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The Protestant Reformation

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Presentation on theme: "The Protestant Reformation"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Protestant Reformation

2 Today’s Focus How did abuses in the Catholic Church spark widespread criticism? How did Martin Luther challenge Catholic authority and teachings?

3 Setting the Scene During the Renaissance, the Church came under fire.
Christians at all levels of society accused the clergy of corruption and worldliness. One peasant compared the Clergy to “wicked wolves”, saying “Instead of saving the souls of the dead and sending them to Heaven, they gorge themselves at banquets after funerals”.

4 Abuses in the Church Beginning in the Middle Ages, the Church became caught up in worldly affairs. Popes competed with Italian princes for political power They fought long wars to protect the Papal States against invasions by secular rulers. They fought against powerful monarchs who tried to take control of the Church within their lands.

5 The Pope Like other Renaissance rulers, the pope maintained a lavish lifestyle. Popes were also patrons of the arts. They hired painters and sculptors to beautify churches.

6 Pope Leo X

7 Indulgences To finance these projects, the Church increased fees for services such as marriages and baptisms. Some clergy also promoted the sale of indulgences. Indulgence: a lessening of the time a soul would have to spend in purgatory, a place where souls too impure to enter heaven atoned for sins committed during their lifetimes.


9 Indulgences In the Middle Ages, the Church had granted indulgences only for good deeds, like going on a Crusade. By the late 1400’s, indulgences could also be exchanged for money gifts to the Church.

10 Backlash Many Christians protested such practices, especially in Northern Europe. Christian Humanists such as Erasmus urged a return to the simple ways of the early Christian Church. They stressed Bible study and rejected what they saw as the worldliness of the Church.

11 Erasmus

12 Bellringer What are the major differences between a REFORMATION and a REVOLUTION? Identify ONE major problem in society today. If you were president, how would you REFORM this problem? What changes would you make?

13 Luther’s Protest In 1517, protests against Church abuses erupted into a full-scale revolt. The man who triggered the revolt was a German monk and professor of theology, Martin Luther

14 Luther As a young man, Luther prayed and fasted and tried to lead a holy life He grew disillusioned with what he saw as Church corruption. At last, an incident in the town of Wittenberg prompted him to take action.

15 Tetzel In 1517, a priest named Johann Tetzel set up a pulpit on the outskirts of Wittenberg. He offered indulgences to any Christian who contributed money for the rebuilding of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rome.

16 "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs"

17 Tetzel Tetzel claimed that purchase of these indulgences would assure entry into heaven not only for the purchasers, but for their dead relatives as well. “Don’t you hear the voices of your dead parents and other relatives crying out?” he demanded.

18 95 Theses To Luther, Tetzel’s actions were the final straw
He drew up 95 theses, or arguments, against indulgences. He argued that indulgences had no basis in the Bible, and that the pope had no authority to release souls from purgatory. Argued that Christians could be saved only through faith. He posted his arguments on the door of the Church in Wittenberg.

19 Luther vs. The Church Almost overnight, copies of the 95 theses were printed and distributed across Europe Stirred furious debate The Church called on Luther to recant, or give up his views. Luther refused.

20 Luther vs. The Church Instead of recanting. Luther developed even more radical new ideas. Before long, he was urging Christians to reject the authority of Rome and the Pope. Because the Church would not reform itself, he wrote, it must be reformed by secular authorities.

21 Luther vs. The Church By 1521, the Pope excommunicated Luther.
Later that year, the new Holy Roman emperor, Charles V, called Luther to stand before a group of German princes, at Worms. Called the Diet of Worms

22 Diet of Worms Luther expected to defend his writings, but instead, the emperor simply ordered him to recant. Again, Luther refused.


24 Excommunication Charles V declared Luther an outlaw, making it a crime for anyone in the empire to give him food or shelter. One prince hid him at a castle in Wartburg. Luther remained in hiding for nearly a year. Throughout Germany, thousands hailed him as a hero. They accepted his teachings, renounced the authority of the pope.

25 Warburg Castle

26 An original first edition is kept in the case on the desk
The Wartburg room where Luther translated the New Testament into vernacular (German). An original first edition is kept in the case on the desk

27 Luther’s Teachings 1. Rejected Church doctrine that good deeds were necessary for salvation. Believed that salvation could be achieved through faith alone.

28 Luther’s Teachings 2. Luther held the Bible as the only source of religious truth. He denied other authorities, such as Church councils or the pope.

29 Luther’s Teachings 3. Luther rejected the idea that priests and the clergy had special power. All Christians had equal access to God through faith and the Bible. Luther translated the Bible into German vernacular so that ordinary people could study it by themselves.

30 Other Changes Rejected 5 of 7 sacraments because the bible didn’t mention them. Banned indulgences, confession, pilgrimages, and prayers to saints. Simplified rituals. Permitted clergy to marry.

31 Lutheranism Luther’s doctrine became known as Lutheranism, and the churches as Lutheran Churches. Lutheranism was the first protestant faith.

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