Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present Day. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 2. New York: HarperCollins, 2010b. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 1 “The Call for Reformation” Loc. 216-387.
At the close of the fifteenth century there was a well known need for reformation in the church (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 223). The conciliar movement of the earlier time had not brought lasting change or stability to the church (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 230). Moral and scholarly laxity as well as disregard of vocation became common within the clergy and the monastic movement (Gonzalez 2010, Loc. 237). At the same time, as a result of the fall of Constantinople, new manuscripts and knowledge of Greek language and literature came to the West (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 252). A desire for reformation grew out of these elements. At the same time, the feudal system and the sense of the church as the defender of the poor broke down (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 267). Growth of nationalism and the acceptance of vernacular languages also came about in the 15th and 16th centuries (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 274). Inquisitions, traditionally carried on by bishops investigating and correcting doctrine, fell to royalty, who tended to be more forceful (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 294). With all of these many changes, Gonzalez affirms that it was impossible for the church not to re-evaluate itself (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 321). The “humanist reformers” took a view that understanding of the literature of antiquity would restore Christian practice (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 329). As an example of this, Gonzalez introduces Erasmus of Rotterdam. Erasmus reached a conclusion that the precepts of Christ harmonized with the best of ancient Greek philosophy (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 351). A life of discipline and balance in the world would be the ideal. Obedience and life were more important to Erasmus than doctrinal purity (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 358). As the Reformation broke out, various factions wanted Erasmus’ support. However, he was never clearly aligned with any of the groups (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 373).