Protestant Reformers

Protestant Reformers were those theologians whose careers, works and actions brought about the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.

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

In the context of the Reformation, Martin Luther was the first reformer (sharing his views publicly in 1517), followed by people like Andreas Karlstadt and Philip Melanchthon at Wittenberg, who promptly joined the new movement. In 1519, Huldrych Zwingli became the first reformer to express a form of the Reformed tradition.

Listed are the most influential reformers only. They are listed by movement, although some reformers (e.g. Martin Bucer) influenced multiple movements.

For a full and detailed list of all known reformers, see List of Protestant Reformers.

Notable precursorsEdit

Throughout the Middle Ages, there were a number of Christian sects, cults and movements that sought a return to the purity of the Apostolic church and whose teachings foreshadowed Protestant ideas.[1] Some of the main groups were: Paulicians (6th to 9th centuries); Tondrakians (9th to 11th centuries); Bogomils (11th century); Petrobrusians (12th century); Henricans (12th century); Brethren of the Free Spirit (13th century); Apostolic Brethren – later known as Dulcinians – (13th to 14th centuries); Neo-Adamites – including Taborites, Picards and some Beghards – (13th to 15th centuries); Men of Understanding (15th century).

Some of those whose doctrines influenced later Protestant movements were:







Magisterial ReformersEdit

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






Radical ReformersEdit

Important reformers of the Radical Reformation included:



Second Front ReformersEdit

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 ReformersEdit

Roman Catholics who worked against the Protestant Reformation included:

Roman CatholicEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Broadbent, E.H. (1931). The Pilgrim Church. Basingstoke: Pickering & Inglis. ISBN 0720806771.

Further readingEdit

  • 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.