The reformation


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The reformation

  1. 1. The ReformationThe English Reformation started in the reign of Henry VIII. The English Reformation was tohave far reaching consequences in Tudor England. Henry VIII decided to rid himself of hisfirst wife, Catherine of Aragon, after she had failed to produce a male heir to the throne. Hehad already decided who his next wife would be - Anne Boleyn. By 1527, Catherine wasconsidered too old to have any more children.However, a divorce was not a simple issue. In fact, it was a very complicated one. Henry VIIIwas a Roman Catholic and the head of this church was the pope based in Rome.The Roman Catholic faith believed in marriage for life. It did not recognise, let alone support,divorce. Those who were widowed were free to re-marry; this was an entirely different issue.But husbands could not simply decide that their marriage was not working, divorce their wifeand re-marry. The Roman Catholic Church simply did not allow it.This put Henry VIII in a difficult position. If he went ahead and announced that as king ofEngland he was allowing himself a divorce, the pope could excommunicate him. This meantthat under Catholic Church law, your soul could never get to Heaven. To someone living atthe time of Henry, this was a very real fear, and a threat which the Catholic Church used tokeep people under its control.Another approach Henry used was to make a special appeal to the pope so that he might get aspecial "Papal Dispensation". This meant that the pope would agree to Henry’s request for adivorce purely because Henry was king of England but that it would not affect the way theCatholic Church banned divorce for others. The pope refused to grant Henry this and by 1533his anger was such that he ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury to grant him a divorce sothat he could marry Anne Boleyn.The Archbishop granted Henry his divorce - against the wishes of the pope. But what elsecould the archbishop do if he wanted to remain on good terms with Henry?This event effectively led to England breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church basedin Rome. Henry placed himself as head of the church and in that sense, in his eyes, his divorcewas perfectly legal. In 1533, few were brave enough to tell him otherwise!How did the people of England react to this? In fact, the vast bulk of the population were veryangry at the way the Roman Catholic Church had used them as a source of money. To getmarried you had to pay; to get a child baptised (which you needed to be if you were to go toHeaven - so the Catholic Church preached) you had to pay; you even had to pay the Church tobury someone on their land (which you had to do as your soul could only go to Heaven if youwere buried on Holy Ground). Therefore, the Catholic Church was very wealthy while manypoor remained just that….poor. Their money was going to the Catholic Church. Therefore,there were no great protests throughout the land as many felt that Henry would ease up ontaking money from them. Henry knew of the Catholic Church’s unpopularity and, therefore,used this to his advantage.Henry was made Supreme Head of the Church by an Act of Parliament in 1534. The countrywas still Catholic but the pope’s power had been ended.
  2. 2. The most wealthy Catholics in England were the monasteries where monks lived. They werealso the most loyal supporters of the pope. This made them a threat to Henry.By the time of Henry, many monks had grown fat and were lazy. They did not help thecommunity as they were meant to do. All they seemed to do was take money from the poor.Also some monasteries were huge and owned vast areas of land. So here were monks notloyal to Henry who were also very wealthy. Henry decided to shut down the monasteries ofEngland. The monasteries were to disappear like sugar dissolves in hot liquid. This is whyHenry’s attack on the monasteries is called the Dissolution - they were to be dissolved!Henry wanted to make the Dissolution appear to be backed by law. He sent round governmentofficials to check up on what the monks were doing. This was organised by his chief minister,Thomas Cromwell. The officials knew what the king wanted in their reports - information thatthe monks were not working, were not saying their prayers etc. Anything to discredit themonks was considered useful. Sometimes, the monks were asked trick questions. "Do youkeep all of your vows?" If the monks answered "yes", but had taken a vow of silence, theyhad not kept all of their vows. If they refused to answer because of their vow of silence, theywould be accused of failing to help the king. Or worse, were they trying to hide something?One report sent to Cromwell commented that the head of the monastery visited, the prior, wasa "virtuous man". However, his monks were "corrupt" and "full of vice". The report claimedthat the monks had eight to ten girl friends each. This was all that Cromwell needed to shutdown the monastery.The allegations against some monks and nuns spoke for themselves. At Bradley monastichouse, the prior was accused of fathering six children; at Lampley Convent, Mariana Wrytehad given birth to three children and Johanna Standen to six; at Lichfield Convent, two nunswere found to be pregnant and at Pershore Monastic House, monks were found to be drunk atMass.The smaller monasteries were shut down by 1536 while the larger and more valuable oneswere shut by 1540. Few people in England were sorry to see them go. Few monks protested asthey were given pensions or jobs where their monastery was. The abbot of Fountains Abbeyin Yorkshire, Marmaduke Bradley, was given a £100 pension a year for life - a considerablesum of money then. Some chief monks - abbots - were hanged but this was a rarity.Some monastery buildings were reduced to ruin as the local population was allowed to takewhat they wanted as long as the silver and gold in the monastery went to the Crown. Thismeant that expensive building bricks etc. could be acquired for free. This alone made theDissolution popular with the majority of the people who tended to dislike lazy monksanyhow.However, the vast bulk of the wealth of the monasteries went to Henry. Some was spentbuilding defences against France on the south coast around Portsmouth; a small amount wenton paying pensions to monks and abbots.The only real protest in England to what Henry was doing came in 1536 with the Pilgrimageof Grace. This was lead by Robert Aske, a lawyer. He wanted the monasteries left alone.Aske, along with several thousands of others, marched to London. Henry promised to look
  3. 3. into their complaints and many of the protesters went home satisfied with this. Theircomplaints were never looked into.Aske was arrested and hung from a church tower in chains until he died of starvation.When Henry became king in 1509, the church in England was as follows:Head of the Church: the pope based in RomeChurch services: all were held in LatinPrayers: all said in LatinBible: written in LatinPriests: not allowed to marryBy the death of Henry in 1547, the church in England was as follows :Head of the Church : the kingChurch services : held in LatinPrayers: most said in Latin. The "Lord’s Prayer" was said in EnglishBible: written in EnglishPriests: not allowed to marry.To reform means to change. This is why this event is called the English Reformation as it didchange the way the church was run throughout England. However, the death of Henry in 1547did not see an end of the religious problems of England.
  4. 4. Major differences between Protestantism and Catholicism:Protestantism CatholicismProtestants believe that the Bible alone is the Catholics believe that both the Bible and sacredsole source of God’s special revelation to Roman Catholic tradition are equally bindingmankind, and as such it teaches us all that is upon the Christian(e.g. purgatory, praying to thenecessary for our salvation from sin. saints, worship or veneration of Mary).Protestants believe that no human being is As the vicar of Christ, the teachings of theinfallible, and that Christ alone is the head of the Popeare considered infallible and binding uponchurch. all ChristiansProtestants believe that the Bible teaches that Catholicism teaches that only the CatholicGod sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all born Church can properly and correctly interpret theagain believers, enabling all believers to Bibleunderstand the message of the Bible. The Christian must rely on faith plusThe reformers affirm the biblical doctrine of “meritorious works” in order to be saved.justification by grace alone through faith alone Essential to the Roman Catholic doctrine ofbecause of Christ alone. salvation are the Seven Sacraments: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, anointing of the sick, Holy Orders, and matrimony.Protestants believe that because they are They believe that faith in Christ is only thejustified by faith in Christ alone, and that beginning of salvation, and that the individualChrist’s righteousness is imputed to them – must build upon that with good works becausewhen they die they will go straight to heaven to man has to merit God’s grace of justification andbe in the presence of the Lord eternal salvation. The Catholics have developed the doctrine of purgatory. Purgatory is a “place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.”
  5. 5. The Five Solas of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura: The Scripture Alone is the Standard Soli Deo Gloria! For the Glory of God Alone Solo Christo! By Christs Work Alone are We Saved Sola Gratia: Salvation by Grace Alone Sola Fide: Justification by Faith AloneThe Doctrines of Grace (also known as The Five Points of Calvinism)1. Total DepravitySin has so fully and deeply affected our lives that, spiritually speaking, we are in a totallyhopeless condition, unable to do anything to get ourselves out of this fallen state.2. Unconditional ElectionGod has shown us in his Word that from eternity past he has elected some sinners to be savedfrom the condemnation that is justly deserved by all, purely on account of his gracious mercyand love, not because of any foreseen merits in those sinners.3. Particular Redemption (or Limited Atonement)Put simply, Christ died only to save the elect, securing with absolute certainty their salvation.4. Irresistible Grace:When God calls an elect sinner to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, he does so by sendinghis Holy Spirit to work a great change in that sinners heart, enabling them to see their sin andtheir need of a saviour and leading them to put their faith in Christ alone for salvation.5. The perseverance of the saints:Once God has saved elect sinners, the true believer will show signs of a growing desire forholiness and an increasing loathing of sin.