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History of the Reformation

[May 9, 2017 | No Comment | ]
Luther burns the papal bull. (Detail from 19th century lithograph by H. Schile, after the original of H. Brüchner.)

by Mathew Block
What began in 1517 as a theological argument over the nature of indulgences quickly kindled to far greater flame. By July 1519, Luther was publicly denying at the Leipzig Debate that the pope (or councils, for that matter) had authority to create new doctrines of faith. Scripture alone, he argued, had that power. He was also defending Jan Huss, who had been burned at the stake in 1415 as a heretic for denying the primacy of the pope, among other supposed errors.
This was enough for John Eck—Luther’s opponent …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, History of the Reformation, Reformation 500

[February 28, 2017 | No Comment | ]
Martin Luther inscribes the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. The end of his quill pen knocks off the hat of Pope Leo X. (1617 Reformation Jubillee broadside).

by Mathew Block
The day was July 6, 1415. The place was Constance, an imperial city in southern Germany. The Czech theologian Jan Huss had arrived here in early November to face charges of heresy. Despite the promise of safe conduct, he had been imprisoned only a few weeks later. On June 5 he was brought to trial. He was given no chance to defend himself; he was simply asked to recant. Now he stood a condemned man, the flames before him. “Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy …


In: Feature Stories, Headline, History of the Reformation, Reformation 500