The papacy was staggering under the weight of political machinations and avarice.
The bishops and clergy were the instigators and profiteers of corruption, both financial and moral.
Church offices were purchased with the expectation of future profits…the practice of simony.
The people in the pews were feeling disconnected from the church…and used and abused by its leaders.
The feudal system was collapsing, the masses feeling crushed economically, and the poor no longer believed the church was there for them.
Theologically, the last century had seen the birth of “humanism” a call back to the original sources both in the church and in philosophy.
In the providence of God, publishing was making Greek manuscripts available from the East that challenged the integrity of the Vulgate and the printed works of Augustine were bringing the greatest father of the West back to prominence.
The Waldensians and the Hussites,the followers of Wycliffe and Tyndale , the erudition of Erasmus…all these proto Reformation ideas and martyrs were suddenly brought to new light and influence.
A perfect storm was brewing that would explode into the Protestant Reformation.
It was Martin Luther that would come first, bearing the thunder.
It is with him that we will begin our study in our next article.