The Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was an important time in history, not only for the history of the Christian Church, but for the history of the world. As a result of the work of faithful, godly men and women, there was a return to biblical theology. People came to understand that we are saved by grace through faith. Feudalism ended. There were wars for decades over the future of the Church. Out of these wars, denominations arose. We saw the rise of new theology and doctrine that still finds a home in sects of the Church today.
Our kids need to know what happened during the Reformation, and why.
In 2015, my book When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther for middle and high school students published with Fortress Press. That was truly a dream come true for me, and it was a project I’d worked on for several years. I’ve been so blessed by your support and enthusiasm.
Thank you so much if you have purchased a copy, and shared the book with your children! I cannot tell you how much that means to me. You may remember that I wrote two guides to go with When Lightning Struck!: a Discussion Guide and a 12-week Martin Luther Study Guide.
Fortress Press also published Tim Dowley’s Atlas of the European Reformations this fall, and it’s an excellent overview of the Protestant Reformation and the resulting Catholic Reformation for grades 4-12. To help you fully utilize this resource in your home or school, I’ve written a Study Guide for the Atlas, and Fortress Press has given me permission to give it to Thinking Kids subscribers for free.
Atlas of the European Reformations by Tim Dowley
The Atlas of the European Reformations is valuable overview of the Reformation Age. There are four sections: Before the Reformation, Reformation, Catholic Reform and Counter-Reformation, and Early Modern Europe. Students get an overview of what led to the Reformations, what occurred during the Reformations, and what happened after.
Each of the 60 maps has a brief overview with it. The maps are fascinating, as they really communicate the scope of each topic being discussed. Students learn about important figures in the Reformation period, as well as movements, conflicts, and how the Reformations affected different nations.
The narrative is careful to avoid bias, and both the reform of the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformation are covered. This is a great overview of the period, and unlike anything I’ve seen. I like the fact that the Atlas covers the Catholic reform and missions as well. Though we are not Catholic, I want my boys to understand that part of history.
Free Reformation Study Guide
Subscribe here to receive your study guide:
- A brief overview of each section
- Discussion questions for each map
- Related literature by grade level (Grades 4 and up)
- Scripture to consider
Because this guide is meant to facilitate discussion and understanding as students learn about the European Reformations, no formal schedule has been included. You can work through the Atlas as it fits your schedule, and easily coordinate it with any history curriculum you are using.
The Reformation study guide is divided into four sections, as is the book. You’ll find an overview of each section of history.
Each of the 60 maps and overviews has a set of discussion questions for students to consider, as well as related vocabulary definitions in language students can understand. You’ll also find fine art related to the period on the discussion pages throughout. History is the perfect time to study art, so the pieces and the artists are all clearly identified on the same page as the artwork.
The related literature lists contain excellent works that will deepen your student’s understanding of the time period. None of the books are required (indeed, there are too many listed to use them all), and many can be located at your local library, though each would make an excellent addition to your home or church library. Further, you will find periodic “Scripture to Consider” sections, with a scripture reference and discussion questions.
The Story of Martin Luther
Teach your teens about Martin Luther and the Reformation in an exciting, new way with When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther!
Martin Luther (1483-1546) is often referred to as “The Father of the Reformation”. Born during a time of superstition, tradition, and spiritual corruption, Luther gave up a lucrative career as a lawyer to become a monk in the Roman Catholic Church–a path he felt would certainly lead to salvation.
As Luther’s understanding of the spiritual corruption within the Church grew, and he despaired of true salvation, Luther (now a scholar and priest) sought the Bible for answers. Following his discovery of the true gospel in Scripture, Luther began to preach spiritual freedom to his congregation, and to teach biblical (rather than philosophical) theology at the University of Wittenberg.
It was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther penned his Ninety-Five Theses in Latin in response to the abusive indulgence sales practices of the monk Johann Tetzel in a nearby town. Luther nailed the Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, the scholarly bulletin board of his day, and mailed a copy to the Archbishop of Mainz. Luther hoped to start a scholarly debate about the practice of selling salvation through plenary indulgences. The response he received was greater–and more dangerous–than he imagined it would be.
Luther’s story is exciting. There are death defying moments, epic spiritual battles, narrow escapes, a kidnapping, revolution, and war. As the “Father of the Reformation”, Luther is a vital figure in Church history. His sacrifice and willingness to wage battle against the spiritual, religious, and political powers of his medieval world allowed Christians throughout time to embrace the truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as explained by Scripture alone once again. May all glory be to God alone!
Read portions of the first eight chapters of When Lightning Struck!:
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