The Protestant Reformation Global History and Geography I name

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The Protestant Reformation

Global History and Geography I Name: ___________________

E. Napp Date: ___________________
The questioning spirit of the Renaissance led to a questioning of the widespread abuses within the Roman Catholic Church. These questions led to new challenges to the Pope’s authority in the early 1500s.
Martin Luther was a Catholic monk and professor of religion. But he had many questions about how a person should act to save his soul. He struggled for a long time but while reading the Bible, he found his answer. Luther came to believe that a person could find salvation through faith alone. While Catholics taught that fasting, prayer, and religious ceremonies were necessary to achieve salvation, Luther concluded that a person could only be saved by faith alone.
In addition, Luther was upset with the Church because Pope Leo X had started to sell indulgences. Indulgences were pardons for sins. By buying an indulgence, a person believed that he would not be punished after death for his sins. Luther felt that the sale of indulgences was corrupt. In fact, the Pope sold indulgences because he needed money to build St. Peter’s Church.
Luther began to write a series of 95 theses, or statements, against indulgences and other actions of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1517, he posted his ninety five theses on a church door in Germany. The Pope excommunicated (to expel from the Catholic Church) Luther. Luther found protection from several German princes and responded to his excommunication by forming his own church. In addition, Luther’s ideas spread rapidly due to the invention of movable type or the printing press in 1455 by Johann Gutenberg. Luther and other reformers were called Protestants because they protested against the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformation had begun.


1: Who was Martin Luther? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2: Why was Luther upset with the Roman Catholic Church? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3: How did Luther believe a person could be saved? _____________________________________________________________

4: How did Luther’s understanding of salvation differ from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5: What were indulgences? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6: Why was Luther opposed to the sale of indulgences? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7: Why did the Pope sell indulgences? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

8: What were the ninety five theses? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9: When did Luther post the ninety five theses? _____________________________________________________________

10: What was the Pope’s reaction to Luther’s posting of the ninety five theses? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

11: What was Luther’s reaction to his excommunication? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

12: What was the Protestant Reformation? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

13: Who was Johann Gutenberg and what did he invent? _____________________________________________________________

14: How did the invention of movable type help reformers like Luther? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

15: How do you think the Protestant Reformation changed Western Europe? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What was Luther’s position regarding indulgences?


The invention of the printing press helped to spread Luther’s ideas. Pamphlets (hand bills) were printed and distributed cheaply and quickly throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. Many people objected to paying taxes to Rome and to the Church interfering in German politics

One very powerful supported of Luther was the Duke of Saxony. He insisted that the Pope should send someone to Germany to answer Luther’s arguments. In 1518 Cardinal Cajetan went to Augsburg (a city in Germany) to argue with Luther; but this only resulted in Luther growing even more apart from the Catholic Church. In June 1519 Luther made the claim that

the authority of the Bible was greater than that of the Pope”.


Word Bank:

Ninety Five These, Reformation, Faster, German Princes, Martin Luther, Protestants, Indulgences, Excommunicated, Faith, Gutenberg, Church
“All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.”

Martin Luther

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