John Calvin, (1509 to 1564)
He was born in Noyon France in 1509 and in future years attended the University of Paris and later studied law at the University of Orleans with the aid of his father who held a government job.
Being a devout student of the Bible he was somewhat influenced by the reform writings of Luther and Melanchthon. He became a leader of Paris Protestants, but because of opposition from the King, he was forced to flee to Switzerland, in 1536 settling in Geneva where he became a powerful reformer. Under the threat of death the citizens were forced to accept his theology.
At the age of 27, he published his famous “Institutes” on the Christian NOTES religion. Michael Servetus, a Spaniard, was Calvin’s longtime friend, in their earlier resistance, against the Roman Catholic Church. Servetus, while living in Vienne (historic city in southeastern France), angered Calvin by returning a copy of Calvin’s writings, Institutes, with critical comments in the margins. The Roman Catholic authorities arrested Servetus on April 4 but he escaped on April 7, 1553. He attended Calvin’s Sunday preaching service on August 13 after traveling to Geneva but Calvin promptly had Servetus arrested and charged with heresy for his disagreement with Calvin’s theology. Servetus was burned at the stake on October 27, 1553. Calvin wrote much in following years in an attempt to justify his burning of Servetus.
Jacques Gruet, a known opponent of Calvin, placed a letter calling him a hypocrite in Calvin’s pulpit in 1547, and was arrested, tortured for a month and beheaded on July 26, Gruet had wrote a book and it was later found and burned along with his house.
Robert Stephanus In 1550 produced the next great edition of the Textus Receptus and In his fourth edition of 1551, he added the verse numbers which are still used in all modern editions today. But the Geneva Bible, first published in 1560, by John Calvin, ( claimed it was the first with verse numbers. Verse numbers. though were already added by Stephanus In his fourth edition of 1551, refuting the Calvinists claim that their Geneva Bible, was the first with verse numbers.
Calvin was convinced of the absolute authority of the Scriptures; the doctrine of unconditional predestination and hereditary depravity and he is credited with introducing congregational singing into the Reform Church of Genevas worship.
John Calvin had decidedly influenced Geneva and other cities of Switzerland and France by his preaching and writings. He died on May 26, 1564.
Henry VIII, (1491 to 1544)
Henry VIII, King of England, could not be thought of as a religious reformer nor, as a religious man. However, his desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn caused an open rupture with Rome in 1533. Although Pope Leo X, in 1521, had given Henry VIII the title “Defender of the Faith” for his defense of the sacraments against Luther’s writings, it could not go along with his divorce desire.
Being described by historians as “a tyrant who was skilled in the administration of the affairs of the kingdom, but firmly stubbornly egotistic and self-seeking in the furtherance of his own personal ends.
The church of England formed after the separation from Rome. the Church of England (is the Episcopal Church in America) and he the head of the church of England is the king (or queen) who is currently reigning.
John Knox, (1505 to 1572)
John Knox was born in Haddington, Scotland in 1505 and his early career is obscure, but undoubtedly he was ordained into the priesthood of the Catholic Church.
He first is mention as being a friend of a protestant named Wishart, who led in a revolt against the papal forces of Scotland. Wishart, was taken prisoner and burned at the stake by Cardinal Beaton on March 2, 1546. Knox was also taken prisoner, and for the next nineteen months suffered like a labourer doing menial work.
Knox was appointed as one of the royal chaplains of Edward Zupon;VI of England upon his release. Then he fled to Germany when Queen Mary came to the throne. Later he went to Geneva, where he became an ardent disciple and friend of John Calvin. In Geneva, Knox worked on the Genevan version of the English Bible, later valued highly by English Puritans.
In 1559, Knox returned to Scotland to become the great reformer of Scotland, and the founder of the Presbyterian church. Its doctrines were greatly influenced by John Calvin. It became the state religion in 1560.
The death of Knox on November 24, 1572, marked the end of a fiery career which “influenced not merely the religion but the character of the nation more than any other man in Scottish history.”