Session Notes

What We Will Learn Today

  1. The Three Questions we Ask
  2. The World Around 1500
  3. The Role of the Mongols
  4. Defining Our Terms


The Story of the Reformation and Martin Luther

People sometimes try to;

  1. Write Luther out of the narrative,
  2. Psychoanalyze him
  3. Or look for “real” causes

In the year 1517, Luther nails the 95 Theses to the door

  1. Or did he nail the theses?
  2. Does it Matter
  3. Not that controversial

Understanding The 95 Theses

  1. They don’t represent Luther’s mature theology
  2. Challenged the sources of revenue for Albrecht of Brandenburg
  3. Challenged a revenue source and authority!
  4. A theology of Humility
    1. (Magisterial doctrines??!?!)
  5. A theology of Repentance
    1. Not that controversial
  6. Luther argues against the church in reframing, interpreting “repentance”

Why did this one German monk cause a Reformation? Why did Luther’s reformation work?

Three Treatises

  1. On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church
  2. Letter to the German Nobility
  3. On the Freedom of a Christian

Usually, you kill a heretic, why not Luther?

How did the Catholic Church approach the Luther issue?

  1. Kill him! Why not?
  2. Attack him on his own ground (using sola scriptura)
  3. Some argued from the Authority of the pope
  4. The question of authority!
    1. Woodcut of Luther being played like a bagpipe

The place of Printing

  1. 1500-1530 10,000 pamphlets
  2. 3/4 published between 1520 and 1526
  3. 1518-1544 250,000 editions not including Bible Translations

Why did Luther’s Reformation succeed? Because of The Printing Press

  1. Brand Luther by Pettegree
  2. Oberman’s work, recorded too

The Reformation also succeeded because of the political situation

  1. Frederick the Wise protected Luther
  2. Luther not just a theologian- maybe not treated as a theologian at all, rather he was seen as a prophet (spoke truth to power), pastor, preacher (expositor of Scripture)
  3. We will see the significance of the Small and Large Catechism

Small and Large Catechism

  1. Luther’s Small catechism taught a generation to think theologically


Session Two: Part Two


  1. Apologies and Confessions of Faith in the Reformation
  2. Not “I’m sorry” or “I did it” but rather a defense of the faith, and the faith itself as proclaimed by the community
  3. Confessions as old as the church- the 16th c. Saw a rebirth of confessions
  4. Augsburg Confession 1520

Confessions Across Europe

  1. 1534 Basel
  2. 1559 French
  3. 1560 Scots


  1. Almost like early constitutions
  2. Essential to good government
  3. 1517-1648 over 100 confessions of Faith
    1. Why is this significant?

The Solas

  1. Sola Gratia
  2. Sola Fide
  3. Sola Scriptura
  4. Solus Christus
  5. Soli Deo Gloria

Understanding the 'Solas'

  1. The first three make up the heart of reformation theology
  2. Despite the vast differences in protestant thought, the solas unite them

The decrees of the Council of Trent

  1. A Catholic Reformation
  2. A new educational movement born out of the Reformation


Session Two: Part Three

The Lutherans and the Reformed

  1. Baptism
  2. Lord Supper
  3. Predestination
  4. The success or failure of the Reformation?

Luther thought he failed; did it?

  1. Church Unity- failure
  2. But another way? Church visitation records
  3. What were the Reformers responses?
  4. Why might these visitation records beg the question if something was wrong?
  5. Succeeded: reformed the way poke thought about the church and life together, theology, vocation, education, literacy, family life


  1. The English reformation
    1. More political than theological (Henry VIII)
  2. The Spanish and Italian reformations
    1. underground
    2. reformers and mystics
  3. Sweden
    1. Gustavus Adolphus
    2. A reformation from above
  4. Denmark
    1. From the peasants
  5. France
    1. Wars of Religion
    2. Didn’t take hold initially
    3. With the example of Geneva a robust reformation project began

1517- 95 Theses

1617 - Europe getting ready for war

  1. Peace of Westphalia

Reviewing the figures

  1. Luther
  2. Calvin
    1. French 1509 b. Noyon Lawyer, studied classics and humanism, All Saints day Speech condemning French church and Calvin fled to Geneva
    2. Geneva= experiment of church and state taken to the Netherlands and Massachusetts bay Colony
  3. John Calvin - Institutes of Christian Religion
    1. But commentaries more significant as he was primarily a pastor.
    2. See Bruce Gordon
  4. Philip Melanchthon
    1. Translator
    2. Astronomer
    3. Polymath

If Luther was the prophet, Melanchthon was the theologian/philosopher

Theodore Beza: Often criticized, but the most influential reformer with regards to forming theology and reforming education

  1. An academic like Melanchthon, helped reformation Theology