The Reformation

Jason Polchinski

One of the greatest revolutions of all time was the Reformation, a conflict

between Catholics and Protestants during the 16th and 17th century. The Reformation was a turning point

during the Renaissance, a transition from old to modern times.

Although most people during the Renaissance disagreed with Medieval ways and

even poked fun at them, the rich Catholic Church still preserved many Medieval ways. People began to disagree

with Church customs. In the late 1300's, an English priest and teacher at Oxford University, named John

Wycliffe declared that people should be able to read the Bible for themselves. Although the Church protested,

Wycliffe's followers translated the Bible into English and handed copies out all over the English countryside.

Wycliffe's ideas soon spread into Bohemia, where a preacher named Jan Hus spread the ideas even more. The i

ideas of Wycliffe and Hus influenced the most important reformer, a monk named Martin Luther.

Luther had protested for years that many clergy were selling indulgences, which

were pardons for sins without making it clear that people must sincerely repent their sins. He attacked the monk

Johann Tetzel for decieving the people. Eventually, he became angry enough, and he nailed a complaint, called

the 95 theses to a Church door. The 95 theses complained about the sale of induldgences and other corruptions

in the Church. Luther also created new ideas against the Church. He rejected the authority of the Pope and said

that priests had no more authority than laymen did. He said that vows taken by monks and nuns should be

abolished and said that clergy should be able to marry. He rejected the celibacy of the clergy. Luther only kept

two of the seven sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Pope Leo X condemned Luther's teachings in a papal decree. When Luther

recieved the decree, he burned it and a copy of the Church's canon law. After this, Charles V, the Holy

Roman Emperor ordered him to recant. Luther said he would not do so until he was convinced

by the testimony of the Scriptures.

Other scholars also helped the Reformation. Philip Melanchton, Luther's

colleague became the main theologian of the Reformation in Germany. Johannes Reuchlin

enlarged the field of ideas by allowing the study of Hebrew and Greek. Knowledge of ancient languages

allowed people to read the Bible in its original form. Johannes Tauler of Strausbourg had the idea of a heart

religion, which led to Luther's doctrine of justification by faith. Reformers in other countries were also famous.

Erasmus of Rotterdam spurred the study of the early Church through printed editions of the Greek New

Testament. In England, John Colet worked for reform within the Church. John Calvin reformed churches in

Switzerland and created the Protestant religion of Calvinism, now Presbyterianism.


Where The Reformation Spread

The Reformation first spread to the Netherlands and Scotland, where it was used

as a vehicle for self-determination. The Reformation spread to France, and a Protestant religion was formed, the

followers were called Huguenots. Calvinsim become dominant in Scotland. In England, Henry

VIII wished to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon . When the Pope refused to annul the marriage, Henry

divorced her anyway and Henry VIII was excommunicated from the Church. Henry created a Protestant

religion, which was run by the Anglican Church. Henry also urged Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy

which made the Monarch the head of the Anglican Church. The Act of Supremacy was passed. The

Reformation also spread to Scandinavia


Forms of Protestanism

After the Reformation, many Protestant religions were formed. The most

dominant was Lutheran, which was the original Protestant religion. Lutheran was mostly followed in Germany

and Scandinavia. Lutheran taught the ideas of Martin Luther. Another major Protestant religion was

Calvinist(Now called Presbyterian).Calvinism taught the ideas of Martin Luther and John Calvin. A major idea

of Calvinism was predestination. Calvinists believed that people were selected to go to heaven when they were

born. If you were not chosen, you could not enter Heaven no matter how hard you worked or how good a person

you were. However, a person who was chosen would most likely work hard and be a person of good faith.

Anglican was a religion based mostly in England. Anglican was a Protestant religion similar to Lutheran and

Calvinist, but the leader of