Church History

A History of Christ's Church

History must not be left to the past, it must live. History does not live in dusty old books on shelves and must not be confined to forgotten corridors in the mind. History must be lived in the hearts of the present. It serves not merely to inform us concerning the facts of the past, but its value is realized in its power to testify to God’s faithfulness and man’s dereliction. Rightly perceived, history is the legacy of God’s sovereign providence in route to glory. ;xNLx;;xNLx;All history belongs to God, but not all history is equal. We are stewards of history—and since the very days of Christ and the apostles, no history is more central than that of the Reformation. For more information, see our [Reformation Stewards website](

1304-01-01 00:00:00

Petrarch is born

Considered "the father of humanism" who seeded the Renaissance.

1324-01-01 00:00:00

John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe (1324-1384), also spelled Wyclif, lived almost 200 years before the Reformation, but his beliefs and teachings closely match those of Luther, Calvin and other Reformers. As a man ahead of his time, historians have called Wycliffe the Morning star of the Reformation.

1369-10-01 00:00:00

Jan Hus

Hus would become a hero to Luther and many other Reformers, for Hus preached key Reformation themes (like hostility to indulgences) a century before Luther drew up his 95 Theses. But the Reformers also looked to Hus’s life, in particular, his steadfast commitment in the face of the church’s cunning brutality.

1415-11-28 00:00:00

Jan Hus burned at the stake

John Huss was condemned and executed as a heretic.

1456-08-01 00:00:00

Gutenberg Printing Press

Johannes Gutenberg intents the first movable-type printing press in Mainz, Germany

1483-11-10 00:00:00

Martin Luther

A German theologian, an Augustinian monk, and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions. Luther's call to the Church to return to the teachings of the Bible led to the formation of new traditions within Christianity and to the Counter-Reformation, the Roman Catholic reaction to these movements.

1484-01-01 00:00:00

Ulrich Zwingli

Huldreich Zwingli Huldreich (or Ulrich) Zwingli (1484-1531) was the leader of the Swiss Reformation, and founder of the Swiss Reformed Churches. Independent from Martin Luther, Zwingli arrived at similar conclusions in his own personal study of the Scriptures. Zwingli is perhaps best known today for his teaching that the Lord's Supper is purely symbolic, as opposed to the Transubstantiation view of Roman Catholicism or the Consubstantiation view adopted by Luther -- there was great animosity between Martin Luther and he on this issue.

1491-11-11 00:00:00

Martin Bucer

Bucer was born at Schlettstadt in Alsace (today Sélestat, in France). In 1506 he entered the Dominican order, and was sent to study at Heidelberg. There he became acquainted with the works of Erasmus and Luther, and was present at a disputation of the latter with some of the Romanist doctors. He became a convert to the reformed opinions, abandoned his order by papal dispensation in 1521, and soon afterwards married a nun, Elisabeth Silbereisen.

1492-08-23 09:16:24

Christopher Columbus sails to the Americas

1494-02-01 00:00:00

William Tyndale

William Tyndale William Tyndale (ca.1484 - October 6, 1536) was a 16th century priest and scholar who translated the Bible into an early form of "modern" English. Although some English translations had been previously made, Tyndale's was the first to take advantage of the new medium of print, which allowed for its wide distribution. Forbidden to work in England, Tyndale translated and printed in English the New Testament and half the Old Testament between 1525 and 1535 in Germany and the Low Countries. He worked from the Greek and Hebrew original texts when knowledge of those languages in England was rare.

1509-10-01 00:00:00

John Calvin

John Calvin (1509-1564) was a prominent French theologian during the Protestant Reformation and the father of the theological system known as Calvinism. Martin Luther and Calvin are arguably the most significant architects of the Reformation. "If Luther sounded the trumpet for reform, Calvin orchestrated the score by which the Reformation became a part of Western civilization."

1513-10-01 00:00:00

John Knox

Scottish religious reformer who was the leading figure in reforming the Church in Scotland in Presbyterianism. He died in Edinburgh on November 24, 1572.

1516-08-01 00:00:00

Greek New Testament

Erasmus publishes the Greek New Testament

1517-02-08 04:24:30

Luther posts his 95 theses

This is now widely commemorated as the official spark of the Reformation

1520-08-01 00:00:00

Luther Burns Papal Bull

Luther publishes his three Reformation tracts and burns the papal bull

1521-04-17 10:00:00

Diet of Worms

After Martin Luther (1483–1546), a professor at the University of Wittenberg in Germany, nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in 1517, the church excommunicated him in January 1521, but agreed to hear his arguments that spring. On April 17, 1521, Luther came to the Diet of Worms to state his case; however, the assembly refused to hear him and demanded that he recant his writings. After a night of prayer, the next day Luther boldly refused to recant, stating, “I am bound by the Scriptures I have cited, for my conscience is captive to the Word of God.… I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand, may God help me. Amen.” The fire of Reformation would continue to blaze. [Sharon Rusten with E. Michael, The Complete Book of When & Where in the Bible and throughout History (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2005), 216.]

1524-08-01 00:00:00

Peasants' Revolt in Germany

Peasants' War in Germany

1525-05-27 14:09:15

Turks invade Vienna (Jihad)

The Turks, far from succumbing to the new gospel, were fighting a holy jihad against all of Europe. By 1525 they had advanced to the gates of Vienna. [Timothy George, Theology of the Reformers (B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 165.]

1525-08-01 00:00:00

First adult baptisms in Zurich

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1526-08-01 00:00:00

Tyndale's Translation of the NT

William Tyndale completes the English translation of the New Testament

1528-08-01 00:00:00

Patrick Hamilton burned for heresy

Patrick Hamilton was burned for heresy in St. Andrews

1536-08-01 00:00:00

Tyndale is burned at the stake

William Tyndale is burned at the stake for heresy

1542-08-01 00:00:00

Roman Inquisition

Established to combat heresy

1545-08-01 00:00:00

Council of Trent

This was the Roman Catholic Church's official counsel in response to the Reformation

1553-08-01 00:00:00

'Bloody' Queen Mary restores Roman Catholicism to England

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1558-03-22 12:21:11

Elizabeth I succeeds Mary in England

Elizabeth I succeeds Queen Mary in England and establishes a moderate Evangelicalism for the Church of England

1558-08-01 00:00:00

William Perkins

William Perkins, an outstanding preacher, made great contributions to the Puritan Movement despite the shortness of his life. He was born in Marton, Warwickshire, in 1558 and educated in Christ’s College, Cambridge. In his early years he demonstrated scholarly ability, but his personal life was wild and sinful. He was much devoted to drunkenness. While he was walking through town, he heard a young woman say to her child “Hold your tongue, or I will give you to drunken Perkins, yonder.” Finding himself as a byword among the people his conscience gripped him and became so deeply impressed by it that it was a first step to his conversion. After his conversion he became a strong exponent of Calvinism and always dealt sympathetically with those in spiritual need. He became a fellow at the college in 1578 at the age of 24.

1559-08-01 00:00:00

Calvin's Institutes

John Calvin publishes his final, definitive edition of the Institutes.

1560-08-01 00:00:00

Scottish Reformation

Parliament decides in favor of Reformation doctrine, making Scotland officially Reformed

1576-05-06 12:50:26

William Ames

Dr. William Ames (1576-1633) was born in 1576 at Ipswich in Suffolk, that region east of Anglia where Puritanism had first “begun”, and where the persecution of the crown was least effective. His father was a merchant who was sympathetic to the Puritan cause; his mother was a relative of later colonist Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Both his parents died, and William was taken in by his uncle, Robert Snelling of Oxford, who took William into his home, and with understanding and generosity saw to his needs and education.

1577-06-01 00:00:00

Richard Sibbs

Richard Sibbes was an Anglican theologian. He is known as a Biblical exegete, and as a representative, with William Perkins and John Preston, of what has been called "main-line" Puritanism because he ever remained in the Church of England and worshiped according to the Book of Common Prayer.

1593-08-01 00:00:00

Act Against Puritans

1600-06-01 00:00:00

Jeremiah Burroughs

Jeremiah Burroughs was an English Congregationalist and a well-known Puritan preacher.

1600-11-05 00:00:00

Thomas Goodwin

Thomas Goodwin, known as 'the Elder', was an English Puritan theologian and preacher, and an important leader of religious Independents.

1608-06-01 00:00:00

Thomas Brooks

Thomas Brooks was an English non-conformist Puritan preacher and author.

1615-11-12 00:00:00

Richard Baxter

Richard Baxter was an English Puritan church leader, poet, hymn-writer, theologian, and controversialist. Dean Stanley called him "the chief of English Protestant Schoolmen"

1616-06-01 00:00:00

John Owen

John Owen was an English Nonconformist church leader, theologian, and academic administrator at the University of Oxford. He was briefly a member of parliament for the University, sitting in the First Protectorate Parliament of 1654 to 1655.

1618-08-01 00:00:00

Synod of Dordt

1620-06-01 00:00:00

Thomas Manton

Thomas Manton was an English Puritan clergyman.

1620-06-01 00:00:00

Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson was an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen-year pastorate at St. Stephen's, Walbrook.

1620-08-01 00:00:00


The Mayflower sails from Plymouth to Massachusetts

1625-06-11 00:00:00

William Bates

An English presbyterian minister.

1627-06-01 00:00:00

John Flavel

John Flavel was an English Presbyterian clergyman, puritan, and author.

1627-06-01 00:00:00

George Swinnock

George Swinnock (1627-1673), nonconformist divine, born at Maidstone in Kent in 1627, was son of George Swinnock of Maidstone, whose father was mayor of the borough.

1628-06-01 00:00:00

Stephen Charnock

Stephen Charnock, Puritan divine, was an English Puritan Presbyterian clergyman born at the St Katherine Cree parish of London.

1628-11-28 00:00:00

John Bunyan

John Bunyan was an English Christian writer and preacher. He is the author of The Pilgrim's Progress, arguably the most famous published Christian allegory.

1632-06-01 00:00:00

Ezekiel Hopkins

Ezekiel Hopkins was an Anglican divine in the Church of Ireland, who was Bishop of Derry from 1681 to 1690.

1643-08-01 00:00:00

Westminster Assembly

The Westminster Assembly produces teh Westminster Confession of Faith, the Smaller and the Larger Catechism, and a Directory of Public Worship

1662-10-18 00:00:00

Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry was an English Presbyterian minister.

1676-03-17 00:00:00

Thomas Boston

Thomas Boston was a Scottish church leader.

Church History

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