Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with reformers

Timeline

In Context

  1. Truth conquers all things.
    Jan Hus (ca. 1369–1415), in a letter to Christian of Prachatice
  2. To be ignorant of the Scripture is the same thing as to be ignorant of Christ.
    John Wycliffe (ca. 1324–1384), from On the Truth of the Holy Scripture.

Study Modules

Productions

DVDs

  • John Wycliff: Morningstar

    1984

    John Wycliff, a dramatic film, played in theaters around the world. It tells the story of a great, 14th-century reformer.

    AWARDS

    • Best Film of the Year from the Christian Film Distribution Association.

    Learn More

  • The Reformation Overview

    1995

    The Reformation Overview is a set adapted from six films which between them have won over thirty prestigious international film awards. Included are Wycliffe, Hus, Zwingli, Luther, Calvin, the Sattlers, and Tyndale.

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  • Wesley: A Heart Transformed

    2010

    Step into eighteenth-century England and experience the transformation of one man, whose heart-wrenching search for peace haunts him even as he pours himself into a life of service and evangelism. Filled with adventure and romance, John’s story would be rich material for a screenplay, even without his remarkable faith journey! When combined with his fierce struggle to find lasting peace, you have a gripping tale that leaves the viewer contemplating faith, grace, sin and salvation as never before. In Wesley: A Heart Transformed Can Change the World we follow John’s journey from England to America and back again in search of grace.

    AWARDS

    • American Pixel Academy FEXY AWARD - Winner- for CGI Special Effects (Platinum)
    • 31st ANNUAL TELLY AWARDS - Winner- Religion & Spirituality (Silver), History & Biography (Bronze), CGI/Special Effects (Bronze), Lighting (Bronze)
    • International Christian Media Visual Media Festival Crown Awards - Winner- Best Drama over $250K (Silver), Best Picture (Bronze)
    • Platinum Remi Award - Won at the 44th Worldfest Houston in April 2011

    Learn More

Articles

19 May 2016

Bride of the Reformation

by Edwin Woodruff Tait | Issue 118

Basel was a bustling hub of commerce and culture in the early sixteenth century. From all over Europe, students flocked to its university, and writers brought their books to its presses. Military wife Margareta Rosenblatt and her daughter Wibrandis (1504–1564) lived there and moved in university-educated circles, where Wibrandis picked up German, Latin, and a husband, Ludwig Keller, whom she married in 1524 at the age of 20. Two years later Keller was dead. 

Wibrandis soon became attracted to the Reformation teachings proclaimed by...

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19 May 2016

A motley, fiery crew

by David C. Steinmetz and Edwin Woodruff Tait | Issue 118

Martin BucerMARTIN BUCER (1491–1551)

Next to Luther and Melancthon, Bucer was the most important leader of Protestantism in Germany, and in his own time one of the most influential religious figures on the continent. He was instrumental in bringing Luther and Zwingli together for their fateful confrontation at Marburg, a leader in colloquies between Protestants and Roman Catholics, and generally spoke for moderate Protestants in Europe, who sought ecumenical solutions in a time of confessional conflict.

Though his father was only a poor cobbler, Bucer...

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18 Aug 2015

Course corrections

by Patricia Janzen Loewen | Issue 115

The Pardoner in Geoffrey Chaucer’s fourteenth-century Canterbury Tales explains the wares he’s peddling thus:

Then show I forth my hollow crystal-stones,
Which are crammed full of rags, aye, and of bones;
Relics are these, as they think, every one.
Then I’ve in latten [metal] box a shoulder bone
Which came out of a holy Hebrew’s sheep.

After showing his beautiful relic containers, the Pardoner then describes his relics’ powers. Livestock will be cured of snakebites and pox. Increased wealth is guaranteed. Husbands who are jealous of their...

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15 Nov 2003

Why the Reformers Read the Fathers

by the Editors | Issue 80

The Reformers taught “Sola Scriptura,” which meant every person became their own Bible interpreter, right?

Wrong. We asked noted Reformation scholar David Steinmetz of Duke Divinity School about this. In this excerpt from our interview, he reminds us that the reformers strove to ensure their own interpretations of Scripture matched those of the fathers.

"T he Reformation is an argument not just about the Bible but about the early Christian fathers, whom the Protestants wanted to claim. This is one of those things that is so obvious nobody...

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15 Nov 2002

Did the Reformers Reject Copernicus?

by Owen Gingerich | Issue 76

FROM THE START, Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentric system, described in his De Revolutionibus, met opposition from Catholics and Protestants alike. Critics attacked his new cosmology with a number of Scripture passages:

Psalm 19: “He set the tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it.”

Psalm 93: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm, thy throne firm from of old.”

...

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15 Aug 2001

Forgotten Reformer

by Robert D. Linder | Issue 71

NO TOURIST IN GENEVA can miss the impressive Reformation Monument with its four towering figures: John Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Theodore Beza, and John Knox. Some visitors might even notice a series of reliefs on the statue’s base, which depict various scenes from the Genevan Reformation. Yet only a sharp-eyed observer is likely to spot in one of the reliefs a spare man with a long beard preaching to a crowd of intent listeners: Pierre Viret, now virtually forgotten among the major reformers.

A changed man

Viret was born in the obscure...

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30 Nov 2000

Jan Hus: From the Editors — Accidental Radical

by Elesha Coffman | Issue 68

J an Hus has a tendency to get lost. Following Peter Waldo and John Wyclif but preceding Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli, he occupies nebulous and seldom discussed territory. Even Christian History has scarcely mentioned him since a prototype (developed to accompany Gateway Films’ Jan Hus video) with only a handful of photocopied issues still in circulation. In our magazine as in his era, Hus appeared before the world was ready for him.

That Hus is so largely forgotten outside his native Czech Republic is perhaps as great an...

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30 Nov 2000

Jan Hus: A Gallery of Foes in High Places

by Maartje M. Abbenhuis | Issue 68

Zbynek Zajic of Hazmburk (c. 1378-1411)


Archbishop and archenemy Zbynek had exactly one qualification for the highest ecclesiastical office in Bohemia: money. He purchased the archbishopric in 1402 for 2,800 gulden, plus 1,480 gulden to cover the debts left by his two predecessors. Merely 25 years old, he lacked the education, theological training, or maturity to handle the demands of his new job.

Despite his inexperience, however, this ex-soldier had faith, enthusiasm, and an earnest desire to do God's work. At first, Zbynek and Hus got...

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28 Feb 1997

William Wilberforce and the Abolition of the Slave Trade: Recommended Resources

by the Editors | Issue 53

HISTORY, like everything else, has become multimedia. When it comes to learning about the past, books are still the main course, but increasingly there are a variety of dishes upon which history is served. Beginning with this issue, we’re going to make an even greater effort to make readers aware of the best books, movies, recordings, CDs, and Web sites related to the topic. Here’s what we've come up with on Wilberforce and British social reform.

On and by Wilberforce

You’d expect a man as great as William Wilberforce to generate some fine...

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28 Feb 1997

Education: Classrooms in Hell

by Kelvin D. Crow | Issue 53

O NE DAY IN 1780, Robert Raikes’s newspaper business took him to an impoverished suburb of Gloucester. He was shocked to see so many children “wretchedly ragged, at play in the street.” He asked a local woman about this.

"On a Sunday you would be shocked indeed,” she replied, “for then the street is filled with multitudes of the wretches who, released on that day from employment, spend their day in noise and riot . . . cursing and swearing in a manner so horrid as to convey . . . an idea of hell.”

In 1700s England, it was generally agreed...

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28 Feb 1997

A Gallery of Aristocratic Activists

by Bruce Hindmarsh | Issue 53

WHEN AFTER MUCH STRUGGLE and effort, the abolition bill passed in 1807, William Wilberforce said to his friend Henry Thornton, “Well, Henry, what shall we abolish next?”

The comment illustrates Wilberforce’s innate optimism, but the “we” also reveals something. Though he was probably the greatest social reformer of the 1800s, he never worked alone.

When he was converted to evangelical faith in 1785, Wilberforce soon found himself at the center of a group of well-connected and well-heeled individuals. This group, called the Clapham Sect,...

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28 Feb 1997

From the Editor — Fishing for Compassion

by Mark Galli | Issue 53

PESSIMISM REIGNS, and for good reason. Inner cities are war zones. Pornography is manufactured unchecked. Blacks and whites stare at each other across the O. J. Simpson courtroom, each unable to fathom what the other is thinking. The prison population is exploding. The poor are getting poorer. The most helpless and powerless are aborted not just by the thousands but by the millions.

Depending on one’s political views, the enemy is on the left—radicals ensconced in the universities and the nation’s capitol. Or the enemy is on the right—the...

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30 Nov 1995

A Tale of Two Martyrs

by John Foxe | Issue 48

DR. RIDLEY, entering the place [of execution] first, earnestly holding up both his hands, looked towards heaven; then shortly after, seeing Mr. Latimer, with a cheerful look, he ran to him and embraced him, saying, “Be of good heart, brother, for God will either assuage the fury of the flame, or else strengthen us to abide it.”

He then went to the stake, and, kneeling down, prayed with great fervor, while Mr. Latimer following, kneeled also, and prayed with like earnestness. After this, they arose and conversed together, and, while thus...

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31 May 1995

John Knox and the Scottish Reformation: Recommended Resources

by Iain Torrance | Issue 46

The Scottish Reformation

  • Nigel Cameron, David Wright, David Lachman, and Donald Meek, editors, Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology  (InterVarsity, 1993). A remarkably rich and useful source, covering all of Scottish church history and theology.
  • Ian B. Cowan, The Scottish Reformation: Church and Society in Sixteenth Century Scotland  (St. Martin’s, 1982). One of the best studies of the social background of the Scottish Reformation.
  • Gordon Donaldson, The Scottish Reformation  (Cambridge, 1960, 1972). For many years the standard....

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31 May 1995

John Knox and the Scottish Reformation: Christian History Interview — Prophet Without Honor?

by David F. Wright | Issue 46

Woman hater. Fanatic. Ruthless revolutionary. Such charges have been made against John Knox. What is his legacy, both negative and positive? What can Christians today learn from his life and teachings? We put these questions to David F. Wright, former dean of the faculty of divinity at the University of Edinburgh and a longtime editorial adviser for  Christian History

How do people today view John Knox?

Knox has a bad press in Scotland nowadays. He’s become a bogey figure blamed for various ills. He’s thought of as a misogynist, a woman...

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31 May 1995

John Knox and the Scottish Reformation: A Gallery of Martyrs and Architects

by J. Stephen Lang | Issue 46

Patrick Hamilton 
(1504?—1528)

First Protestant martyr

Scotland’s first Protestant martyr was a member of the mighty Hamilton family. While some Hamilton men grew rich from their powerful positions in the church, Patrick did something different: he began to take his faith seriously.

While studying at Scotland’s St. Andrews University, he became attracted to the views of Martin Luther. He wrote a book that was condemned as heretical and for a time he took refuge in Germany. He quickly returned to Scotland and began preaching the Protestant...

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31 May 1992

What Was Luther’s World Like?

by James M. Kittelson | Issue 34

LUTHER LIVED IN EXCITING TIMES, the era of Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Copernicus, and Columbus. Even today, the splendor of life at a Renaissance court excites the imagination.

However, the young man and his family were utterly untouched by the era’s larger events. Not a single Luder was aware of Columbus’s voyages. None knew of the glories of Renaissance art and literature until much later. Instead, they endured the harsh realities of life in northern Europe, where violence was part of everyday life.

A local drought, a terribly...

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31 May 1992

From the Editor: Dwarfed By a Giant

by Kevin A. Miller | Issue 34

MARTIN LUTHER needs no introduction. “In most big libraries,” writes historian John M. Todd, “books by and about Martin Luther occupy more shelf room than those concerned with any other human being except Jesus of Nazareth.”

Historians track gradual and complex processes, so they hesitate to attribute too much significance to any single individual. With Luther, there’s little danger of overdoing it.

Consider these statements by historian Kurt Aland: “...with Martin Luther’s posting of the Theses on October 31, 1517, the proud structure of...

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31 May 1992

Martin Luther’s Early Years: Did You Know?

by Herbert K. Jacobsen | Issue 34

AT BIRTH, Martin Luther’s name was Martin Luder . He later changed it to the more academically respectable Luther .

Christopher Columbus set sail when Luther was in grammar school. Michelangelo was completing his Sistine Chapel ceiling as Luther began teaching theology.

Luther had probably eight siblings, yet only one of Luther’s brothers (Jacob) and only three of his sisters survived to adulthood.

As a schoolboy, Luther preferred music to any other subject, and he became proficient at playing the lute. He gave away his lute when he entered...

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28 Feb 1989

Caspar Schwenckfeld von Ossig: From the Publisher

by the Editors | Issue 21

This is the kind of issue we love to do at Christian History—an issue about a figure whom you should know about, but who has been practically forgotten in the shuffle of Church history.

Caspar Schwenckfeld  (yes, his name sounds strange) was a reformer who fell out of favor with the “mainstream” of the Reformation. He did not wish to found a Church or separate movement; he had no interest in having political muscle behind his doctrines. He wanted spiritual  reform—in the inner Christian life. He believed in the purging of error from the...

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30 Nov 1987

Where Did Tyndale Get His Theology?

by Donald Dean Smeeton | Issue 16

CONSIDERING how much at variance he was with the predominant theology of his day, it’s fairly amazing that so many people today would consider Tyndale’s theology so excellent on so many points: on justification and sanctification; on which books are canonical; on the Lord’s Supper; on vernacular Scripture; on theology’s need to be practical and down-to-earth; on his concern for the poor and his conviction that the corruption of riches had sidetracked the church from its true spiritual role; and on several others.

Even though during his own...

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30 Nov 1986

Pastor of Geneva

by Olivier Fatio | Issue 12

ONE IS ACCUSTOMED to speaking of Calvin as the Reformer of Geneva. It would be more precise, perhaps, to call him the pastor of Geneva, because Calvin was above all a pastor, and his work as a reformer was simply the extension of his pastoral ministry.

In fact, Calvin was not really prepared for pastoral ministry. Everyone knows how he was pushed in to it one fine day in July, 1536, by Guillaume Farel. Why did Farel take an interest in this 27—year—old, a lawyer, humanist, and self-taught theologian? Because for some months, the cultured...

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15 Feb 1986

Christian liberty: the Puritans in Britain and America

by Robert Norris | Issue 9

IN 1559, a number of clergymen returned to England from exile in Europe. They were members of the Church of England, who had taken refuge there to escape the persecution of Protestants in Queen Mary’s reign. Mary had rejected the reformation of the church that had taken place under her father, Henry VI11. She wanted to restore the English church to the folds of Roman Catholicism, and to enforce her wishes she had burned those people who opposed her. With her death and the ascension to the throne of Elizabeth, a Protestant, many of the...

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15 Feb 1986

Protest and renewal: Reformers before the Reformation

by Alan Kreider | Issue 9

‘THEY GO ABOUT TWO BY TWO, barefoot, clad in woollen garments, owning nothing, holding all things common like the apostles, naked, following a naked Christ. They are making their first moves now in the humblest manner because they cannot launch an attack. If we admit them, we shall be driven out.’ So wrote twelfth-century churchman Walter Map in response to the early Waldensians. His words illustrate how eager were the late medieval ‘heretics’ to experience in their own time the vitality of the earliest Christians. They show too that...

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31 Jul 1984

Zwingli - Father of the Swiss Reformation

by the Editors | Issue 4

THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY year of the birth of Ulrich Zwingli is a good time to take a new look at the Zurich reformer who died with a sword in his hand fighting for freedom to preach biblical faith.

The Swiss historian Wilhelm Oechsli observed that if Zwingli was not the most important character in Swiss history, he was surely the most audacious and most colorful.

Zwingli, bred a mountain man, was an amazing combination of intellect, passion, and wit. He was political to the core. But central to understanding his life and work is the fact that...

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Blog Posts

Products

  • Reformation Teaching Kit $50.00

    Reformation Teaching Kit

    • Other
    • 2015-2017
    • All
    • Christian History Institute

    Our most popular Reformation items in one convenient set. Includes the DVDs This Changed Everything and Reformation Overview, Christian History Magazine issues #115, #118, #120, and #122, and the Reformation Fold-Out Timeline. Downloadable PDF guides included on both DVDs!

    Details
  • Reformation Four Pack $15.00

    Reformation Four Pack

    • Magazine
    • 2015-2017
    • Christian History Institute

    A perfect visual introduction to the Reformation! Includes these four issues of Christian History Magazine: #115 Martin Luther and the Reformation, #118 The People's Reformation, #120 Calvin, Councils, and Confessions, and #122 The Catholic Reformation. Order 10 or more, and the price will adjust to $10 per four pack!

    Details
  • 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.

    Details
  • Knox $14.99

    Knox

    • DVD
    • 77 Minutes
    • All
    • 2015

    Presented by Scottish actor Phillip Todd, “Knox” takes another look at the life and legacy of one of the church’s great reformers. Follow in the footsteps of John Knox as he makes his epic journey from Catholic priest to a passionate Protestant preacher facing down the most famous Scottish queen of all time.

    Details
  • Christian History Magazine - #28 - 100 Most Important Events in Church History $5.00

    Christian History Magazine - #28 - 100 Most Important Events in Church History

    • Magazine
    • 1990

    Newly Reprinted! Christian History Magazine #28 features the 100 Most Important Events in Church History, includes fold-out timeline.

    Details
  • 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.

    Details
  • Christian History Magazine #21 - Caspar Schwenckfeld:  Forgotten Reformer $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #21 - Caspar Schwenckfeld: Forgotten Reformer

    • Magazine
    • 1989
    • Christian History Institute

    Christian History Magazine featuring Caspar Schwenckfeld: Forgotten Reformer

    Details
  • Christian History Magazine #12 - Calvin $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #12 - Calvin

    • Magazine
    • 1986

    Christian History Magazine featuring John Calvin.

    Details
  • Christian History Magazine #3 - John Wycliffe $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #3 - John Wycliffe

    • Magazine
    • 1983
    • Christian History Institute

    *REPRINT!* Christian History Magazine featuring John Wycliffe.

    Details
  • Christian History Magazine #68 - John Hus $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #68 - John Hus

    • Magazine
    • 2000
    • Christian History

    *LIMITED QUANTITIES AVAILABLE!* Christian History Magazine featuring John Hus.

    Details
  • Zwingli And Calvin $7.99

    Zwingli And Calvin

    • DVD
    • 30 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 1994
    • Christian History

    This program covers the 16th century Swiss Reformation, its key centers of Zurich and Geneva, and its central leaders, Zwingli and Calvin—two theologians who led tumultuous lives.

    Details
  • History Of Christianity - With PDFs $19.99

    History Of Christianity - With PDFs

    • DVD
    • 159 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2000
    • Samford University

    This is a survey course designed to further stimulate your curiosity by providing glimpses of some of the pivotal events in the spread Christianity and sketches of great Christian figures who have significantly affected Christian history thereby shaping the history of the world.

    Details
  • Reformation Overview (W/ PDFs) $19.99

    Reformation Overview (W/ PDFs)

    • DVD
    • 160 Minutes
    • Drama
    • All
    • 1995
    • Christian History Institute

    This series covers the key reformers: John Wycliffe, John Hus, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, The Anabaptists, and William Tyndale. Includes curriculum in pdf.

    Details
  • Here I Stand: Martin Luther $15.99

    Here I Stand: Martin Luther

    • DVD
    • 2002
    • All
    • T. N. Mohan

    It is claimed that there have been more books written about Martin Luther than anyone else other than Jesus Christ. He is one of those few who can be proclaimed indisputably a "hinge of history."

    Details
  • God's Outlaw: The Story Of William Tyndale $11.99

    God's Outlaw: The Story Of William Tyndale

    • DVD
    • 93 Minutes
    • Drama
    • All
    • 1988

    A true story, God's Outlaw is about international politics, church intrigue, cold-blooded betrayal, and false justice ending in a criminal's death. But it's also about victorious faith and spiritual triumph over some of the greatest political and religious forces known in the 16th century.

    Details
  • Martin Luther $11.99

    Martin Luther

    • DVD
    • 105 Minutes
    • Drama
    • All
    • 2002
    • Lutheran Film Associates

    The dramatic black and white classic film of Martin Luther's life made in the 1950s.

    Details