Martin luther

Ref & Mod - by Robert Marshall Murphy

  • Oct 31, 1517

    Martin Luther

    Martin Luther
    Although initially written as an academic protest against indulgences and 94 other errors, Martin Luther's 95 Theses, as nailed to the door in Wittenburg, became a come time and place to date the beginning of the Reformation. Luther used "modern" technology (i.e. the printing press) to disseminate his ideas faster than his foes. Politics conspired to keep him alive, unlike so many others who had tried version of what he did.
  • May 25, 1521

    Diet of Worms

    Diet of Worms
    The Diet of Worms was an ecclesiastical meeting called by Emperor Charles V. Catholics thought to silence Luther's "heretical" views but he remained defiant yet reasonable in the heated discussions. Luther was secretly arrested and sequestered afterwards to protect him. He used the time to work on a german translation of the Bible, which would go on to define High German.
  • Oct 11, 1531


    Ulrich Zwingli was at the center of the Reformation in Switzerland, a region where it took on a markedly different flavor from Luther's Germany. Especially divergent were Zwingli's views of the Lord's Supper, and his greater reliance on Erasmus' teaching and methodology. Zwingli's innovations in liturgy are still with us in many protestant churches to this day.
  • Nov 8, 1534

    Act of Supremacy

    Act of Supremacy
    The English Act of Supremacy declared that king Henry VIII was the head of the Church of England, not the Pope. This clear break with Rome birthed Anglicanism, which took many but not all components of Reformed theology, but all Lutheranism and even more Erastianism. Political and personal reason motivated Henry to do it, but his subjects had long longed to be free of Rome and her allies, which were long England's enemies.
  • Jun 24, 1535


    Anabaptism or the Radical Reformation was a movement which developed after Luther that emphasized the emminant return of Christ and the need for baptism after adult conversion. The height of their folly came with the conquest and brutal loss of the torn of Münster. After that episode, they were generally pacifists, as they continue today in groups like the Mennonites.
  • Jul 12, 1536


    Desiderius Erasmus of Ratterdam died as he he lived, the consumate "humanist". He had attempted to sit astride both worlds, the Catholic and Lutheran" and ended up being hated by both. His influence could be argued among the foremost of the Reformation, as his devotion to Rationalism and Reason would carry the field in the coming generation
  • Aug 15, 1540


    The Society of Jesus, more commonly known as the Jesuits, are an order of the Catholic church started by Ignatious of Loyola who sought to found a community dedicated to the Pope, dogma and evangelism, Though they would later fall into decline and be disbanded, they came back and exist today as an important part of the Catholic Church
  • Dec 13, 1545

    Council of Trent

    Council of Trent
    The council of trent was held from December 13 1545 to december 4 1563. There were many starts and stops and it spanned three pontificates, but it came to define Catholicism as we know it in the modern world, especially in opposition to the Reformation. The reforms needed within the Catholic church came in response to Luther, but also addressed a wide variety of issues, such that modern masses are called Tridentine.
  • Jun 9, 1549

    Book of Common Prayer

    Book of Common Prayer
    After Henry the VIII died and Edward VI reigned, the needed to cease having services in Latin and standardize the Church of England lead to the publicaion of the BCP. This work was largely the production of one man, Thomas Cranmer, In later history, the book would be used as a litmus test of loyalty to the crown, and so Puritans fled fom it, but initially it was very Reformed.
  • May 27, 1564

    John Calvin

    John Calvin
    Almost a full generation after Martin Luther, John Calvin had the advantage of not needing to be so polemical and instead focusing on a systematic approach to the Reformed faith. His "Institutes of the Christian Religion" is irenic and scholarly, pastoral and educated. He almost got his wish to be in libraries all his day, but Farel prevented it. Most presbyterian and reformed churches look back to him as their founding father todqay.
  • Aug 23, 1572

    St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre

    St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre
    The French aristocracy and crown had had a very troubled relationship with the protestants in their country from the beginning, but the crowning atrocity of France was the murder of 30,000 protestants in 1572. Catherine de Medici is traditionally assigned blame. Protestantism was deemed to be bad for the crown and politically it was deemed a good time to strike as many of the wealthy protestants as possible.
  • Nov 24, 1572

    John Knox

    John Knox
    A fiery reformer, John Know initially prospered in Protestant Scotland, but the reign of Mary tudor sent him into exile, where he met John Calvin. Unfortunately, he published a scathing text while abroad which ruined his reputation for a long time. Eventually, he returned to Scotland and let the charge to reformation and presbyterianism through confessions.
  • Jun 7, 1577

    Formula of Concord

    Formula of Concord
    The Formula of Concord was a clarification of Lutheran orthodox written at the request of the Elector of Saxony to answer the growing rift within Lutheranism between those with semi-pelagian and erastian inclinations over against those with more Augustinian theology. The theology of sacraments was defined largely as being NOT what the Calvinists were.
  • King James Bible

    King James Bible
    The publication of the KJV in 1611 was initiated by James I of England. It was done by clergymen of the Church of England, but in response to complaints by English Puritans. The text was incorporated into the BCP and became the de facto starndard Bible of the English speaking for for centuries to come. Its effect on English language liturature and civilization is incalculable.
  • Canons of Dordt

    Canons of Dordt
    From 1618 to 1619 the national reformed church of Holland met regarding the controversy of the Remonstrants, those who followed after the theology of Arminius. Their five points of departure from Calvinist orthrodoxy were resoundingly defeated and debunked in the Canons of Dort, the five articles of refutation, and went on to become (in some people's minds) the defining articles of Calvinism, aka TULIP.
  • Mayflower Compact

    Mayflower Compact
    The Mayflower Compact was signed onboard the Mayflower of the shores of Cape Cod and was the first government document of the new colonies. The Puritans on the ship were fleeing the persecution of King James of England and Scotland. They had been unable to say to Virgina and so settle in New England, naming the destination after their departure point: Plymouth. The need for religious liberty would become a defining characteristic o the new american colonies
  • Westminster Assembly

    Westminster Assembly
    Called by the "long" parliament, the Westminster Assembly was a convocation of the best reformed minds in England (with observers from Scotland) . The assembly produced a Confession of Faith, which summarized the reformed faith, and later 2 catechisms, and a directory for public worship.
  • René Descartes

    René Descartes
    In 1644, Rene Descartes (1596-1650) published his Principle of Philosophy, which contained his famous maxim, I think therefore I am. Descartes struggled because he saw so much atheism in the university around him. He fought for incontestible facts that all men could agree on, and found he could not doubt that he was doubting. He represents the attempt at a Rationalist bridge by believing Christians: he was a devout Catholic.
  • Peace of Westphalia

    Peace of Westphalia
    The Peace of Westphalia ended the 30 years war which would prove to be one of the death knells of Christianity in Europe. The populations were so beleagured by religionous wars fought by those who didn't really care about theology that the continent was largely turned off of religion forever. France and Spain continued to fight, but peace was largely restored thoughout the continent.
  • Commonwealth of England

    Commonwealth of England
    After the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell's defeat of Charles I, the nation of England was declared a republic by the "rump" parliament. The interconnection of Anglicanism and the crown meant it was the Puritans and the Presbyterian who triumphed and were later defeated when the monarchy returned.
  • Blaise Pascal

    Blaise Pascal
    Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician and philosopher who has a profound experience of God in 1654 and was an ardent Jansenist afterwards. The entire Jansenist movement was an attempt to return Catholicism to its Augustinian roots, which was ultimately seen as too Calvinist and defeated.
  • George Fox

    George Fox
    George Fox founded the Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers. His movement was part of a response to liberalism and unbelief known as "spiritualism". He wanted the church to be full of holy people who did not ignore the world (an unusual juxtaposition). Their meetings were marked by the radical equality of women. For his views, Fox was imprisoned multiple times.
  • Philipp Jakob Spener

    Philipp Jakob Spener
    Spener (1635-1705) -- called the father of pietism -- was a Lutheran pastor who saw the need for greater devotion and personal holiness in his churches and so started "colleges of piety". His view got him in trouble and were picked up by the less controversial Lampe, and Zinzendorf. The movement was influential on the Brethren and Methodism.
  • David Hume

    David Hume
    David Hume (1711-1776) wrote against a priori philosophy: he was a staunch empiricist. His writings provoked deep thought in other: Kant said he awoke him from his dogmatic slumbers. Much of his influence was negative: Scottish Common Sense Realism was in reaction to him and it came to dominate american presbyterianism for two centuries.
  • Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards
    A preacher and theologian, Jonathan Edwards was a congregationalist who was probably the greatest mind America has ever produced. His career ended after a season spent as a missionary to native americans. He had just accepted the job as president of the College of New Jersey when he died of the small pox inoculation that was supposed to save him. In his time, he saw the First Great Awakening at his congregation in Northampton.
  • Immanuel Kant

    Immanuel Kant
    Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) never travelled far from his home, but his influence is felt far and wide to this day. His "solution" to the problems of metaphysics effectively smashed metaphysics for 200 years and eventually pushed enlightenment thought from modernism to postmodernism, were we find ourselves right now as a church. Spurred on by his need to refute Hume, he wrote in a way that disarmed theologians and left open the door for Schiermacherian liberalism.
  • French Republic

    French Republic
    The violet and bloody FRnech Revolution really began with the storming of the Bastille. Afterwards, the French invented their own calendar, removed Christianity as it had existed and returned to calling brutes like Marcus Aurelius good. French Republicanism was spread far and wide by the conquests of Napoleon a short while later. Their anti-Christian Rationalism still has influence today.
  • John Wesley

    John Wesley
    John Wesley was an Anglican minister who lead the charge to belief and personal holiness that eventually spawned the seperate Methodist church. He was socially active and personally pious and he preached for others to be the same. Wesley come to the United States and created a legacy of preaching in this country, along with a tradition of revivalism and conversionalism.
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher

    Friedrich Schleiermacher
    In 1799, Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) published his "To the Cultured Despisers of Religion". It was an attempt to make Christianity paletable to the educated rationalist of his day, and so relagated religion to a tiny sphere of one's life. For this innovation, he is called the Father of Liberal Christianity. His form of Christianity does not make objective truth claims per se, but focuses on experience.
  • Hegel

    G.W.F. Hegel was a German philosopher and theologian whose system of thesis-antithesis-synthesis was wildly popular in his day, though the influence has waned some now. His attempt to save the reasonableness of Christianity said that every new idea as either in reaction to what had come before or appropriated everything prior. This, of course, let the door open for Christianity to be subsumed into something greater that would come along next, so it ultimately proveto be no solution.
  • William Carey

    William Carey
    William Carey is called the Father of Modern Missions. He was a particular baptist minister who founded the Baptist Missionary Society and went to India. He translated the Bible into a plethora of Indian languages, though the fruit of his labor would not be seen til the coming generations. He met great resistence to missions, but spurred others on and was at the vanguard of a vast number who would go.
  • Lectures of Revivals of Religion

    Lectures of Revivals of Religion
    Charles Finney was an american, presbyterian minister who was a major part of the Second Great Awakening. His "new school" methodologies were opposed by the "old School" presbyterian. In 1835 he gave a lecture series which detail how -- scientifically -- one could acheive revival by the application of tried and true methods. His theology was ridiculed by members of seminary faculties.
  • Ralph Waldo Emercon

    Ralph Waldo Emercon
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (and his pupil Henry David Thoreau) are the founding fathers of a movement called Transcendentalism, which found Universal Unitarianism too conservative for their tastes! The displayed the american spirit of individualism and deism in their highest forms, embodying the views of a country, in some ways, to this day. His other works also had titles which show-cased American thinking (e.g. Self-reliance).
  • Joseph Smith

    Joseph Smith
    Joseph Smith was a treasure hunter from NY who lived in a time of religious uncertainty and misinformation. He created his own religion by mixing his imagination with Free Masonry and it has grown into the largest Christian cult in the world. Repeat revisions in the doctrine make it some the same religion he started, but it dangerous affects are still being spread actively today.
  • Kierkegaard

    Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a Danish philosopher who is said to be the first existentialist. He stressed the importance of a living vital Christianity, but from a Fideist perspective. He said the Christian is supposed to take a leap of faith, and that all of Christianity should be a risk. But above all he stressed subjectivity, which would be incorporated into post-modern mindsets in our day and age.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    Given that scholars such as Mark Noll could write books with titles like "The CIvil War as Theological Crisis" it is important to include this significant cultural event in a timeline of Christian history because of its enormous impact. The Presbyterian churc was split in four (liberal vs. conservative, north vs. south) over the Civil War and slavery, so it's forced end by the federal government shaped churches in profound ways all over this country.
  • John Henry Newman

    John Henry Newman
    A poem by this cardinal, -- "The Dream of Gerontius" -- serves to highlight his influence and popularity: it was set to music by Edward Elgar and became an oratorio. JHN was an Anglican convert to Roman Catholicism and highlights a trend in Anglicanism called the "High Church" or the Oxford Movement. Anglicanism has had three major strands for hundreds of years now.
  • David Livingstone

    David Livingstone
    David Livingstone was a medical missionary to Africa who was famous for a number of reasons. He died a martyr for the faith, brought Christianity to vast stretches of a continent, worked against slavery and pressed for economic development of the places he visited. His name is remembered with great acclaim in many countries in Africa.
  • Pope Pius IX

    Pope Pius IX
    Pope Pius IX had the longest reign of any pope in history, nearly 32 years. He marked the height of 'old school' Catholicism, where he took a marked stand against scientific progress, religious freedom, protestantism, denying magesterial dogma, denying temporal powers to the church, Eastern Orthodoxy, public school, church-state seperation, labor movements, etc. He also started Vatican I, which lead to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.
  • Charles Darwin

    Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, as first published in The Origin of Species, has been slowly growing to the most influential book of our time. The highly debatable theory is a lithmus test for Rationalist, or at least became so after the Skope monkey trials. Darwin left little room for God in his explanation of creation, and no room for a creator who does not use death.
  • Azusa Street Revival

    Azusa Street Revival
    Pentecostalism (and later Charismaticism) was sparked by the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles CA. The miraculous gifts of speaking in tongues was rediscovered after 1900 years of absense . Other similar events had already happened and were happening worldwide and the spread of the largest kind of Christianity went outwards to dominate the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • World Missionary Conference

    World Missionary Conference
    The 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh was the high point in the evangelical push to send missionaries all over the world and the beginning of the slow start towards protestant unity in the 20th century. In 2010, commemorative meetings were held in Tokyo and Cape Town.
  • Billy Graham

    Billy Graham
    Billy Graham is a evangelist/preacher who had an enormous impact on the world by touring all over the planet, preaching revival and conversion. His speeches have converted more people to Christ, perhaps than any other person ever. He is not a fundamentalist but broadly evangelical, and helped spread that flavor of Christianity.
  • Karl Barth

    Karl Barth
    Karl Barth (1886-1968) founded a school of theology called Neo-Orthodoxy. It could be best summarized as a revival within liberal christianity. Barth burst onto the scene in 1922 with the publication of his commentary on Romans. WWI had produced a crisis of faith in Europe, and many liberals were finding that their faith could not sustain them. Barth returned to God, but without a complete rewrite of the underlying philsophy.
  • J. Gresham Machen

    J. Gresham Machen
    The Fundamentalist Modernist controversy is best embodied in J. Gresham Machen, who lead the charge to preserve orthodoxy at princeton seminary and had to leave and start the OPC. His book CHRISTIANITY AND LIBERALISM is a resounding proof that liberalism is not a flavor of christianity but another religion all together. A devisive spirit however, lead to the splintering of his movement and a loss of influence in the culture.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    (1906-1945) was a Lutheran pastor and theologian who saw the evils of the Nazi party developing around him and championed Christ in the midst of it. He fled for a time to American but ultimately returned to Germany despite the danger. He was part of a plot to assasinate Hitler, but was caught and eventually hanged. He best fits in the category of neo-orthodoxy, that is, a revived liberal.
  • World Council of Churches

    World Council of Churches
    The World Council of Churches is an attempt to have unity among Christians around the globe, except for Catholics who would only send advisors. The movement is critisized for its lack of doctrine, as if unity existed only for unity's sake. After WWII the Faith and Order Movement and the Life and Work movements united. Even the Eastern Orthodox were pursuaded to join.
  • Vatican II

    Vatican II
    After the declaration of Papal Infallibility, many thought there would never be another council of the Catholic Church, but Pope John XXIII called it anyway. The moves to modernize the church were vast and sweeping. The liturgy was updated and came to include the vernacular languages instead of latin. Moves towards recognizing other Christian churches were made,
  • C.S. Lewis

    C.S. Lewis
    Clive Staples Lewis died the same day as JFK but he was quite unlike the spirit of his age. A medieval academic, he wrote books and stories which were apologia for the Christian faith and have been very instrumental right through the present in bringing millions to faith in Christ. His childrens books continue to be read. He was an Anglican, but championed what he called MERE CHRISTIANITY.
  • Martin Luther King Jr.

    Martin Luther King Jr.
    Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American pastor who fought for civil rights for Americans from a religious point of view. He was a theological liberal. He followed the example set by Ghandi in India and championed non-violent advancement. In 1964 he won the Nobel Peace prize and his famous I HAVE A DREAM speech is widely studied today.