Time Line of the Reformation

The Pre-Reformation


1329-1384 Wycliff translates the Bible into the common language and in doing so, focused on salvation by grace, through faith. He trains the “Lollards” to preach in cities and towns across Britain, paving the way for the Reformation.

1309-1377 The “Babylonian Captivity” divides the Roman Church against itself with popes excommunicating each other

1373-1415 Jan Hus is burned at the stake for proclaiming salvation by faith

1380-1471 Thomas A’Kempis demonstrates a heartfelt hunger for a deeper spiritual relationship with God than formal ritual and religion provided

1453 Constantinople Falls to Islam, which brings ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament to the West, stimulating Bible scholarship

1478 The Spanish Inquisition, begun as a result of the 700 year battle with the Moors, degenerates into horrible persecution, bringing the church into disrepute

1465-1519 Johann Tetzel sells Indulgences as a way of raising funds for building churches in Rome; essentially selling release from Purgatory, again, bring the church into disrepute.


The Reformation Proper


1517 Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg Church to initiate discussion on abuses and restore the doctrine of salvation by grace, through faith.

1525 At the Diet of Worms: Luther is called before a formal tribunal with guarantees of his safety. Instead, an attempt is made to assassinate him. Some German princes support him and the Reformation is born.

1535 Henry VIII  breaks with Rome for Secular Reasons

1541 Calvin in Geneva works on his Institutes of Christian Religion, and helps reform the churches in Switzerland, Holland, Scotland France and parts of Germany


1540 Ignatius Loyola founds the Jesuits and the Counter-Reformation, attempting to stem the tide of Christians withdrawing from Rome

1545 The Council of Trent; the Roman Church formally, for the first time, repudiates the doctrines of the Reformation which had ALWAYS been a part of orthodox doctrine.

1553 “Bloody” Mary Tudor, Roman Catholic daughter of Henry VIII, persecutes Protestants, burning many famous men at the stake; e.g., Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer


1514-1572 John Knox brings the Reformation to Scotland, battling Mary, Queen of Scots

1558 Elizabeth takes the British Throne after her sister Bloody Mary dies. She establishes a “compromised” Protestant church.

1572 The French persecute Protestants, murdering thousands during the St. Bartholomew Day’s Massacre

1560-1609 Jakob Arminius repudiates key elements of Reformation doctrine, adopting the ancient heresy of semi-Pelagianism


1611 James I of England authorizes the “Kings James Bible” though he hates Protestants and persecutes them

1612 First British Arminian Baptist Church

1618 The Synod of Dort is held in the Netherlands to refute the teachings of Arminius


1620-40 Puritan Migration                to New England while Old England under Charles I engage in a Civil war. Cromwell defeats the Royalists


1633 First Calvinist Baptist Church

1643 In New England, Ann Hutchinson is thrown out of the colonies for insisting that her “spiritual” revelations are authoritative

1643-46 The Westminster Confession is written, providing a common theological document for England, Scotland and Ireland.

1603-1688 Roger Williams is thrown out of the Puritan colonies and forms the first American Baptists

1624-1691 George Fox advocates immediate experience of God and founds what is eventually known as the “Quakers.”

1647 Samuel Rutherford authors the definitive treatise on the nature of the State “LEX REX;” e.g., even the King is under the Law of God and can be held accountable to it.


The Post Reformation Period


1662 The Halfway Covenant in New England demonstrates the loss of Puritan vigor as the children and grandchildren of the original settlers cannot meet the requirements of church membership.

1605-1705 Spener develops Pietism which focuses on one’s experience of God over one’s doctrine of God

1745 The American colonies experience the First Great Awakening, which has profound impact on the development of religion.


1703-58 Jonathan Edwards

1707-1788 John Wesley

1714-1770 George Whitefield


1776-87 The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution are direct results of the English Civil War, the theology of Lex Rex, and the Great Awakening, albeit secularized.


At the turn of the 19th century, Deism and Unitarianism gain ground in intellectual circles; yet 90% of American Christians still accepted some form of Reformed Theology; less than 10% are Baptist or Methodist.