How different was English Christianity in the reign of Elizabeth 1 (1558 – 1603) from that of the childhood of Roger Martyn (born c. 1527) The core teachings and beliefs in English Christianity relate to Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ (4 BCE- 29CE) Their beliefs that Jesus is both human and divine. That humankind is sinful signifying estrangement from God as well as moral wrongdoing. That Jesus is the son of God and has never sinned , the essential means of reconciliation between God and humankind. In the new testament the teaching of Jesus have unique spiritual and moral authority.
That Jesus carries on to live in heaven after his death on the cross and his miraculous resurrection which overcame the power of sin and death. Everyone that truly believes in Jesus have the chance of forgiveness of their sins in this world and in the world to come; eternal life. God sent the Holy Spirit after Jesus life on earth to initiate and empower the church in continuing its witness to the central truths. Christianity teaches us that God exists in three forms, the Father who created the world; the Son ‘Jesus’ who saved humankind; and the Holy Spirit the presence of God as part of a person’s religious experience.
(John Wolffe, pg 74) Roger Martyn description of the church – a local man recalling how it was when he was a young child in the 1530’s; helps understand how much has changed since. The exterior of the church building in figure 3. 1, which was originally built in the fifteenth century with its large chapel at the end is how Martyn remembers it apart from the tower which had been added towards the early twentieth century. The interior of the church building is less decorated now and looks quite plain next to what it looked like in the early sixteenth century.
The church is the visual inspiration to Christians to pray The notion of what it meant to be religious to Roger Martyn was to participate in rituals, processions and in the music whilst in mass perceiving the presence of God during the ceremony with prayers and songs and the ceremony of the consecrated bread and wine. Also meant to read through relevant materials which helped to visualise and learn Christian teaching and to live by them and to be present in church and being observant of the annual cycle of the holy days.
Christianity was central to the life of Martyn village community as a whole. (John Wolffe, pg 76) The religious world described was largely brushed off England during the middle decades of the sixteenth century. The Protestants believe that salvation depends upon each one’s actions, on personal father rather than be taking part in ceremonies within the church and that their beliefs had direct spiritual inspiration from God rather than listening to priest and bishops.
Protestants ultimate authority is the original text of the Bible rather than the church’s traditions. The concept of purgatory was rejected they believe the ones living in true faith in Christ went straight to heaven after death; those who had not were sent straight to hell. Church buildings had to become plainer as the colourful rituals and images were seen as a distraction and had to be covered up from the necessary spiritual realities. Changes took place in four phases
The first being between (1527-47) King Henry the V111 conflict with the papacy was not initially religious but personal as the pope refused to dissolve his marriage to his first wife Catherine of Aragon. This prevented him from being able to marry Anne Boleyn and denying him the opportunity of fathering a son heir. This being the kings reason and Parliament renounced the authority of the pope in 1533 and King Henry went on in abolishing convents. During King Henry the English church continued to be traditional in both doctrine and religious practices.
The second between (1547- 1553); King Henry’s death in 1547 created radical religious change led by his own son who was England’s first monarch raised as a protestant. It was during Edward’s reign that Protestantism for the first time in England was reformed that included the abolition of clerical celibacy and the Mass and the imposition of compulsory services in English. The architect of these reforms was Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, whose Book of Common Prayer is still used.
http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Edward_VI_of England Protestants influence grew through Thomas Cranmer’s work. The third phase the restoration of Catholicism (1553-1558), the reforms of Edward V1 were not fully implemented as the king died and taking control was his sister Mary 1 who enforced Catholicism; facing opposition from the smaller group of persuaded protestants and one of which was the Archbishop Cranmer and some were burnt at the stake whilst others were sent in exile.
The return of the older religious tradition was welcomed, or at least accepted. The fourth stage the establishment and stabilisation of the Church of England (1558 – 1603); when Mary died Elizabeth 1 succeeded to the throne. Henry V111 and Anne Boleyn, a convinced Protestant but also a smart politician who wanted religion to unite everyone instead of dividing her subjects. The church of England’s position was made clear in Protestants terms in the act of uniformity of 1559 which imposed the use of Protestants forms of prayer
contained in the book of prayer and the thirty nine articles of 1563 which indicated the doctrine of the church; also keeping some traditions like the orders of the bishops. (John Wolffe, pg 78/79) The differences between the Catholic and Protestants; in Catholic churches the Pope is the head of the church “The pope which means Father just as Catholics call priest ‘Father’ as the Pope represents God Our Father who loves, and has made us and who sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross to save us.
(papal visit) For a long time the Catholic church was the main place available for prayers, all was though the same message in the same environment, liking it or not as punishment would mean going to hell; with the doom paintings in the churches reinforcing this belief and that hell is the place you went to if you did wrong to spend eternity there. The first difference was the head of the church.
In Catholic Churches, the pope is the head of the church, and it is claimed that he is a ‘mediator between God and mankind,’ whereas Protestants believe that Jesus is the only man that can take that role, and therefore, have no Pope. The head of a Protestant church is the King. The final difference is the language that the bible was written in. In Catholic churches, the bible was written in Latin, and as a result of that uneducated people, who tended to be poorer, couldn’t read it as they couldn’t speak Latin.
However, in Protestant churches, the bible was translated into vernacular so that anyone could read it. A Protestant church is also a lot less grand. While Catholic Churches have elaborated decorations, statues and stained glass windows, Protestant Churches have none of those features, so that church-goers could focus on the word of the minister. Catholics believe Churches should be decorated to ‘show God’s glory’. Decorations including paintings and statues of Jesus and the saints, candles, gold and jewels.