Protestant Reformers

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Fictitious dispute between leading Protestant reformers (sitting at the left side of the table: Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, and Oecolampadius) and representatives of the Catholic Church, surrounded by important Protestant reformers

Protestant Reformers were those theologians, churchmen, and statesmen whose careers, works, and actions brought about the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. Historically speaking, "Protestant" was the name given to those theologians, magnates, and delegations present at the Holy Roman Imperial Diet of Speyer in 1529 who protested the revocation of the suspension, granted at a prior Diet of Speyer in 1526, of Edict of Worms of 1521, which had outlawed Martin Luther and his followers.

The meaning of the label "Protestant" widened over time to embrace all Western Christians as distinguished from the Roman Catholic Church, except for the Anabaptists and other Radical Reformers. This reflected the widening spread of the Protestant Reformation over Europe into diversifying movements like Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Calvinism, and Arminianism.


There were a number of people who contributed to the development of the Reformation, but lived before it, including:

Magisterial Reformers[edit]

There were a number of key reformers within the Magisterial Reformation, including:

Radical Reformers[edit]

Reformers of the Radical Reformation and the Anabaptist movement included:

Second Front Reformers[edit]

There were also a number of people who initially cooperated with the Radical Reformers, but separated from them to form a "Second Front", principally in objection to sacralism. Among these were:

Counter Reformers[edit]

Roman Catholics who worked against the Protestant Reformation included:

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • George, Timothy. Theology of the Reformers. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1988. N.B.: Comparative studies of the various leaders of the Magisterial and Radical movements of the 16th century Protestant Reformation.