This is the assignment page for the topic "Christianity in Trouble" for J. B. Owens's sections of the lower-division undergraduate course, History 101, Foundation of Western Civilization. The sole purpose of this page and all of the pages linked to it is to provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 101.

You may return to the course main page or to the course syllabus.

Christianity in Trouble

ID: Pope Alexander VI (r. 1492-1503) [Borja, Borgia], Pope Julius II (r. 1503-1513) [della Rovere], Pope Leo X (r. 1513-1521) [Medici], Martin Luther (1483-1546) [Wittenberg University], Martin Bucer (1491-1551) [Strasbourg, Cambridge University], Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) [Zurich], John Calvin (1509-1564) [Geneva], Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) [Archbishop of Canterbury], Caspar von Schwenckfeld (1489-1561), Eucharist (Communion, Mass), Marburg Colloquy (Oct. 1529), Apostle Paul [Saul of Tarsus] (died between 62 and 68 C.E.), Augustine of Hippo (354-430 C.E.), Pelagian Heresy, Pelagius, Donatist Heresy, Arian Heresy, sola fide, sola gratia, sola scriptura, "The priesthood of all believers", doctrine of the calling, Congregation: Pastors/Teachers [Doctors]/ Elders/ Deacons, Consistory, classus/synod/council

  1. Why did Latin-Rite Christian Europeans so often express dissatisfaction with the quality of their political and religious leadership in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries?
  2. Why did the increase in lay literacy bring into question much of the existing European high culture in the fifteenth century?
  3. Why had the Renaissance-era Church (1450-1535) become so corrupt that by the early 16th century all Christians felt the need for reform?
  4. Why did Martin Luther and John Calvin attack the principles and institutions of the old Latin-Rite Church?
  5. What were the major differences between the thought of Martin Luther and the ideas of the Latin-Rite tradition?
  6. Why did Martin Luther argue in his essay "On Christian Liberty" that no works could justify a person for salvation?
  7. Why was Martin Luther's insistence that only Scripture carried religious authority so significant for the Reformation period?
  8. Why did John Calvin stress that, contrary to the principles of monasticism, Christians may enjoy the material goods of this world?
  9. What were the differences between the ideas of the old Latin-Rite Church and those of the sixteenth-century Anabaptists?
  10. Why were the Lutheran, Calvinist, and Radical Protestants unable to develop a unified movement?
  11. Why was the doctrine of the "human legislator", as developed by Marsilius of Padua (died ca. 1348), so important to the Conciliar and Calvinist movements?
  12. Why did king Henry VIII of England move toward the establishment of a separate church for his kingdom?
  13. Why did Richard Hooker feel it necessary to justify in the reign of Elizabeth I the existence of an English church with the monarch as its head?
  14. Why did the Protestant Reformation have a major impact on the development of a distinctive European identity in the sixteenth century?
  15. Why were all regions of Europe subjected to the "chronic violence" of rebellion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?


Owens, ch. 12 (reread pp. 160-163) and ch. 14; Kishlansky, pp. 264-273; reread Augustine of Hippo [359-430], Confessions, at the URL [] (from this Table of Contents, select "Book Two," and on the bottom of that page, select the icon that looks like a stylized arrow pointing to the right, which will take you to Chapter IV, also known as Part 9.); reread the following chapters from Augustine of Hippo, The City of God: chapter 8 [], chapter 9 [], chapter 10 []; Martin Luther [1483-1546], Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, at the URL []; Martin Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty, at the URL []; John Calvin [1509-1564], The Institutes of the Christian Religion (final edition, 1559), at the URL [], (This is the table of contents. Read through the chapter titles, and you will recognize the major themes of Luther's mature theology. Then read the following chapters: Book Third. Chapter 10. - How to use the present life ....; Book Third. Chapter 21. - Of the eternal election..., especially parts 4 and 5; Book Fourth. Chapter 3. - Of the teachers and ministers....).

If you wish, you may read a complete version of Martin Luther's Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation at the URL [].

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J. B. Owens
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Revised: 29 May 2006