Post-Reformation Church History

Lecture Notes




Allan A. MacRae

President & Professor

Faith Theological Seminary


© 2014 John P. MacRae






This is the first semester of a two-semester course in Reformation and Post-Reformation Church History. These lectures were transcribed from a sound-recording, and lightly edited, so they still have much of a spoken flavor.


The lectures begin with the world into which the Reformation came, and continue with the Reformation, concentrating on Martin Luther and John Calvin, ending with the Reformation in England up to the career of Mary, Queen of Scots.


The scond semester begins with the accession of James VI of Scotland to the throne of England as James I. This is followed by the Anabaptists of the 16th century; the Counter-Reformation; Europe during the first half of the 17th century; Great Britain during the same period; then Europe and Great Britain during the remainder of the 17th century; this is followed by the 18th century, first in Europe and then in the English-speaking world; the 19th and 20th centuries (to 1950) are treated more topically.


Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute


Contents and Outline


Purpose of the course

1. To understand the world in which we live

2. To see how God has worked

3. To see how Satan has worked

4. to see the successes and failures of all sorts of men


Negative reasons

1. Not to learn what is right or how God wants us to live.

2. Not to determine doctrine.


I. The world into which the Reformation came

A. The Religious Situation

B. The Ecclesiastical Situation

C. The Political Situation

D. The Economic Situation

E. The Cultural Situation

1. The Renaissance

2. The Invention of Printing

3. Humanism

a. Pagan Humanism

b. Picco della Mirandola

c. Lefevre

d. John Colet

e. John Reuchlin

f. The Letters of Obscure Men

g. Erasmus

F. Forerunners of the Reformation

1. John Wyclif

2. John Huss

3. Girolamo Savonarola

Summary on I


II. Martin Luther

A. Early Life

1. His parents

2. Secular Education

3. Monastery Experiences

4. Luther's Trip to Rome

5. First years at Wittenberg

6. Lectures on Romans

7. Theses on Scholasticism

B. The Beginning of the Reformation

1. The Coming of Tetzel

2. Luther's Theses

3. The Immediate Effect of the Theses

4. Tetzel's Counter-theses.

C. 1518-1520

1. The Heidelberg Meeting

2. Trierias

3. The Appearance before Cajetan

4. Miltitz

5. John Eck

6. The Leipzig Debate

7. The Papal Excommunication

8. Luther's Three Great Reformation Treatises

a. The Address to the Christian Nobility of the German nation 1520

b. The Babylonian Captivity of the Church

c. On the Freedom of a Christian Man (sometimes called Treatise on Christian Liberty)

9. The Burning of the Papal Bull

D. The Diet of Worms

1. The New Emperor

2. Luther Summoned to Worms

3. Luther's Trip to Worms

4. Luther's First Appearance before the Emperor

5. Luther's Second Appearance before the Emperor

6. The Edict of Worms

E. The Wartburg

1. Luther's Life in the Wartburg

2. His Homilies

3. His Translation of the N.T.

4. Luther's Health at the Wartburg

5. His Influence

6. Events in Wittenberg

a. Carlstadt

b. Clerical Marriage

c. Masses

d. Monks left Monasteries

e. Carlstadt's Extremes

f. The Heavenly Prophets

g. The Breaking of Images

h. The Elector's Fear

i. Luther's Decision

F. Return to Wittenberg

1. The Journey

2. The Series of Sermons

3. Continued Activities

G. Change in the Papacy

1. Adrian VI

2. Clement VII

H. The spread of Luther's Teaching

J. The Peasant War

K. Katherine von Bora

L. Political Events from 1522-1530

M. Luther and Erasmus

N. The Marburg Colloquy

1. Zwingli

2. Luther's Attitude Regarding the Lord's Supper

3. The Plan of Philip of Hesse

4. The Actual Meeting

O. The Diet of Augsburg

1. The Situation

2. Luther at the Fortress of Coburg

3. Melancthon at the Diet

4. The Augsburg Confession 1530

P. The Spread of Luther's Ideas outside Germany up to 1530

1. In England

a. Henry VIII

b. Luther's Writings

c. Defender of the Faith

d. William Tyndale

e. Controversy

f. Henry's Desire for Divorce

g. The Reformation Parliament, 1529

2. Scotland

3. The Netherlands

4. Sweden

a. The Union of Kalmar

b. The Blood Bath

c. Gustavus Vasa

d. Petri

e. The Diet of 1527

5. Denmark

a. Christian II

b. Frederick I, his Successor and Uncle

c. John Tausen

d. Petersen's New Testament

e. Public Debate

f. Christian III

g. Bugenhagen

6. France

a. Lefevre

b. Margaret of Angoulme

7. Switzerland

a. Zwingli

b. Henry Bullinger

8. Poland

a. John Alasko

9. Italy

a. Victoria Cologna

b. Michelangelo

10. Spain

a. Inquisition

Q. Political Events and Protestant Advances in Germany 1530-1542.

1. The Abrogation of the Edict of Augsburg

2. The Schmalkaldic League

3. The Death of Duke George

4. Brandenburg, 1539

5. Secularization

6. Discussion

7. Brunswick

8. Charles Decides to Destroy the Reformation by Force

R. Building the Church

1. Bible Translation

2. Luther's Catechism

3. Luther's Hymns

4. Visitation

5. Personal Influence

6. Church Government

S. The Bigamy of Philip of Hesse

T. Luther's Last Years

1. Activity

2. Luther's Disappointment

3. Renewed Sacramentarian Controversy

4. Last Work against the Papacy

5. Last Days and Death

U. The Emperor's Success

V. The Interim

W. The Tide Turns

X. Development of Lutheran Orthodoxy

1. Controversies


III. John Calvin and His Works

A. Relation of Calvin to Luther

1. Calvin is a second-generation Reformer

2. Calvin was a careful Exegete and Systematizer

3. Calvin was a scholar who became a practical man.

4. Calvin was a leader of men.

5. Comparison of the Teachings of Calvin with those of Luther

6. Calvin was not responsible for the division into Lutheran and Reformed

B. Beginnings of the Reformation in France

1. Jacques LeFevre d'Etaples

2. The Repression

3. William Farel

4. The Placards

C. The Beginning of the Reformation in Geneva

D. Early Life and Education of John Calvin

1. Parentage and Youth

2. Education

3. His Conversion

4. First Writing (on Seneca's Discussion on Clemency)

5. Departure from Paris

6. Psychopannychia (Soul Sleep)

7. The Institutes of Christian Religion

8. Trip to Italy and France en route to Strasburg

9. Call to Geneva, July, 1536

E. Geneva, 1536-1538

1. Organization

2. The Discussion at Lausanne

3. Pierre Caroli

4. Opposition in Geneva

5. Banishment, April 23, 1538

F. Strasbourg, 1538-41

1. The Call from Bucer

2. The Little Church

3. His Marriage

4. His Meeting with Melancthon

5. The Letter of Cardinal Sadolet and Calvin's Reply

6. Geneva Requests Calvin to Return, Dec. 1640

G. Geneva, 1541-57

1. Return to Geneva, Sept. 1541

2. New Ordinances of Religion

a. The Venerable Company

b. The Consistory

c. Relation to the Civil Government

d. Oversight of Individual Conduct

e. Calvin's Personal Activities

3. Re-Codification of laws and negotiations with Bern

4. The Psalter

5. Calvin's Commentaries

6. Calvin's Correspondence

7. The Academy

8. The Refugees

a. Bernadino Ochino (Italy), Capuchin monk

b. John Knox

9. Civic Help

10. Calvin Seeks Independence for the Church

H. Servetus

J. Geneva, 1557-64

1. Calvin's Condition

2. Calvin's Activities

3. Calvin's Death

K. Calvin's Theology

1. In Relation to the Bible

2. Sovereignty of God

3. Saviorhood of Christ

L.  Calvin's Influence

1. Great Extension and Solidification of the Reformation

2. Organization and Systematization

M. Progress of the Reformation in France

1. Beginnings of the Reformation in France

2. Henry II

3. Catherine de Medici

4. Charles IX

5. Henry III, 1574-89

6. The Accession of Henry IV

a. Edict of Nantes

N. Calvinism in the East

1. Germany

2. Bohemia

3. Poland

4. Hungary

O. The Netherlands

1. Beginning of the Reformation in the Netherlands

2. Philip II

3. Calvinism in the North

4. William the Silent

5. The Beggars

6. The Duke of Alba

7. Alexander of Farnese

8. The Division of South and North

9. Freedom Gained by Holland


IV. The Reformation in Great Britain

A. The Beginnings of the Reformation in England

B. Henry VIII

1. His Character in General

2. Henry's Persecution of Lutheranism

3. The Divorce

4. Thomas Cranmer

5. Entrance of the Reformation

6. Overthrow of the Monasteries

7. Anne Boleyn's Fate

8. Birth of Edward VI

9. The Fall of Thomas Cromwell

10. The Pilgrimage of Grace

11. The Act of the Six Articles

12. Henry's Last Two Wives

C. The Reign of Edward VI

1. The General Character of the Period

a. Political

b. Religious

2. The Book of Common Prayer

3. Increasing Reformation Emphasis

4. The Death of Edward at the age of 16

D. The Reign of Mary 1553-1558

1. Mary's Right of Succession

2. Mary's Aim

3. The Marriage with Philip

4. The Persecution

5. The Effects of Mary's Reign

E. Queen Elizabeth, 1558-1603

1. Her Accession

2. Her Religious Attitude

3. Her Political Astuteness

4. The Romanist Danger

5. The Puritans

F. The Beginnings of the Reformation in Scotland

G. The Early Career of John Knox

H. Establishment of the Reformation in Scotland

J. Mary, Queen of Scots








This is the second semester of a two-semester course in Reformation and Post-Reformation Church History. These lectures were transcribed from a sound-recording, and lightly edited, so they still have much of a spoken flavor. The lectures begin with the accession of James VI of Scotland to the throne of England as James I. This is followed by the Anabaptists of the 16th century; the Counter-Reformation; Europe during the first half of the 17th century; Great Britain during the same period; then Europe and Great Britain during the remainder of the 17th century; this is followed by the 18th century, first in Europe and then in the English-speaking world; the 19th and 20th centuries (to 1950) are treated more topically.


K. James VI.


V. The Anabaptists of the 16th Century

A. General Characteristics

B. The Zwickau Prophets

C. The Chiliastic Anabaptists

D. Menno Simons


VI. The Counter-Reformation

A. Its Nature

B. The Papacy

C. The Inquisition and the Index

D. The Council of Trent

1. The Calling of the Council

2. The First Period, 1545-47

3. The Second Period, 1551-2

4. The Third Period, 1562-3

5. The Results of the Council of Trent

E. The Foundation of the Jesuit Order

1. Ignatius Loyola

2. The Society of Jesus

3. The Methods of the Society

a. Careful Selection

b. Long Training

c. Spiritual Exercises

d. Complete Obedience

e. Mutual Spying

f. Freedom from Ordination Requirements

g. Abstention from Church Offices

h. Emphasis on Educational Work

i. Influence through the Confessional

j. Casuistry

k. Missions

(1) Francis Xavier

(2) Japan

(3) Paraguay and Lower California

(4) China

(5) The Malabar Ceremonies

F. The Progress of the Counter-Reformation

1. Italy

2. Spain

3. Austria

4. Germany

5. Sweden

6. Poland

7. Bohemia

8. France

9. Belgium

10. England


VII. The Continent of Europe during the First Half of the 17th Century

A. The French Reformed Church

1. Its Strength

2. The Activities of the Jesuits

3. Cardinal Richelieu

4. Moses Amyrault

B. Holland, 1600-1650

1. The Political Situation

2. The Rise of Arminianism

a. Jacob Van Harmin

b. The Remonstrance

3. The Synod of Dort

4. Religious Toleration in Holland

C. The Thirty Years War

1. The Causes

a. Ecclesiastical Reservation

b. Donauwšrth

2. The First Phase, 1619-29

a. Bohemia

(1) The General Situation

(2) The Revolt of 1618

(3) The Winter King

b. The Palatinate

c. The Edict of Restitution

3. The Second Phase, 1629-35

4. The Third Phase, 1635-48

5. The Peace of Westphalia, 1648


VIII. Great Britain in the First Half of the 17th Century

A. The Rise of Puritanism

B. English Churches in the reign of James I, 1603-4

1. The Millenary Petition

2. The Hampton Court Conference, 1604

3. The Decision to Prepare a New English Bible

C. English Bibles to 1650

1. First English Bible of Importance: John Wyclif

2. Tyndale

3. Coverdale Bible

4. Matthew's Bible

5. The Great Bible

6. The Taverner Bible

7. The Geneva Bible

8. The Bishop's Bible

9. The Douai Bible

10. The King James Bible

D. English Churches in the reign of James I: 1604-1625

1. Attitude of the Archbishops

a. Whitgift

b. Bancroft

c. Abbott (1611-1632)

2. Exile for Conscience Sake

a. Francis Johnson

b. John Smyth

E. Beginning of Puritan Colonization in America

1. The Scrooby Congregation

2. A Dozen Years in Holland

3. Difficulties in Undertaking the Trip to America

a. Previous Unsuccessful Attempts of Puritans to Settle

b. Fear of the Indians

c. Difficulties in Establishing a Colony

d. The Problem of financing it

4. The Voyage

5. The Difficulties of the First Winter

6. The Coming of Samoset

7. The Lord's Providential Arrangements

a. The Epidemic

b. The Sending of Squanto

8. The Abandonment of the Communist System

9. The Success of the Colony

10. The Future of Plymouth

11. The Result of the Coming of the Pilgrims: The Puritan Migration

12. The Founding of Harvard University

13. Roger Williams

14. John Eliot

F. England and Scotland, 1625-49

1. The Policy of Charles I

2. Archbishop Land

3. Scotland

4. The Long Parliament

G. The Westminster Assembly

1. Its Calling and Purpose

2. Its Membership

3. The Procedure of the Assembly

4. First Doctrinal Task

5. Its Work on Discipline and Liturgy

6. The Westminster Confession

7. The Larger and Shorter Catechism

8. Cromwell


IX. Continental Europe in the Last Half of the 17th Century

A. The Reformed Church in France

B. Jansenism


X. Great Britain in the Last Half of the 17th Century

A. The Accession of Charles II

B. The Reign of Charles II

1. The Persecution in Scotland

2. Persecution in England

3. John Bunyan

4. The Quakers

a. George Fox

b. William Penn

C. The Glorious Revolution of 1688

1. James II, 1685-1688

2. The Events of 1688

3. William and Mary


XI. The 18th Century on the European Continent

A. Pietism

B. Zinzendorf

C. France

D. The Suppression of the Jesuits


XII. The 18th Century in the English-speaking World: The Great Awakening

A. The Condition of England at the Beginning of the Century

B. The Background of the Evangelical Revival

1. The Wesley Family

2. The Holy Club

3. George Whitefield's Conversion

4. The Wesleys in Georgia

5. Whitfield's Voyage

6. Wesley's Conversion 1738

7. Wesley's Trip to Germany

8. The Beginning of Field Preaching

C. The Great Awakening in America

1. The Beginning of American Presbyterianism

2. The Tennents

3. Jonathan Edwards in Northampton

4. Whitefield in America

D. Progress of Wesley's Work in England

1. Extensive Preaching

2. His Organizing

3. His Publications

4. Hymns

E. Results of the Evangelical Revival

1. Establishment of the Methodist Denomination in England

2. Effects on the Church of England

a. John Newton

b. William Cowper

c. Charles Simeon (IVF)

d. Wilberforce

3. Effect on Other British Churches

a. The Presbyterians (The Countess of Huntingdon's Connection)

b. The Baptists

William Carey

c. Other Mission Boards

F. America in the Latter Part of the Century

1. Results of the Great Awakening

a. David Brainerd

b. Jonathan Edwards

2. The Organization of the Presbyterian General Assembly

3. The American Methodists

4. Effects of the American Revolution on the Church of England

5. The Spread of Unitarianism and Infidelity


XIII. The 19th Century

A. Scotland

1. Background

2. Evangelical Stirrings in the Early Part of the Century

3. Thomas Chalmers

4. The Disruption, 1843

5. William Robertson Smith

6. The United Free Church

7. The Wee Free

8. The Union of 1929

9. The Present Situation

B. England

1. Conditions at the Beginning of the Century

2. The Oxford Movement

3. The Victorian Era and the Rise of Evolution

a. The Nature of the Victorian Age

b. Moral and Ethical Principles

c. The Spread of Rationalism and Indifference

d. The Rise of Evolution

e. Charles Darwin

f. T.H. Huxley

g. The Rapid Spread of Evolution

4. Baptist Churches in England during the 19th Century

a. Results of the Evangelical Movement

b. Andrew Fuller and the Particular Baptists

c. Growth during the Century

d. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-92

C. United States

1. Unitarianism in New England

2. Evangelism in America

a. Charles G. Finney

b. Dwight L. Moody

3. Presbyterian Developments

a. The Presbyterian Association with the Congregation

b. Founding of Seminaries

c. Old School and New School Split

d. North and South Split

e. The Reunion of the Northern Church in 1870

D. The Roman Catholic Church in the 19th Century

1. The Re-establishment of the Jesuits

2. Pius IX

a. The Immaculate Conception

b. The Syllabus of Error

c. The Vatican Council 1870

d. Italians take Rome as Capital, Sept. 20, 1870


XIV. The Twentieth Century

A. The Roman Catholic Church

1. The General Attitude

2. Losses to Communism

3. 1950, Pope's Ex-Cathedra Claim of Virgin Mary's being bodily taken to heaven

4. Progress in America

B. The Spread of Higher Criticism

C. Modernism

1. Ecumenism

2. Establishment of Kingdom of God on Earth

D. Fundamentalism