Reformers


Theodore Beza (1519-1605) succeeded Calvin as the leader of Reformed Protestantism in Geneva, Switzerland. He too was a lawyer and also enjoyed writing poetry. As Calvin’s successor, he became one of the leading advisors to the Huguenots in France. Like Luther, he was a talented translator and his versions of the Greek and Latin New Testaments were the source for the Geneva and King James’ Bibles. He married Claude Desnoz, but had no children. Click here to read more about Theodore Beza.

Martin Bucer (1491-1551) was a Swiss Reformer. He was a Dominican Friar and like Luther, he left and married a former Nun. He went to Strasbourg in 1523 and became one of the chief statesmen among the Reformers. In 1549 he had to leave Strasbourg and went to live in England. Here he advised Cranmer on the “Book of Common Prayer”. Click here to read more about Martin Bucer.

John Calvin (1509-1564) was born in France and became a lawyer and later a theology student. He wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion. He was introduced to Luther’s teachings while he was a student in Paris and agreed with Luther’s views on predestination. He created and systemized the Reformed tradition in Protestantism.  Click here to read more about John Calvin.

John Knox (1505 – 1572) was the leading Reformer and the founder of Presbyterianism in Scotland. Knox studied at St Andrews, then became a Roman Catholic priest. Around 1543, he became aware of Reformation teachings through George Wishart, who had studied under Martin Luther. After Wishart was martyred, Knox took over. In July 1574 he was made a French galley-slave for nineteen months, after which he worked in England for ten years. After some years with Calvin in Geneva, he returned to Scotland in 1559. His famous book is “The History of the Reformation in Scotland.” Click here to read more about John Knox.

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) was born in Eisleben, studied law and then entered the monastery in Erfurt before becoming a professor of theology at Wittenberg. He preached grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, the Scriptures alone and the glory of God alone. His teachings sparked the Reformation. Click here to read more about Martin Luther.

Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560) German scholar and humanist. He was second only to Martin Luther as a figure in the Lutheran Reformation. He was professor of Greek at the University of Wittenberg when he met Luther, and they soon became friends. He was able to explain the new gospel to those outside the movement. At the Diet of Augsburg (1530) he wrote and presented the Augsburg Confession. Click here to read more about Philip Melanchthon.

William Tyndale (1496 – 1561) was a theologian and scholar, speaking eight languages fluently. He was the first man to take advantage of Gutenberg’s invention to print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale’s Bible translation, including commentaries, was banned and he was condemned as a heretic. King Henry VIII ordered him to be burnt at the stake in 1536. Click here to read more about William Tyndale

Ulrich Zwingli (1484 – 1531) was born in Switzerland and believed in the Bible as a precise authority. Zwingli’s theology and morality were based on a single principle: if the Old or New Testament did not say something explicitly and literally, then no Christian should believe or practice it.He denounced the use of music, pictures and sculptures in church. He disagreed with Luther in that he believed that the bread and wine of the mass were a memorial, rather than the literal body and blood of Christ. Click here to read more about Zwingli

Hugh Latimer (1480—1555) Born in Leicestershire and educated at Cambridge, Latimer was at first antagonistic to the Reformation in England. He was converted in his thinking under the influence of Thomas Bilney, one of the leaders of a group of reformed theologians who met for discussion at the well-known White Horse Tavern. Latimer quickly became one of the leading spokesmen for the Reformation. Click here to read more about Hugh Latimer

Heinrich Bullinger (July 18, 1504 – September 17, 1575) was a Swiss reformer, the successor of Huldreich Zwingli as head of the Zurich church. A much less controversial figure than Calvin or Luther, his importance has long been underestimated. Recent research has shown, though, that he was one of the most influential Reformed theologians of the 16th century. Click here to read more aboutHeinrich Bullinger.