Church History 1518-1960


1518-1521       Luther Breaks with Rome

  • After 95 theses the Dominican monk Tetzel tried to silence Luther with all the power of the Dominicans and with help of the Augustinian order
  • The reformation was then early called a squabble of monks.
  • Luther was ordered to argue his position in a debate with his own order of monks. 
  • Result:  More monks accepted Luther’s ideas


1518    Diet of Augsburg

  • Luther met with Cardinal Cajetan who demanded Luther to retract
  • Luther’s response:      

a)  Only when proven by scripture

b)  Denied pope final authority in faith

c)  Denied sacraments had any power without faith.


1519    Debate with John Eck

  • Eck cleverly forced Luther to admit

a)  fallibility of a council

                        b)  his unwillingness to accept popes decisions

                        c)  That many of Hus’ ideas were valid


1520    Luther decides to go to German People

  • Luther publishes three writings:

a) “Address to German Nobility”

            * it was an attack on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church

            * Luther used scripture to demolish three strengths of church:                                  1-  Popes authority over temporal powers

                        2- Pope alone could interpret scripture

                        3- Only pope could call a council

            * Luther proved with scripture these four things:

                        1- all believers were priest

                        2- Pope should not interfere with temporal affairs

                        3- all believers could interpret scripture

                        4- believers could choose their ministers

b) “Babylonian Captivity

            *  Luther challenged the sacramental system of Roman Church

c) “The freedom of Christian Man”

            * Attacked the theology of the Roman Church

  • Luther had attacked the Hierarchy, the sacraments and the theology of the Roman Catholic Church in these three books to the German people.
  • Luther was appealing his nation for a national reform.


June 1520        Pope Leo X issued the Bull resulting in excommunication of Luther

  • Luther’s books where burned
  • Luther burned Leo’s bull



1521    Diet of Worms

  • Luther went under protection of Frederick the elector of Saxony and founder of Wittenberg
  • Luther was told to recant
  • Luther said only with scripture or reason
  • Luther said, “Here I stand, so help me God.”
  • On his return to Wittenberg his friends kidnapped him and took him to the Wartburg castle until 1522
  • After leaving Worms the diet issued an order to seize Luther and hand him over.
  • They banned his writings


1521-1522       Luther translates German Bible

  • Luther used Erasmus’ GNT to complete his German translation
  • This set the standard for the German language for years


  • Luther also wrote “On Monastic Vows” where he urged monks and nuns to repudiate their wrongful vows, to leave the cloister and marry.


1522    Zwickau Prophets arrive at Wittenburg

  • While Luther was hidden in the Wartburg castle Nicholas Storch and Markus Stubner showed up in Wittenburg.
  • They claimed to be prophets
  • They began preaching the Anabaptists’ ideas
  • They taught the kingdom of God would soon appear
  • Their followers would have special revelations
  • Luther risked his life, left the castle and returned to Wittenberg to preach 8 fiery sermons.
  • In these sermons he:

a)  defeated the prophets

b)  stressed the authority of the Bible

c)  stressed the need for gradual change in the church


1535    Luther breaks completely with the Anabaptist movement

  • The radical wing of the reformation lost confidence in Luther
  • Luther rejects the Anabaptist extreme views
  • The humanist and Erasmus (their leader) broke with Luther when they saw he was breaking with Rome
  • The German peasants became hostile to Luther (1525) when he opposed the peasants revolt.

-  the peasants had applied his teaching of individual priesthood to the civil authorities and revolted against the government.


1531    The protestant princes organized forming the Schmalkaldic League

  • They agreed to defend their faith by war if needed
  • They would not need to until 1546

1535    The Lutheran order of ordination

  • The official ecclesiastical break with Rome occurred


1546    Luther dies


1546-1552       Lutheran Wars


1555    Peace of Augsburg

  • Placed Lutheranism on a basis of legal equality with Roman Catholicism in Germany.
  • Each prince would determine the religion of his territory


1580    Resolving Doctrinal Conflict

  • From 1555-1580 Lutheranism was marred by internal doctrinal controversy
  • Most were over issues that Luther and Melanchthon differed
  • One main issue was the place of preaching the law

-  Luther preached the Law as a means of revealing men’s sinfulness

-  Others said only the gospel should be preached

  • The Majoristic Controversy

-  George Major contended good works were important part of but not means of salvation

-  Luther’s followers said this was a return to the Roman doctrine of salvation by faith and works

  • The German Princes realized the divisions caused political and religious disunity
  • Beginning in 1577 they began the process of establishing doctrine in the                 “Formula of Concord” and published it in 1580
  • The Lutheran theologians produced “The Book of Concord”
  • These disputes made the Lutherans very conscious of the importance of doctrine
  • This emphasis led to cold, scholarly orthodoxy that ignored the subjective spiritual aspects.
  • The Pietistic movement arose in the 1600’s as a reaction to this.
















The Radical Reformation


Zwingli’s reformation in Switzerland was closely associated with the Anabaptist


Anabaptist means “baptized again” or “the re-baptizers”


Zwingli believed:

1)  Absolute authority of the Bible

2)  Everything had to be proved in scripture

3)  Was a humanist and followed Erasmus

4)  As a humanist he believed that Socrates and Plato would be in heaven as well as many             Roman Catholics

5)  Unconditional predestination to salvation but, only those who heard and rejected the   gospel in unbelief were predestined to condemnation.

6)  Lord’s supper symbolic and faith was the essential element

7)  Lord’s supper was “commemorative” rather than a “repetition” of the atonement.



The Anabaptists


  • First appeared in Switzerland
  • Zwingli’s insistence on the Bible as the basis for teaching of the preachers encouraged the rise of Anabaptist concepts


Conrad Grebel (1498-1526)

  • Founder of Swiss Anabaptist movement
  • Wealthy, influential family
  • Good education from Vienna and Paris
  • 1522 – converted
  • 1525 – broke with Zwingli
  • 1525 – Zurich council ordered Grebel to stop having Bible studies
  • Zwingli had taught that infant baptism had no biblical basis but when he realized it was too radical for many to be re-baptized (ana-baptist) and his movement would be too slow, he gave up his earlier stance.
  • More radical Anabaptists opposed state control
  • Zwingli debated them at first, but turned to fines and exile when that failed.
  • By 1535, Anabaptist were nonexistent in Zurich because of cruel treatment and fleeing.








Balthasar Hubmaier  (1481-1528)

  • Excellent education with doctor of theology while studying under John Eck, Luther’s opponent.
  • In 1525 Hubmaier and 300 others were baptized by pouring
  • Hubmaier fled to Austria and then was banished to Moravia
  • In Moravia he began to lead those who had fled from the Zwinglian persecution
  • 1,000’s of Moravians became Anabaptists
  • 1528 Hubmaier was burnt at the stake
  • His wife was drowned in the Danube by the Catholic Church
  • Hubmaier believed:

a)  Separation of church and state

b)  Authority of the Bible

c)  Baptism of believers


Radical Fringes of the Anabaptist

  • Discredited the many sound believers in the movement
  • Bad eschatology
  • The Zwickau prophets (i.e.: 1522 in Wittenberg vs. Luther)
  • 1535 Munster rebellion by Anabaptist alienated Luther
  • Promoted socialism and selling of property to aid poor
  • 1529 Melchior Hoffman arrived in Strasbourg to await the Millennium in 1533
  • Jan Matthys, the baker, replaced Hoffman.  Matthys though he was Enoch.
  • Matthys was killed in fighting and his wife married John Leyden.  Leyden had 15 wives.  Polygamy was practiced due to the excessive number of women.
  • Disorder arose from the common goods for the community (based on communal pattern of early church in Acts) and fanatical anticipation of the coming kingdom.
  • A catholic bishop recaptured Strasbourg and executed the Anabaptist leaders.


Persecution drove them to Hungary, Ukraine, and South Dakota in 1874

These are know today as Hetterites and practice agrarian communalism on a voluntary basis


Menno Simons (1496-1560)

  • A sane leader in the Netherlands avoided the chaos and confusion of the Munster Anabaptist
  • 1536 – Simons gave u priesthood to embrace Anabaptist
  • To avoid “Anabaptist” stigma they took up name “brethren.
  • The “brethren” became the Mennonites of today.


Generally:   They insisted that all believers had the right to interpret the Bible as literal and final authority.


Result:   Many different Anabaptist groups with slight variations.



John Knox

  • Calvinist reformer
  • Born in Scotland in 1513
  • A notary by profession
  • Embraced Protestantism in the 1540’s
  • Became a leader of the protestant movement in Scotland
  • He was Edward VI of England’s chaplain but fled when Mary Tudor succeeded him.
  • Settled in Geneva.  There he met and was influenced by John Calvin
  • Returned to Scotland in 1559 to reform the Scottish Church along Calvinist lines, but clashed often with Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.
  • When she was overthrown in 1567 Knox’s reforms triumph
  • When the Scot and ScotIrish immigrants came to the U.S. during the Colonial period they brought with them the church that John Knox established in Scottland.
  • John Knox’s Scottish Protestantism, influenced by John Calvin, became the Presbyterian Church.



John Smyth

  • Born in 1554
  • Ordained into the Chur4ch of England
  • City preacher in Lincoln from 1600-1605
  • Renounced the Church of England in 1606
  • Became a minister to a group of Separatists
  • Accepted the newly emerging ‘Baptist’ principle of believers’ baptism
  • He first baptized himself and then the others in Amsterdam.
  • He also baptized Thomas Helwys the founder of the first Baptist church on British soil.

















1600-1700       Pietism and Methodism


1735    Jonathan Edwards

  • The Great Awakening


1700’s             John Wesley


1700’s             George Whitefield


1780    Robert Raikes first Sunday school for children


1793    William Carey

  • Sails for India


1700’s Baptist Missionary Society


1700’s London Missionary Society


1807    British Parliament Abolishes Slave Trade


1816    African Methodist Episcopalian Church

  • Founded by Richard Allen


1800’s American Bible Society


1830    John Darby

  • Helps start the Plymouth Brethren


1830    Charles Finney

  • Begins Urban Revivals


1854    Charles Spurgeon

  • Pastor in London


1800-1900       Liberalism


1855    D.L. Moody

  • Converted in Boston in 1855
  • Moved to Chicago in 1856
  • Became a successful shoe salesman
  • Started a Sunday school in the slums in 1858
  • This became a church in 1863
  • Organized Sunday school teacher conventions
  • Went on a preaching tour in Britain from 1872-18175 with Ira Sankey and received enthusiastic responses.
  • Did several in the U.S. and again in Britain.
  • Started a school for women in 1879
  • Started a school for men in 1881.
  • Started what would become known as Moody Bible Institute in 1889
  • Died in 1899


1869-1870       Vatican I

  • Declared Pope Infallible
  • 20th Church Council


1906    Azusa Street

  • Beginning of modern Pentecostal movement


1910-1915       “The Fundamentals” are published and distributed

  • This begins the Fundamentalist movement


1900’s C.S. Lewis


1949    Billy Grahm

  • Los Angeles Crusade


1948    World Council of Churches


1962-1965       Vatican Council II

  • Effort to bring Christendom into one church
  • 22nd Church Council
  • Largest ever


1960    Beginning of the Modern Charismatic movement