A Brief History of the Reformation

Discover The Complex and Fascinating World of The Protestant Reformation.

Have you ever wondered why the Protestant Reformation took place when it did? Or, if it was really a success, in light of what happened after it?

In order to understand the Western European Reformation of the 16th century, it helps to look at the world outside of Western Europe during that time. Centuries of civil war and strife left many of the kingdoms in modern day Asia and India without strong leadership, and thus were susceptible to takeover and consolidation by the Mongols and others “Barbarian” Hordes.

To protect western Europe (often referred to as “Christendom” in those days), rulers such as Pope Leo X were in desperate need of two things: (1) Money and (2) Support. This gave way to the Indulgence controversy, which eventually sparked a schism in the Church.  

Join Dr. Daniel van Voorhis–Author and Host of Christian History Alamanac–as he explores the context and major characters of the 16th c. Reformation.


Topics Covered in the Course

  • The World on the Eve of the Reformation (Introduction)
  • The Story of the Reformation and Martin Luther
  • The Radical and Rural Reformation
  • Tracing the Reformation Beyond Germany

Let's Get Started

This course contains four sessions, each containing a video lesson, course notes, and a quiz. You are also invited to join the discussion throughout the course as you watch these videos. You can complete this course at your own pace. So we encourage you to work through it at whatever pace is most comfortable for you. At the end, you will receive a 'Course Completion Certificate' via email. 


Dan van Voorhis

Dan van Voorhis is an author, historian, professor, and speaker at 1517. After receiving his Ph.D. in History from the University of St. Andrews, Dr. van Voorhis spent 11 years teaching history and political thought at Concordia University, Irvine. He is a Scholar-in-Residence at 1517 and the host of the daily podcast The Christian History Almanac. Dan is married to Beth Anne, and they have two sons, Coert and Raymond.



The World on the Eve of the Reformation (Introduction)
The Story of the Reformation and Martin Luther
The Rural and Radical Reformation
Tracing the Reformation Beyond Germany
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