Leaders Of The Protestant Reformation

Research by ChristopherBarnette.com:

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Martin Luther is widely considered the father of the Protestant Reformation and of Protestantism itself. In his studies as a Monk and university professor, Luther began to develop a sense that the Roman Church had abandoned several essential doctrines of the Christian faith; among these was what he considered to be the chief article of Christian Doctrine: Justification by Faith Alone (Sola Fide). This doctrine states that justification is entirely a work of God (monergism) and is received by men through faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah alone. This runs contrary to the understanding espoused by the Roman Church that justification is an act of cooperation between God and man (synergism). In addition to the 95 Theses, Luther also translated the Scriptures into the vernacular (that is, from Latin to German), authored several instructional materials and catechisms, and founded what is now known as the Lutheran Church.

Huldrych Zwingli

Huldrych Zwingli

Huldrych Zwingli was a contemporary of Martin Luther and the leader of the Swiss Reformation. Although much less recognized, Zwingli was developing many of the same conclusions concurrently with Luther. In fact, he rejected the Roman Catholic priesthood only a few short years after Luther. Although very similar in much of their doctrine, Zwingli and Luther differed greatly on the issue of the Eucharist. While Luther strongly affirmed the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Zwingli taught a strictly memorial understanding of the sacrament. Zwingli was killed in a battle against the Roman Cantons at Kappel am Albis in October of 1851.

John Calvin

John Calvin

John Calvin is the much celebrated and almost equally maligned father of Calvinism and much of what we now call Reformed Christian theology. While Calvin is singled out for his teachings on election and predestination, he was hardly an innovator in the area as many of the earlier reformers held similar views. The overarching theme of Calvin’s teaching was an emphasis on the sovereignty of God, or that God is absolutely sovereign in all things. His book Institutes of the Christian Religion and voluminous commentaries on the books of the Bible are still widely used as instructional tools today. In addition to his enormous doctrinal contributions, Calvin also founded the Academy of Geneva (now the University of Geneva) and the Collège Calvin, opened a hospital for the indigent, and laid the foundation for many Reformed and Presbyterian Churches.

John Knox

John Knox

John Knox was the leader of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland and a student and contemporary of John Calvin. Prior to his instruction in Geneva, he was an influential reformer in the Church of England, serving under King Edward VI and introducing reformed modifications to the newly released Book of Common Prayer. During one of his frequent exiles he settled in Geneva where he was instructed in the particulars of Calvin’s Reformed theology and Presbyterian church government. Upon returning to Scotland, he was influential in the Scottish Reformation and in creating the Kirk (now Church of Scotland), instituted after Scotland’s break with Rome in 1560. Knox’s Kirk was responsible for several social reforms in Scotland and he is recognized as the father of the Presbyterian Church.

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