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Reformation; dawn of a new era

The humanism of the Italian Renaissance

spread across Europe and affected every
aspect of life.
One of the areas most affected by humanism
was that of religion.
there came with humanism a certain desire
for a deeper understanding of things.
Humanism empowered man to seek God and
to seek spiritual truth without church.
In other words, man no longer needed a
priest to talk to God and man no longer
needed the pope dictating the will of God.
Man was a free being with the ability to ask
questions, seek answers, and develop
spiritually on his own. According to the
church, these notions were heretical.
These ideas about religion sparked a century of
turmoil and warfare between the Roman
Catholic Church, headed by the pope, and the
reformers, who sought a new and different
approach to religion.
Those reformers became known as Protestants,
or those who protested against the church.
This movement was known as the Reformation.
Reformation; dawn of a new era
Great religious reform movement in Europe
during 15th century.
big protest against the Christian Church in
different parts of Europe
ultimately resulted in the emergence of
Protestant Christian religion.
The Reformation started in Germany and later
it spread to other countries.
Church in 15th Century
People began to question the practice of simony, or
the selling of church positions.
People also began to question whether or not
clergymen should hold more than one church position.
Corrupt clergymen
Church was too wealthy; the church spent exorbitant
amounts of money on art, architecture, and the
extravagant lifestyles of the popes.
deplorable Popes
worldly monks
uneducated priests; Many priests could hardly
read or write in their native language, much
less read or write in Latin, the language in
which many theological works were written.
the selling of indulgences, or the practice of
granting the buyer forgiveness for his sins.
Superstition and contradictions within Church
Causes for the Reformation

Decline in respect and prestige of the Church

The Christian Church under the Pope originally
commanded respect of the people.
But in the Middle ages, it had become a big feudal
The Popes interfered into the political affairs.
As a result they began to neglect their spiritual
The Pope and the clergy began to lead luxurious
Renaissance ; created a spirit of
inquiry among the masses
The Renaissance created a spirit of inquiry
among the masses. They began to read the
Bible and realized that the activities of the
Church and the clergy were not according to
the precepts of the holy book.
many condemned superstitious practices
prevalent in the Church.
John Wycliffe (1330-1384) from England
criticized the Pope for his authority and
misdeeds. He translated the Bible into
English. He is considered the Morning Star of
the Reformation.
Erasmus (1466-1536) attacked the
superstitions followed by the clergy in his
book In Praise of Folly. It was published in
Emergence of nation-states
The emergence of nation-states in Europe
eroded the political influence enjoyed by the
Church during the Middle Ages.
The people began to respect their Monarch.
concept of Universal Church slowly gave way
to national churches.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Luther became a monk in 1508.

1510 he visited Rome; He was shocked to see
the worldly life led by the Roman clergy.
Wittenberg University; ; began his career as a
professor of theology in the same university.
Luther began a systematic campaign for the
removal of evils of the Church.
Indulgences ; was originally meant a promise
given to a sinner for the remission of
punishment if he repented and confessed his
sins. But Pope Leo X used the sale of
indulgences to raise money.
Luther opposed the practice of the sale of
According to tradition, Luther nailed his 95
Theses to the door of the Castle Church at
Luther's Theses condemned the sale of
indulgences and invited debate on the issue.
Salvation according to him came from a
loving God who bestows His grace without
regard to merit or endeavour. God was
content to give eternal life to all who would
open their souls to faith in Him.
Luthers perception of God

God is omnipotent and man cannot influence,

persuade, bribe, or threaten God, but can
only surrender to Him.
Pope Leo X got alarmed and excommunicated
Luther in January 1521.
Luther burnt this order in public.
There he translated New Testament from
original Greek into German language. He
published his most popular book, the Small
Catechism, in 1529.

In the Diet which met in 1526, the religious

question was raised by the German princes.
The Diet gave permission to the princes to
choose their own religion. But, Emperor
Charles V revoked this decision in 1529.
Therefore, the German princes drew up a
protest and they came to be known as
Luther led a life of seclusion till his death in
It was only in the Peace of Augsburg in 1555,
formal approval was given by the Emperor to
the princes either to remain Catholic or
What were the central Protestant
The central Protestant beliefs were - salvation
by faith rather than by works, the authority of
the Bible as interpreted by the consecrated
conscience, the priesthood of all Christians,
the service of God in secular and clerical
callings and the rejection of the Pope and the
ecclesiastical hierarchy.
Zwinglianism; Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)
paved the way for the Reformation in
Greatly influenced by humanism, specifically
the work of Erasmus, Zwingli preached against
all practices of the church that were not
substantiated by Scripture.
Zwingli preached that man did not need the
pope or the church.
John Calvin (1509-1564) ; French protest reformer
Went to Geneva. After spending some time in Geneva
assisting the reformation of the city, he was asked to
In 1541, Calvin was invited back to continue his reform
of the church there.
Although Calvin never became a citizen of Geneva, he
drew up new ordinances for the city that governed
both religious and secular aspects of life in the city.
He imposed strict laws, and he saw that the laws were
enforced; high moral standard of living.
During the 1540s and 1550s, Calvinism spread
throughout Europe and found extraordinary
success in Scotland under the leadership
ofJohn Knox (c.1513-1572), who founded the
Presbyterian Church there.
In England, the Calvinists were known as the
Puritans, and in France, Calvin's followers
were known as the Huguenots.
Anglican Church ; Reformation in
King Henry VIII the Defender of Faith ;
English Reformation for personal reasons.
Henry, a supporter of the Catholic Church, married
Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) in 1509, but
Catherine never produced a son for the king.
In 1527, with no male heir, Henry announced his
desire to divorce Catherine. Being Catholic, though,
Henry was not able to get a divorce.
Therefore, Henry sought an annulment on the grounds
that the papal dispensation that allowed the marriage
in the first place was invalid, thus making the marriage
In the meantime, the king had fallen in love with
Anne Boleyn (c.1507-1536), a young favorite
from his court, and wanted to marry her.
Pope Leo X refused to permit King Henry VIII to
marry Anne Boleyn after divorcing his queen;
Parliament passed an Act of Supremacy in 1534
by which the king was made the head of the
Church of England.
Can the Reformation be called a
The Reformation did bring about a change in
peoples mindset
It encouraged self confidence and self
There is some truth in the traditional view that
associates movements of political freedom and
social change with the Protestant religion.
Protestantism paved the way for secular
thinking in Europe.
scientific revolution and the removal of
religion from political control owes a great
deal to Protestantism
idea of toleration in matters of faith, which is
a necessary aspect of a secularized state, grew
from the Reformation.
May be considered a revolution as it sought to
bring about a total change; a total overhauling
of the system.
Critical view
Reformation could actually not eradicate
corruption from the Church
abuses among clergy and laity continued to
trouble the Protestant Church
Protestants could not change human nature
overnight and produce godly people.
Protestantism thus, from the very beginning
was a more difficult religion than that it
turned away from.

The success of the Reformation movement created a great awe and

fear in the Roman Catholic Church. Before things went out of
control, it took drastic measures to check the spread of the
Protestant religion and also to carry out reforms within itself. This
process was known as Counter-Reformation.
Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) ; Spanish soldier ; founded the Society
of Jesus in 1534 and it was recognized by the Pope. The aim of this
Society was to reform and restore the glory of the Catholic Church.
Jesuits; established schools and colleges in several parts of the
They achieved a remarkable success in their missionary activities.
The Council of Trent (1545-1563) introduced
several reforms in the Catholic Church. The
most glaring abuses of the clergy were
Celibacy was strictly enforced for them.
The sale of offices was stopped.
The practice of the sale of indulgences was
It also stressed that clergy adhere more strictly to
their duties.
The success of the Counter Reformation can
be understood from the fact that the rapid
spread of Protestantism was halted.
The Roman Catholic Church is still one of the
greatest religious organizations in the world.