ERA 5 <<
Reference: Gonzalez, volume 2, chapters 1-4,9
† 12.1.1 Name
· Reformation: It was the religious movement that led to massive reform and restructure of the universal church, with most activities between 1517 and 1545. It was a revolt against the authority of the church of Rome and its head the pope. It was an attempt to return to the early purity of Christianity of the New Testament. It led to the creation of national Protestant churches.
races: The Reformation was accepted only by those peoples who
were of Teutonic extraction in northern and western Europe. The Latin nations
· Main characteristics: All the new national churches coming out of Reformation  took the Bible as the final authority, and  believed that man needed no human mediator between himself and God to obtain salvation of Christ.
† 12.1.2 Interpretations
· For Protestants, it is a recovery of the purity of the original Christianity. It is the result of divine providence.
· For Roman Catholics, it is a heretical schism inspired by Martin Luther from base motives.
· For secular historians, it is a monastic squabble that exploded to large-scale division.
Marxist historians, it is a revolution resulted from the economic
· For political historians, it is part of the historic trend of nation-states opposing an international church, resulted from the rise of nationalism.
† 12.2.1 Ecclesiastical: corruption & demand for renewal
· Problems in the papacy: The conciliar movement (supremacy of the council over the pope) was successful in ending the Great Schism, yet it was unsuccessful in reforming the corruption and low moral standard of the church. There was widespread moral corruption in the church. People clearly saw the discrepancies between the church in the New Testament and the RCC at that time.
o Corruption: There were widespread absenteeism (absent from church posts), pluralism (holding many different posts, thus receiving the salary but not doing the work), and simony (buying and selling of church posts).
o Immorality: Bishops and priests lived openly in sin or kept concubines. They had illegitimate children and openly practice nepotism—appointing them as abbots and abbesses.
o Luxury: Convents and monasteries became centres of leisurely living and drunkenness.
o Neglect: Priests neglected preaching and visitation.
· Return to the Bible: There was a demand for the renewal of teachings of the church.
Possession forbidden: Because of the
Albigensians and the Waldensians who insisted in upholding the Scripture as the
sole authority, a church council in
o Aiming at reforms: There was a movement to return to the original Scripture. The aim was to reform existing doctrines and practices.
o Greek NT: There was a wider use of Greek NT and a trend to understand the original meaning of the Bible.
· Reluctance for reform: The unwillingness of the medieval church to accept reforms suggested by genuine reformers such as Wycliffe and Huss led to unavoidable confrontation between the church and the reformed forces.
· Abuse of indulgences: The clear abuse of the indulgence system was the direct and proximate cause of Reformation.
o Authorization: It was authorized by Pope Leo X to raise the money to fulfil his dream of finishing the Basilica of St Peter.
o A form of penance: Indulgences were associated with the sacrament of penance. The assurance of absolution by the priests required temporal satisfaction either in this life or in purgatory. This satisfaction might be a pilgrimage to a shrine, a payment of money to a church, or some meritorious deed. The indulgence was a document that could be bought for a sum of money and that would free one from temporal penalty of sin.
o Theory behind indulgences: It was believed that Christ and the saints had achieved so much merit during their earthly lives that the excess merit was laid up in a heavenly treasury of merit on which the pope could draw.
o History of indulgences: The idea was first formulated by Alexander of Hales in 13th-c. Clement VI declared it to be dogma . Sixtus IV extended this privilege to souls in purgatory , if their living relatives purchased indulgences for them.
Scandalous claims: When John Tetzel, a Dominican monk working for the archbishop of
◦ Indulgences make the sinner “cleaner than when coming out of baptism” and “cleaner than Adam before the Fall”.
◦ “The cross of the seller of indulgences has as much power as the cross of Christ.”
◦ “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
◦ Repentance was not necessary for the buyer of an indulgence.
† 12.2.2 Socio-economic: worsening economy
· Cause: The deterioration of the economic conditions of the masses was partly due to increasing exploitation by landowners, including the aristocracy, monasteries, and church officials.
· Middle class: The rise of the middle class with the increase of trade led to the challenge of the old establishment with their new influence (based on their prosperity) and new spirit of individualism. They resented the drain of their wealth to the church.
· Lower class: The worsening condition was seen as an exploitation and a betrayal of the poor by the church. It led to peasant revolts, apocalyptic vision, and calls for a new order.
† 12.2.3 Political: end of the feudal system
· Monarchy: The rising powerful monarchies in different countries opposed a universal religious ruler and tried to limit the power of the church.
· Nation-states: The emergence of the nation-states weakened the supra-national church. They resented the jurisdiction of the pope within their territory, such as appointments to important ecclesiastical positions, levying heavy church taxes, exemption of clergy from the taxes. The abuse of the indulgence system was a final straw.
· Nationalism: The rise of nationalism led to the hope to achieve political unity as well as the increasing resistance to feudal disunion and foreign domination.
· Vernacular languages: There was an increase in the use of vernacular languages in church (instead of Latin).
† 12.2.4 Philosophical or intellectual: changing worldview
worldview: Discoveries of new worlds by Columbus and Magellan,
such as the
· Humanism: The intellectual scene was dominated by humanist reformers. These were men with awakened minds and a secular outlook and they were critical of the abuses of monks and theologians in RCC, example: Erasmus’s book In Praise of Folly . A comparison of the corporate hierarchical society of their times with the intellectual freedom and secularism of Greek society made them skeptical of the claims of the church. They were also critical of the obscurities of late scholasticism.
o Reformation definition: The word “humanist” refers to those who devoted themselves to the humanities, seeking to restore the literary glories of antiquity. It was a literary movement that sought to return to the sources of classical literature, and to imitate its style.
o Modern definition: It is not the same as the modern usage of “humanism” which means valuing human nature above all else. “Man is the measure of all things.”
· Individualism: The Renaissance emphasis on the individual supported the Protestant insistence that salvation was a personal matter through direct relationship with God, without a human mediator such as the priest.
· Back to the Bible: The “back to the sources” humanism encouraged the study of the Bible in the original languages and the writings of the Church Fathers. The availability of the Greek New Testament allowed the humanists to counter the claims of theology that salvation was a matter of grace obtained through the sacraments dispensed by a legitimate hierarchy.
· Printing: The use of the printing press advanced the knowledge of the populace, and allowed rapid distribution of propaganda.
o On life: He called for greater simplicity of life. He proclaimed a list of common values of the bourgeoisie: tolerance, moderation, stability, etc.
o On reason: He stressed the subjection of passion to the rule of reason, but it was to be achieved through ascetic discipline, not monasticism.
o Classicism: He concentrated on classical literature. He studied Scripture and early Christian literature, published Greek New Testament , with his own Latin translation.
o On Christianity: He described Christianity as a decent, moderate, and balanced life. He insisted that righteousness was more important than orthodoxy, attacked subtle theological discussions by scholastics.
o Moderate position: He did not support either Luther or the Catholics; instead, he called for moderation.
Condemned: His teaching was condemned in
† 12.3.1 Luther’s life (1483–1546)
· Early life: Luther grew up in a peasant family under a pious but superstitious mother.
· Personality: He was learned and studious, occasionally rude in his manner, sincere in his faith, approaching it with burning passion. Yet, he had a tendency to exaggerate when stressing a point.
· Crisis: He was overwhelmed by the fear of death and hell in a thunderstorm , so he joined the Augustinian monastery. He was preoccupied with the theme of salvation and damnation. He had an overpowering sense of his own sinfulness, and felt unworthy of God’s love.
of truth: After receiving a doctorate in theology , he was
assigned to teach Scripture at
· Opportunities: He made full use of printing as a medium for propaganda. He used the growing German nationalist sentiment. The much-needed Reformation took place, not because of Luther’s planning, but because the time was ripe for it.
· Historic step: He posted the Ninety-Five Theses , attacking the sale of indulgences. This was the customary manner of calling for a debate in an academic setting, and this was exactly what Luther had intended for. The theses were relatively conservative, proposing only minor reforms of the existing system. Luther did not question the existence of purgatory, the authority of the pope, or the limited validity of indulgences.
† 12.3.2 Reaction to the Ninety-Five Theses:
support: The document evoked a strong positive response from
Germans who resented their being exploited by foreign (papal) interests so
Luther received wide support in
The pope and Emperor Maximilian wanted to silence Luther and force him to recant.
Luther met the pope’s messenger Cardinal Cajetan in the Diet at
Some in the Augustinian Order were supportive of Luther, viewing it as an
ancient rivalry between Dominicans and Augustinians. In a debate of his order
action: Luther received protection by
· Conflict: Luther was excommunicated by papal bull Exsurge Domine  which described Luther as “a wild boar” and ordered the burning of Luther’s books. Luther publicly burned the papal bull. He then carried the issue to the German people by publishing 3 pamphlets.
† 12.3.3 Luther’s 3 pamphlets 
· Attacking Roman hierarchy—Address to the German Nobility:  princes should act against oppression and extortion by the church,  the pope should not interfere in civil affairs,  all believers were spiritual priests of God and had a common status; they could interpret Scripture and had the right to choose their own ministers.
· Attacking Roman sacramental system—Babylonian Captivity: only the Lord’s Supper and baptism were true sacraments instituted by Christ Himself; the rejection of the cup from the laity was wrong.
· Attacking Roman theology—The Freedom of the Christian Man: all believers were priests as a result of their personal faith in Christ; good works were not the means of becoming righteous but only the fruit of righteousness.
o Quote: “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”
12.3.4 Diet of
Luther was ordered to face the accusation by the ecclesiastical and civil
authorities. He obtained the promise of safe-conduct by Emperor Charles V
(Charles I of
· Proceedings: Luther defended that what he had written were basic Christian doctrines held by all Christians and he simply dealt with the tyranny and injustice that oppressed the German people. “My conscience is a prisoner of God’s Word. I cannot and will not recant, for to disobey one’s conscience is neither just nor safe. God help me. Amen.”
The Diet condemned Luther and Emperor Charles decided to ignore the
safe-conduct he promised. Luckily,
† 12.4.1 Word of God
· Importance: This is the starting point and the final authority of Luther’s theology.
· Christ as the Word: It is more than the written word in the Bible. It is none other than God the Son. The Bible is the Word of God because in it Jesus, the Word incarnate (John 1) comes to us. Any who read the Bible and somehow do not find Jesus in it, have not encountered the Word of God.
· On the gospel: For Luther, the Epistle of James seemed “pure straw” because he could not find the gospel to it, but only a series of rules of conduct. The book of Revelation also caused him difficulty.
· On authority: Final authority rests neither in the church nor in the Bible, but in the gospel, in the message of Jesus Christ. Since the Bible gives a more trustworthy witness to the gospel than the pope’s corrupt church, the Bible has authority over church, pope, and tradition. Thus Luther denied papal infallibility.
† 12.4.2 Knowledge of God
· Through revelation: It is possible to know something about God by purely rational or natural means. Such knowledge includes the fact that God exists, and allows us to distinguish between good and evil. But this is not the true knowledge of God. God reveals Himself to us in the cross of Christ.
† 12.4.3 Law & gospel
· God’s manifestation: In divine revelation, God is made manifest in two ways: law and gospel. It does not mean that OT is law and NY is gospel. God’s revelation is simultaneously a word of judgment and a word of grace.
· Simultaneous: When God speaks, we are overwhelmed by the contract between God’s holiness and our sinfulness. But God speaks a word of forgiveness which is the gospel. “The constant dialectic between law and gospel means that a Christian is at one and the same time both sinful and justified.”
† 12.4.4 Predestination
· Augustinian: Luther saw God as the one who freely justifies us by faith. Righteousness is a gift given to the believer. “The promises of God give what the commandments of God demand and fulfil what the law prescribes so that all things may be God’s alone, both the commandments and the fulfilling of the commandments. He alone commands, He alone fulfils.” Thus, he supported the predestination of Augustine by discounting any effort on the human part.
· No human free-will: In The Bondage of the Will , Luther ruthlessly exposed the weaknesses and inconsistencies in Erasmus’ book The Freedom of the Will . Luther affirmed the Augustinian belief in man’s total dependence upon God’s grace and predestination. He appeared to say that not just that sinful man can do no good without God’s grace but that man has no free-will at all—not even in morally neutral matters. Here, Luther overstepped beyond Biblical teaching.
† 12.4.5 Justification & sanctification
· On justification: Augustine taught justification by faith in the following sense. When the sinner recognizes his inability to keep God’s law and his need of salvation, he turns to God in faith. God then gives him His Holy Spirit, who heals his will and pours love into his heart. This is justification—being made righteous, being changed from a selfish into a loving person. Having been justified or changed, the believer can now proceed to keep God’s law from the heart, motivated by love.
· Reckoned righteous: Luther originally followed Augustine’s teaching. Later, he came to see justification not as “made righteous” or “changed into a good person” but “reckoned righteous” or “acquit”. Justification then concerns a status rather than a state, how God looks upon me rather than what He does in me, God accepting me rather than God changing me. Thus Luther arrived at the Protestant distinction between justification (my standing before God) and sanctification (my growth in holiness).
· On sanctification: While Luther distinguished justification and sanctification, he did not separate them. He did not imagine that one could exist without the other.
· Universal priesthood of believers: A Christian life is to live within a community of believers. All Christians, by virtue of their baptism, are priests that one is self-sufficient to approach God for oneself (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6).
· Two sacraments: Luther was against the idea that the sacraments bestow salvation like medicine. In the life of the church, the Word of God comes to us in the sacraments: baptism and communion. He denied the 5 “sacraments” designated by the RCC: confirmation, holy orders (ordination), confession (penance), extreme unction (anointing those gravely ill, could be administered up to a few hours after apparent death), matrimony (marriage).
· On baptism: This is a sign of the death and resurrection of the believer with Jesus Christ. But it is much more than a sign, for by its power we are made members of the body of Christ. In salvation, the initiative is always God’s. While baptism and faith are closely tied, infants can be baptized even if they are not capable of faith as it is God’s imperative to give faith.
It is not a repetition of the sacrifice of
† 12.4.7 Two kingdoms
· On the state: God has established two kingdoms: one under the law, and the other under the gospel. The state must operate under the law, and its main purpose is to set limits to human sin and its consequences. Believers belong to the other kingdom, which is under the gospel. Christians should not expect the state to be ruled by the gospel, nor to support orthodoxy by persecuting heretics.
· No imposed faith: True faith should not seek to impose itself by means of civil authority, but only through the power of the Word.
· On war: The state can take up arms when circumstances and justice so demand, such as against the Turks. When movements were subversive, such as the peasant rebellion and anabaptism, Luther declared that civil authorities were under obligation to crush them.
† 12.5.1 Continuation of Reformation
& dispute: While Luther was in hiding after the Diet of
Worms, Andreas Karlstadt and Philip Melanchthon continued the work of
· Changing practices: There were many changes in the Protestant churches after the Reformation.  Some monks and nuns married.  The worship was simplified, using German instead of Latin.  The mass for the dead were abolished.  The days of fasting and abstinence were abolished.  In communion, both the bread and the cup were given to laity.
· Emperor delayed: Charles V wanted to stamp out the “heretical” Luther but was delayed because of:  support of Luther by many German people,  the emperor’s need for a united Germany to provide resources for the troops,  friction with Pope Clement VII,  conflict with Emperor Francis I, who later signed a peace ,  invasion of Turks in the east.
† 12.5.2 Political conflicts
· Diet of Nuremberg —It adopted a policy of tolerance towards Lutheranism.
of Spire —It withdrew the edict of
of Spire II —It reaffirmed the edict of
· Diet of Augsburg —Melanchthon wrote and presented the Augsburg Confession on the doctrines of Lutheranism, but was rejected by the Emperor.
o Moderate position: It was deliberately moderate in its tone and language. It demonstrated that Lutherans had not departed from Catholic belief and practice in any essential respect. Ancient heresies, as well as Zwinglian and Anabaptist positions, were repudiated. The sole authority of the Scriptures and the universal priesthood of believers were NOT asserted. The papacy was NOT condemned.
o Essentials: Yet, justification by faith was commended, but invocation of saints, the mass, denial of the cup to the laity, monastic vows, and prescribed fasting were rejected.
o Content: The confession has two parts:  21 articles setting out Lutheran beliefs,  7 articles concerning abuses which have been corrected in the Lutheran churches.
o On real presence: “It is taught among us that the true body and blood of Christ are really present in the Supper of our Lord under the form of bread and wine and are therefore distributed and received.” In the 1540 revised edition, it reads: “the body and blood of Christ are truly exhibited with the bread and wine to those partaking in the Lord’s Supper.”
· Rival leagues: League of Schmalkald was formed for mutual defense by Protestant princes, led by Philip of Hesse. The Catholics formed the League of Nuremberg to rival the Schmalkald . The Schmalkald was weakened by:  the bigamy of Philip (but Luther and Melanchthon did not condemn) caused him to lose influence,  the independent minded Protestant duke of Saxony who did not help,  the death of Luther ,  Emperor Charles V turned his attention on Germany and captured Philip of Hesse.
· Peace of Nuremberg —Threatened by Emperor Francis and the Turks, Charles V agreed to this agreement allowing Protestants to remain in their faith but they could not extend to other territories.
expansion: Philip of Hesse helped the exiled Protestant duke to
recover the duchy of
of Passau —This agreement was signed because Protestants in
† 12.5.3 Peasant rebellion 
· Cause: The rebellion was caused by worsening economic conditions. Some rebels believed that the teachings of the reformers supported their economic demands.
Müntzer (1488–1525)—He taught that those who had been born again
by the Holy Spirit should join in a theocratic community to establish the
· Result: Luther supported political stability so he called on the princes to suppress the rebellion, and 100,000 peasants were killed. Many peasants believed that Luther betrayed them. They returned to Catholic faith or became Anabaptists with whom Luther broke openly .
 treasure our heritage
Protestant churches that came out from Reformation all believe the Bible as Word of God, and the importance of individual salvation.
 appreciate God’s providence
Without the complex political circumstances at that moment in history, the Reformation would have been suppressed.
 avoid past errors
A leader’s error, such as Luther’s position against the peasant rebellion, could have long-lasting regrettable results.
 apply our knowledge
Using available resources wisely can help reaching difficult goals, e.g. Luther’s use of printing and German national sentiments.
 follow past saints
Luther was a model for Christian courage in the face of unjust powers. Melanchthon was a model for Christian moderation.
● What were the factors that accelerated the call for reformation of the church?
o moral corruption of the church
o questionable teachings, thus there was a movement back to the Bible
o worsening economic condition of the masses due to exploitation of the aristocrats and the church
o development of monarchies who wanted to limit the power of the church
o nationalism, using vernacular languages in worship
o changing worldview because of advance of science
o printing press facilitating the spreading of news
● What are the differences between the humanism of the Renaissance and those of today?
o Humanism in the Renaissance was a literary movement that sought to return to the sources of classical literature, and to imitate its style. It is a study of humanities, those subjects we today call liberal arts.
o Humanism today is a philosophical (religious) movement that places humans at the centre of the universe, and to make humans the measure of all things—to make humans God.
● Why did the 95 Theses cause major reaction from everyone?
o church: Luther’s challenge to indulgences was an obstacle to Pope Leo X’s dream of completing St. Peter’s Brasilica; challenge the authority of the church by denouncing the Council of Constance
o emperor: challenge the authority of the Empire at Diet of Worms
o German people: felt strongly of being exploited by the church
● How did Luther understand: [a] the Bible as the Word of God, [b] constant dialectic between law and gospel, [c] presence of Christ in the holy communion, and [d] the two kingdoms of church and state? Is his understanding identical to what we believe today?
o [a] The Bible is the Word of God because in it Jesus, the Word incarnate (John 1) comes to us. Part of the Bible not containing the gospel may not be the Word of God, such as James which Luther could not find the gospel in it.
◦ This is different from our belief today as we believe the whole Bible is the Word of God.
o [b] “The constant dialectic between law and gospel means that a Christian is at one and the same time both sinful and justified.” We are under both the law and the gospel.
◦ Our position today is slightly different. The law did in fact reveal that we are sinners but we are no longer under the power and guilt of sin.
o [c] Luther opposed the doctrine of transubstantiation and the doctrine of merits in the mass. But he believed in the real presence of Christ in the communion. He believed that the body of Christ is in, with, under, around, and behind the bread and wine.
◦ Today, we are flexible in the interpretation of the holy communion. However, the majority in Protestant churches take either Calvin’s or Zwingli’s position.
o [d] God has established two kingdoms: one under the law, and the other under the gospel. The state must operate under the law, and its main purpose is to set limits to human sin and its consequences. Believers belong to the other kingdom (the church), which is under the gospel.
◦ Church and state are indeed in two separate spheres, religious and civil. Our present understanding is similar to Luther’s.
● How did the political circumstances at that time help the success of Reformation?
o German people: leading the Peasants’ Rebellion, supporting the search of freedom
o German Protestant nobles: forming the League of Schmalkald for self-defense and supporting the Reformation
o Augustinian monks: supporting Luther because of rivalry with Dominicans
Pope Leo X: moving slowly because of uncertainty
about the election of the new emperor for the
Emperor Charles V: being cautious because of
rivalry with Francis I of