Presbyterians of the Past

Reformation Day 2016, John Calvin

John Calvin, Standing, Woodcut, 10-22-2015This year Reformation Day marks the 499th remembrance of Martin Luther’s presentation of his theses against Roman Catholicism’s use of indulgences and it anticipates the celebration of the quincentennial in 2017. Luther presented the theses–originally titled A Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences–by nailing them to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg. His controversial document directly confronted the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church regarding indulgences, which led to its duplication by printers in not only its original Latin but also the common languages of the people. The Ninety-Five Theses quickly became popular personal reading for the literate and those who could not read gathered in homes or clandestine meetings to hear Luther’s thoughts read aloud. His request to the Roman Catholic leadership and other scholars for debate of his theses is considered the starting point of the Reformation even though reform had been in the works for many years. Two of the earlier reformers were the cleric from Yorkshire named John Wycliffe (c1329-1384), and the Bohemian (Czech) who had been to some degree influenced by Wycliffe’s writings, Jan Hus (1373-1415). Just as there were those who were forerunners of Luther, there were those after him that adopted, debated, and disagreed with his writings, one such reformer was John Calvin (1509-1564).

The header image is titled, “John Calvin and the Libertines,” and has been cropped from an image available on Reformation Art.     

For Reformation Day last year, one of the posts was a review of T. C. (Thomas Cary) Johnson’s book, John Calvin and the Genevan Reformation: A Sketch, 1900. This year a free copy of the book is available on this site in PDF. It is suggested that you read the review posted last year which includes a very brief biography of T. C. Johnson. The review can be accessed on this site by clicking HERE.

For a free PDF copy of Johnson’s book titled, John Calvin and the Genevan Reformation: A Sketch, 1900, click,

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The size of the PDF file is about nine megabytes.

For Reformation Day 2015, there were a few special articles posted on Presbyterians of the Past. The following catalog provides short descriptions of the articles with links for accessing the appropriate pages.

For access to the article, “B. B. Warfield on Luther’s Theses,” which provides brief comments regarding resources for study of the Reformation, a short definition of indulgences, some comments by the author of Presbyterians of the Past regarding B. B. Warfield’s article titled, “The Ninety-Five Theses in their Theological Significance,” and some tips regarding online resources for the text of Luther’s theses, click HERE.

For access to the article, “Henry VIII’s Divorce,” which tells the story of the king’s failed fight with the papacy to achieve a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, but instead resulted in his renouncing the authority of the pope, achieving the divorce himself, and establishing the occupant of the throne as the head of the Church of England, click HERE.

For access to the article, “Suggested Books,” which is an annotated list of titles about the Reformation, click HERE.

The article “Augustine’s Quest for Rest in His Confessions,” which is a study by the author of Presbyterians of the Past of the concept of rest and its use in Augustine’s Confessions was made available for Reformation Day 2015. Bishop Augustine of Hippo is particularly relevant to the Reformation because he was one of the key fathers of the church that was appealed to by reformers and Luther was a member of the Augustinian order. For access to the post through which a PDF copy of the article can be downloaded, click HERE.


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