Reformation Day Handout
The Reformation: 3 things to know
1) Luther’s story
a. Early Life: Born Nov 10, 1483. was in school to be a lawyer
b. Coming home from school in 1505 he was caught in a thunderstorm and prayed to St. Ann that if he survived he would become a monk.
c. He survived and he was a man of his word so he joined the Augustinian order.
d. He was good. Really good. Memorized scriptures, worked hard, kept his vows. “If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would certainly have done so.”
e. Struggled with Depression, not quite manic, but close. Was always tempted to doubt God’s love.
f. Father Staupitz aids him, points him to Jesus.
g. 1507 ordained as a priest
h. 1510 trip to Rome disgusts Luther and irks him for some time.
i. 1512 he gets his PhD and a member of the senate at Wittenberg
j. Righteousness of God. What is it? God’s perfection, or a gift to us?
i. He thought it was perfection. So he tried tapping into merits with indulgences, but that was weird.
ii. He tried being perfect and upright, but he could not do it.
iii. Tried perfect confession and contrition, but he could not do it.
iv. So Christ was a judge to him, and he was inadequate and doomed.
k. 1516 John Tetzel sells indulgences in Germany to pay for St. Peter’s basilica in Rome and to pay for bishops salaries
l. October 31st (All Hallows Eve) 1517 the 95 Theses are nailed up for debate
m. Jan 1518 95 Theses translated into German and spread using the printing press.
n. When did Luther really “get” the Gospel? Hard to say. Somewhere between 1517-1521
o. In 1520 the Papal Bull, official Papal document, excommunicated Martin Luther. Luther publicly burned the document.
p. 1521 Diet of Worms – His trial before the Catholic Authorities. The Cardinals and Bishops demanded Luther recant, Luther wanted to debate but they did not. He refused to recant” “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”
i. He was declared an outlaw. It was illegal to give him food or shelter, his literature was banned, he was wanted for arrest, and there was no legal consequence if someone killed him.
q. Prince Frederick, elector of Saxony, kidnapped Luther to keep him safe. While in hiding Luther translated the bible into German so the common man could read it.
r. While imprisoned the Peasants War broke out, violent clashes between reformers and peasants, this greatly distressed Luther because he felt partly responsible. He vehemently condemned the violence.
s. He married Katherine Von Bora and ex-nun smuggled out of her convent along with several other nuns in herring barrels in 1523. She was 26 he was 41.
t. June 25, 1530 the Augsburg Confession was read and supported by German princes to the emperor. Luther was not there for he could have been killed. But the Emperor, unwilling to risk rebellion in the north, decided the religion of the region was whatever the local prince decided. Huge win for the reformers.
u. Luther died in 1546.
2) What the reformers reformed:
a. Grace: it is not merited but simply God’s favor in Christ
i. No indulgences
ii. No mandated contrition/penance
iii. Mary is not sinless / co- redepmtrix
iv. No masses to gain grace
v. No relics
vi. No prayer to saints
vii. No purgatory
viii. Vocation in contrast to Monastic life
b. Salvation is not merited but given (Material Principle). God does not love because we are good, he nevertheless loves the bad and makes it good.
i. Solus Christus
ii. Sola Fide
iii. Sola Gratia
c. Authority (Formal Principle)
i. Sola Scriptura
ii. Christ is the head of the Church not the Pope
- Papal Bulls are not authoritative above Scripture
d. Celibacy of priests no longer mandated
3) What they didn’t reform (though others, sadly, have):
a. Adiaphora (that which is neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture)
i. Traditions: Vestments, Liturgy, Symbols
b. That which was Biblical
- Though the host is not adored
- Reject transubstantiation
The reformers risked their lives, and many gave them, so that the people might hear the wonderful truth of God’s grace in Christ. May we celebrate them, and even more, the Gospel of Jesus.