Reformation & Religious Wars 1500-1600

Reformation &
Religious Wars
Chapter 14 - Condition of the Church/Birth of
Almost every AP exam includes an essay question on the
Reformation or the Counter-Reformation. While sometimes
those questions deal primarily with religious issues, more
often they deal with social, economic or political factor.
AP Tip
• Martin Luther
• Wyclif’s ideas from 2 centuries earlier
• Publically challenged practices & theories of the Catholic Church
• 95 Theses – 1517
• Protected by several German princes
• Escaped persecution
• Launched a new church
• Based on sola Scriptura – only by Scripture
• Justification by faith alone
• Priesthood of all believers
• Luther’s reformed church
• Stimualted other reformers
• John Calvin
• Predestination
• Support
1st in Geneva
Henry VIII – estab. The Church of England
• Independent from Rome
• Mostly for political reason
Key Concepts
• Luther’s reformed church
• Stimulated other reformers
• John Calvin
• Predestination
• Support
• 1st in Geneva
• England
• Holland
• Henry VIII – estab. The Church of England
• Independent from Rome
• Mostly for political reason
Key Concepts
• The Catholic Church
• Removed some of the abuses that cost it support
• At the same time it went on the offensive – theologically
• Confirmation of the key elements of the Catholic faith
• Seven sacraments
• New religious order to combat Protestantism
• Jesuit order – most successful in Eur. & abroad
• Religious Tension throughout Eur.
• Civil war
• France – Catholicism wins
• Protestants tolerated – Edict of Nants – 1598
• Spain - Religious issues were a major factor in the revolt of the
Dutch provinces against Phillip II
Key Concepts
• Legacy of The Babylonian Captivity & the Great Schism
• Christian humanists called for reform and the end of corrupt
• Simony – buying/selling of church offices
• Absenteeism – holding office but living somewhere else
• Pluralism – holding more than one office
• Anticlericalism – opposition to clergy was widespread
• For ignorance, immorality, privileges
• Concubines
• Drunkeness
• Gambling
• Only minimally literate
The Christian Church th
early 16 C
• Martin Luther
• Monk
• Studies led him to challenge the Catholic notion of the
importance of good works necessary for salvation
• Attending church
• Taking communions
• Salvation comes from faith, from faith comes good works &
charitable acts.
• God’s word is revealed only thru the Scriptures
The Christian Church th
early 16 C
• Indulgences
• Dominican monk Johann Tezel sold indulgence to pay for St Peter’s
• Authorized by Pope Leo
• the archbishop who was in debt could keep a portion of the proceeds
• Forgiveness for sins
• Longstanding tradition
• Granted to crusaders
• Sold to the public
• Tetzel was an accomplished salesman
• 95 Theses on the Power of Indulgences
• Door of the court church at Wittenburg 10/31/1517
• Challenged the whole concept of indulgences
• Spread quickly
• 2 years later
• Luther denied the legitimacy of papal authority/church councils
• Threatened with excommunication
• Diet of Worms (assembly of the estates of the empire)
• To force Luther into obedience
• Luther refused to withdraw his views – bound to Scriptures
The Christian Church early 16thC
• Modern Catholicism is quite different from the
Catholicism that was practiced in Luther’s time, and
many Christian students do not know the theological
details of the churches to which their families belong. Be
sure you understand what the theological disputes where
all about. While the details varied, the basic
disagreement was over the relationship of man and God
and th3e role the organized church plays in man’s
AP Tip
• Luther’s follower called Protestants
• Ulrich Zwingli
Swiss Erasmian humanist
Protestant thinker
• Sola Scriptura
• Attacked indulgences, monasticism, clerical celibacy & the Mass
• Luther & Zwingli
argued that faith determined salvation
• Not faith and good works
Individuals interpret the Bible
Only 2 sacraments are legitimate
• Baptism
• Holy Communion – Eucharist
The church is a community all Christians
• Not a hierarchical institution with the Pope as its head
• All are equal in status
Luther & Zwingli disagreed about the Eucharist
• Catholics believed in the doctrine of transubstantiation
Transformation of wine/wafer to blood/body of Christ
Luther believed that Christ’s presence is Real, it is not physical
Zwingli argued that the Eucharist was only a memorial
Eucharist was a divisive issue among Protestants.
Protestant Thought
• The doctrine of transubstantiation asserts that a miracle
occurs each time the Mass is performed. It is so that they
can perform this miracle that priests must be pure in
thought and deed, and therefore cannot marry or live
ordinary lives. When the Protestants renounced this
doctrine, they removed the distinctive function of
Catholic priests. All Protestant clergy can marry and
have children, and except in the Anglican version, are
called ministers, not priests.
AP Tip
• Artists served both Catholics and Protestants
• Lucas Cranach the Elder – close friend of Luther
• Painted a number of Old Testament scenes
• Protestants embraced the Hebrew Bible & the New Testament
• Vasari
• Painted the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre for the pope
• Catholics & Protestants disagreed about the function of art
• Catholics felt the likenesses of Christ, saints & Mary promoted piety &
• Developed the Baroque form of art
• Dramatic & emotional intense
• Protestants – 2nd commandment forbade graven images
• Zwingli believed art & music were unnecessary & interfered with
• Luther felt art spread the message of faith
• He composed a number of hymns
• John Calvin – Protestant theologian
• Start simplicity in churches – empty of decoration,, forbid dance and
Art of the Reformantion
• Spread of Luther’s ideas
Printed broadsides
• vicious caricatures of the pope & indulgences
Theological texts
Luther’s translation of the Bible into German
Two catechisms
• Helped people learn and remember Protestant doctrine
• Appeal to many
Humanists & educated people
• Had been calling for reform
Priests & monks
• Nuns
• Improved status
• Marriage the true Christian life
Urban dwellers & peasants
• Status raised – doctrine of priesthood of all believers
City governments
• Protestant leader worked closely with gov
Able to tax Protestant clergy
Appeal of Protestant Ideas
• Lutherans created a national church
• Ruler held authority over the church except in matters of faith
• Radicals wanted greater breaks with the past
Estab. Voluntary communities of believers
Antibaptists rejected infant baptism
Others argued for literal interpretation of the Bible
Quakers in 17thC Britain
• Pacifists – refused to swear oaths
• Some argued for communal ownership of property
• Congregationalists insisted on democratic organization
• Radicals were persecuted by Protestants & Catholics
• Shared an opposition to the separation of church and state
• They saw as a secularizing society
Radical Reformation
• All revolutions, it seems, prompt small extremist groups.
Most of the Protestant radicals were persecuted or even
killed, but some group like the Quakers in England and
the Mennonites of the Amis in Czech Moravia found a
haven in the American colonies, particularly New
England and Pennsylvania
AP Tip

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