CH602 Medieval And Reformation Church

Course Description

The first half of the course will study the development of medieval theology, doctrinal controversies, the development of the church, monasticism, mysticism, and the forerunners of the Reformation. The second half will study the theology and practices of the Protestant Reformation. We will consider the social and intellectual contexts in which the magisterial Reformation theology, piety, and practice developed. We will also give attention to the Anabaptist movements, the Counter Reformation, the Remonstrant crisis, and to the rise of Protestant scholasticism. Spring Semester. 4 credits.

Course Goals

Academic Goal:

To enable the student to understand and discuss intelligently the institutional, theological, and social history of the church such that the student demonstrates understanding of the development in the history of the church from c. 500AD–1619AD.

Pastoral Goal:

To help the student gain a critical appreciation for the development of Christian theology, piety, and practice from c.500 AD–1619 AD and for their relation to the medieval and Reformation churches.

Required Reading

NB: I do not discuss the background texts (Southern and Eire) in class. The lectures assume that you have read them but you must read and master them in order to complete the course.

R. W. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages (New York, [repr.] 1978). This is a general background text not intended for class discussion.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae in either St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 5 vol. (Westminster, MD [repr.] 1981), or in A.M. Fairweather, ed. Aquinas on Nature and Grace (Philadelphia, 1959).

Summa TheologicaReference Nature and Grace pagination
1a. Q. 1 Art. 1.1–10 35–49
1a. Q.23 Art. 1–8 101–18
1a–2ae. QQ. 112–114 174–218

Carlos M. N. Eire, Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 (New Haven: Yale University Press Press, 2016). This is a general background text not intended for class discussion. Chapters 2–13, 17, 20, 22

T. Lull ed. Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings:

    • Disputation Against Scholastic Theology
    • Heidelberg Disputation
    • Concerning the Letter and the Spirit
    • A Brief Instruction
    • Preface to the NT
    • Two Kinds of Righteousness
    • Bondage of the Will

R. Scott Clark, Iustitia Imputata Christi: Alien or Proper to Luther’s Doctrine of Justification?” Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006): 269–310.

——“‘Subtle Sacramentarian’ or Son? John Calvin’s Relationship to Martin Luther” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 21.4 (2018): 35–60.

—— “The Benefits of Christ: Double Justification in Protestant Theology Before the Westminster Assembly,” Anthony T. Selvaggio, ed., The Faith Once Delivered: Celebrating the Legacy of Reformed Systematic Theology and the Westminster Assembly (Essays in Honor of Dr. Wayne Spear). (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2007), 107–34.

—— “Election and Predestination: Sovereign Expressions of God,” in David Hall and Peter Lillback, ed. A Handbook of Calvin’s Institutes (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing).

—— “Calvin’s Principle of Worship,” in ed. David Hall, Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of his Quincentenary (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), 247–69.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. F. L. Battles, ed. J. T. McNeill, 2 vols (Philadelphia, 1961), 1.1–10; 2.9–11; 3.1, 2, 11, 13, 17, 20, 24; 4.14–19.

Philip Schaff, ed. Creeds of Christendom (Grand Rapids, [repr.] 1983) or online:

Vol. 2: Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Tridentine Profession of Faith

Vol. 3: Augsburg Confession, Formula of Concord, Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, Canons of the Synod of Dort, Westminster Confession of Faith.

R. Scott Clark, Caspar Olevian and the Substance of the Covenant: The Double Benefit of Christ (2005; Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008) [all]

Willem van Asselt, ed. Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism, Reformed Historical-Theological Studies (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011). [all]

Recommended Reading

Engelbrecht, Edward A. Friends of the Law: Luther’s Use of the Law for the Christian Life. St Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011.

The following chapters in Carl R. Trueman and R. Scott Clark, ed. Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999).

  • Bagchi
  • Steinmetz
  • Muller
  • Schaefer
  • Godfrey
  • Trueman

Dorothy Sayers, “Lost Tools of Learning

G. R. Evans, ed. The Medieval Theologians (Oxford: Blackwells, 2001).

——A Brief History of Heresy (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003).

Marcia L. Colish, Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition 400-1400, Yale Intellectual History of the West (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998).

Sabina Flanagan, Hildegard of Bingen, a Visionary Life, (Routledge, London, 1989).

Hildegard von Bingen, The letters of Hildegard of Bingen, trans. Joseph L. Baird, Radd K. Ehrman. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

W. Robert Godfrey, John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2009).

R. Scott Clark, “God the Son and the Covenant of Grace: Caspar Olevianus On Eternal Generation, and the Substance of the Covenant of Grace,” in Credo Magazine volume 10.4 (November 29, 2020).

R. Scott Clark, “Seriously and Promiscuously: The Synod of Dort on the Free Offer of the Gospel” in Joel R. Beeke and Martin I. Klauber, ed. The Synod of Dort: Historical, Theological, and Experiential Perspectives (Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2020), 89–104.

R. Scott Clark, “‘Subtle Sacramentarian’ or Son? John Calvin’s Relationship to Martin Luther” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 21.4 (2018): 35–60.

W. Robert Godfrey, Saving the Reformation: The Pastoral Theology of the Canons of Dort (Orlando: Reformation Trust, 2019).

R. Scott Clark, Redeemed From Every People, Tribe, Tongue, And Nation: A Commentary On The Canons Of Dort

Course Requirements:

  • In order to pass the course you must demonstrate that you have learned and can adequately summarize and repeat the important material from the lectures and the readings.
  • Mid-Term (covers the medieval church lectures and reading). 35%A failing grade on the mid-term means a failing grade for the course.
  • Final exam (covers the Reformation church lectures and reading) 35 % A failing grade on the final exam means a failing grade for the course.
  • Reading 30%
  • Attendance. The WSC catalogue requires attendance to class. Class conflict petitions will not ordinarily be approved for this course.

Computers, Cheating, and Plagiarism

Students are not permitted to play games, use social media, or surf the web in class.

Students who take class notes by computer tend to create a large, detailed transcript but they also tend not to analyze the information they are receiving. They hear the lecture but they do not listen to what is being said. In such a case, it is difficult to think about and interact with what is being said. As a consequence, students end the course with a large transcript of material with which they are not intimately familiar. This means that students have only reading week to master a large amount of class material for the exam.

Experience and some studies suggest that students who take notes by hand are more likely to learn the class material. It forces students to engage the material as they are hearing it.

Cheating and plagiarism are serious infractions of the law of God and punishable by measures determined by the faculty up to and including expulsion from the seminary. Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work during an exam as your own. See the Student Handbook for a complete statement on these matters.

Questions in Class

They are welcome but in view of the amount of material to be covered (1000 years of religious, intellectual, social, political, and economic history) and the limited time in which to do it please be considerate of your classmates and your teacher. If your question may help to clarify something for the class, please ask. If it may lead us astray perhaps it is better to wait until after class.


It is not wise to rely on the class notes of others or upon study group answers. You will be most successful if you do your own work.

After an exam do not discuss your answers with others. It only causes needless anxiety.


Assertion of Intellectual Property Rights

The instructor holds the copyright to all course lectures and original course materials. This copyright extends to student notes and summaries that substantially reflect the lectures or original course materials. Course lectures and materials are made available for the personal use of students only and may not be recorded or otherwise distributed (including the publication of student notes or summaries on social media) in any way for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the express written permission of the instructor.

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

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