An interesting corollary to this is that almost all the good theology starting with Augustine and all throughthe Middle Ages was written by unmarried, celibate men. What effect, I wonder, did this have?
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The political nation was, for the most part, obediently compliant rather than enthusiastic. There is no evidence of any great hostility towards the church and its institutions before the Reformation; on the contrary, both the English episcopate and parish clergy seem to have been, by the standards of other European lands, both well-trained and living without scandal. Cardinal Wolsey, who fathered an illegitimate son, was very much the exception. On the other hand, few were prepared to defy the King to defend the threatened institutions of the old church. Many benefited from the windfall of church property that followed the confiscation of monastic lands.
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A Parliament gathered to settle religion in 1559 compliantly reinstated the Protestant Prayer Book of Edward VI. But Elizabeth balked at the introduction of the full Calvinist Church order urged upon her by foreign theologians and by some of the English exiles who, having withdrawn to the continent during Mary's reign, now returned to assist the new regime. The English church retained Bishops and ecclesiastical vestments, which many of the hotter Protestants regarded as an unacceptable Popish survival. When in 1566 Elizabeth insisted upon uniformity in clerical attire, a substantial proportion of the English clergy (up to ten per cent in London) refused to submit and was deprived. Further attempts to move the Queen to a more perfect Reformation, whether by Parliamentary statute or subtle pressure from the bench of bishops, proved equally unavailing. The Church of England would remain, in the words of its Protestant critics, 'but halfly reformed'.
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Europe was changing. What we now know as nation-states were arising from the old feudal kingdoms. Newly powerfulkings in many countries had been flexing their muscles for years, testing the limits of the Church's power. Especiallyin the area of revenues, nations tried various ways of limiting the Pope's ability to collect money, but secularrulers also tried to interfere in the government of the Church as well, often to institute reforms that the Papacyseemed powerless to enforce.
It is chock-full of ideas for several year's worth of celebrations
The Protestant reformers understood themselves to be a part of “the holy catholic church.” Millions of Protestants still repeat these words every week as they stand in worship to recite the Apostles' Creed. The word catholic was first used in this sense in the early second century when Ignatius of Antioch declared, “Where Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic church.” Jesus Christ is the head of the church, as well as its Lord. Protestant believers in the tradition of the Reformation understand the church to be the body of Christ extended throughout time as well as space, the whole company of God's redeemed people through the ages.