Top 10 Successful Reformation Leaders

During the reformation era, many leaders who went against the Catholic Church were deemed heretics and were excommunicated. Others were burned at the stake. One particular scientist was put on trial and sentenced to house arrest for going against the church. Who are the people that stood up to the ‘tyrants’ of that time? Let’s name a few.


1. Martin Luther:

He posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Church of Wittenberg. He was strongly against the indulgences that the Catholic Church imposed. He also believed that church was corrupt, noting the many problems of the Priests. Salvation for him was not also earned by good deeds, but by gift of God.


2. John Wynthrop:

He believed in God having a divine purpose for the colony of Massachusetts. He even wrote a sermen called “A Model of Christian Charity.” He was known for his radical reformation thought and was quite successful in transitioning from the Old to the New World.


3. Galileo Galilei:

The debate surrounded a conflict between Copernican science and Aristotelian science of heliocentricism vs. geocentricism. Galileo articulated his scientific views backing up Copernicus in a 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany. The catholic church used this letter as the basis of the first Church trial and censure against him. His hope to reconcile faith and science was cut short when he was put on trial; twice. After trial, he was ordered to serve house arrest for his “crimes”. John Paul II, in the late 1990s, finally recognized Gailei and his work, so he did not die in vain.


4. John Calvin:

Calvin is only a year apart in his reformation methods as Martin Luther. Calvin was successful at creating many churches from French Hugenots to the English Puritans to Scottish Presbyterians. He was a fundamental believer in predestination.


5. Henry VIII:

This British king and monarch decided to rid his country of the Catholic Church when they refused to grant him divorce from his first wife. He eventually did so, remarried Ann Boleyn and put himself as head of the Anglican church.


6. John Knox:

John Knox is the leader of the reformation in Scotland. He is also the founder of the Presbyterian Church. He was an influential leader who worked under Edward VI. After Scotland’s break with Rome in 1560, he created the Kirk (now known as Church of Scotland).


7. Queen Isabella:

When her brother died, Queen Isabella ascended the throne of Queen in Spain in 1474. She played an important part in the Reformation of the Catholic Church and the exploration of the New World. She favored the Spanish cardinal over the Roman one when given power to appoint ecclesiastical posts. Her inquisition led to the purging of heretics. It used unjust rules and torture to prosecute Jews, Moors and Protestants for their beliefs.


8. Martin Bucer:

He was a Protestant reformer who influenced Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican doctrines. He is better known as the father of ecumenism which aimed for greater Christian unity.


9. Ulrich Zwingli:

He led the reformation in Switzerland. Being critical of the Swiss Mercantile System, he attended university and majored in humanism. In 1518, he began to preach against the church, attacking the custom of fasting during Lent. Legacy wise, he was a friendly man who influenced a number of people in Reformation. He was well loved by his people.


10. Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus:

This Dutch humanist and theologian was also successful in the reformation era. He took a middle approach to Reformation, siding with no one. The counter-reformation leaders condemned him for starting the reformation. He did not leave the church, but was weary and critical of it.


About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.