The Background Of The Reformation Movement
I. John Wycliffe – (1328-1384)
A. English clergyman who studied and taught at Oxford for most of his life.
B. Setting – Roman Church owns most of the property in England and Europe.
1. Clergymen were nothing more than immoral and dishonest land owners.
2. Heavily burdened the people.
B. In 1376 wrote Of Civil Dominion
1. In it he declared that there needed to be a moral basis for ecclesiastical leadership. (All priests should be good men)
2. Said land ownership was the root of the problem.
3. The king at the time, John of Gaunt, was delighted to relieve the Roman church of its property to “purify the priesthood.”
a. This also gave Wycliffe English Royal protection.
b. Led to church reform in 1378.
C. After 1379 Wycliffe began opposing Catholic dogma.
1. Authority of the Pope
a. He insisted in writing that the Pope was not the head of the church, Christ was! (Call the Pope – Anti-Christ!)
b. That there were only two orders of officers in the church: elders and deacons.
2. The Bible, NOT THE CHURCH, was the sole authority for man.
3. The church should re-model itself after the pattern of the N.T.
4. In 1382 – Opposed the doctrine of Transubstantiation, private masses, extreme unction (anointing the sick, from James 5:14,15), & purgatory, etc.
D. Solidified with the preparation of a translation of N.T. in English – 1382.
1. O.T. finished by Nicholas of Hereford in 1384.
E. Wycliffe’s views condemned in London in 1382.
1. He was forced to retire to his rectory at Lutterworth.
2. He founded a group of lay preachers called Lollards.
a. They went throughout England teaching Wycliffe’s ideas.
b. Until in 1401 the Roman church forced the statute De Haeretico Comburendo through Parliament making the teaching of Lollard ideas punishable by death.
D. 31 years after his death, he was declared a heretic, his bones removed from their tomb, burned and the ashes thrown into the Avon river.
II. John (Jan) Hus – (1373-1415) –
A. Students of Hus had come from Oxford, England where they had been indoctrinated by Wycliffe, sharing these views with him.
B. Bohemian (Prague) pastor of Bethlehem chapel and rector of the university of Prague in 1409 developed the views of Wycliffe to rely on the authority of Scriptures.
1. 1409 – headed the National Bohemian Party in cause of reform.
2. Was excommunicated by both the archbishop and the pope, and later the Council of Constance condemned him as a heretic.
C. His desires to reform the church in Prague made him a papal enemy resulting in being burned at the stake July 6, 1415.
D. In 1413 He wrote De Ecclesia (De=About / Ecclesia=the Church).
E. After His death the Taborites (radical followers of Hus) developed.
1. More fully withdrew from Roman Church.
2. 1450 – Some of the Taborite group formed Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren, or United Brethren) or Bohemian Brethren.
3. By 1517 they had 200,000 members and two printing presses.
4. From this group that the Moravian church exists today.
5. The U.S. headquarters are in Pennsylvania.
F. Known as the “John the Baptist of the Reformation” — Meaning — Forerunner of the Reformation.
III. Savonarola (1452–1498) (Florence, Italy)
A. A writer and became Dominican Monk in 1474.
B. Assigned to Florence in 1490.
C. Tried to reform both state and church.
1. Preached against the evil life of the pope.
2. He was offered the position of Cardinal in hopes that he would be loyal to the church, but he refused.
D. He was arrested and tortured for six days
1. He confessed to doing wrong under torture.
2. He retracted his confession and was hanged and his body burned in 1498.
IV. What Catholicism Had Become
1. By "simony" is meant the purchase of an office in the church, the name and the offense coming from Simon Magus (the Sorcerer), who offered Peter money for the power to confer the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:9-24)
2. Simony was reformed by Gregory VII.
3. It had grown up in the church as the feudal system came into being.
a. The ecclesiastical vacancies were sold to the highest bidder.
b. The most unsuitable persons became bishops and abbots (Mediaeval and Modern History, Myers, p.115‑116)
B. Indulgencies –
1. This was the purchase of forgiveness, both now and after death.
2. John Tetzel's sale of Indulgences was the occasion for Martin Luther's break with Rome - 1517
3. According to Roman teaching, purgatory is very much the same as hell, only it does not last as long, but all have to pass through it.
4. The pope claimed to have the authority and power to lessen or remit these sufferings.
5. It began with Popes Pascal I (817‑824) and John VIII (872‑882)
a. It was very profitable
b. Soon came into general use
c. They were offered as inducement to go on crusades or wars against heretics, etc.
5. This became a way of “selling the privilege of sin” (Halley's Bible Handbook, Halley, p.787)
C. The Popes Of The Renaissance Period – Notice Their Corruption
1. French control of the papacy (1303‑1378)
a. Benedict XI (1303‑1304)
b. After his death, papal place moved from Rome to Auignon, France
2. "Babylonian Captivity" of the papacy (1305‑1387)
a. Burdensome taxes were imposed
b. Church offices were sold for money
3. The Papal Schism (1377‑1417)
a. Two sets of popes, one at Rome, one at Auignon
b. Each set claimed to be "Vicar of Christ"
4. Renaissance Popes (1447‑1503)
a. Nicolas V (1447‑1455), authorized the king of Portugal to war on Africans, making slaves of them
b. Paul II (1464‑1471) filled his house with concubines
c. Innocent VIII (1484‑1492) had 16 children by various married women
d. Alexander VI (1492‑1503) was called the most corrupt of the Renaissance popes (Halley's Bible Handbook, Halley, p.778‑779)
1. Council of Constance (1414‑1418) far surpassed that of Pisa, and any which followed.
a. The council proposed three objects:
1) To bring Schism to an end
2) To pass a judgment on the doctrines of Wycliffe and Huss
3) To carry out that same reform, a reform of the church in head and in members, which for all that were true of heart had been long the dearest object of their desire; and which the mournful experience had not yet taught them was never through a council to be obtained.
b. The pope's aim was to bear the council in hand till a decent opportunity for getting rid of it shall arrive.
2. Council of Pisa, Italy (1409)
a. It purposed two main objects:
1) The restoration of peace, by a restoration of unity of the church. Since 1378 two popes ruled: George XII in Rome, Italy and Benedict XIII in Avignon, France. The council of Pisa was to seek union of papal power, but failed.
2) The second, the reformation of it in head and in members.
b. There were twenty three cardinals and either in person or by proxy, some two hundred bishops, nearly three hundred abbots, with doctors of theology and of the canon and the civil law, little short of five hundred, and others in assembly.
c. It lasted a little more than four months; from March 25 to August 7, 1409
d. The council became deserted by many of its principal members and was adjourned for three years.
3. The Unam Sanctam – (Urged By Faith)
a. Pope Boniface VIII and Philip IV, the Fair, (King of France) (1285‑1314) were in a mortal quarrel.
b. Letters were exchanged, and all decencies of language on both sides were cast away.
c. In the end, the famous bull, called Unam Sanctam from the opening words, was published on Nov. 18, 1302.
1) it declared that every human being was subject to the Roman Pontiff, which is necessary for salvation.
2) Philip was not terrified
d. Philip led a band of lawless soldiers in an attach on Boniface and gained victory.
V. The Rise Of Knowledge Planted The Seed Of Reform.
1. Petrarch (1304-1374)
a. Known as the first of the Humanists
b. Was the first to fully realize and appreciate the supreme excellence and beauty of classical literature and its value as a means of culture.
c. He had great feelings for the material monuments of classical antiquity.
d. He called into existence a school of ardent young humanists who looked up to him as master.
2. Humanism Develops.
a. With mid‑fifteenth century invention of printing with movable type, popular education became widespread and new educational ideals arose.
b. Luther favored widespread teaching
c. The demand for books was great
d. The great controversies brought many pamphlets, tracts, and brilliant works on classics, history, criticism, education and politics
e. A study of the languages became common place for their aesthetic value – In the process leading to greater knowledge – Planting the seed for later revolt.
a. One of the greatest humanists of the age was Erasmus of Rotterdam (1536)
1) A scholar, promoter of classical erudition
2) Editor of the Greek text of the Bible
3) Author of The Praise of Folly - A renaissance satire looking at the frivolity of learning, but ending with the sharing of his concerns and beliefs of how Christians should act.
4. Other Leading Northern Humanists Of That Day:
a. Thomas More (1478-1535) – English Author & Catholic Martyr
b. Ulrich von Hutten – (1488-1523) – German Patriot, Poet, Knight, Classical Scholar, Satirist
c. Johann Reuchlin (1455-1522) – German Humanist and Hebrew Scholar (Western Civilization Since 1500, Kirchner p.29‑30)
B. Translations of the Bible
1. Practical reformation has never been possible without the average person having access to the scripture itself
2. Early attempts to translate it into English were made before 1000 A.D.
3. Wycliffe did not use the original Greek and Hebrew, but translated the Latin Vulgate of Jerome into English
a. This translation was used extensively by the Lollards, the followers of Wycliffe
b. It also influenced the Husite Reformation in Bohemia
4. The first printed English New Testament was that of William Tyndale (1495‑1536); published part of the Old Testament also.
a. He used the original language.
b. Translated the New Testament in 1525
c. The Pentateuch in 1530
d. Book of Jonah in 1531
e. Psalms in 1534
f. His work was so good that when the King James Version was done later, it was about 90% identical with that of Tyndale.
5. In 1535 the Miles Coverdale work began, which was taken mostly from Wycliffe and Tyndale.
6. In 1557 the Bible was divided into chapters and verses. There was also a prologue to each book with summaries and notes throughout.
7. By 1579 versions were so readily available that the average home was able to afford one.
8. The Bishop's Bible was published in 1586; it was a revision of the Great Bible.
9. From 1615 till 1769 there were many revisions of the King James Version.
10. A better English translation was published in 1881, due to the discoveries of the Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Sinaiticus
a. There were advanced orders for almost two million copies
b. Over three million copies were sold the first year
11. In 1901, the American Revision Committee brought out a version which was more in keeping with American usage than the English version (The Eternal Kingdom, Mattox, p.274‑278)
VI. The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries – The Reformation
1. Long range
a. The church had apostatized from New Testament purity, and was corrupt in the dark ages
1) These abuses came from within the church itself
2) This had destroyed the unity
b. There were many false doctrines in the church
a. The papacy had reached the zenith of its power and was using it to promote its selfish interests
b. The entire church could be characterized as being morally bankrupt
c. It was under these conditions that sincere reformers arose to work for a moral and spiritual regeneration (The Eternal Kingdom, Mattox, p. 219‑223)
1. Martin Luther was born in 1483, the son of a miner.
2. He studied law, then theology, and became an Augustine monk
a. His superiors sent him to Wittenberg, Saxony, to teach
b. Terrified by the corruption he had seen in Rome, doubtful as to many teachings of the church, and convinced that only faith and grace can lead to man's salvation
c. Posted October 31,1517 ninety‑five thesis on the church door, attacking one of the worst abuses, the sale of indulgences
3. In 1520, Luther published three pamphlets
a. He described Rome's abuses
b. Demanded reforms in morals and in do gma
c. Attacked some of the sacraments, transubstantiation, and worship of the saints
d. He insisted that the Bible alone constituted the final authority for a Christian
4. He was protected by Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, or Known as Frederick, The Wise. – (1463-1525)
5. The pope (Leo X) threatened a ban of excommunication against Luther, but Luther publicly burned the pope's bull, and protested to be subjected to God only (Dec. 10,1520)
6. He attended the Diet of Worms in 1521, where he again restated his position – This Diet excommunicated Luther & Outlawed writings
7. Luther's religious reforms eventually turned into a European movement (Western Civilization Since 1500, Kirchner, p.41‑42)
8. Even before the death, which occurred in the year 1546, the Reformation had gained a strong foothold in most of the countries of Western Christendom (Mediaeval and Modern History, Myers, p.308)
C. Roman Opposition
1. Called the counter‑Reformation, during which time the old church underwent a spiritual revival and administrative renovation
a. It failed to destroy the Protestant Reformation
b. It was some time before it was generally realized how powerful a new religious inspiration had come into the world (The Reformation Crisis, Hurstfield, P.50)
2. The main characteristic of revised Catholicism was its effort to regain by force the territory lost to the Protestants
3. The history of this armed struggle which lasted nearly one hundred and fifty years falls into three periods
a. The attack on the Calvinistic regions of Western Europe (1542‑98)
b. The attack on the Lutheran regions of Central Europe (1618‑48)
c. The struggle which led to English world supremacy (The Focal Points of Christian History, Dametz, p.121)
D. The Swiss Revolt
1. Centers about the name of Ulrich Zwingli (1484‑1531)
a. Born in the village of Wildhaus
b. At age of fourteen, went to Bern where he studied
under Heinrich Wolflin
c. For two years he studied at the University of Vienna
d. He became a famous preacher, and taught against
many of the Catholic doctrines
2. His teachings broke out in other cantons ‑‑ the confederacy became divided into two hostile groups and preparations were made for war.
3. On June 8,1529, Zurich, the leader of the Protestant league, declared war.
a. The troops voted against it, so peace was negotiated
b. The peace, signed at Cappel on June 24,1529, was lacking in precision and thus contained the germs of future dispute
c. Zwingli was killed in the second Swiss revolt which took place on Oct. 11,1531, at Cappel, ten miles south of Zurich (The Renaissance, The Protestant Revolution, and The Catholic Reformation In Continental Europe, Holme, P.269‑275)
E. The Anabaptists – 1500’s
1. Radical reformers who differed widely among themselves, were generally known as Anabaptists
a. This suggests the idea of one baptism on top of another
b. Was applied to these because they rejected the validity of infant baptism, saying that for baptism to be valid, the person must voluntarily submit to it as a believer
2. They were persecuted by both Catholics and the followers of Luther and Zwingli
3. They were very close to the New Testament pattern
a. Believed the church was composed of believers only
b. Rejected infant baptism
c. Church membership was based on faith and conscious submission to baptism
4. There were many leaders of this movement who became corrupt (1) One had seventeen wives (2) Polygamy was approved
5. The Catholics and Protestants united to stamp out the movement, and almost succeeded (1) One man was left (2) He studied the scripture and saved the movement from destruction (The Eternal Kingdom; Mattox, P. 262‑265)
VII. German Protestantism
A. Diet of Speier - 1526
1. As Protestantism advanced, the execution of the Edict of Worms became less and less practicable.
2. Many Catholics in the north had professed Luther’s ideas while people in the south were predominately Catholic.
3. This was made manifest at the Diet of Speier in 1526 under Archduke Ferdinand in the name of the emperor (Lutheran influence strong at this meeting)
4. The Protestant princes dared for the first time to profess their faith
5. The Diet came with the consent of Ferdinand to the unanimous conclusion Aug. 27, that a general or national council should be convened for the settlement of the church question concerning the Edict of Worms.
B. The Second Diet of Speier convened in March, 1529 for action against the Turks and against further progress of Protestantism
1. This meeting drew a majority of Catholics this time.
2. The Diet neutralized the recess of the preceding Diet of 1526
a. It virtually condemned (without annulling) the innovations made
b. It forbade any further reformation until the meeting of the council
3. The Lutheran members, under well‑founded impression that the prohibition of any future reformation meant death to the whole movement, entered in the legal form of appeal, a protest, on April 25,1529, against those measures of the Diet which were contrary to the word of God.
4. From this protest and appeal the Lutherans were called Protestants (History of the Christian Church, Schaff, vol.7, p.683‑686, 690‑693)
C. John Calvin – More Swiss Influence
1. Born at Noyon, July 10,1509
2. Educated for the church, he was presented, at the age of twelve, to a benefice in the Cathedral of Noyon, France, about 60 miles NE of Paris.
3. Later, he began to preach the doctrine of Reformation
a. He became the organizer of a systematic Protestantism and laid down principles which have influenced a large part of the Protestant world until today.
b. The term "Calvinism" is used to designate the system of theology worked out by him.
c. The word "Presbyterian" has also been used to describe the system of government Calvin adopted to the church in Switzerland
4. In order to spread his Reformation ideas, Calvin established a college with Theodore Beza as head
a. It was so popular that students from all over Western Europe came to study, including John Knox of Scotland.
b. Later, they returned to their home countries to spread Calvin's ideas (McClintock & Strong, vol.2, p.39)
5. His Teachings
a. He believed the Bible was the infallible guide for the church, however, he also believed the Bible could be properly interpreted only by the elect
b. He gave the Ten Commandments a very important place in theology
c. He taught that the purpose of life was to glorify God instead of seeking pleasure
d. Discipline, with excommunication for those who would not conform, was his rule
e. He required every church member to partake of the communion at least four times a year, but he believed the sacraments were only for the elect
f. At Geneva, Switzerland, 1536 - Cursed the world with his doctrine. - Augustinian Influence - Tulip Doctrine.
1) Total Hereditary Depravity (Sin of Adam inherited by all)
2) Unconditional Election - (Predestination)
3) Limited Atonement -(Jesus died for limited amount of people.)
4) Irresistible Grace - (Given to those predestined irresistibly.)
5) Perseverance Of The Saints - (Once Saved Always Saved)
6. Calvin died in 1564 and Theodore Beza took his place as leader (The Eternal Kingdom, Mattox, p.257‑260)
D. Council of Trent (1545 – 1563)
1. The reform of the church was carried out in great measure by the Council of Trent
2. The most important church assembly since that of Nicaea, 325 A.D.
3. It passed upon all points that had been raised by the reformers
a. Declared the traditions of the church to be of equal authority with the Bible
b. Reasserted the divine character of the papacy
c. Condemned as heresy the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith only
d. Made everything so clear that no one need err either in doctrine or duty and demanded that the lives of priests and bishops should be an exemplification of Christian purity and morality.
4. These measures helped to check the Protestant movement.
(Mediaeval and Modern History, Myers, p.310-311)
VIII. Other Reform
A. Thomas Cartwright - In 1572 began Presbyterian Church of England.
B. Baptist Church – John Smyth – 1607 - First Baptist In England - 1611.
C. John Knox – 1550’s development of the Presbyterian church of Scotland.
D. These denominations are still here today.
E. Other Things To Consider.
1. These men began to stand up. Though they taught wrong things, they gave others courage to stand up.
2. About that time, Rupertus Meldenius (Peter Meiderlin, the Lutheran priest) said, “In essentials (doctrine) unity, in non-essentials (opinions) liberty, in all things charity.” - 1626
3. In 1809 Thomas Campbell reworded this statement by saying, “We will speak where the Bible speaks, and we will remain silent where the Bible is silent.” or “We will do Bible things in Bible ways.” "Call Bible things by Bible Names."
A. Henry VIII at This Time. - Early 1500's (Henry b.1491 d.1547)
1. Divorced Catherine of Aragon
2. He remarried Ann Bolyn
3. They have a daughter, Elizabeth, which disappointed him greatly.
4. He has Ann killed.
5. She had been his wife exactly 1000 days - She was called “Ann Of The Thousand Days”
6. Henry was out hunting deer while Ann was being led to the chopping block in the Tower of London.
7. Finally one son came to him, Edward from one of his wives. He was a sickly child.
8. When Henry finally died, Edward was king only 5 years before he died.
B. Mary, daughter of Catherine came to the throne.
1. The people wondered what to do at that point. They had never had a queen in charge before.
2. Henry’s law of earlier years also made the king the head of the church.
3. Couldn’t have a woman over the church, so the Archbishop of Canterbury was appointed head of the church while England was ruled by a queen.
4. Since 1953 Elizabeth II is queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the church. When she dies, Charles will be king and head of the church.
5. When Mary became queen, she was so angry at her father for divorcing her mother, Catherine. Also, she was a devout Catholic.
6. Remember, out of Spain came the Spanish Inquisition - that gave people an opportunity to be Christian - if not they where killed. It came to the Americas and was responsible for the killings of Montezuma, the Indians and the Aztec nations. Pizzaro and Desoto took it to Peru and the Incas were destroyed. - Would tie people between two horses and whip the horses until they were split down the middle.
7. Mary and Catherine were of the Spanish influence.
a. They were Catholic to the core.
b. When Henry booted out all the Catholic priests, took over the cathedrals, and confiscated the land (about 25% of the land in England), this would have made them very angry.
c. That would be like all the land north of Marietta to Tennessee line belonging to the Catholics, then confiscated by Henry.
8. Mary tried to restore Catholicism.
a. When doing so, heads rolled, literally. - Many Anglican priests.
b. Two such priests, Nicolas Riddley and Hugh Latimer were burned at the stake.
1. They revolted against Mary.
2. They paid by being burned at the stake.
3. Foxes Book of Martyrs reports that a witness standing by heard Latimer say to Riddley as the flame got higher, “I believe a fire has been started today, that can not be put out.”
4. Humorous sound, but a pointed thought. England was on a road of no return. People were not going to put up with this forever.
c. Mary killed so many people in her efforts to return to Catholicism, that she was later called, “Bloody Mary.”
C. Elizabeth, Mary's Sister
1. When she came to throne after Mary’s death she displayed some good sense.
2. Saw that many in England rebelled both against Catholicism and Anglicanism.
3. She gave religious freedom to the people.
4. These are the seeds of Restorationism.
5. She let people study their Bibles and worship God the way they saw fit.
6. Presbyterianism came in 1572.
7. Knox in Scotland in the 1550’s.
8. She died in 1603.
1. In 1607 John Smyth started the Baptist Church, built on Calvinistic principles.
2. The Puritan faith started around that time.
3. In 1611 - the King James Bible is issued.
4. By 1621 when the pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock, Mass. they had more religious freedom than ever before.
5. Though good, the bad part about it was the rise of denominationalism.
E. And More Division Continued.
1. In 1727 - John Wesley began a movement in the Anglican Church that was fully established on December 25, 1784 called the Methodist Episcopal Church.
a. The founder of Methodism
b. He was an ordained priest in the Episcopal (Anglican) Church
c. He lived and died an Episcopalian and had no intention of organizing a new church
d. John and Charles Wesley, with Whitefield and about a dozen other students at Oxford, formed a society for the purpose of overcoming the formalism and ritualism of the Episcopal church and to stimulate spirituality.
e. Other societies were organized and because of their methodical manner of life they were called Methodists
f. Upon the death of Wesley, these societies banded together under a conference and became known as the Methodist Episcopal Church (Churches of Today, Tomlinson, p.57)
2. In 1807 - By the time Thomas Campbell comes to U.S. there are at least five different splintering groups of Presbyterian churches. Thomas was later ashamed of being a part of it.
F. In 1669 a group of men had grown tired of all the religious division in the world.
1. Toddlebank, just north of Liverpool, the church of Christ was begun.
2. Not exactly the N.T. church, but a genuine push for it.
3. In Aug. 18th, 1669 - 1854 they documented all their efforts in a book still extant called “The Church Book at Toddlebank”
4. Things they taught.
a. Local Church Autonomy, with own elders to shepherd.
b. Selected an elder to be an evangelist to surrounding area, called "the teaching elder." He also started new churches.
c. They supported this man financially.
5. They were not the N.T. church exactly.
6. There were about 3 other churches in G.Britain that were doing the same things as Toddlebank, one at London, and a couple other places. - (Note - Not quite the church of the New Testament, but close.)
G. In 1824 a group pulled away from Toddlebank and became the Kirkby Church of Christ which still meets today.
1. For 30 years that church met and were not so much as aware of Barton Stone, Alexander Campbell, or any other leader in the American Restoration Movement.
1. Dutch Reformed
b. Duke of Alva began a persecution and many Dutchmen were driven to England where they were allowed to worship as they pleased
c. This was the beginning of the Dutch Reform
b. Thomas Cartwright
1. Archbishops and archdeacons should be
2. The church’s officers should be modeled on the New Testament.
3. Every church should be governed by its own minister and elders.
4. Ministers should be responsible for one church, not many.
5. No man should solicit for a church appointment.
6. Church officers should be chosen by the church, not the state.
b. George Fox and James Nailer
b. John Smyth and Thomas Helwys
b. John Wesley (The Eternal Kingdom, Mattox, p.280‑288)