Skip to main content

Renaissance to Protestant Reformation

Joseph Fiennes in the Motion Picture Luther 2003
Beginning with the Acts of the apostles there has been a constant struggle from within and without. The time of 1300 AD to 1500 AD is no exception. During this time the black plague ravaged much of Europe, within the papacy there was crisis, social and political order outside the church was changing.
With the papacy in crisis, a Conciliar movement took authority; decreeing its own authority, and if anyone (including the pope) did not obey the authority of the council they were to be punished. Such was the case with the pre-reformer John Hus who was burned at the stake by the council of Constance for his refusal to obey their demands to recant his writings. John Hus appealed to the Lord and Judge Jesus Christ and stood on scripture alone.
After the crisis was over (the crisis regarding multiple popes); the pope disbanded the council and once again regained authority. At this same time a Renaissance of ancient art and writing was gaining ground in Italy and spreading throughout Europe. It was the study of scripture in the original languages and reading the patristics that caused some to question the soteriology and ecclesiology of the Roman Catholic church. The Renaissance and the Christian faith became linked; therefore, it was Christian humanist who called for reformation based on scripture. These Christian humanists believed that it was their knowledge of Greek and Hebrew that helped them better understand scripture.1
One of those men was Martin Luther; Luther recommended that citizens receive a classical liberal arts degree and instruction in Hebrew and Greek so that they could diligently study scripture.2 Martin Luther became a doctor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg. Through diligent study, while lecturing on the Psalms and Romans, Martin Luther had a breakthrough. The Catholic Church taught active righteousness through works, in Romans 1:17 Luther saw that the scripture taught imputed righteousness through faith in Christ Jesus alone.3
Medieval Catholic doctrine taught a system of planks in salvation. The first plank baptism, the second plank penance and the third plank purgatory. Baptism washed away the guilt of original sin, but there was still sin done in the flesh that must be punished. Penance was required to remove temporal sin. In 1215 the Fourth Lateran Council defined penance as requiring: contrition, confession, and satisfaction all done as a responsibility of the sinner. Contrition is a sorrow for committing sin. Confession is an oral admission of sin to a priest. Satisfaction required that God be compensated; typically, a special prayer, fasting, almsgiving, or a pilgrimage. All three most be completed successfully to receive absolution which is then granted by a priest. If all three are not done perfectly the sinner most spend time in purgatory to punish temporal sin.4
While studying this, a question enters my mind; how could anyone believe this Catholic doctrine, and not live in constant terror of death? It was under the confines of the sacrament of penance that indulgences were sold, because it was believed that the pope had the keys to the kingdom, and could give out merits. Pope Sixtus IV decided that indulgences were good for the sinner in this life, and good for their family members in purgatory. It was in this context that John Tetzel sold indulgences using the sales pitch, “Once a coin into the coffer clings, a soul from purgatory springs.”5 Martin Luther was outraged; therefore, he nailed his 95 Theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, in Wittenberg, Germany, which became a catalyst for the protestant reformation.6




1 John D. Woodbridge and Frank A. James, Church History Volume 2: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day. The rise and growth of the Church in its cultural, intellectual, and political context (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013) 105.
2 Ibid, 101.
3 Ibid, 107-112.
4 Ibid, 112-113.
5 Ibid, 112.
6 Ibid, 112-114.

Popular posts from this blog

The Three Aspects of Faith

Faith is made up of three things: knowledge, belief, and trust…Faith is believing that Christ is what He is said to be and that He will do what He has promised to do. (Spurgeon, C.H.) “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?. . So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:13-14, 17) When sharing the gospel publicly, and more specifically through open-air preaching you will likely be stopped from preaching by someone who claims to be a Christian.  Oftentimes when preaching in open-air, you will be preaching to a moving crowd.  Someone may walk by and hear you talking about sin and judgment.  Another may walk by and hear you talking about Christ redemptive work on the cross.  I use to think that there was the possibility that those who claimed to be Christian, who stopp

William George Davis, RN

Today I write with a broken heart an open-letter to my nursing colleague, friend and I hope, brother in Christ William Davis, RN. Will has been accused of murder and was arrested on April 11, 2018. I write this as an open-letter because this has become an open-matter. Will Davis and Family Copied from Facebook Dear Will, I miss your smiles and your jovial laughter on our nursing unit. I first meet you about 5 years ago in the spring of 2013. My wife met you before I did; I remember her telling me, “I met a guy in orientation who is going to work on your unit, he is so excited to work on your unit and is real fun.” From that time on you were usually laughing and all smiles. Often times you brought a bag of candy to work, because of this, and your jovial laughter I nicknamed you the Candyman and would even sing in your presences, “Who can make the sun rise and cover it with cheer…the Candyman can, the Candyman can because he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.”

Come Follow Me

Mark 10 It was Jesus’ custom to teach when a crowd gathered. He taught that it is not God’s will that a wife and husband should separate, for he considers them one flesh. Later, his disciples questioned him about this and Jesus told them that to divorce and marry another is committing adultery. Jesus used the metaphor of how a child excepts as being the way we should except the kingdom of God. Jesus corrected a rich young man’s understanding of good and showed him that to repent and follow Jesus Christ is the only good that a man can do. It is impossible for people to enter the kingdom of God but with God all things are possible. Jesus promised eternal life to all who leave whatever is holding them back from following him. On the journey to Jerusalem, Jesus told his disciples about his coming arrest, trial, humiliation, suffering, death and resurrection three days later. James and John sought honor for themselves at Jesus right and left sides in his kingdom, but he told them, it is for