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Events of the Reformation

The Reformation wasn't accomplished in one night, but rather it was done over a period of time. Below are some notable events of the Reformation.

1517—Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31. He questioned indulgences and other practices of the Catholic Church in order to reform (fix) it.

1520—Pope Leo X issued a “papal bull” giving Luther 60 days to recant. Later, Luther burned that “papal bull” publicly.

1521—Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X.

1526—At the Diet of Speyer, German princes were given the right to choose whether their territories would be Roman Catholic or Protestant.

1529—Luther published his Large and Small Catechisms. He wrote the catechisms after he visited Saxony and learned how ignorant pastors and Christians were. The Small Catechism was the best selling book at the time.

1530—The Augsburg Confession was prepared by Philip Melanchthon to explain what Lutherans believe. It was presented to Emperor Charles V by a group of Lutheran princes at the Diet of Augsburg in June. The emperor condemned what was said in the Augsburg Confession and prepared his own statement, the Pontifical Confutation.

1531—Philip Melanchthon spent about half a year preparing the Apology (Defense) of the Augsburg Confession in which he worked through each of the points of the emperor’s confutation and explained the errors in the confutation and the truth in the Augsburg Confession. The Augsburg Confession and the Apology (Defense) were published.

1531—Melanchthon spent about half a year preparing the Apology (Defense) of the Augsburg Confession which was a response to the Emperor’s Confutation. In 1531, the Augsburg Confession and the Apology (Defense) were published.

1538—Luther’s Smalcald Articles were published. Luther had been asked to prepare a statement of faith that would clearly explain the difference between Lutheran and Roman Catholic beliefs.

1540—Philip Melanchthon’s Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope was published. In it, Melanchthon pointed out three main false teachings about the pope.

1546—Soon after Luther died (February 18, 1546), Pope Paul III and Emperor Charles V made an agreement to stop the Protestant Reformation and force Lutherans to become Catholics again. The Smalcaldic War broke out. By 1547, the Lutheran princes were defeated. Philip Melanchthon compromised the Word to get along with the pope and emperor. Lutherans were split between those compromising like Melanchthon, and those who believed what the Scriptures taught.

1576—The Epitome of the Formula of Concord was completed at the Torgau Conference. Six Lutheran theologians, including Martin Chemnitz, met to end theological disagreements between the Catholics and the Lutherans.

• 1577—The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord was completed.

1580—The Book of Concord was published. Over 8,000 signed it to show their own agreement with it.

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