Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with english reformation


19 May 2016

The accidental revolution

by Melinda S. Zook | Issue 118

Elizabeth of EnglandBY 1530 in England, King Henry VIII (1491–1547) began to put aside the people and beliefs he had formerly trusted. His queen, Catherine of Aragon (1485–1536), was his first target, now in her forties and unable to produce the son he so desperately wanted to secure his dynasty; Henry banished her from court. 

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1473–1530), his chancellor, a powerful prince of the church on whose shoulders the king had once placed all political and diplomatic affairs, was dismissed from public office and charged with treason. Wolsey...

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30 Nov 1995

Christian History Interview — The Tradition Continues

by Alister McGrath | Issue 48

Thomas Cranmer helped bring about the English Reformation, which in turn produced the Anglican church—a church that believes it combines the best of Protestantism and Catholicism. To discuss Cranmer’s legacy in the modern world,  Christian History talked with Anglican Alister McGrath, professor of theology at Oxford University. He is author of many books, including  The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation (Blackwell, 1993).

Christian History : If Cranmer hadn’t lived, or if he had been martyred earlier, how might the English...

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30 Nov 1995

Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: Recommended Resources

by John Booty | Issue 48

Cranmer’s Life

  • Jasper Ridley, Thomas Cranmer  (Oxford, 1962). This is a full-scale, modern biography but not altogether satisfactory. It needs to be supplemented by theological studies, such as the following:
  • G.W. Bromiley, Thomas Cranmer: Archbishop and Martyr  (Church Book Room, 1955) and Thomas Cranmer: Theologian  (Oxford, 1956). These books, by the translator of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics, highlight the Protestant nature of Cranmer’s theology.
  • Patrick Collinson, Thomas Cranmer, in The English Religious Tradition and the Genius of...

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30 Nov 1995

Acrobat Theologian

by Gerald Bray | Issue 48

AFTER THE CHURCH of England broke from Rome in 1534, it needed to define what it uniquely believed. Conservatives, like King Henry VIII, wanted a church whose faith was Catholic in essentials. Many academics, particularly at Cambridge, wanted reforms that were clearly Protestant. How could these theological concerns be reconciled or balanced?

What eventually emerged was something in between, a theology that has come to characterize worldwide Anglicanism. In large part, this was the judicious work of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, a pastoral...

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30 Nov 1995

Catholic Counterpoint

by Dennis Martin | Issue 48

Most of us know about the English Reformation from the writings of those who triumphed, the Protestants. But to understand the English Reformation fully, we must also ask, what was it like to be a Catholic during this time of religious turmoil?

The question becomes more important because recent scholars of the English Reformation have argued that the English Catholic church was not as corrupt—nor the Protestant Reformation as pure-as many people believe.

To gain a broader grasp of this turbulent time,  Christian History invited Catholic...

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30 Nov 1995

Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: Christian History Timeline

by Rudolph Heinze | Issue 48

Thomas Cranmer


1489  July 2 . Born at Aslockton, Nottinghamshire, second son of small landholder

1503–11  Undergraduate studies at Jesus College, Cambridge

1515  Marries; wife dies in childbirth

1515–26  Fellow of Jesus College; ordained; university preacher; completes doctorate


1527  Henry VIII seeks to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon

1529  Cranmer suggests Henry seek university opinion on the divorce question

1530–32  Serves as an ambassador to the Continent; marries Margaret,...

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30 Nov 1995

Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: A Gallery — Reform from on High

by Don Alban, Jr. | Issue 48

Henry VIII 

Head of his church

Rarely has Europe seen a king with ecclesiastical loyalties so outspoken yet so susceptible to change as those of England’s temperamental Henry VIII.

Roman Catholicism initially found in Henry a champion, and Henry’s allegiance was expressed in both ink and blood. In 1513, the 22-year-old monarch waged a “holy war” in Europe on behalf of Pope Julius II, who had promised Henry recognition as “Most Christian King” if he would “utterly exterminate the king of France.”

Eight years later, Henry attacked...

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30 Nov 1995

Destroying the Monasteries

by Paul Ayris | Issue 48

IN THE 1530s, prior John Houghton, head of a London monastery, was considered “a last flowering, a winter rose, of English medieval [monasticism].” Houghton looked on his Carthusian monks as “angels of God,” and their monastic rule was kept with fervor. It was commonly said that if people wished to hear divine service carried out with due reverence, they should visit his London Charterhouse.

English monasteries of the 1500s were centers of Catholic devotion. They also owned large tracts of land and—in their crosses, vestments, images, and...

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30 Nov 1995

Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: Did You Know?

by the Editor | Issue 48


AS ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, Thomas Cranmer played a key role in the English Reformation. When he first heard about his appointment, though, he balked. Away in Europe, he delayed his return to England for seven weeks, hoping Henry would get impatient and appoint someone else.


Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, the liturgy of the Anglican church (including the Episcopal church), is known for its memorable expression of Christian theology. But Cranmer was only a modestly talented student, ranking thirty-second in his Cambridge class of 42.


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  • Christian History Magazine #120: Calvin, Councils, and Confessions $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #120: Calvin, Councils, and Confessions

    • Magazine
    • 2016
    • 55 Pages

    A few decades after Luther's stand for reform spread across Europe, a quiet scholarly priest made a fateful stop in Geneva. Read John Calvin's story along with the story of the divisions, martyrdoms, victories, and disappointments that marked the last half of the sixteenth century in this third issue in the Reformation series of Christian History.

  • Christian History Magazine #118: The People's Reformation $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #118: The People's Reformation

    • Magazine
    • 2016
    • 51 Pages
    • Christian History Institute

    It didn’t take long for the ideas of Luther, Zwingli, and many others to ignite a sea change in society at large: peasants revolting, priests and nuns marrying, church art destroyed, heretics on both sides persecuted by church and state, and a philandering king whose search for a male heir would birth the Church of England. Read about one of the most turbulent eras of all of history in issue #118, The People’s Reformation, the second in our Reformation series.

  • Christian History Magazine #48 - Thomas Cranmer $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #48 - Thomas Cranmer

    • Magazine
    • 1995
    • Christian History

    *REPRINT* Christian History Magazine featuring Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation.