We now come to The Reformation. We start our studies in this
lecture in Germany where we look at the life of Martin Luther

PART 3: The Reformation (16th Century)

3.1. The Reformation in Germany: Luther

a) Background to the Reformation

  • Religious, Intellectual, Political, Social

b) Luther's early life

c) The abuses he decried

  • indulgences
  • 95 theses
  • Luther's bonfire

d) The principles he stood for

e) The Lutheran Church

f) Limitations of Luther

For further discussion:

a) Write out the definitions of these terms from the “Glossary of Terms”: Evangelical, Indulgences, Mass, Reformation, Reformed Theology, Sacrament

b) What was the turning point in Luther’s religious experience? What were the main things he objected to in the practises of the Roman Catholic Church of his day?

As we continue to look at the Reformation, in this lecture we turn our attention to what was happening in Switzerland & France

3.2. The Reformation in Switzerland & France

a) Zwingli's life

  • Religious motivations: humanism
  • Conversion to Protestantism
  • Death

b) Zwingli's reforms

  • Ministry in Zurich
  • Theological issues
    - fasting
    - celibacy
    - mass
    - scripture
    - Church / state relations

c) Calvin's early life

  • Training
  • Conversion

d) Calvin's reforms

  • Ministry in Geneva
  • Theological issues: systematizer of Reformed Theology – “Institutes of the Christian Religion”
  • Church organization
    - Presbyterian church government
  • Church / state

e) Reformation in France: Huguenots

  • Catherine de Medici
  • St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre – 24 August 1572

Private Study Assignments

a) Review the following definitions of terms from the “Glossary of Terms”: Evangelical, Indulgences, Mass, Reformation, Reformed Theology, Sacrament. Then write out the definition of the following: Hugenots

b) What do we know about church / state relations in Switzerland during the Reformation? What was the significance of Calvin’s “Institutes”? What structures of church government did Calvin put in place, and how does this compare with what we noted about changes in church leadership structures in the early centuries of the church?

In this lecture we consider the rather different basis and outcomes for the progress of the Reformation in England and Scotland

3.3. The Reformation in Scotland & England

a) Preconditions in Scotland

  • Lollards
  • Patrick Hamilton
  • George Wishart

b) Scotland: John Knox

  • Early life: Geneva
  • Return to Scotland
  • Return of Mary leads to civil war
  • Effects of Reformation on Scotland

c) England: Henry VIII

  • domestic problem
  • international pressures
  • the demise of Cardinal Wolsey
  • the break with Rome
  • Act of Supremacy
  • lack of real change

d) William Tyndale

e) Edward VI

  • Archbishop Cranmer: Book of Common Prayer

f) Mary Tudor

  • Martyrs: Ridley, Latimer, Cranmer
  • John Foxe

g) Elizabeth I

  • The 39 Articles
  • The Spanish Armada

h) Conclusion to Reformation in England

For further discussion:

a) Write out the definitions of these terms from the “Glossary of Terms”: Puritans, Lollards

b) Which English kings and queens were Protestant, which were Catholic, and which were unclear? How did the Reformation in Scotland under John Knox differ from what was going on in England?

In this lecture we consider the response to the Reformation as the Roman Catholic Church fought back in the Counter Reformation. This important period largely settled the issue of which geographical areas would be predominantly Catholic or Protestant for centuries to come.

3.4. The Counter Reformation

a) Stopping the spread

  • Roman Catholic church seeks to reform from within

b) Ignatius Loyola

  • The Jesuits
  • The Inquisition

c) The Council of Trent

  • Decisions re doctrines
    - 7 sacraments
    - Authority = Tradition + Bible (ie Latin Vulgate and Apocrypha)
    - Indulgences , prayer to saints / relics
    - Justification by Faith + works
    - Papal infallibility
  • Practical matters
    - Accountability for priests and bishops
    - Seminaries and training
    - Book bans

d) Recovery of Roman Catholicism

  • Holding the line in Europe
  • Reclaiming Protestant territory in Europe
  • Missionary zeal taking Catholicism to the nations

For further discussion:

a) Write out the definitions of these terms from the “Glossary of Terms”: Counter Reformation, Inquisition, Jesuits, Mass

b) How did the Roman Catholic Church try to reform itself from within? What was decided at the Council of Trent? How did some Catholics try to use force to destroy the Protestant Reformation?

There were those among the Protestants who wanted to take the Reformation much further than the major Reformers ever envisaged. In this lecture we take a look at the Radicals.

3.5. The Radicals

a) Anabaptists and the Separation of Church and State

b) A History of the Radicals

  • Zurich in the 1520’s
  • Munster: John of Leyden
  • Menno Simons: Mennonites
  • Bruderhof: the brethren. Communalism
  • Jakob Hutter: Hutterites

c) Distinctive beliefs of characteristically Anabaptist groups

  • Restoration of the Church


Lay apostolate

  • Regeneration and baptism
  • Separation of Church and State
    - Pacifism
  • Personal faith
    - Self-discipline
    - Love
    - Take up your cross
    - Challenged by the reformers: salvation by faith alone
  • Missionary vision

For further discussion:

a) Review the definitions of these terms from the “Glossary of Terms”: Evangelical, Indulgences, Mass, Reformation, Reformed Theology, Sacrament, Puritans, Hugenots, Counter Reformation, Inquisition, Jesuits. Then write out the definitions of this term from the “Glossary of Terms”: Anabaptists

b) Which modern churches would trace their roots back to the Anabaptists? What were the main common points of belief and practice between the various groups of Anabaptists? How did the Anabaptists’ view of church /State relations differ from other branches of the Reformation churches?

Brian Watts is Pastor of The King's Community Church and lives in Langley with his wife Rosalind.
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