–1521) and those popes who succeeded him to comprehend the significance of the threat that Luther posed - or, indeed, the alienation of many Christians by the corruption that had spread throughout the church - was a major factor in the rapid growth of the Protestant Reformation. By the time the need for a vigorous, reforming papal leadership was recognized, much of northern Europe had already converted to Protestantism.

Scandinavia

All of Scandinavia ultimately adopted Lutheranism over the course of the 16th century, as the monarchs of Denmark (who also ruled Norway and Iceland) and Sweden (who also ruled Finland) converted to that faith.

In Sweden the Reformation was spearheaded by Gustav Vasa, elected king in 1523. Friction with the pope over the latter's interference in Swedish ecclesiastical affairs led to the discontinuance of any official connection between Sweden and the papacy from 1523.[55] Four years later, at the Diet of Västerås, the king succeeded in forcing the diet to accept his dominion over the national church. The king was given possession of all church property, church appointments required royal approval, the clergy were subject to the civil law, and the "pure Word of God" was to be preached in the churches and taught in the schools—effectively granting official sanction to Lutheran ideas.[55]

Under the reign of Frederick I (1523–33), Denmark remained officially Catholic. But though Frederick initially pledged to persecute Lutherans, he soon adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers, of whom the most famous was Hans Tausen.[55] During his reign, Lutheranism made significant inroads among the Danish population. Frederick's son, Christian, was openly Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his father's death. However, following his victory in the civil war that followed, in 1537 he became Christian III and began a reformation of the official state church.

Scotland

The Reformation in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the re-establishment of the church along Reformed lines, and politically in the triumph of English influence over that of France. John Knox is regarded as the leader of the Scottish Reformation

The Reformation Parliament of 1560, which repudiated the pope's authority, forbade the celebration of the mass and approved a Protestant Confession of Faith, was made possible by a revolution against French hegemony under the regime of the regent Mary of Guise, who had governed Scotland in the name of her absent daughter Mary, Queen of Scots (then also Queen of France).

The Scottish Reformation decisively shaped the Church of Scotland[56] and, through it, all other Presbyterian churches worldwide.

A spiritual revival also broke out among Catholics soon after Martin Luther's actions, and led to the Scottish Covenanters' movement, the precursor to Scottish Presbyterianism. This movement spread, and greatly influenced the formation of Puritanism among the Anglican Church in England. The Scottish Covenanters were persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church. This persecution by the Catholics drove some of the Protestant Covenanter leadership out of Scotland, and into France and later, Switzerland.

France

Protestantism also spread into France, where the Protestants were nicknamed "Huguenots", and this touched off decades of warfare in France, after initial support by Henry of Navarre was lost due to the "Night of the Placards" affair. Many French Huguenots however, still contributed to the Protestant movement, including many who emigrated to the English colonies.

Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre, Painting by François Dubois (born about 1529, Amiens, Picardy)

Though he was not personally interested in religious reform, Francis I (1515–47) initially maintained an attitude of tolerance, arising from his interest in the humanist movement. This changed in 1534 with the Affair of the Placards. In this act, Protestants denounced the mass in placards that appeared across France, even reaching the royal apartments. The issue of religious faith having been thrown into the arena of politics, Francis was prompted to view the movement as a threat to the kingdom's stability. This led to the first major phase of anti-Protestant persecution in France, in which the Chambre Ardente ("Burning Chamber") was established within the Parlement of Paris to handle with the rise in prosecutions for heresy. Several thousand French Protestants fled the country during this time, most notably John Calvin, who settled in Geneva.

Calvin continued to take an interest in the religious affairs of his native land and, from his base in Geneva, beyond the reach of the French king, regularly trained pastors to lead congregations in France. Despite heavy persecution by Henry II, the Reformed Church of France, largely Calvinist in direction, made steady progress across large sections of the nation, in the urban bourgeoisie and parts of the aristocracy, appealing to people alienated by the obduracy and the complacency of the Catholic establishment.

French Protestantism, though its appeal increased under persecution, came to acquire a distinctly political character, made all the more obvious by the noble conversions of the 1550s. This had the effect of creating the preconditions for a series of destructive and intermittent conflicts, known as the Wars of Religion. The civil wars were helped along by the sudden death of Henry II in 1559, which saw the beginning of a prolonged period of weakness for the French crown. Atrocity and outrage became the defining characteristic of the time, illustrated at its most intense in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of August 1572, when the Catholic Church annihilated between 30,000 and 100,000 Huguenots across France.[57] The wars only concluded when Henry IV, himself a former Huguenot, issued the Edict of Nantes, promising official toleration of the Protestant minority, but under highly restricted conditions. Catholicism remained the official state religion, and the fortunes of French Protestants gradually declined over the next century, culminating in Louis XIV's Edict of Fontainebleau—which revoked the Edict of Nantes and made Catholicism the sole legal religion of France. In response to the Edict of Fontainebleau, Frederick William of Brandenburg declared the Edict of Potsdam, giving free passage to French Huguenot refugees, and tax-free status to them for 10 years.

Netherlands

Iconoclasm: The organised destruction of Catholic images, or Beeldenstorm, swept through Netherlands churches in 1566.

The Reformation in the Netherlands, unlike in many other countries, was not initiated by the rulers of the Seventeen Provinces, but instead by multiple popular movements, which in turn were bolstered by the arrival of Protestant refugees from other parts of the continent. While the Anabaptist movement enjoyed popularity in the region in the early decades of the Reformation, Calvinism, in the form of the Dutch Reformed Church, became the dominant Protestant faith in the country from the 1560s onward.

Harsh persecution of Protestants by the Spanish government of Philip II contributed to a desire for independence in the provinces, which led to the Eighty Years' War and eventually, the separation of the largely Protestant Dutch Republic from the Catholic-dominated Southern Netherlands, the present-day Belgium.

Hungary

Much of the population of Kingdom of Hungary adopted Protestantism during the 16th century. After the 1526 Battle of Mohács the Hungarian people were disillusioned by the ability of the government to protect them and turned to the faith which would infuse them with the strength necessary to resist the invader.[citation needed] They found this in the teaching of the Protestant Reformers such as Martin Luther. The spread of Protestantism in the country was aided by its large ethnic German minority, which could understand and translate the writings of Martin Luther. While Lutheranism gained a foothold among the German-speaking population, Calvinism became widely accepted among ethnic Hungarians.[58]

In the more independent northwest the rulers and priests, protected now by the Habsburg Monarchy which had taken the field to fight the Turks, defended the old Catholic faith. They dragged the Protestants to prison and the stake wherever they could. Such strong measures only fanned the flames of protest, however.[citation needed] Leaders of the Protestants included Matthias Biro Devai, Michael Sztarai, and Stephen Kis Szegedi.

Protestants likely formed a majority of Hungary's population at the close of the 16th century, but Counter-Reformation efforts in the 17th century reconverted a majority of the kingdom to Catholicism.[59] A significant Protestant minority remained, most of it adhering to the Calvinist faith.

Roman Catholicism

At its most active, in the 16th century, nevertheless, the Inquisition was regarded as far more enlightened than the secular courts: if you denied the Trinity and repented you were given penance; if you stole a sheep and repented you were hung. It has been calculated that only one per cent of those who appeared before the Inquisition tribunals eventually received death penalties. But the damage wrought by propaganda has been effective, and today the 'Spanish' Inquisition, like the Crusades, persists in supplying supposedly discreditable episodes to damn the memory of the Catholic past." While one percent of those tried in the inquisitions received death penalties, scholars agree that they were "more enlightened" and considered to be rather lenient when compared to secular courts.[60][61][62]

Discoveries and Missionaries

The issue resulted in a crisis of conscience in 16th-century Spain.[63][64] An outpouring of self-criticism and philosophical reflection among Catholic theologians, most notably Francisco de Vitoria, led to debate on the nature of human rights[64] and the birth of modern international law.[65][66]

In 1521, through the leadership and preaching of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the first Catholics were baptized in what became the first Christian nation in Southeast Asia, the Philippines.[67] The following year, Franciscan missionaries arrived in what is now Mexico, and sought to convert the Indians and to provide for their well-being by establishing schools and hospitals. They taught the Indians better farming methods, and easier ways of weaving and making pottery. Because some people questioned whether the Indians were truly human and deserved baptism, Pope Paul III in the papal bull Veritas Ipsa or Sublimis Deus (1537) confirmed that the Indians were deserving people.[68][69] Afterward, the conversion effort gained momentum.[70] Over the next 150 years, the missions expanded into southwestern North America.[71] The native people were legally defined as children, and priests took on a paternalistic role, often enforced with corporal punishment.[72] Elsewhere, in India, Portuguese missionaries and the Spanish Jesuit Francis Xavier evangelized among non-Christians and a Christian community which claimed to have been established by Thomas the Apostle.[73]

Whitby Abbey England, one of hundreds of European monasteries destroyed during the Reformation.

Renaissance Church

In Europe, the Renaissance marked a period of renewed interest in ancient and classical learning. It also brought a re-examination of accepted beliefs. Cathedrals and churches had long served as picture books and art galleries for millions of the uneducated. The stained glass windows, frescoes, statues, paintings and panels retold the stories of the saints and of biblical characters. The Church sponsored great Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, who created some of the world's most famous artworks.[74] The acceptance of humanism had its effects on the Church, which embraced it as well. In 1509, a well known scholar of the age, Erasmus, wrote The Praise of Folly, a work which captured a widely held unease about corruption in the Church.[75] The Papacy itself was questioned by councilarism expressed in the councils of Constance and the Basel. Real reforms during these ecumenical councils and the Fifth Lateran Council were attempted several times but thwarted. They were seen as necessary but did not succeed in large measure because of internal feuds within the Church,[76] ongoing conflicts with the Ottoman Empire and Saracenes[76] and the simony and nepotism practiced in the Renaissance Church of the 15th and early 16th centuries.[77] As a result, rich, powerful and worldly men like Roderigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) were able to win election to the papacy.[77][78]

Reformation wars

The Fifth Lateran Council issued some but only minor reforms in March of 1517. A few months later, October 17, 1517, Martin Luther issued his Ninety-Five Theses in a letter to several bishops, hoping to spark debate.[79][80] His theses protested key points of Catholic doctrine as well as the sale of indulgences.[79][80] Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and others further criticized Catholic teachings. These challenges, supported by powerful political forces in the region, developed into the Protestant Reformation.[81][82] In Germany, the reformation led to war between the Protestant Schmalkaldic League and the Catholic Emperor Charles V. The first nine-year war ended in 1555 but continued tensions produced a far graver conflict, the Thirty Years' War, which broke out in 1618.[83] In France, a series of conflicts termed the French Wars of Religion was fought from 1562 to 1598 between the Huguenots and the forces of the French Catholic League. A series of popes sided with and became financial supporters of the Catholic League.[84] This ended under Pope Clement VIII, who hesitantly accepted King Henry IV's 1598 Edict of Nantes, which granted civil and religious toleration to Protestants.[83][84]

England

The English Reformation was ostensibly based on Henry VIII's desire for annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, and was initially more of a political, and later a theological dispute.[85] The Acts of Supremacy made the English monarch head of the English church thereby establishing the Church of England. Then, beginning in 1536, some 825 monasteries throughout England, Wales and Ireland were dissolved and Catholic churches were confiscated.[86][87] When he died in 1547 all monasteries, friaries, convents of nuns and shrines were destroyed or desolved.[87][88] Mary I of England reunited the Church of England with Rome and, against the advice of the Spanish ambassador, persecuted Protestants during the Marian Persecutions.[89][90] After some provocation, the following monarch, Elizabeth I enforced the Act of Supremacy. This prevented Catholics from becoming members of professions, holding public office, voting or educating their children.[89][91] Executions of Catholics under Elizabeth I, who reigned much longer, then surpassed the Marian persecutions[89] and persisted under subsequent English monarchs.[92] Penal laws were also enacted in Ireland[93] but were less effective than in England.[89][94] In part because the Irish people associated Catholicism with nationhood and national identity, they resisted persistent English efforts to eliminate the Catholic Church.[89][94]

Melk Abbey—adjoining Wachau Valley, Lower Austria—exemplifies the Baroque style.

Council of Trent

Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, in his book The Reformation, A History noted that through all the slaughter of the Reformation era emerged the valuable concept of religious toleration and an improved Catholic Church[95] which responded to doctrinal challenges and abuses highlighted by the Reformation at the Council of Trent (1545–1563). The council became the driving-force of the Counter-Reformation, and reaffirmed central Catholic doctrines such as transubstantiation, and the requirement for love and hope as well as faith to attain salvation.[96] It also reformed many other areas of importance to the Church, most importantly by improving the education of the clergy and consolidating the central jurisdiction of the Roman Curia.[96][97][98] The criticisms of the Reformation were among factors that sparked new religious orders including the Theatines, Barnabites and Jesuits, some of which became the great missionary orders of later years.[99] Spiritual renewal and reform were inspired by many new saints like Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales and Philip Neri whose writings spawned distinct schools of spirituality within the Church (Oratorians, Carmelites, Salesian), etc.[100] Improvement to the education of the laity was another positive effect of the era, with a proliferation of secondary schools reinvigorating higher studies such as history, philosophy and theology.[101] To popularize Counter-Reformation teachings, the Church encouraged the Baroque style in art, music and architecture. Baroque religious expression was stirring and emotional, created to stimulate religious fervor.[102]

Elsewhere, Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier introduced Christianity to Japan, and by the end of the 16th century tens of thousands of Japanese followed Roman Catholicism. Church growth came to a halt in 1597 under the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu who, in an effort to isolate the country from foreign influences, launched a severe persecution of Christians.[103] Japanese were forbidden to leave the country and Europeans were forbidden to enter. Despite this, a minority Christian population survived into the 19th century.[103][104]

Baroque, Enlightenment and revolutions

The Council of Trent generated a revival of religious life and Marian devotions in the Roman Catholic Church. During the Reformation, the Church had defended its Marian beliefs against Protestant views. At the same time, the Catholic world was engaged in ongoing Ottoman Wars in Europe against Turkey which were fought and won under the auspices of the Virgin Mary. The victory at Battle of Lepanto (1571) was accredited to her “and signified the beginning of a strong resurgence of Marian devotions, focusing especially on Mary, the Queen of Heaven and Earth and her powerful role as mediatrix of many graces”.[105] The Colloquium Marianum, an elite group, and the Sodality of Our Lady based their activities on a virtuous life, free of cardinal sins.

Eastern Orthodoxy

Union of Brest

The Uniate movement within East-Central Europe was started with the 1598-1599 Union of Brest, by which the "Metropolia of Kiev-Halych and all Rus'" entered into relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.

The Eastern Catholic churches consider themselves to have reconciled the East and West Schism by keeping their prayers and rituals similar to those of Eastern Orthodoxy, while also accepting the primacy of the Bishop of Rome.

Some Eastern Orthodox charge that joining in this unity comes at the expense of ignoring critical doctrinal differences and past atrocities. From the perspective of many Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholicism is a ploy by Roman Catholicism to undermine and ultimately destroy their church by undermining its legitimacy and absorbing it into the Roman Catholic Church. It is feared that this ploy would diminish the power to the original eastern Patriarchs of the church and would require the acceptance of rejected doctrines and Scholasticism over faith.[106][107]

Rise of the Russian Orthodox Church

The growing might of the Russian state contributed also to the growing authority of the Autocephalous Russian Church. In 1589, Metropolitan Job of Moscow became the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus'; making the Russian Church one of the five honourable Patriarchates.

Church and the Italian Renaissance

In addition to being the head of the Church, the Pope became one of Italy's most important secular rulers, and pontiffs such as Julius II often waged campaigns to protect and expand their temporal domains. Furthermore, the popes, in a spirit of refined competition with other Italian lords, spent lavishly both on private luxuries but also on public works, repairing or building churches, bridges, and a magnificent system of aqueducts in Rome that still function today. It was during this time that St. Peter's Basilica, perhaps the most recognised Christian church, was built on the site of the old Constantinian basilica. It was also a time of increased contact with Greek culture, opening up new avenues of learning, especially in the fields of philosophy, poetry, classics, rhetoric, and political science, fostering a spirit of humanism–all of which would influence the Church.

The Crusades and Muslim history

The Crusades

The last crusading order of knights to hold territory were the Knights Hospitaller. After the final fall of Acre, they took control of the island of Rhodes, and in the 16th century, were driven to Malta, before being finally unseated by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798.

Aftermath

The Knights of St John carved out a new territory based on the Aegean island of Rhodes, which they ruled until 1522. Cyprus remained under the rule of the House of Lusignan until 1474/89 (the precise date depends on how Venice's highly unusual takeover is interpreted - see Caterina Cornaro) and subsequently that of Venice until 1570. By this time the Knights of St John had moved to Malta - even further from the Holy Land - which they ruled until 1798.

Crusades in the Balkans

To counter the expanding Ottoman Empire, several crusades were launched in the 15th century. The most notable are:

Hussite Crusade

The Hussite Crusade(s), also known as the "Hussite Wars," or the "Bohemian Wars," involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1420 to circa 1434. The Hussite Wars were arguably the first European war in which hand-held gunpowder weapons such as muskets made a decisive contribution. The Taborite faction of the Hussite warriors were basically infantry, and their many defeats of larger armies with heavily armoured knights helped affect the infantry revolution. In the end, it was an inconclusive war.

Muslim history

Islam in East Africa

Christianity in Ethiopia suffered extensive material losses due to the military actions of Imam Ahmad Gragn, who attempted to conquer the Ethiopian highlands in a jihad that lasted 12 years. With Portuguese help, the Ethiopians eventually defeated and killed the Imam in the Battle of Wayna Daga. While his successor Nur ibn Mujahid attempted to renew the campaign, with Nur's death in 1567 organized hostility of the Muslims against the Christians ended, and the two faiths settled into an undeclared truce which for the most part lasted into modern times.

Safavid Empire

Shah Suleiman I and his courtiers, Isfahan, 1670. Painter is Ali Qoli Jabbador, and is kept at The St. Petersburg Institute of Oriental Studies in Russia, ever since it was acquired by Tsar Nicholas II. Note the two Georgian figures with their names at the top left.

The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) were an Iranian dynasty from Iranian Azarbaijan that ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Twelver Shi'a Islam as Iran's official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty, thereby reigniting the Persian identity.

Although claiming to be the descendants of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Safavids were originally Sunni (the name "Safavid" comes from a Sufi order called Safavi). Their origins go back to Firuz Shah Zarrinkolah, an Iranian local dignitary from Iran's north. During their rule, the Safavids recognized Twelver Shi'a Islam as the State religion, thus giving Iran a separate identity from its Sunni neighbours.

In 1524, Tahmasp acceded to the throne, initiating a revival of the arts in the region. Carpet making became a major industry, gaining new importance in Iran's cities. But the finest of all artistic revivals was the commissioning of the Shahnama. The Shahnama was meant to glorify the reign of the Shah through artistic means. The two-volume copy contained 258 large paintings to illustrate the works of Firdawsi, a Persian poet. The Shah also prohibited the drinking of wine, forbade the use of hashish and ordered the removal of gambling casinos, taverns and brothels.

In the early 16th century, the Shi'ite Safavid dynasty assumed control in Persia under the leadership of Shah Ismail I, upon the defeat of the ruling Turcoman federation Aq Qoyunlu (also called the "White Sheep Turkomans") in 1501. The Ottoman sultan Selim I quickly sought to repel Safavid expansion, challenging and defeating them at the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514. Selim I also deposed the ruling Mamluks in Egypt, absorbing their territories into the Ottoman Empire in 1517. Suleiman I (also known as Suleiman the Magnificent), Selim I's successor, took advantage of the diversion of Safavid focus to the Uzbeks on the eastern frontier and recaptured Baghdad, which had previously fallen under Safavid control. Despite this, Safavid power remained substantial, with their empire rivalling the Ottomans'. Suleiman I also advanced deep into Hungary following the Battle of Mohács in 1526 — reaching as far as the gates of Vienna thereafter, and signed a Franco-Ottoman alliance with Francis I of France against Charles V of the Roman Empire 10 years later. Suleiman I's rule (1520 — 1566) signified the height of the Ottoman Empire, after which it fell into a relative decline with the rapid industrialization of the European empires.[108][109]

Islamic expansion into Europe would renew and remain a threat for centuries culminating in the campaigns of Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. On the other hand, the crusades in southern Spain, southern Italy, and Sicily eventually lead to the demise of Islamic power in the regions; the Teutonic knights expanded Christian domains in Eastern Europe, and the much less frequent crusades within Christendom, such as the Albigensian Crusade, achieved their goal of maintaining doctrinal unity.[110]

References

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  65. ^ Woods, How the Church Built Western Civilization (2005), p. 137
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  68. ^ Johansen, Bruce, The Native Peoples of North America, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, 2006, p. 110, quote: "In the Papal bull Sublimis deus (1537), Pope Paul III declared that Indians were to be regarded as fully human, and that their souls were as immortal as those of Europeans. This edict also outlawed slavery of Indians in any form ..."
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  70. ^ Samora et al., A History of the Mexican-American People (1993), p. 20
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  105. ^ Otto Stegmüller, Barock, in Marienkunde, 1967 566
  106. ^ We are Orthodox from Czechoslovakia. God permitted for us to be greatly tested. We feel, He is burning and testing us like gold in a crucible. We also feel, we are not like gold to survive this fire without the help of God and support of our brothers throughout the world. We beg you therefore to pray for us to the Lord and the Most Holy Theotokos, that Orthodoxy in Czechoslovakia recover her freedom and equal rights with all the other Christian communities and overcome her enemies. (Signed by Orthodox dignitaries of Czechoslovakia). “Orthodox Kypseli” Puplications - Thessalonika, Greece - http://www.impantokratoros.gr/170832DE.en.aspx
  107. ^ Atrocities of the Uniate or Unia
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  109. ^ www.muslimdecline.blogspot.com
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  112. ^ Tucker, 2004, p. 55
  113. ^ Melady, Thomas Patrick. Faces of Africa, Macmillan, 1964, p. 126
  114. ^ Gailey, p. 44-45
  115. ^ Kane, p. 68
  116. ^ Anderson, 511
  117. ^ Latourette, vol. 3, p. 113
  118. ^ Herbermann, p. 385
  119. ^ Latourette, vol. III, p. 253
  120. ^ Kane, 57
  121. ^ Neill, 127
  122. ^ Tucker, p. 63
  123. ^ Glover, 42
  124. ^ Kane, p. 76
  125. ^ Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilisation in China, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 542
  126. ^ Paul B. Henze, Layers of Time (New York, Palgrave, 2000), p. 93.
  127. ^ Gailey, p. 99
  128. ^ Kane, pp. 62, 130
  129. ^ Kane, 71
  130. ^ Neill, p. 134
  131. ^ Latourette, 1953, p. 939
  132. ^ Tanis, James. "Reformed Pietism and Protestant Missions," Harvard Theological Review, vol. 67 (1974), p. 65.
  133. ^ Olson, p. 114
  134. ^ Latourette, vol. III, p. 328

Further reading

  • Esler, Phillip F. The Early Christian World. Routledge (2004). ISBN 0-415-33312-1.
  • White, L. Michael. From Jesus to Christianity. HarperCollins (2004). ISBN 0-06-052655-6.
  • Freedman, David Noel (Ed). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (2000). ISBN 0-8028-2400-5.
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan. The Christian Tradition: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600). University of Chicago Press (1975). ISBN 0-226-65371-4.

External links

See also

History of Christianity: The Reformation
Preceded by:
Christianity in
the 15th century
16th
Century
Followed by:
Christianity in
the 17th century
BC 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st

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