Prep Post #11: Weaver and Brakke Ch. 5

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The Lollards were the followers of John Wycliffe, who led one of the earlier protest movements against the institution of the Church. While they did accept the interpretive power of church leaders, Lollards were interesting in that they placed the Bible as the chief authority, and were against practices that were unscriptural in nature. Though this movement died out, it influenced John Huss and his Hussite movement.

© Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt; used with permission

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Martin Luther is usually held as the starter of the Protestant Reformation. And although it is true that his Lutheran reformation was largely the trigger that caused the schism between the Catholic church and the Protestant church, it is important to know that much of what he did was influenced by the cultural changes of the time. Knowledge and social issues that were not available to those such as Wycliffe and Huss were available to Luther. Not only that, but much of Luther’s teachings came from a rejection of the rather legalistic, tradition-based system that the Roman Catholic Church used. Rather, he embraced the idea of a “relationship” with God, faith-based and resembling more of a father/child relationship in contrast to what he perceived to be a hierarchical, power-based system that the Church used. This isn’t to say that he wanted to break away from the Church, however, his intentions were to REFORM the Church, not separate from it.

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King Henry VIII, aka the man who wanted to get out of a marriage so much he literally broke off from the Church and started a new denomination. The Church of England was the result. It kept much of the Church’s traditions and doctrine, but shifted the way it worked so that the head of the church was not the Pope, but the king or queen.

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