Church History

Lesson 10The Modern Era and The Reformation: 1517 A.D. - 1534 A.D.

This week we’ll look at the beginning of the Modern Era and the Reformation led by Martin Luther in 1517. As we discussed last week the “reformation” movement had begun some one hundred and fifty years earlier as more and more intellectual and influential people challenged the authority of the Pope, the Church, and the limitation of the distribution of scripture in a common language.


Raised in a strictly disciplined environment, well educated in theology and having spent time as a Monk, Martin Luther arrives on the scene in Wittenburg Germany, having experienced first hand the excesses of power the Pope and the Church were displaying in Rome. This week we’ll look at his reaction of coming face to face with the Word of God after having seen the abuses in Rome and those same abuses coming to the Church in Germany.

So once again, grab your history books, dictionary, or a good computer and a fast cable modem and let’s take a look at an important period in Church history called the Reformation, and specifically Martin Luther’s role in leading that movement into the development and spread of the Protestant faithful.

  1. Can you determine what Sola Fida, Sola Scriptora, and Sola Sacerdos represented to the followers of Martin Luther?
  2. The pivotal point in Martin Luther’s life came when he read a verse in Romans – what was it and why was it pivotal (it is for us as well)?
  3. What did Martin Luther teach about the role of the Bible in the Church?
  4. According to Johann Tetzel, the agent of Archbishop Albert, what was the stated purpose of an “indulgence” accomplishing?
  5. In response to Johann Tetzel, the archbishop, and the practice of indulgences, on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the doors of the church in Wittenburg Germany. Find and write down at least five of them in the space below:
  6. Once Luther broke off from the Roman Catholic Church and began his own church what were some of the things he taught his followers – what were some of the doctrines adopted by the Lutheran Church? List at least two things below:
  7. In 1529 Luther joined in a meeting in Switzerland with a man named Zwingli who was leading a reformation movement in Switzerland. During their conference/meetings they agreed on 14 of 15 propositions. What one proposition could they not find agreement on?
  8. In 1534 Martin Luther had completed translating the whole Bible into German and also wrote “On Monastic Vows”. In his work “On Monastic Vows” what did Luther ask the Priests and Nuns of the Roman Catholic Church to do?
  9. In 1526 Luther was able to establish that every state had the right to chose it’s own legal religion. In 1529 at the 2nd Diet in Speir this was overturned and the Roman Catholic Church was reestablished in Germany as the only legal religion. As a result of the overturning of that rule the six princely followers of Luther and representatives of fourteen free cities read something out loud – what was it and what happened as a result of this act of outrage and protest?

From this point on, most of us now recognize at least some of the history we’re studying; and we can begin to see again the impact faithful men and women of God had, and have, on the growth of the Church and the spreading of the Gospel message.

As I pointed out last week, while history may change from time to time, and the approach of men and women to the gospel may be altered, the Gospel Message is still the Good News. Christ, the only begotten son of God came as Man, died on the Cross and rose again to save us from death -- the penalty of sin. And the really good news is that He did it for all of us -– not just a select few. And if that’s not enough good news, wait 'til you hear this: He’s coming back again!

Have a great week everyone, may God continue to bless you as you faithfully study with us each week.

In Christ,


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