Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The leaders of the Protestant Reformation

The leaders of the Protestant Reformation, most notably Martin Luther
and John Calvin, emphasized the importance of individual faith over
good works in salvation. Puritanism, as developed in England and
carried to America, never became an established church and looked to
America as the opportunity for a rebirth. In America there have been
cyclical waves of revivalism, among them the First Great Awakening in
the early 1700s and the Second Awakening at the turn of the eighteenth
century. The reform tradition emphasizes the salvation or damnation of
individual Christians.Luther was an Augustinian monk who worried about the absence
of Biblical justification for certain church institutions and
2. He is the archetypical founder of a sect—he worried that the
Catholic Church had become too routine and normalized; he
sought to restore the necessary personal encounter between the
individual and God.
3. Key tenets of Lutheranism:
a. Justification by faith alone rather than by the "works" of the
Catholic Church. Salvation results not from a lifelong process
but from an immediate, personal experience of God.
b. One cannot overstate either God's majesty or man's depravity;
selfishness motivates all human actions; all humans are
worthless in themselves and deserve hell.
c. Man's obligation in the divine covenant is to discover and
pursue his calling. One should behave uprightly not to win
salvation but to demonstrate election. Lutheranism contains
conflicting impulses for and against political action.
d. The priesthood of all believers—every individual faces God
alone and can interpret the Bible for himself. This view
encourages anti-intellectualism.

B. John Calvin (1509-64)
1. Calvin emphasizes the importance of the Old Testament as
testimony about God's salvation of the elect. This view
contributes to the perception of reformed Christians are the new
Israel and of America is the new Pr1o{m7ised Land.
2. "Double predestination" of both the saved and the damned.
Evidence of election includes membership in a reformed church,
an upright life, and especially a demonstrable personal experience
of divine regeneration—i.e., being "born again."
3. Calvinist Geneva was run on theocratic grounds.
II. Puritanism
A. Puritanism represents the extension of the Lutheran and Calvinist
`reform tradition to England and Scotland." It was an effort to purify the
church of non-Biblical accretions.
B. As developed in England and carried to America, Puritanism never
became an established church, remained a persecuted minority, and
emphasized anti-Catholicism.
C. Puritans in America believed that: .1.
1. God had literally abandoned England for America.
2. The completion of God's work in New England reflects a
providential design, contained in the Old Testament. a
a. They saw the Atlantic Ocean as an allegory of the Red Sea;
Queen Elizabeth as the new pharaoh; England as the new
b. They believed that the discovery of America in late fifteenth
century (on the eve of Protestant Reformation) and its
colonization by northern European Protestants reflected a
divine plan.
III. Cyclical waves of revivalism in America
A. The (First) Great Awakening (1730s-40s):
1. Responded to a growing sense that American religious life had
become corrupt and complacent. It represented an effort to recover
emotionalism as an authentic response to God.
2. Methodist reformers John Wesley and George Whitfield were
more popular in America than in England
3. The revivalist preacher Jonathan Edwards is especially known for
his sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

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