Erasmus and Jan Hus seek reforms before Luther. Questions for Discussion: Lesson 27A, Part VII “A New Twist in the Narrative” from  The Story of Christian Theology by Roger E. Olson

1.  Erasmus, a very capable theologian-monk living in the early sixteenth century, was a  leader in the Christian humanist movement and a vocal critic of theology. Why? What motivated his critique of theology? What role did the Curia play in this controversy?

2. A “philosophy of Christ”emerged in this period. What were the concerns of this new philosophy?  Can you describe the practical impact this philosophy had on the official theology of Rome?

3. John Hus of Prague [in present day Czech Republic] is often cited as an important pre-reformation leader. Why? What did his contribution involve?

4. By the 16th Century three Great Schisms have occurred in Christendom. Can you identify all three and what was involved in each? [For information on the first Great Schism go here; the second Great Schism go here; the Third Great Schism go here.]

5. Why was the Council of Trent convened? What were the goals and the results achieved?

6. The Protestant Reformers of the early to mid-sixteenth century sought to make changes in a number of areas of the Catholic Church. Can you name at least three of these and some of the practical consequences for the Church and Christendom overall of the early Reformers’ agenda?

7. How would you describe the popular theology of the average Catholic-in-the-streets during this period of Christian history? Now, could you outline specifically how this average pre-Luther Catholic might view salvation, integrating into your explanation the popular understandings of merit, faith, works of love and tradition? (Don’t forget to classify this popular soteriology.)

8. Can you summarize Luther’s perspective on the role of tradition in church authority?


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