Church History

'Protestant?'

“…God’s Truth Abideth Still…”  

On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis on the door of the Wittenburg castle church.  These were his ‘talking points’ which he wished to discuss with the church of his day. The PROTESTant Reformation was already in progress, but this hurled the issue into the forefront.  Here are some major figures of the Reformation, the movement from which churches like our have sprung.  Hope you enjoy! -Kevin


John Wycliffe  Known as “The Morning Star of the Reformation,” Wycliffe called the corrupt clerics into account. Appealing directly to the Bible, he rejected the Roman Catholic view of the Lord’s Supper, (called “transubstantiation”) and called the pope “Antichrist.”  Wycliffe, and his preachers, called “Lollards,” attempted reformation in England.  In 1382, he (possibly with the help of others) translated the Bible into English.  

Jon Hus  Influenced by the teachings of Wycliffe, this Czech preacher convinced many of his beliefs.  Eventually he was excommunicated but appealed in 1414 at the Council of Constance.  The church imprisoned him for heresy and burned him at the stake on July 6, 1415.  Many of his followers continued in what became the Moravian Church.  

Gutenberg Printing Press  The advent of this invention in 1492 by John Gutenberg allowed the Reformers to “quickly” copy tracts, books, and especially the Bible.  Prior to this press, men would take a slate of wood, write their text on the wood, and then carve it leaving the raised letters as the type.  Gutenberg’s press featured movable type which made the process much faster.    

Erasmus’s Greek New Testament  In 1516, this “Prince of Humanist learning” deposited his Greek-Latin New Testament.  Most every reformer used the Erastian text.  Ironically, Erasmus would prove to be an enemy of the Reformation, publicly debating Luther over the free will of man. 

Martin Luther   As early as 1515, Luther taught “Justification by Faith.”  On October 31, 1517, this Augustinian monk nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle.  Although this act typically invited public debate, it acted as a catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.  The Roman Church threatened him with excommunication in 1520.  He refused to recant and was excommunicated.  

Diet of Worms  In 1521, Luther was again asked to recant at this official assembly (Diet) of Roman Clerics.  After 24 hours of deliberation, Luther gave his famous answer, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or plain reason…and my conscience is held captive by the Word of God…I cannot and will not recant…Here I take my stand, God being my helper.  Amen” Luther ate not his words, nor any worms!

John Calvin  This French Reformer developed and systematized many of the teachings of the Reformation with the first edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion.  This work was first published in 1539/1541 by Calvin at the age of 27.  This fugitive of the Roman Catholic Church fled from his native land in order to procure a life of peace, solitude, and study.  Halted by Farel in Geneva, he helped to reform the church in Switzerland.  Calvin is also known as the father of Presbyterianism.  

William Tyndale   This English Reformer studied Greek at Cambridge only to later translate Erasmus’s Greek New Testament into English.  He probably did this while at Wittenberg, visiting Luther and others, seeking a place of refuge. He completed his revised version in 1534. Tyndale was strangled and executed at the stake in 1536.     

 John Knox  After they attacked St. Andrews the French took several prisoners, one of which was John Knox.  After his release, he worked with Thomas Cranmer in England, and eventually made his way to Geneva, where he studied under John Calvin and pastored a congregation of English refugees.  He returned to Scotland and the rest is “history.”