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1300 - 1800 A.D.



1300 - 1600 A.D. RENAISSANCE  from the French word for rebirth, and originally referred to the revival of the values and artistic styles of classical antiquity (Greek & Roman) especially in Italy.  It is characterized by the rise of the individual, scientific inquiry and geographical exploration, and the growth of secular values.  Made possible in part by the Black Plague.

            Humanism became the major intellectual movement of the period, and its achievements became permanent. By the 15th century intensive study of the Greek as well as Latin classics, ancient art and archaeology, and classical history, had given Renaissance scholars a more sophisticated view of antiquity. The ancient past was now viewed as past, to be admired and imitated, but not to be revived. Students from many European nations had come to Italy to study the classics, philosophy, and the remains of antiquity, eventually spreading the Renaissance.

            As the Renaissance values came to the north, they were transformed. Northern humanists such as Desiderius ERASMUS of the Netherlands and John Colet (c.1467-1519) of England planted the first seeds of the Reformation when they endeavored to discover the original intent and meaning of the New Testament by applying to it the critical historical methods developed in Italy. The northern humanists--who, like their Italian counterparts, served as advisors to kings and princes--created a flexible, colloquial Latin style so that their writings would have a broad appeal. Through their efforts, knowledge of classical mythology, ancient history, and Greek and Latin literary forms became widespread and was soon absorbed into the vernacular literature.

   Some outcomes of the Renaissance:


1. Humanism:  philosophy (synthesizing & Mixing) , human nature & condition- Survival of fittest (no-God) & live for today attitude, ancient studies and Documents


2. Metaphysics, occult, magic, astrology


3. Science: medicine, physics, math


4. Arts:  architecture, painting, sculpture, poetry, plays, etc..




            Humanism, an educational and philosophical outlook that emphasizes the personal worth of the individual and the central importance of human values as opposed to religious belief.. Humanism  began as an educational program called the humanities, which instilled those ancient secular values which were consistent with Christian teachings. The Renaissance humanists were often devout Christians, but they promoted secular values and a love of pagan antiquity.   Humanism  produced two movements:  The Reformation and modern Humanism (Social Darwinism, Environmentalism, Evolution, etc...)


1407 - 1457 A.D. Lorenzo Valla  one of the greatest classical scholars and text editors of his Age, proved that the Donation of Constantine, a medieval document that supported papal claims to temporal authority, was a forgery.

1466 - 1536 A.D. ERASMUS of the Netherlands was the most influential of the Christian Humanists. In his Colloquies and Praise of Folly (1509), Erasmus satirized the corruptions of his contemporaries, especially the clergy, in comparison with the teachings of the Bible, early Christianity, and the best of pagan thinkers. In his Adages (1500 and later editions), he showed the consistency of Christian teachings with ancient pagan wisdom. Erasmus devoted most of his energy and learning, however, to establishing sound editions of the sources of the Christian tradition, such as his Greek New Testament (1516) and translations of the Greek and Latin FATHERS OF THE CHURCH.  Influenced Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc..


   Later Types of Humanism

            By the 18th century the word humanism had come to be identified with a purely secular attitude--one that often rejected Christianity altogether. The American Humanist Association, which grew out of the Unitarian movement, holds that human beings can satisfy religious needs from within, discarding the concept of God as inconsistent with advanced thought and human freedom. In recent years, fundamentalist Christian groups in the United States have declared their opposition to "secular humanism," an anti-religious ideology that they believe pervades American society, including the major churches, and that they blame for its moral failings.





1309 - 1377 A.D. “Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy”- King of France (Philip IV) imprisons Pope Boniface VIII in a war over taxes levied against Catholic Church Property and Personnel.  Boniface dies and  Philip wins. Philip appoints a French Cardinal to the Papacy, Clement V.  Clement takes his orders from Philip, moves to Avignon near France for Safety and luxury.  The luxurious and worldly nature of Avignon resulted in a highly corrupt clergy.  Greed, immorality, and irresponsibility found new heights.  Pluralism and absenteeism common as the old simony and nepotism.


1377 A.D. Pope returns to Rome to dilapidated property and shrunken city.


1348-1365 A.D. BLACK DEATH - BUBONIC PLAGUE: Caused by bacteria in fleas.  Symptoms within 4 days of exposure, extremely painful death in five days for body infection,  three days for lung infected.  75 Million killed in Europe alone.  1/3rd population of Europe and 1/2 the population of England.  Decimated the Monasteries, brought on the end of serfdom, seriously damaged the power of the Roman Catholic Church.  Provided sudden wealth for survivors which financed the Renaissance. 


1377 - 1384 A.D.  John Wycliff rejects Papal Authority,  Poor Preachers and Lollards.  First English Bible.


1378 - 1417 A.D. The Great Papal Schism.  Different geographical sections of the Catholic church elect their own Pope.  Two to three Popes exist at the same time.  Pope Dies and under pressure from Roman citizen a new Italian Pope is elected- Urban VI.  He seriously starts a reform of the Luxurious evils the Cardinals enjoyed.  2/3 rds are French.     French Cardinals gather at Avignon and revoke Urban’s election saying the Roman citizens threatened them to elect Urban.  They Elect their own Pope a relative of the King of France.  Urban will not submit, the Catholics have two rival Popes.    National alignments occur:

 -Avignon Pope: Spain, France, Scotland,  some of Germany

-Roman Pope: Italy, England,  Scandinavia, Bohemia, Poland, Gflandersm, Portugal, and most of Germany.


1409 A.D. Council of Pisa revokes both Popes and elects new Pope.  Council and New Pope are ignored.


1418 A.D. Powerful German King calls a Council of Constance.  Council convinces one Pope to step down, 2nd Pope to charged with crimes and deposed, 3rd Pope charged with crimes and exiled.  Elect a single New Pope.  This incident convinced many that the Papacy was worthless and hopelessly corrupt.  Left the Catholic Church with many demanding reforms and a Pope not inclined to make any changes. He allows old evils to continue.  Steady decline in power both spiritual and civil continues.


1450 A.D. Movable Type invented


1466 - 1536 A.D. ERASMUS of the Netherlands encourages study of ancient books


1483 - 1546 A.D. Martin Luther.  German Reformer.  Founded Lutheran Church.

     1513 A.D.  Developed Doctrine of Faith Only (imputed righteousness)

     1517 A.D.  ninety-five Theses nailed to Catholic Church door.

     1521 A.D.  Excommunicated but was defended and hidden by German princes.  German princes used Luther’s reform movement to gain the authority over church lands. Translated the Bible into German.

     1524 A.D. Luther Alienated other reformers

            1. Humanist by arguing with Erasmus

            2. Dedicated reformers by keeping many unscriptural traditions

             3. Peasants rebellion by his association with the Nobles who direct his path.  Luther ignored Nobles immortality to maintain their support.


     1555 A.D.  Northern Germany, Northern Europe become Lutherans and secure Catholic lands.   Fought a war to win religious self-determination  by treaty

Major Beliefs of Luther

            1. Faith Only,  human depravity, predestination

            2. Clergy and Laity are both equally important.  Serve God in their own ways, all are priests.

            3. Church should be ruled by the state.

            4. Baptism for original sin which is passed on during sex,  need for infant baptism

            5. Clergy marriage is good


1484 - 1531 Ulrich Zwingli, Swiss Reformer, Started Swiss Reformed Church

     1520 A.D. Survived the Black Death.  Believed this meant God has chosen him. He was against all beliefs not specifically commanded in the New Testament.

     1522 A.D. Broke with Catholic Church: against relics, altars, candles, clerical Robes, organs, choirs, pictures, icons, celibacy (was very immoral as a Catholic).   But continued predestination, infant baptism, baptism as mere sign of God’s convent, taught Visible church was all Christians, their children.  The invisible Church was Christians and Good             heathens. (Cross Roads movement), Lord’s Supper Symbolic.

      1531 A.D. Killed in Battle against  Catholic invaders.  Switzerland also gains right of religious self-determination.


1509 - 1564 A.D.  John Calvin  Reformer residing in Geneva, Switzerland.  Established systematic reform, church organization reform on an international reform.

     1536 - 1559 A.D. Institutes of the Christian Religion which was a defense of French Protestants to the French King.  Believed in Total Hereditary depravity, unconditional Salvation, limited atonement, irresistible grace, pre-destination.  A Presbyterian organization (plurality of equal overseers).  Pastor Elders, Ruling Elders, teacher, deacons, Baptism a sign,  infant baptism OK, mixed up Old and New Testament,  A Calvinist church will usually have the term “reformed” or “Presbyterian” in the Name. Influenced most reformers after his time.


1525 A.D.  Anabaptists, or rebaptizers rejected infant BAPTISM. Since they believed that only after an adult had come to faith in Christ should he or she be baptized, they taught that converts who had been baptized in infancy must be rebaptized)  Claimed direct inspiration by the Holy Spirit. The Anabaptists refused to take oaths, opposed capital punishment, and rejected military service. Their beliefs made them appear subversive and provoked persecution. Many of the Reformers disclaimed them, regarding them as fundamentally opposed to the ideas of the REFORMATION.


1526 A.D.  Tyndale’s English Bible, Tyndale burned at the stake for publishing it.

1529 A.D. Catholic decree against anymore religious changes, those who protest earned the name “Protestants”.


1534 A.D., militant Anabaptists seized control of the city of Munster. They drove out all Protestants and Roman Catholics. Set up a theocracy, established polygamy and communal property. After a 16-month siege, the bishop of Munster recaptured the city and executed the rebels. MENNO SIMONS, a Dutchman, restored the reputation of the Anabaptists through his moderate and inspired leadership. His followers have survived and are known as MENNONITES.  The HUTTERIAN BRETHREN are descendants of the group led by Hutter.


1534 A.D.  Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife because she had not produced an heir.  Pope would not grant such.  Henry declared himself the head of the Catholic Church in England and changed its name to The Church of England.  All money to Rome stopped, Monasteries suppressed, English Bible placed in Churches. (Churches outside England are called Anglican, Churches in the USA are called Episcopal Church)

      1534- 1553 A.D. Henry pushes for Protestant reforms for the Church of England.

     1553 - 1558 A.D.  Henry’s Daughter assumes the throne after his death.  She wants to return the Church of England to Catholics.  Called “Bloody Mary” for the persecution against all  Protestant groups in England. Many flee to Geneva and are influenced by Calvin.

     1558 A.D. Queen Elisabeth I assumes the Throne of England.  Returns to Protestant reforms combined with some Catholic elements.  catholic elements are Episcopacy (Head Bishop), use of ancient creeds, liturgical worship.  Protestant elements are rejection of a Pope,  rejected all sacraments but Baptism  and the Lord’s Supper.  Rejected Transubstantiation.


1540 A.D. Jesuits formed.  Society of Jesus dedicated to the Pope, evangelistic fervor, halted Protestant influence in Catholic areas.  expanded Catholicism to Asia and South America.

 1542 A.D.  New and radically violent Inquisition in all Catholic countries

 1545 - 1563 A.D.  Council of Trent called to settle Protestant arguments against the Catholic Faith.  Scripture and Tradition are made equal in Authority, Apocrypha added to Canon, Latin Vulgate official Bible, Number of sacraments established as seven (baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, penance, ordination, extreme unction, marriage.  Mary, Saints, relics, and purgatory affirmed.  Papal authority maintained.

 1557 A.D. Index of prohibited books by the Pope published

1564 A.D. Council of Trent made into a creed learned by all Catholics

1558 A.D. Failure of Spain to conqueror England determined that North America would primarily be Protestant and South America would be Catholic.

1560 A.D. Protestants driven out by “Bloody Mary” return to England determined to purge churches of Catholic impurities. Given the Name “Puritans.”

 1560 A.D. Church of Scotland established as a Calvinistic and Presbyterians

 1603 A.D. Scotland and England thrones joined by King James

 1607 A.D. Jamestown settled by the Church of England.  No bishop is provided until after Revolutionary war.  Jamestown had a relaxed view of religion.

 1608 A.D. First Baptist Church

 1611 A.D. King James Bible produced.  King James takes Elizabeth I path, compromise

 1620 A.D. Pilgrims separatist from  England to Holland to Plymouth seeking religious freedom

 1628 A.D.  Massachusetts settled by Church of England Puritans who came to organize a congregational and state established church.  Reject Baptist and Quakers from their company.

 1629 - 1649 A.D. war between King of England (Charles, Episcopalian Anglicans) and English Parliament (Puritan, Presbyterian, Calvinist)

      1629 A.D.  King Charles sends Parliament home.

     1638 A.D. Scots rebel against state church and Charles

     1641 A.D. Parliament recall by Charles to secure funds for an Army against Scots. Parliament jails Anglican leaders and start a civil war against  Charles.

    1645 A.D. King Charles Royal army is defeated by the Parliamentary army under Cromwell.  Parliament develops Calvinistic Westminster Confession.

     1649 A.D. Charles is executed, Cromwell’s Army of oddball religions rules.

     1660 A.D. Upon the death of Cromwell, Presbyterians and Episcopalians join to  restore law and order in England.  Elect King Charles II.

     1662 A.D. New laws passed to drive puritans from the Church of England.  They formed the “Dissenters Churches”  (Presbyterian, Congregationalist)

 1632 A.D. Maryland is settled by Catholics who wanted religious freedom for all (Governor was William Stone, a relative of Barton Stone)

1636 A.D.  Rode Island settled by anti-puritans.  1639 First Baptist church established here in the colonies.

1681 A.D. Pennsylvania settled by Quakers and many other groups.  Southern colonies are settled by Church of England.  Middle Colonies such as New York and New Jersey settled by Dutch Reformed, Scottish and English Presbyterians

.1685 - 1688 A.D. James II tries to restore Catholicism

1688 A.D. James II removed from office,  Freedom to Worship act passed.  Assured freedom to worship for all who pledge to support the church of England’s 39 Articles.

 1777 A.D.  After the Revolutionary War the colonies break from the Old World.  American Churches become independent.  They organize into National Groups with a unified organization, worship, confession.

 1784 A.D. Methodist Episcopal church formed

1789 Protestant Episcopal Church

1785 - 1788 A.D. Presbyterian Church

 1786 - 1833 A.D.  states move to abandon State Religions separating church and state.

1791 A.D.  United States Constitution guarantees freedom  of religion

See: Reformation Chart

  The next lesson: "The Modern Church Age" After 1800 A.D.

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