Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Lent Course 1 - Reformation - Introduction / Historical Overview

A mix of things I half remember, Wikipedia and Michael Reeves, mainly:

Reformation 500 Lent Course 2017 (1)


Reformation (1517 - the Peace of Westphalia in 1648) - 500 years

A summary of key Reformation doctrines - 5 Solas – “Alone”s – Big Ideas

(1) Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone – Authority (Method / “Formal principle”) – rather than church / Tradition etc.

Substance / Content / “Material principle”:

(2) Solus Christus – In Christ Alone – Christ as mediator not a human priest / Pope / saints

(3) Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone – rather than merit, earning salvation

(4) Sola Fide – Through Faith Alone – rather than good works / the sacramental system of the church

(5) Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God Alone

The importance of the alones! – RC could agree we are saved by faith / grace / in Christ etc.

Brief, Selective Historical Overview

Background - Medieval Catholicism

How vibrant / satisfying / corrupt etc.? – certainly abuses - Dante had placed popes Nicholas III and Boniface VIII in the 8th circle of hell in The Divine Comedy - ? Erasmus’ 1513 satire, Pope Julius [II] Excluded From Heaven – could be popular and wrong, of course!

Pope as vicar (representative) of Christ on earth – Borgias buying the votes of cardinals, numerous children

Popes at Avignon and Rome – settled by Council of Constance 1414-18

Latin rather than vernacular languages

How educated were the parish clergy? Magic / superstition?

Pluralism and absenteeism – long tradition of clerks in holy orders (literate) involved in secular administration – some senior clergy rich and powerful, some parish clergy impoverished

Monasticism – some education and health care etc. – concept of holiness

Clerical celibacy – supposedly!

Icons and images – a Bible for the poor and illiterate

“Prayer” to the Saints as mediators – veneration not worship? – Mary as Queen of Heaven, Mary’s mum etc.

The sacrifice of the Mass – transubstantiation - hocus pocus (hoc est corpus) watched by the congregation – communion in one kind for the laity and rarely

The purgatory system – Masses for the dead – Johannes Tetzel’s sale of indulgences (the church’s treasury of excess merit) to raise funds from the rebuilding of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, “when a coin the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs” / “Place your penny on the drum, the pearly gates open and in strolls mum” – an indulgence would free you from purgatory even if you were guilty of raping the Mother of God

Relics, pilgrimages, money

Do what is in you, and God will graciously accept it as enough – but how can I know I’ve ever done my best?

The 7 sacraments as channels of God’s grace

Renaissance (= rebirth) Humanism

Ad Fontes – Back to The Sources - A rediscovery of the learning of classical antiquity - Reformation as a return to the early church / original purity of the Bible

Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466 – 1536) and the Greek New Testament (published 1516) rather than Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation (from the late 4th Century) – Luther said that by publishing his Greek New Testament, Erasmus, like Moses had led many out of slavery but had failed to enter the promised land (by relying wholly on the grace of God)

“Hail Mary, full of grace…” – Mary as the reservoir of grace, rather than as a recipient of grace – “Hello, Mary, you who [God has] highly favoured”

Jesus’ preaching Mt 4:17, “Do penance” rather than “Repent”, change your mind

The role of the printing press (invented by Johannes Guttenberg ?1450) in helping to spread the Reformation

Forerunners to the Reformation

John Wycliffe (c. mid-1320s – 1384) – attacked clerical abuses – the Bible not Pope as supreme authority – rejected transubstantiation – Wycliffe’s Bible, translated from the Latin Vulgate - the evening star of scholasticism and the Morning Star of the English Reformation – condemned after death, exhumed, burnt, scattered

The Lollards (mumblers) – followers of Wycliffe – met secretly to read Bible – Predestination – Iconoclasm - attacked the veneration of Saints, the Sacraments, Requiem Masses, Transubstantiation, monasticism and the Papacy

John / Jan Huss (c. 1369 – 1415)Czech priest - Bohemia – attacked indulgences and crusades – questioned purgatory - burnt at the stake for heresy – “You may roast this goose [Huss = goose], but a hundred years from now a swan will arise whose singing you will not be able to silence” –– Hussites defeated Catholics – communion in both kinds

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

German – peasant stock - Father a lease-holder of copper – mines - Law student - Becomes an Augustinian monk after surviving a thunder storm aged 21

Exhausted his confessors by up to 6-hour confession – true contrition? – terrified of saying his first Mass in 1507

Wittenberg 19 000 relics: straw from manger, strand of Christ’s beard, nail from cross, bread from Last Supper, twig from burning bush etc. - Attack on (misuse of) indulgences – Later Luther would mock the idea of outlandish relics such as flames from the burning bush, half a wing of the archangel Gabriel and an egg from the Holy Spirit!

31st Oct (Reformation Day) 1517 Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg – cf. academic notice board – points for debate

The authority of the Bible superior to that of the Pope

Luther’s Tower Experience (1519) - Romans 1:17 (Reeves, p41f)

Luther burns Leo X’s Papal Bull (1520) and is excommunicated (1521) – (bulla = seal)

The Diet of Worms before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1521)

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. [Here I stand. I can do no other] May God help me. Amen”

Outlawed – Elector Frederick III (The Wise) arranged for masked horsemen to kidnap Luther and take him to the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach (“my Patmos”) for his own safety - living in hiding as Sir George for 10 months – lonely, sick, tempted to doubt God’s grace – anfechtung – assaults by the devil - (ink strain!), frenzy of work - Bible translation so punchy and colourful, made Luther the father of modern German (preface, illustrations, marginal notes) - letters

Return to Wittenberg – restraining reforming excesses - The German Mass – congregational singing – hymns: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God – catechism – Reeves (p51): “The catechism was something Luther took very seriously. He believed everyone should memorize it, that anyone unwilling to learn it should be barred from the Lord’s Supper, that parents should withhold food and drink from such children, and that ultimately, such people should be exiled.”

Married Kate (1525) – former nun – 26; Luther 41 - The importance of marriage and family - The dignity of non-monastic life – non-ecclesiastical vocations - 6 children, both daughters died young – dog – visitors – students -bowling alley in garden – brewing - "My Katie is in all things so obliging and pleasing to me that I would not exchange my poverty for the riches of Croesus"

Attempt at Protestant – Roman Catholic agreement - The Colloquy of Regensburg / Ratisbon (1541) a form of words agreed but ambiguous and later rejected by both Luther and the Pope

Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) - German Lutheran – colleague of Luther - Wittenberg

Martin Bucer (1491–1551) – German based in Strasbourg – exiled to England in 1549, Regius Prof of Divinity at Cambridge

Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531) Zurich, Switzerland – 1st Jan 1519, begins consecutive exposition of NT – plague The affair of the sausages! (1522) – 1523 Zurich makes only biblical preaching legal - Lord’s Supper as symbolic – removal of organs, rejection of musical instruments in church – Easter 1525 vernacular communion in both kinds – Zwingli fights in the battle of Kappel and is killed – Luther’s response – Mt 26:52

Heinrich Bullinger (1504 – 1575) – Zwingli’s successor in Zurich

John Calvin (1509-1564) – b. Noyon, France – Scholar – The affair of the placards (1534), king’s bedroom, attacking the mass – Calvin flees – arm-twisted to stay in Geneva (1536), Switzerland and assist with Reformation – fell out with city council - 1538-41 happy exile to Strasbourg as pastor of French congregation – return to Geneva, continued from verse where he left off! – continuing controversies about church discipline – execution of Trinitarian heretic Michael Servetus (1553) – plans for evangelisation of France – college and academy (1559 onwards) – lecturing 3x a week, preaching twice on a Sunday, often daily, commentaries on virtually every Bible book

The high watermark of the Reformation – doctrinal system - The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Latin and French) 1536-1559 (1521 pages, only 67 about predestination)

The Doctrines of Grace / 5 Points of Calvinism – TULIP

T – Total depravity

U – Unconditional election

L – Limited atonement

I – Irresistible grace

P – Perseverance of the Saints

Requested to be buried in the common cemetery in an unmarked grave

The Reformed / Calvinists

Agreement amongst the Reformers at Marburg Colloquy (1529) except on the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper

Luther chalks “Hoc Est Corpus Meum” (This is my body) on the table

The Radical Reformation – Anabaptists, spiritualists and rationalists

Cf. Magisterial Reformers – mainstream who co-operated with secular magistrates

Andreas Karlstadt (1486 – 1541) – fell out with Luther – moderate mysticism – wanted to be known as “Brother Karlstadt” – dressed as a peasant – rejected infant baptism (Anabaptists – re-baptizers – adult believers only not infants) and the physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist (which Luther taught) – shrine smashing rampages – statue of the Virgin Mary accused of being a witch (floated)

Zwickau prophets at Wittenberg – the equality of all men – the imminent return of Christ – rejected infant baptism – slaughter the ungodly, “be born again or die!”

Thomas Müntzer (1489 – 1525) – immanent end of the world – rejection of feudal authority – stress of spiritual experience and ongoing work of the Holy Spirit / visions / dreams / revelations – a new Gideon – Luther: “Muntzer thinks he has swallowed the Holy Spirit, feathers and all!”

The German Peasants’ War (1524-5) – politics and religion intertwined

Münster Rebellion (1534-5) – communal government - Bernhard Knipperdolling installed as mayor – equality, distribution of wealth – forced rebaptisms – New Jerusalem – visions - John of Leiden sees himself as New David, runs naked through the streets prophesying – takes 16 wives (one beheaded for being cheeky) – forced polygamy

Jakob Hutter (c. 1500–1536) - Tyrol, Italy – Moravia – communal ownership - pacifism

 Mennonites, followers of Menno Simons (1496–1561) – Netherlands - pacifist

Faustus Socinus (1539-1604) – rationalist – Socinianism – Poland – reject Trinity – Jesus more teacher than Saviour

The Family of Love / Familists - mystic sect founded by German Henry Nicholis (c.1501–c.1580), The Low Countries and England – visons – pacifist – against death penalty – questioned Trinity

The English Reformation

William Tyndale – (c. 1494–1536) – Bible translation used Greek and Hebrew texts – strangled and burnt nr. Brussels - Last words: “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.”

A group sympathetic to Reform met in Cambridge at the White Horse tavern from the mid-1520s and known as Little Germany – Luther being read in England though banned

Henry VIII (1491 – 1547) – The King’s Great Matter – divorce of Catherine of Aragon in favour of Anne Boleyn (1533) – Lev 20:21, dispensation from the Pope

A state sponsoured Reformation from Above

The Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532 = the Statute in Restraint of Appeals – England an Empire

The First Act of Supremacy (1534) made Henry "the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England”

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489 – 1556) – married while in Germany - wife in a trunk!

Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-) (but not the Cathedrals) – financial and religious reasons

An English Coverdale Bible for every parish church (1538) – Bible reading now encouraged

Henry’s personal beliefs? – title Defender of the Faith granted by the Pope for his work on the 7 sacraments against Luther (published 1521)! – Catholicism without the Pope? - death bed, Masses in will – Edward’s tutors under influence of reform-minded Catherine Parr

Edward VI (1537 – 1553) – King Josiah - high watermark of Protestantism before the civil war – clerical marriage – communion in both kinds – removal of images – tables not altars – preaching in English – Book of Homilies

The Prayer Book / Book of Common Prayer – in English (1549, 1552, 1559, 1662)

Lady Jane Grey (1536/1537 – 1554) – evangelical - The Nine Day Queen

Bloody Queen Mary I (1516 – 1558) – the return to Rome – clock turned back

The Reformation Martyrs – about 300 evangelicals burnt under Mary

Bishops Hugh Latimer (1487 – 1555) and Nicholas Ridley (1500 – 1555) – cross in Broad Street, Oxford

Latimer’s last words: “Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out”

Thomas Cranmer – recantation sermon – holding hand in the fire

Richard Woodman (c. 1524–1557) and the Lewes Martyrs

Were these things really worth dying for?

John Foxe (1516/16 - 1587)’s Book of Martyrs, Acts and Monuments

Elizabeth I (1533–1603)– Ps 118:23 – read NT in Gk daily - The Elizabethan Settlement (1559) – English Protestantism, neither strongly Lutheran nor Calvinist

John Knox (c. 1513 – 1572) Scotland, Presbyterian – returned from Geneva - The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment [rule] of Women (1558) – Mary Queen of Scots and Mary I of England but Elizabeth I!

1560 – Scottish parliament embraces Calvinism

The English Puritans – originally a term of abuse - The hotter sort of protestants from the time of Elizabeth I onwards – John Milton: ‘the reforming of the reformation’ was their goal - some within the Church of England - some Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Independents etc.

Regulative principle – sign of the cross at baptism – wedding ring – priestly vestments – kneeling at communion - wafers

Laurence Chaderton, master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, apologised for preaching for 2 hours and the congregation pleaded with him to go on!

William Perkins (1558–1602); William Ames (1576–1633); Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) - John Owen (1616–1683) – greatest English theologian? - ? a flashy dresser?! – John Bunyan (1628–1688) – Owen to King: If I could possess the tinker’s ability in preaching I would gladly relinquish all my learning

The Mayflower Pilgrims sail to the New World (1620) – New England to be a city on a hill – 10 000s would follow

James VI of Scotland I of England (1566–1625) – King James Bible = Authorised Version

Charles I (1600–1649) – high church, RC wife – communion rails – kneeling – Prayer Book riot in Edinburgh – Brechin, bishop led service with 2 loaded pistols pointed at congregation

Civil War (1642-) - Commonwealth (1649 – 1660) - Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658): “Religion was not the thing at first contested for, but God brought it to that issue at last.” – Presbyterianism – toleration for Jews and Protestant sects e.g. Quakers and Muggletonians, Ranters – adultery a capital crime, fines for swearing, Sabbath enforced, no Christmas

The Westminster Assembly (1643 - 1653) & Standards – Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Confession of Faith, Directory of Public Worship

Restoration (1660), Charles II (1630 – 1685) – converted to Rome on his deathbed

The 1662 Prayer Book - The Act of Uniformity 1662 and the Great Ejection – 1/5 of the clergy of England (2000) lose their jobs – only Anglicans could hold public office, go to the universities etc.

And so on!

The Counter / Catholic Reformation

Council of Trent (1545–1563) – firmly anti-Lutheran, no more hope of compromise - Attempts to improve discipline and admin, pluralism condemned, emphasis on the parish, opposition to absenteeism - Founding of seminaries in every diocese to improve the training of the clergy - The Roman Inquisition from 1542 – prosecuting heresy etc. - Reforms to Religious Orders, greater powers for Bishops to inspect - Missions to Colonies - The Society of Jesus / Jesuits begun by Ignatius of Loyola (1491– 1556) in 1534, recognised by Pope Paul III (1540) - Renewal of spirituality - Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) - John of the Cross (1542 – 1591)

The Impact / Legacy / Successors of the Reformation

Individualism / Democracy / The nation state?

Post-Reformation Protestant / Reformed Scholasticism (1560 - 1790) - Even greater systemisation of doctrine – method of seeking great precision - The Synod of Dort (1618–1619) - Francis Turretin (1623 – 1687), Principles of Elenctic Theology

“The Last Puritan”

Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758) – America’s Theologian

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 – 1892) - Baptist

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899 – 1981) – The Puritan Conference – Banner of Truth Reprints

James I. Packer (1926-)

The Reformational Churches / Reformed Theology Today

Semper Reforandum – continual / constant Reformation

The relevance of the Reformation today

Roman Catholic / Protestant Relations

Co-belligerency on some things (e.g. abortion) – common opposition to atheism / secularism / Islam

Cf. conservative evangelicals / protestants & Roman Catholics over against liberal protestants?

Evangelicals and Catholics Together (1994)

31st Oct 1999 – The Roman Catholic and Lutheran World Federation Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification

Further reading:

Michael Reeves, The Unquenchable Flame: Introducing the Reformation (IVP, 2009)

Kirsten Birkett, The Essence of the Reformation (Matthias Media, 1998)

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490 – 1700 (Penguin / Allen Lane, 2003)

Owen Chadwick, The Reformation (Pelican / Penguin, 1964)

A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation (Second Edition, Batsford, 1989)

Euan Cameron, The European Reformation (OUP)

J C Ryle, Five English Reformers (Banner of Truth)

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