The Reformation Movement a time period in history starting in 1517 was a protest against the Roman Catholic church, but it never led to the return of the New Testament Church.
Some of the men of the Reformation Movement:
- Martin Luther, (1483 to 1546)
- Philip Melanchthon, (1479 to 1560)
- John Calvin, (1509 to 1564)
- Henry VIII, (1491 to 1544)
- John Knox, (1505 to 1572)
In 1517, Martin Luther spoke out against one of the greatest of abuses, the sale of indulgences. The papacy had been issuing the sale of indulgences since 1506 for the building of the new basilica of Saint Peter’s Cathedral.
Johan Tetzel was commissioned to sell these indulgences. Tetzel has been described as an unscrupulous, supersalesman of indulgences. Tetzel replied at once to the protest of the challenging Luther and stirred up others for his defense against Luther.
One of the most formidable opponents of Luther was Johann Maier of Eck, professor of theology in the University of Ingolstadt, who branded Luther as a heretic.
Johann influenced the pope to issue a bull (a formal papal document) of condemnation, which was published on June 15, 1520. Luther’s reply was to publicly burn the papal bull in the presence of the students and townspeople of Wittenberg.
Martin Luther further preached on the abuse of indulgences and on October 31, 1517, nailed to the door of All-Saints church in Wittenberg Saxony, now Germany, his famous ninety-five theses against the sale of indulgences.
Luther is credited with starting the Reformation Movement, which was protested by the Pope, and led to his excommunication from the Roman church.
Luther went on teaching and preaching and later after his death a movement came into establishing the Lutheran church.
John Calvin, (1509 to 1564) was another prominent reformer at that time. 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. Calvin like the Roman church had some burned at the stake, notable Michael Servetus, and Jacques Gruet he had beheaded.
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.
John Knox, (1505 to 1572) 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.
In time after many involvements he Later 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 in and around the time of 1560. Its doctrines were greatly influenced by John Calvin. The Presbyterian Church became the state religion.
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.”
A more in depth on the Reformation Movement can be read in the Church History category:
With the Precedent Set By The Catholic Church of establishing an institution completely different than the New Testament church, it set forth the idea, (A You Name It Church) could be started. Hence into the high thousandth of unscriptural churches of today.