A Brief Glossary Of The Medieval And Reformation Church

Revised 2007, 2011. This is a study guide for my students that began life in the mid-1990s as a handout revised from a glossary by Alister McGrath for Blackwells.



Abelard, Peter (1079-1142). Author of Sic et Non, an influential scholastic collection of apparently contradictory excerpts from the Fathers and Scripture. The Protestants used Abelard as a symbol of all that was wrong with medieval theology.

Act of Supremacy (1534) Made the King of England ‘the only supreme head of the Church in earth of the Church of England. Repealed by Mary Tudor and restored by Elizabeth I (1559). The act gave the monarch temporal authority over the church and the appointment of her officers.

Act of Uniformity (1549, 1552, 1559, 1662). 1) Imposed, in 1549, exclusive use of the First Book of Common Prayer and English in worship; 2) In 1552, following the Second Book of Common Prayer; 3) In 1559, following Elizabeth’s accession ordering the use of the 1552 edition and some earlier forms of worship; 4)Part of the restoration settlement and institution of the 1662 revision of the BCP.

Adiaphora (Lit. “matters of moral indifference”) Beliefs or practices which the 16th century reformers regarded as being tolerable, in that they were not contrary to Scripture. Of course, various theologians had different conceptions of what was indifferent. The adiaphorist controversy broke out after the Leipzig Interim (1548) when Melanchthon and his followers had compromised with Roman Catholic civil authorities and declared confirmation, the Mass (without transubstantiation), extreme unction and veneration of the saints to be indifferent. The Melanchthonians were attacked by the Gnesio (i.e., genuine) Lutheran M. Flaccius who saw these concessions as destructive of Protestantism. The controversy continued until the adoption of the Formula of Concord (1577).

Albertus Magnus (c.1200-1280). He matriculated at Padua where he entered the Dominicans in 1223. 1241-45 held the Dominican chair in the University of Paris. Was followed to Cologne by Thomas Aquinas. Gained fame defending the Aristotelian synthesis against the Muslim Averroes.

Alcuin (c.740-804) Theologian and scholar of the arts (he wrote on topics in the trivium and the quadrivium) he was major intelletual figure of the Carolingian Renaissance. He wrote on the Trinity, opposing adoptionism. With Boethius, Alcuin helped keep alive classical learning and transmit it to the Latin church.

Alexander VI (1431-1503) Pope from 1492. Rodrigo Borgia, a thoroughly corrupt and debauched person, whose election to the Papacy was secured through bribery. He prosecuted and murdered the reformer Savanarola and sought to assure the election of his son Caesare to the papacy!

Alexandrian School, noted for its Christology which placed emphasis upon the divinity of Christ and its method of biblical interpretation (which employed allegorical methods of exegesis). A rival approach in both areas was associated with Antioch.

Ames, William (1576-1633). English Reformed theologian, student of William Perkins, who spent most of his academic career in the Netherlands. His Marrow of Theology (1627) is a clear and powerful statement of early Puritan theology.

Amyraut, Moise (1596-1664) French pastor and theologian in the Academy of Saumur. HisBrief Treatise of Predestination (1634) caused a great deal of controversy. He argued that Christ’s death was hypothetically universal in intention. His defenders argued that the faith necessary for the appropriation of Christ’s death was itself a gift. His critics saw echoes of Arminius. Amyraut’s claim to be the true heir of Calvin’s theology (over against Beza) has been widely accepted, though not without challenge.

Anabaptism a term derived from the Greek word for re-baptizer and used to refer to parts of the radical wing of the Reformation. Among its major figures were relatively mild preachers such as Menno Simons and Balthasar Hubmair as well as more explosive personalities such as Thomas Müntzer, the Zwickau Prophets and events such as the Munster Rebellion.

Analogy of Being (analogia entis) The theory, especially associated with Thomas Aquinas, that there exists a correspondence or analogy between the created order and God, as a result of the divine creatorship. The idea gives theoretical justification to the practice of drawing conclusions about God on the basis of known objects and relations in the natural order.

Andrae, Jacob (1528-90) Lutheran theologian and controversialist. He participated in numerous colloquia, particularly with Reformed theologians. He defended Luther’s doctrine of the supper and attacked the Calvinist doctrine of Spiritual presence in the Eucharist and predestination. He is one of the chief authors of the Formula of Concord (1563) and editors of the Book of Concord (1580). With Brenz, Chemnitz, and Chrytaeus he led the Gnesio-Lutheran movement.

Anselm of Canterbury (c.1033-1109). Author of the Monologion, Proslogion, and Cur Deus homo. Archbishop of Canterbury. Declared Doctor Ecclesiae in 1720 by Clement XI. Anselm’s work was formative for the program of scholasticism. Credo ut intelligamFides quaerens intellectum.

Anti-Pelagian Writings Augustine’s writings relation to the Pelagian controversy in which he developed and defended his views on grace, predestination and justification.

Antiochene school A patristic school of thought, especially associated with the city of Antioch in modern-day Turkey, noted for its Christology (which placed emphasis upon the humanity of Christ) and its method of biblical interpretation (which employed literal methods of exegesis). A rival approach in both areas was associated with Alexandria.

Apophatic A term used to refer to a particular style of theology, which stressed that God cannot be known in terms of human categories. Apophatic (which derives from the Greek apophasis, “negation” or “denial”) approaches to theology are especially associated with the monastic tradition of the Eastern Orthodox church.

Apostles’ Creed No one believes that the Apostles’ Creed was actually written by the Apostles themselves. It is the fruit of about three centuries of Christian reflection on essential Christian beliefs, and for most Western Christians, an authoritative summary of the essentials of the Apostolic faith. It is probably related to the Old Roman baptismal creed which can be dated to the late third century. The title Apostles’ Creed was first used c.390 because some Latin fathers (e.g., Ambrose) believed that the Apostles actually wrote it. This belief persisted until the Reformation. The Creed is found in its present form in an 8c document. The Reformation era marked a resurgence in interest in the Creed. Many Protestants wrote commentaries on the Creed and structured their theology around it. Because of its terseness and antiquity it has become in the 20c a vehicle for ecumenicity.

Aquinas, Thomas (c.1224-74) Student of Albertus Magnus. A serious student of Aristotle in University, he joined the Dominican order in 1242/43. He arrived in Paris sometime in the 1250s. He taught in Paris and Rome among other places. In December of 1273 something happened that brought his writing career to an end. He died in Cistercian Abbey south of Rome. His two greatest works were the Summa contra gentiles and Summa theologiae. The latter, unfinished, became the basis for Roman theology in response to the Reformation. The former is his defense of the faith. Thomas was an intllectualist who, though positing an analogy of being, was not consistently an analogical theologian. For Thomas, from empirical obsersations we deduce universals by which the active intellect intersects with the divine intellect. Though usually described as an “Aristotelian,” his theology is inexplicable without understanding his debt to neo-Platonism. A strong predestinarian theologian, he also downplayed the effects of sin. For Thomas, nature is inherently defective and requires grace, as a result of creation, to perfect it (gratia naturam non tollit, sed perfecit). In this way the fall was from grace. Salvation after the fall is the result of grace and cooperation with grace. Grace creates in us a disposition (habitus) toward cooperation with grace but our cooperation is essential toward becoming justifiable. Hence, the same merit can be considered, from the divine perspective, as condign and from the human side, congruent. Salvation is partaking of the divine nature.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). In the 12c the main works of Aristotle appeared in Latin translation. In the 13c commentaries by Avicenna and Averroes appeared. Some were led away from catholic truth. Thus the need to harmonize Augustine and Aristotle. This is the calling of the Dominicans (aka Friars and Black Friars).

Arius (c.250-336) an Alexandrian presbyter who regarded Jesus Christ as the supreme of God’s creatures (thus denying his divinity), whose slogan was: ‘There was when the Son was not.’ He denied the consubstantiality of the Son ‘of like substance.’ Arianism was a major early Christological and anti-Trinitarian heresy stimulating the Nicene Creed (325 and 381 AD) and orthodox Christology.

Arminius, Jacobus [Jakob Hermandszoon] (1560-1609). Dutch Reformed theologian in Leiden and pastor. A one-time student of Theodore Beza in the Genevan Academy, he rejected Calvinism in favor of a sort of synthesis of Calvinism with semi-Pelagianism. Attempted to refute William Perkins’ on predestination and to revise the Heidelberg Catechismand the Belgic Confession. The Synod of Dort was convened to address his followers.

Articles of Religion (1553-1563). Built upon the Henrician Ten Articles (1536), Bishop’s Book(1537), King’s Book (1543) and first formulated in Forty-Two articles by Thomas Cranmer under the Calvinist King Edward VI. Because of the accession of the Roman Catholic Mary Tudor they were probably never enforced. In 1563, after the accession of Elizabeth I, they were revised to form the Thirty Nine Articles.

Articulus cadentis et stantis ecclesiae: Justification is the article [of faith] by which the church stands or falls. Attributed to J. H. Alsted (1588-1638).

Athanasian Creed formulated primarily to teach the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. Its date is uncertain, sometime in the period 381-428. It rejected those who deny the full deity of Jesus and his consubstantiality with the Father, ‘Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the Substance’.

Atonement A term originally coined by William Tyndale to translate the Latin termreconciliatio, which has since come to have the developed meaning of “the work of Christ” or “the benefits of Christ gained for believers by his death and resurrection.”

Augsburg, Diet of (1530). Convened to consider, among other things the Lutheran Confession of faith Confessio Augustana as presented by Melanchthon.

Augsburg, Confession of: (1530) The Most significant of all Lutheran Confessional documents. The Augsburg was, however, signed by Calvin and other Reformed Protestants as well. First presented to Charles V at the Imperial Reichstag and published in 1530, the Augsburg was revised by its author Philip Melanchthon, most notably in 1540 in an edition known as the Augustana Variata.

AugsburgInterim of, (1548) The doctrinal formula drafted by two Roman Catholic Bishops and one Protestant theologian, to serve as the basis of a peace between Roman Catholics and Protestants in the Holy Roman (German) Empire. The interim was generally a failure was supplanted by the Leipzig Interim in the North and finally by the Peace in 1555.

Augsburg, Peace of (1555) The settlement between the Lutheran electors and the Roman Catholic (German) emperor Ferdinand I (22 September). The Pax Augustana was built on the principle, cuius regio, eius religio (whose the rule, his the religion). Those Lutheran territories would be fixed as Lutheran and the Roman Catholic termites likewise. The peace, unfortunately, did not accommodate the Calvinists which omission would not be corrected until after the Thirty Years war with the Treaty of Westaphalia (1648). Until then, Calvinists were forced to find refuge behind the Augsburg Confession.

Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and the Western Church’s greatest theologian. Taught that believers are elected to justification but that election is effected through divine grace through the grace available through the Church.

Augustinianism A term used in two major senses. First, it refers to the views of Augustine of Hippo concerning the doctrine of salvation, in which the need for divine grace is stressed. In this sense, the term is the antithesis of Pelagianism. Second, it is used to refer to the body of opinion within the Augustinian order during the Middle Ages, irrespective of whether these views derive from Augustine or not.

Auto de fe (Spanish) or auto da fe (Portugese) Lit. “act of faith.” Refers to public penance followed by the torture and execution of the death penalty for heretics by the Spanish inquisition. The first auto de fe was in 1481 in Seville and the last in 1826.


Barnes, Robert (1495-1540) Protestant Reformer and martyr. One of those who was said to gather at the Whitehorse Inn to discuss Protestant theology. Imprisoned, he escaped and fled to Germany because of his theology (1526), he later returned to serve as a mediator between Luther and Henry VIII. He was beheaded.

Belgic Confession (1561) A Reformed confession composed primarily by Guido de Bres. Adopted by most of the continental Reformed Churches.

Bellarmine, Robert (1542-1621) Italian Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation apologist, scholar, theologian, and member of the Society of Jesus. Bellarmine is most famous for his three volume (1586-93) controversial defense of Tridentine Roman Catholic theology against Protestant criticisms.

Berengar (c.1010-88 ). Like Ratramnus, again attacked transubstantiation (i.e., that the elements of the supper become the body of Christ). He argued for a sort of Spiritual presence of Christ, and that only believers receive Christ in the Supper. He was opposed by Leo IX in 1050 and by Gregory VII in 1078-9 and later by the Bishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc (d.c.1089) who defended transubstantiation. His response to Lanfranc, Rescriptum contra Lanfrancum is his only remaining work

Bede (c.672-735) Historian, theologian and teacher, the Bede was the foremost scholar and influential Christian leader in Anglo-Saxon England. In his early career he wrote on orthography, meter, and nature. He commented extensively on Scripture. He is most famous for his History of the English People, which is still a source for the period.

Beza, Theodore (1519-1605) French Calvinist scholar, theologian, apologist and consolidator of the Reformation. A trained in French legal humanism Beza had wide ranging interests. He was a pioneering scholar of the Greek New Testament (Codex Bezae) and Bible translator. His On the Right of Magistrates was an early formulation Protestant resistance theory. His impact on the development of international Calvinism can hardly be overestimated.

Blaurock, George (c.1492-1529) Anabaptist evangelist. He apparently initiated the practice of exclusive believer’s baptism in Zürich and founded a congregation about 1525. Exiled two years later he became an itinerant preacher in Central Europe planting Anabaptist congregations. He was burnt by Charles V for heresy.

Bodenstein, Andreas (see Karlstadt)

Boethius (c.480-c.524) Roman consul, Christian philosopher and theologian. One of the most significant transmitters of ancient learning to the Latin church, he translated some of the works of Aristotle adapted the trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy) for the West. Caught up in political intrigue, he died in prison. Strongly Trinitarian in his theology, Boethius established the definition of “person” with which the Medieval and Reformation churches worked, “the individual substance of a rational nature.” His definition of eternity also became standard: “The simultaneous and perfect possession of limitless life.” He wrestled with the questions of the “one” and the “many,” the relation of “being” to “existence,” and the relations of providence to human freedom. His most famous work is On the Consolation of Philosophy but also composed lesser known theological tracts which are in the Loeb Classical Library.

Bolsec, Jerome (†1585) A Protestant convert most famous for controverting with Calvin over predestination. Forced to leave Geneva, he eventually returned to Rome. Before he died he wrote slanderous biographies of Calvin and Beza.

Boniface (c.672-754) Born at Wessex, he is most famous for his mission to the Germans, and for his multiple missionary expeditions to the Friesians. Having laid the foundations of the German church and serving as the Abp of Mainz, he returned to Friesland for a final mission where he was matyred.

Book of Common Prayer (1549, 1552, 1559, 1662) The office service book of the Anglican Communion. Originally complied by Thomas Cranmer, the BCP attempted to revise and anglicise the medieval Latin rite. The first two editions were composed under the Calvinist King Edward VI. The Elizabethan edition omitted the ‘Black Rubric’ (an explanation that kneeling at communion is not an act of veneration of the host) was restored in the 1662 edition as a concession to the Puritans.

Book of Homilies (1547). Collection of Protestant sermons written by Cranmer, Bucer, Peter Martyr Vermigli intended for use by English clergy who were not themselves able to write Protestant sermons.

Book of Sports (1617-8) Written by James I in which authorized recreational sport on the Sabbath against Puritan sentiment. Later, Abp Laud forced it on many unwilling Puritan pastors.

Brenz, Johannes (1499-1570) German Lutheran Reformer. Most notable for his stout defense of Luther’s doctrine of the Eucharist.

Brethren of the Common Life were founded by Gert de Groot in the 14c as an association to foster a greater devotion to Christ and to advance moral reform in the Church. Thomas a’ Kempis (c.1380-1471), Pope Hadrian VI (1459-1523), the theologian Gabriel Biel (c.1420-95), the mystic Nicholas of Cusa (1401-64) were associated with the Brethren. The movement also influenced the development of the Renaissance through the humanists Rudolph Agricola (1443-85) and D. Erasmus (c.1469-1536)

Bruce, Robert (c.1554-1631) Popular Scots Presbyterian preacher who powerfully opposed the restoration of Episcopacy to Scotland.

Bucer, Martin (1491-1551). German Protestant scholar, theologian and apologist for the Reformation. Bucer is associated most strongly with the Swiss Reformation in Basle and Strasbourg. Having begun his Protestant preaching by 1523, Bucer belongs to the first stage of the Reformation. He probably represents a bridge the essentials of the Luther’s theology and the developments of the Reformation in the Swiss Reformation. Calvin was influenced by Bucer. With Melanchthon, he was among the more conciliatory Protestants.

Buchanan, George (1506-1582) Scots Calvinist scholar, an outstanding humanist scholar, he tutored both Mary Queen of Scots and James VI.

Bull. From the Latin term bulla or ‘seal’. A written papal mandate on some important theological or ecclesiastical matter. Early bulls were sealed with the papal signet ring.

Bullinger, Heinrich (1504-75). Swiss Protestant. He belongs to the second (consolidation) stage of the Reformation. Like all the Protestants, he accepted Luther’s fundamental principles and, with Zwingli, Bucer and Calvin, sought to develop the doctrine of the Christian life. He is important to the development of covenant theology and the progress of the English Reformation from its Lutheran to its Reformed stage.


Calvin, John (1509-64). French Protestant and the second most outstanding figure in the Reformation after Martin Luther. Born in Noyon, he spent his youth training for a career in the Roman Church. He was educated in French Legal Humanism in University in Orleans, Paris and Bourges. He became a Protestant sometime in the late 1520’s or early 1530’s. Associated most strongly with Geneva, he was scholar turned pastor. He wrote voluminously, taught daily through the Bible and preached from the NT each Lord’s Day. His greatest theological work is his Institutes of the Christian Religion which he revised several times from 1536-59. His contribution to Protestant theology was to link Luther’s doctrine of justification to a more developed doctrine of sanctification framed by a thoroughly Trinitarian understanding of creation and redemption.

Cameron, John (1579-1625) Scottish theologian who influenced the French Reformed Church. Most of his career was spent in France. It was from Cameron that Amyraut got his controversial theory of the atonement.

Canisius, Peter (1521-97). The outstanding German, Jesuit, Counter-Reformation, theologian of the 16c. His catechism (Summa Doctrinae Christianae) has gone through 130 editions.

Canons of Dort (1619). Five articles drafted and adopted by an international Reformed Synod convened at Dordtrecht by the Dutch Reformed Church in response to the five points of the Remonstrant (Arminian) theologians.

Cappadocian fathers A term used to refer collectively to three major Greek-speaking writers of the patristic period: Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzen, and Gregory of Nyssa, all of whom date from the late fourth century. “Cappadocia” designates an area in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), in which these writers were based.

Capito, Wolfgang (1478-1541). German, early Protestant reformer of Strasbourg before Martin Bucer. Originally associated with Erasmus attempts at the moral reform of the church, he later moved to a position closer to Luther’s. He was one of the author’s of the Swiss Tetrapolitan Confession.

Cartrwright, Thomas (c.1535-1603) English Calvinist theologian, student of Beza, who strongly advocated Presbyterian church polity, though he did not separate from the Church of England. He served as a conduit for Continental Calvinism to England.

Catechism A popular manual of Christian doctrine, usually in the form of question and answer, intended for religious instruction.

Chalcedonian definition (451) The formal declaration at the Council of Chalcedon that the two natures of Christ are neither to be separated (Nestorianism) nor to be confounded (Eutychianism). Both Lutheran and Reformed (including Calvin and Zwingli) Christologies should be regarded as falling within the pale of Chalcedon.

Chemnitz, Martin (1522-86). A Lutheran theologian and consolidator of the GnesioLutheranmovement and controversialist against Rome. He defended Luther’s doctrine of ubiquity. Chemnitz is one of the primary authors of the Magdeburg Centuries, a polemic church history justifying the Reformation. He also wrote an influential critique of the Council of Trent (Examen concilii Tridentini, 1565).

Christology The locus of Christian theology dealing with the identity, person, and work of Jesus Christ, and particularly the relation of his human and divine natures.

Colloquy: (From the Latin colloquium) A formal theological debate (usually ecclesiastical rather than academic).

Conciliarism. A movement which grew out of Ockham’s critique of Pope John XXII. An attempt to decentralise ecclesiastical authority to the General council and maintain the indefectability of the Holy Catholic Church. The Council of Constance successfully ended the schism but also thus damaged conciliarism. Pius II issued the bull Execrabalis forbidding appeals to Councils (1460).

Concord, Formula of/Book of Concord (1577-80). The Formula Concordiae and the Liber Concordiae were the definitive Gnesio-Lutheran confessional documents of the consolidation written by Jakob Andrae (1528-90), Martin Chemnitz, Nikolaus Selnecker (1530–92). The Book of Concord positioned itself between Philip Melanchthon and Calvin on the one side and Rome on the other. These documents helped to consolidate Gnesio-Lutheran theological and political reaction.

Confession Although the term refers primarily to the admission of sin, it acquired a rather different technical sense in the sixteenth century -that of a document which embodies the principles of faith of a Protestant church. Thus the Augsburg Confession (1530) embodies the ideas of early Lutheranism, and the First Helvetic Confession (1536) those of the early Reformed church. The term “Confessionalism” is often used to refer to the consolidation of the Reformation, in the later sixteenth century, as the Lutheran and Reformed churches became involved in a struggle for power, especially in Germany. The term “Confessional” is often used to refer to a church which defines itself with reference to such a document. Confessions (which define denominations) should be distinguished from creeds (which transcend denominational boundaries).

Consensus Tigurinus (1549). This is the Zürich Agreement on the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist) reached by Heinrich Bullinger representing German speaking Swiss Protestants and John Calvin and G. Farel representing the French speaking Protestants.

Constance, Council of (1414-7) Called by Pope John XXIII to end the schism created by the Avignon Papacy. It also condemned early Reformers Hus and Wycliffe.

Consubstantiation A term used to refer to the theory of the real presence, especially associated with Martin Luther, which holds that the substance of the eucharistic bread and wine are given together with the substance of the body and blood of Christ.

Contarini, Gasparo Cardinal (1483-1542). Well born in Venice, Italy, he educated in Renaissance humanism in University in Padua. He served as an ambassador for Venice to Charles V. He gained fame as a theologian by defending the immortality of the soul and by critiquing Luther’s theology. Created Cardinal in 1535 by Paul III, he helped prepare the way for the Council of Trent, which he attended. He took something of a conciliatory position first at Ratisbon/Regensburg (Epistola de iustificatione) in a dialogue with Melanchthon and Bucer and later at Trent.

Copernicus, Nicolas (1473-1543) the father of modern astronomy. A student in the University of Crakow and in the University of Bologna, he began lecturing on mathematics and astronomy in Rome. Returning to Prussia, he formulated his theories, rejecting the Polemic-Geocentric universe. He published his theory in 1531 which was rejected by Pope Clement VII. His treatise On the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs (1543) published just before his death contained a forward by the Protestant theologian Andreas Osiander warning that the views contained were only hypothetical. Other Protestant theologians, such as Calvin, were ambivalent. De revolutionibus was on the Roman Index (List) of banned books 1616-1757.

Council of Trent: (1545-63) Promulgated the official Roman Catholic response to and anathema against the Protestant Reformation. Vatican Council I (1869-70) solidified this response by adding the doctrine of Papal infallibility. Vatican Council II (1962-5), however, appears to move back from Trent and Vatican I by describing Protestants as ‘separated brethren’.

Covenant Theology A thread of biblical revelation and present seminally in Patristic theology, it was reformed by Martin Luther and developed by Johannes Oecolampadius and H. Zwingli in the early stages of the Reformation and later developed by Bullinger, Calvin, Ursinus, and Olevian in the 16th century. Throughout the 17th century, it was an important instrument used by the Reformed to protect Protestantism from Amyrauldianism and Arminianism. The development of covenant or federal theology was inhibited in the later 17th century and through much of the 18th century by the challenge presented by Englightenment rationalism as theologians were forced to focus on prolegomena. This 20th century has seen something of a revival of interest in both in neo-orthodox (Barthian) annd orthodox (confessional) covenant theology. The classic forms of covenant/federal theology held chiefly that there are two covenants. First a covenant of works made by God with Adam before the fall in which Adam, and all humanity in him, was promised eternal blessedness upon successful fulfillment of the terms of this ante-lapsarian probationary covenant—not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam having failed, God made a promissory covenant of grace to send a redeemer. Following Paul in Romans 5, Christ was said to be the Second Adam who by his obedience, suffering and death has secured redemption for his sheep, which is imputed to the elect and the benefits of which are received through faith alone. In this view all of Sacred Scripture is united by the common thread of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Salvation and sanctification are conceived in covenantal terms. Reformed theology used the vehicle of covenant (or federal theology) to express its Protestantism and its more highly developed Trinitarianism— that is, salvation is Christocentric, but not Christomonist, and is fully the work of the entire Trinity. The covenant also incorporated a more highly developed doctrine of sanctification—that is, a life of holiness lived in gratitude to and for the glory of God is a necessary product of God’s gracious salvation, without becoming an instrument of justification or becoming confused with sanctification.

Coverdale, Miles (1488-1568). English Protestant Bible translator (Zürich, 1535) and leader of Puritanism. Three years later he made another translation of the Vulgate New Testament into English known as ‘The Great Bible’.

Cranach, Lucas [the elder] (1472-1553) German painter associated with Lutheran reformation. Painted and produced woodcuts of several reformation leaders.

Cranmer, Thomas (1489-1556) Archbishop of Canterbury. Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. Served Henry VIII by legitimizing his divorce from Catherine of Arragon in 1529 thus helping to precipitate the break of the English Church from Rome. He was also the principal author of the Book of Common Prayer 1549-52. Wrote many of the sermons included in the book of homilies used by Protestant clergy. Martyred under bloody Mary Tudor at Oxford, 21 March 1556.

Creed A formal definition or summary of the Christian faith, held in common by all Christians. The most important are those generally known as the “Apostles’ creed” and the “Nicene creed.”


d’Etaples, Jacques LeFevre [Faber Stapulensis] (1455-1536) French humanist scholar and commentator on Scripture. His method of interpretation influenced the next generation of French Protestants such as Farel and Calvin.

Daneau, Lambert (1530-1595) French Reformed theologian. A student of Calvin, he taught in the Genevan Academy with Beza. He is notable for his publications on ethics as distinct category of Protestant theology. He is an important figure in the development of Protestant orthodoxy.

de Bres, Guido (c.1522-1567) Principal author of the oldest confession of the Continental Reformed Churches, the Belgic Confession (1561). Martyred under Spanish oppression.

Deism A term used to refer to the views of a group of English writers, especially during the seventeenth century, the rationalism of which anticipated many of the ideas of the Enlightenment. The term is often used to refer to a view of God which recognizes the divine creatorship, yet which rejects the notion of a continuing divine involvement with the world.

Denk, Hans (c.1500-27) Leader of the Anabaptist Swiss Brethren. Died of the plague.

Dialectic. Greek word which describes a form of reasoning which shows the “mutually contradictory character” of two principles

Diet (German, Reichstag) a meeting of the German Imperial Senate convened by the Emperor and constituted by the seven Electors of the German (Roman) Empire, three of which were clerical and four of which were secular.

Docetism An early Christological heresy, which treated Jesus Christ as a purely divine being who only had the “appearance” of being human.

Dogma Gk. The term and cognates occurs six times in the NT. Luke 2.1 refers to Caesar’s ‘decree’ on the census and Acts 17.7 to the ‘decree’ that there is no god but Caesar. Ephesians 2.15 and Colossians 2.14 refer to Mosaic ‘ordinances’. Colossians 2.14 uses a verbal form to describe man-made judaizing regulations. None of them refers to ‘dogmatic theology’ proper. Its usage in Acts 16.4 which refers to the ‘decrees’ handed down by the Apostles at the Synod in Jerusalem, does furnish some basis for its usage in connection with ecclesiastical theological decisions. It is usually used as a synonym for theology and sometimes distinguished from it as that doctrine which has ecclesiatical approval.

Donatism A movement, centering upon Roman North Africa in the fourth century, which developed a rigorist view of the church and sacraments.

Double Justice/justification (duplex iustitia): The doctrine of justification (at least) implied in Article V of the Colloquy of Regensburg. The doctrine of double justification attempts to synthesize the Roman position with the Protestant position by teaching that righteousness is both imputed to and infused in the sinner. This position was rejected both by Trent and by most Protestants.

Dun Scotus (c.1265-1308). Doctor Subtilis or Doctor Marianus was one of Thomas’ most vigorous critics. Scotus was a Franciscan voluntarist. Where Thomas and the realists (Dominicans) emphasized the divine (and human) intellect, he emphasized against emphasized the primacy of the divine will and love. The beatific vision is of souls consumed by love for God. Denied with Thomas, the idea of innate ideas and agreed, with Thomas, that reason and revelation are compatible.


Eclesiology The doctrine of the Church.

Eck, Johannes (1486-1543) German, Roman Catholic theologian, professor at Ingolstadt, and critic of the Lutheran Reformation. He opposed Luther and Carlstadt at the Leipzig Disputation (1519). In the next year helped secure Luther’s excommunication and in 1530 attacked the Augsburg Confession.

Eckhart, Meister (c.1260-c.1328). German theologian and Dominican monk. A student of Albertus Magnus at Cologne, where he also taught. He later served as a prior and vicar in Eurfurt and Thuringuria and Saxony. He also taught in Paris, Cologne and Strasbourg. He was a pioneer of vernacular preaching. His extreme (pantheizing) mysticism earned him a trial before the Apb of Cologne. His 28 Propositions were condemned by John XXII in 1329.

Edict of Nantes (1598) signed by Henry IV of France to end the French Wars of Religion and securing tolerance for French Protestants.

Edward VI (1537-53) Calvinist boy-King of England, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. He was a bright boy, avid reader, committed to Reformed theology. His tutors were self-consciously Protestant. Under Edward the Church of England moved in a Calvinist direction. The book of homilies was published (1547). Among the changes he made to English worship: provided a copy of the Great Bible, condemned pictures, enforced the reading of the Gospel and the Epistle in English, in morning worship, enjoined communion in two kinds, removed altars in favor of wooden communion tables and, most importantly, sponsored the Book of Common Prayer, the Forty-Two Articles and the Catechism.

Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Queen of England from 1558 to her death and the daughter Anne Boleyn, succeeded Edward VI and Mary Tudor by act of Parliament. Unlike her two predecessors, Elizabeth, like her father, was primarily concerned about consolidating power and enforcing uniformity on a Kingdom divided badly by steering a middle way between Calvinism and Roman Catholicism. With her accession many of the Marian exiles (mostly Puritans) returned to England, though Puritans of the ‘hotter sort’ would not finder her reign terribly hospitable. Elizabethan religion was mildly Protestant. She ordered the Second Edwardian Prayer Book (1552) to be edited (so as to remove offense to Roman Catholics) and reissued in 1559. The Articles of Religion were reduced to 39. She was excommunicated by Pope Pius V in 1570.

Erasmus, Desiderius (c.1469-1536) Dutch humanist scholar, theologian and advocate ofPhilosophia Christiana (the Devotio Moderna – the imitatio Christi).Taught at Paris, Oxford and Cambridge. Controverted with Luther over the freedom of the will. A Loyal son of Rome, he advocated moral, not theological reform of the church. Edited the first and most important (though not the most accurate) early critical edition of the New Testament.

Erastus, Thomas(1524-83). Swiss-German physician and lay theologian. Influenced by Zwinglian theologians, he opposed the imposition of Calvinist church order in Heidelberg. The view that church is a creature of the state took its name from Erastus. His work on church and state was published posthumously in England and translated in the middle of the 17c. WCF Articles 23.3 and 31 were mildly Erastian.

Eschatology The locus of Christian theology dealing with the “last things,” especially the ideas of resurrection, hell, and eternal life.

Eucharist The term used in to refer to the sacrament variously known as “the mass,” “the Lord’s supper,” and “holy communion.”

Eutyches (c.378-454), Turkish monk who opposed Nestorius so strongly that he was accused to confounding the two natures of Christ. He taught that there were two natures before the incarnation before and only one nature after the incarnation. He was deposed and later restored and deposed again at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Evangelical A term initially used to refer to the Protestant movement through the 1550’s. It was often used synonymously with the term Reformed in a generic sense. After the 1550’s the term was increasingly replaced by the term Protestant.

Exsurge Domine. The papal bull issued by Pope Leo X on 15 June 1520 excommunicating Martin Luther in 41 propositions. Luther appealed on 17 November and publicly burned it in Wittenberg on 10 December.


Facientibus quod in se est, Deus non denegat gratiam also facere quod in se est…(“to those who do what is in them,” or “to him who does what is in him…” “God does not deny grace”: A medieval approach to justification particularly associated with the Franciscan school of theology (via moderna) including semi-Pelagians such as Ockham and later Gabriel Biel.

Farel, William (1489-1565) French Reformer of Geneva and other French-Swiss cantons. Like Calvin, he was influenced by Jacques LeFevre d’Etaples in Paris. He first became associated with the Reformation in Basle. In 1535, with Peter Viret, he led the initial stages of the Reformation of Geneva. He is most famous for the ‘dreadful imprecation’ by which, in 1536, he compelled Calvin to remain in Geneva.

Five Ways, the A standard term for the five “arguments for the existence of God” especially associated with Thomas Aquinas.

Flaccius, Matthias Illyricus (1520-75) An outstanding Gnesio (genuine) Lutheran theologian. Read Protestant theology in Basel and Tübingen. From 1541 he was a colleague of Melanchthon and Luther in Wittenberg and was appointed Professor of Hebrew in 1544. As a Gnesio-Lutheran he opposed the Augsburg Interim and was a critic of Melanchthon on several issues. He joined the Jena faculty in 1557 as Prof. of N.T. He was one of the major combatants in the Majorist controversy in 1561-2. After conflict with the faculty in Jena he failed in an attempt to found his own school in 1562. He was a major contributor to theMagedeburg Centuries, a monumental 13 vol. Protestant polemical history justifying the reformation.

Forensic: synonym for ‘legal’.

Foxe (1517-87) Author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, a leading early English historian of the Reformation. The first edition was published in 1563 and was revised thereafter and republished countless times. A Marian exile to the English congregation in Frankfort, where he sided with the Calvinist party, his identification of Protestant ‘martyrs’ with the martyrs of the early church was a powerful rhetorical move which strongly influenced for three centuries the way the Reformation story was told.

Francis I (reigned 1515-47) Roman Catholic king of France. Staunchly opposed the introduction of the Reformation into France by forbidding the publication of Luther’s works (1521). Nevertheless, Protestantism made its way into France. Calvin appealed to Francis, in his epistle dedicatory to the Institutes of the Christian Religion, for religious toleration of French Protestants.

Frederick (III) the Wise (1463-1525). Elector Saxony. Became Elector in 1486 and supported the rise of German humanism. Founded the University of Wittenberg in 1502 and later invited both Luther and Melanchthon to teach there. Frederick is most famous for being Luther’s patron and protector.

Frederick III (1515-76) Elector Palatine, German prince under whose leadership the Palatinate, (from 1559), one of the six ‘secular’ German electorates was transformed into a hotbed of continental Calvinism. Frederick chose the Calvinist way and sponsored the Heidelberg Catechism despite bitter and threatening opposition from the majority (Lutheran) electors and princes.

Free will With Augustine and against Pelagius and semi-Pelagianism, Luther affirmed in On the Bondage of the Will (1525), that fallen humans do not have the ability to will the contrary to God. When fallen humans believe, they do so because God has chosen them to believe. Calvin and Reformed theology took up this strand of Protestantism. Melanchthon and Later Lutheranism retreated from Luther’s denial of human free will.

French Wars of Religion (1562-1594) The nearly continual war between the Huguenots (taken from a Medieval romance about King Hugo) and Roman Catholics. In 1559 the French Protestant Church organized as a Calvinist basis. The Protestant Calvinist minority was fiercely opposed by the Catholic majority and Francis II (the house of Guise). The massacre on St. Bartholomew’s Day, (23-4 November) 1572, badly crippled the fledgling movement. Most reliable estimates begin at about 10,000 deaths. The Wars came to a close with the Edict of Nantes (1598).


Gerhard, Johann (1582-1637) German Lutheran scholastic theologian. He became professor at Jena in 1616. His greatest work was his Loci theologici (1610-22) was one of the most important texts in late Reformation Lutheran theology.

Gottschalk (c.804-c.869) A Swiss monk, he is most famous for his stoutly Augustinian and predestinarian soteriology. A controversial figure in his (Benedictine) order, he was embroiled in disputes through much of his life. Charged with an irregular ordination, he was more or less jailed in a monastery from where he published predestinarian views. He also defended a robust trinitarianism against the prevailing modalism of his day.

Grace: (L. gratia) Undeserved divine favor toward sinners. The medieval notion was that grace is a substance which can be imparted or dispensed through human agency to sinners. The Protestant view is that grace is a divine disposition toward sinners.

Gregory I (c.540-604) The learned son of a Roman senator, and himself praefector urbi of Rome. He left his life of privilege, sold his belongings and entered St Andrew’s monastery. A skillful administrator and diplomat, in 590 was made pope by acclamation of the people and clergy. His Pastoral Rule is still read and his exposition of Job witnesses the judicious use of the quadriga (q.v.), the emphasis in this text on the moral sense.

Grebel, Conrad (c.1498-1526) Leader of the Anabaptist Swiss Brethren. He died of the plague.

Grindal, Edmund (c.1519-83) Archbishop of Canterbury. Onetime chaplain to Edward VI, a Protestant who was forced into exile during Mary’s reign, who, upon his return to England in 1559, attempted to mediate between the Scots Presbyterians (Knox) and the defenders of the 1552 Prayer Book. He refused Elizabeth I’s order to suppress the Puritan prophesyings and was a moderate sympathizer with the Puritan critics of episcopacy.

Gropper, Johann (1503-59) German, Roman Catholic theologian and critic of Protestantism. He, negotiated the Book of Regensburg with Martin Bucer in 1540-41.


Habit: (L. habitus) A disposition toward obedience, on which basis certain Medieval theologians said one was justified.

Hapsburg Empire This family played a central rôle in the 16c. In the early phase of the Reformation Charles V (1500-58) collaborated with his brother Ferdinand I (1503-64), Archduke of Austria to alternately oppose and tolerate the Reformation as it suited their political needs. The Empire was Roman Catholic until the Reformation. With the eruption of Protestantism, Charles faced a three-front battle for control of the Empire. To the east the Turkish threat steadily increased. To the West he was prosecuting a war against Francis and the Papacy for the control of Europe. With his attention distracted externally, he lost ground internally. He was unable to stop the Reformation, and was forced to fight the Protestant Schmalkald League (of Protestant German princes) for control of the Empire. With the failure of the Interim (1548) he settled for the Peace of Augsburg (1555). Exhausted by it all, he abdicated in favor of brother Ferdinand the next year. On his abdication he divided his empire between his sons Philip II (1527-98) who was made King of Spain and for a time was married to “Bloody Mary” Tudor (1554-8), Charles (1540-90), and brother Ferdinand I. The weakness and division of the Empire only enabled the Reformation to flourish and Calvinism made inroads in Germany under Charles’ sons. Maximillian II (1527-76) ruled from 1564-76 and was essentially tolerant of the Reformation whilst maintaining a formal Roman Catholic allegiance. His son, Rudolf II (1552-1612) who ruled from 1576 was an odd duck, indulged in the black arts and supported the Counter-Reformation.

Heidelberg Catechism (1563) German Calvinist catechism written to consolidate the Calvinist Reformation of Heidelberg. Though its primary authors were (probably) Zacharias Ursinus and Caspar Olevian, it was approved by a synod in Heidelberg and its authorship remains somewhat uncertain. Its primary source was Ursinus Larger Catechism, it bears resemblance to earlier Lutheran documents and to Calvin’s Genevan catechism. It was adopted by several Reformed synods including the Synod of Dort (1618-19). It has remained, with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort one of the Three Forms of Unity. It is, alongside the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the most beloved of all Calvinist confessional documents.

Helvetic Confession, First (1536) A confession in 28 articles written in response to the Pope Clement VII’s call for an ecumenical council to be convened at Mantua (later moved to Trent). The Reformed theologians of Basle led by Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito and the Reformed theologians of Zürich, namely H. Bullinger, L. Jud, O. Myconius, et al met 1-4 February. The document was signed on the last day. Luther read it in 1537 and responded favorably.

Helvetic Confession, Second (1561-6) A private confession in 30 articles written by H. Bullinger adopted by all the Swiss Cantons and used widely by Reformed Protestants across the world in the 16c. Bucer approved an early draft. It likely influenced the Heidelberg theologians as they drafted the Catechism (1563).

Henri IV (1553-1610) King of France. Raised as a Protestant (Calvinist) he became King of Navarre in 1572. In line to the French throne, he was forced to chose between his Protestant faith and his desire to rule a Roman Catholic nation. He was opposed by the Guise, Philip II and the Pope. In 1593 he converted to Rome to accede to the throne. Whether Henry was sincere in this ‘conversion’ is still debated hotly. He was, in all events, quite friendly to Protestants and promulgated the tolerant Edict of Nantes (1598). He was assassinated.

Henry VIII (1497-1547) King of England from 1509. He opposed the Reformation early. His tract against Luther’s earned him the title, Defensor Fidei (Defender of the Faith) from Leo X. He broke with Rome and made himself head of the English Church when Clement VII would not annul his marriage to Catherine of Arragon to he could re-marry and produce an heir The Pope excommunicated him in 1533. Three years later the break was complete. He dissolved the monastaries, confiscated their wealth, established the 10 Articles (1536), and required the English Bible to be set up in Churches (1538). Perhaps most importantly, he had Edward educated by Protestants. Yet he also ordered spasmodically persecution of Protestants.

Hoffmann, Melchior (c.1500-c.1543) German radical (Anabaptist) theologian. He associated with Lutherans becoming a lay-preacher in 1523. By 1529 he had abandoned Luther’s doctrine of the Eucharist arguing that it was only a remembrance. He also began to adopt pronounced apocalyptic-eschatological views. By 1533 he was convinced that Strasbourg would be the place where Jesus returned to consummate the golden age. A fiery visionary he was quite influential among the radicals.

Homoousion A Greek term, literally meaning “of the same substance,” which came to be used extensively during the fourth century to designate the mainstream Christological belief that Jesus Christ was “of the same substance as God.” The term was polemical, being directed against the Arian view that Christ was “of similar substance” (homoiousion) to God.

Hooker, Richard (c.1554-1600) Perhaps the principal theologian of the conforming stream of the Elizabethan Anglican church. He was the greatest defender of the Elizabethan via media(middle way) settlement between Rome and the Puritans. Mildly Calvinist in his soteriology, Hooker rejected the Calvinist regulative principle (only that may be done in worship which is explicitly commanded in Scripture or implicitly required) in favor of a more Lutheran approach (that which is not forbidden is allowed) to defend Episcopacy, the Erastian relations of Church and State in England. Nevertheless, he accepted the ordination of the Continental Protestants and held a Calvinist view of the Eucharist.

Hooper, John (d.1555) Bishop of Gloucester, and Worcester and one of the Oxford Martyrs, with Nicolas Ridley (Bp of London), to be burnt alive at the stake on the Broad Street in front of the Master’s Lodgings of Balliol College, on 9 February. He is perhaps most famous for his last words, ‘Be of good comfort Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out’.

Hübmair, Balthasar (c.1485-1528) German radical (anabaptist). A student under the Roman Catholic theologian J. Eck, he began a parish priest serving until about 1523. After coming into contact with Zwingli and the Swiss Reformers, he identified with the Reformation. By 1525, however, he abandoned the magisterial Reformation for the radical side attacking Zwingli’s doctrine of infant baptism. Entangled in the peasant wars (1525) he fled to Zürich for safety, and was forced by Zwingli to renounce his radical views. Upon leaving he recanted and settled in Moravia where he wrote anabaptist tracts. He was extradited to Vienna where he was burnt on 10 March, 1528.

Humanism A complex movement which was one of the primary engines of the late Medieval and early Modern Renaissance. It was an intellectual and social move from 14c-16c toward pedagogical reform, intellectual, spiritual and moral renewal through a return ad fontesincluding Scripture, classical and patristic sources. It also connotes a commitment to a historical and grammatical way of reading texts, a rejection of mythology and superstition, and a return to rhetorical elegance. As it was not a single movement, there were Christian as well as pagan strains of Renaissance Humanism. The Christians, many of whom (but not all) became Protestants valued the Bible as the primary Christian text, whereas those infatuated with the Classical world sought to reproduce it in their own time. This enterprise largely failed and the rotting stump of Classical humanism degenerated into what became first Deism then the Enlightenment rejection of not only the Classical but also the Christian worldview.

Hus, Jan (c.1372-1415) Bohemian foreunner of the Reformation. After coming into contact with Wycliffe’s views he began agitating for moral reform of the Czech Church. He died at the stake.

Hypostatic union The doctrine of the union, without confusion, of divine and human natures in Jesus Christ. Some Gnesio-Lutherans regarded the doctrine of the hypostatic union as insufficient to account for the biblical revelation whereas Reformed theology gave to it more hearty support.


Ignatius of Loyola (c.1491/5-1556) Spanish founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). A soldier, he was wounded in battle. During his recovery he read the life of Christ and other biographies, after which he vowed to become a soldier for Christ. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (1523) and took an MA is Paris (1535). There he committed himself unreservedly to the service of the Pope.

Imputation: The Protestant notion that Christ’s active (life) and passive (suffering and death) obedience (righteousness) is ‘credited’ graciously to sinners when they are united to Christ by faith.

Infusion: The process by which, according to most medieval theologians, sinners are filled up with divine grace for sanctification and ultimately for salvation.

Inquisition (1232-) The judicial punishment of doctrinal heresy by Roman Catholic church courts. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II issued an edict giving the state the power to hunt out and punish heretics. Not to be outdone, Pope Gregory IX appointed Papal inquisitors, mainly from the Dominicans and Franciscans. Early on, ordinary penances were assigned, later physical punishment began to become more common. In the late 15c the Spanish Inquisition was instituted and existed officially until 1834. This inquisition was highly effective at wiping out the nascent Protestant movement in Spain.


Julius II (1443-1513) Pope from 1503. Nephew of Pope Sixtus IV who loaded him with benefices and bishoprics. On the election of Alexander VI to the papacy, he was forced to flee to France for his own safety. He was elected after the brief reign of Pius III. His chief accomplishment was to secure temporal power for the papacy within Italy. He was a generous patron of renaissance art and began St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the indulgences for which stimulated Luther’s 95 theses.

Justification: Derived from the Latin v. iustificare ‘to make or declare righteous’. 1.Biblical doctrine is summarized in key passages such as Romans 1:17; 3:21; Galatians 2:20-1. Paul clearly taught a forensic doctrine of justification, that we are graciously declared righteous through faith in Christ. 2.Roman Catholic doctrine (at least since the Council of Trent) has been that one is made righteous through the operation of divine grace. 3.Protestant doctrine is that God freely imputes Christ’s righteousness to his people and declares them to be righteous in his sight. This righteousness is received by faith in Christ alone.


Karlstadt (c.1480-1541) [aka Andreas Bodenstein]. A German Protestant reformer, professor at the University of Wittenberg, and sometime colleague of Martin Luther. On becoming a Protestant he abandoned his Thomist realism, and moved to a radically Augustinian doctrine of sin and what might be termed a ‘puritan’ style of worship. Luther opposed the latter move and agreed with the former. Karlstadt may have been one of reason’s Luther became a more profound Augustinian. Because of his ecclesiastical radicalism Luther began to regard him as a traitor to the Reformation and he was eventually forced to flee to a professorship in Basle.

Knox, John (c.1513-72) The greatest of the Scots Reformers. Educated originally for the priesthood, he worked as a tutor until the mid 1540’s when he came under the influence of the Protestant George Wishart. By 1547 he was the preacher in St. Andrews. The same year he was taken prisoner with several other Scottish Protestants and imprisoned in France until 1549. Upon release he went to England and in 1551 he was made He was made chaplain to Edward VI. At Mary’s accession he fled with the other puritans, first to Frankfort where he pastored the puritans. He returned briefly to Scotland but was called in 1555 to Geneva where he pastored the English speaking congregation. In 1559 he returned to Scotland and in 1560 he wrote the Scots confession. He campaigned relentlessly against Mary Stuart through 1567 until her abdication.


Lambeth Articles (1595) Nine Calvinist articles authorized by Abp Whitgift teaching supralapsarianism.

Latimer, Hugh (c.1485-1555) Bp of Worcester and Reformer. Early in the 1520’s began to move toward Protestantism. He was one of the few pastors licensed to preach throughout England. With N. Ridley, he was one of the Oxford Martyrs in 1555.

Laud, William (1573-1645) Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Abp of Canterbury, and staunch Arminian opponent of English Calvinism. Attempted to suppress and impose uniformity upon the Puritans, transformed communion tables to altars. After the ‘etcetera oath’ he was suspended by Charles I. He was impeached and imprisoned by the Parliament. Tried in 1644 and decapitated in 1645.

Leo X (1475-1521) Pope from 1513 (at age 38!). He is most famous for excommunicating Martin Luther in 1520.

Limited atonement An approach to the doctrine of the atonement, taught by Augustine (d.430) Prosper (d.460) and later by Gottschalk and Ratramnus in the 9th century. In the 12th century, Lombard’s Sentences 3.20 taught a distinction between the sufficiency and efficiency of Christ’s death. In the 13th century, Thomas upheld this distinction , and since the Reformation associated with Calvinist writers (though Luther implied it in De servo arbitrio[1525]), which holds that Christ’s death is only effective for those who have been elected to salvation.

Loyola, Ignatius. See Ignatius.

Luther, Martin (1483-1546). German Protestant Reformer. Son of a Saxon miner, Martin was intended for the law, but, as a young man he became increasingly aware of God’s holiness and righteousness. He instead became an observant Augustinian monk. Unable to find relief through monkish exercises, and G. Biel’s semi-Pelagian theology, he was made a Professor of Biblical Theology at Wittenberg. As he taught through the Psalms he became increasingly Augustinian. As he lectured on the Book of Romans he had a breakthrough realisation that justification is not a process but an event, not the product of cooperation with grace but God’s unearned gift.

Lutheranism The religious ideas associated with Martin Luther, particularly as expressed in the Lesser Catechism (1529) and the Augsburg Confession (1530). A series of internal disagreements within Lutheranism after Luther’s death (1546) between hardliners (the so-called “Gnesio-Lutherans” or “Flacianists”) and moderates (“Philippists”), led to their resolution by the Formula of Concord (1577), which is usually regarded as the authoritative statement of Lutheran theology.


Machiavelli, Niccolò (1469-1527) Italian pagan classicist-humanist and early modern political philosopher in the service of the Medici’s. For him, politics is a purely secular business, the ruthless quest for power.

Magedeburg Centuries (see Flaccius).

Magisterial Reformation A term used to refer to the Lutheran and Reformed wings of the Reformation, as opposed to the radical wing (Anabaptism and unitarianism).

Major, George (1502-74) The principal figure in the controversy among Lutheran theologians (1551-2) over whether good works are necessary to justification. He originally taught that no one could be justified without good works. After being attacked by Nikolas von Amsdorff and M. Flaccius as a traitor the Reformation he modified his position to say that work are a token of the Christian’s faith.

Marburg, Colloquy (1529) called by Philip of Hesse in an attempt work out differences between the Swiss (Zwingli, Oecolampad, Bucer) and German Protestants (Luther and Melanchthon) on the Eucharist. Luther and Zwingli failed to agree on the nature of Christ’s presence in the Supper irrevocably separating Lutheran from Reformed Protestants.

Mary Queen of Scots (1542-87) Queen from 1543-67. The mother of the future King James VI, she was the Roman Catholic ruler of Scotland when the Protestant reformation erupted. Unable to suppress Knox et al she was forced to abdicate. She spent her last 14 years imprisoned and plotting her return to power until she was executed.

Mass Derived from the Latin missa [mitto, ere ‘to send’]. The concluding words of the mass areIte, missa est ‘Go, you are dismissed’. By the 5c the phrase missam facere was in use in the West. It now denotes a sacrificial, priestly offering which is the central act of Roman Catholic worship.

Meister. See Eckhart.

Melanchthon, Philip (1497-1560) Protestant Humanist and theologian. He was made Professor of Greek at Wittenberg. In 1521 he published his Loci communes, the first Protestant systematic theology. He was the primary author of the authoritative Lutheran confession: The Augsburg Confession (1530). As early as 1524 his own theology began to move away from Luther’s on predestination. By 1540 he moved away from Luther on the Supper and revised the confession to reflect his new views. Philip was massively influential on later Lutheranism and German Protestantism.

Merit, condign: (L. meritum de condigno). Medieval scholastic term which describes a claim to reward (salvation) on the basis of the inherent value of a work performed. A work was said to have condign merit if it is perforemd with the assistance of divine grace, with a Spirit-wrought motive, by one in the state of grace. A work has condign merit meets because it meets the terms of justice and therefore God is said to recognize its worth (condignity) as a matter of strict justice.

Meritcongruent: (L. meritum de congruo): Medieval scholastic term denoting a claim to reward (salvation) that lacks intrinsic value (condignity) and that is disproportionate to the reward offered. Such a work is said to have congruent merit and therefore God is not obligated to reward it but does so freely by imputing perfection to it. In some schemes, God was said to have covenanted to reward those “who do what lies within them” (facientibus quod in se est, Deus non denegat gratiam). It was thought possible by some medieval theologians for one outside of a state of grace to to receive congruent merit by doing “what lies within them.”

Millenary Petition (1603) An attempt by English Puritans to gain relief from the Elizabethan settlement (conformity) rejected by King James I.

Modalism A Trinitarian heresy, which treats the three persons of the Trinity as different “modes” of the Godhead. A typical modalist approach is to regard God as active as Father in creation, as Son in redemption, and as Spirit in sanctification.

Molina, Luis de (1535-1600) Spanish Jesuit, Roman Catholic theology. He taught a doctrine of salvation (Concordia liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis, 1588) whereby the God is said to know that we will cooperate with divine grace.

More, Thomas (1478-1535) Lord Chancellor of England, Roman Catholic theologian and humanist scholar. He was an advocate, like Erasmus, of moral reform in the Church. He controverted against Luther. His opposition to Henry VIII’s divorce of Catherine of Arragon cost his life.

Münster (1534) Site of an infamous debacle in which apocalyptic (Melchiorite) Anabaptists arrived in Münster in large numbers. The new Burgomeister warned those who did not support the radicals to leave town. The Prince-Bishop attacked the city. Jan Beukelz succeeded the Burgomeister and dissolved the city council, imposed compulsory polygamy, executed leaders of a failed coup, and declared himself the ‘universal king of righteousness’. Münster became a symbol to the mainline-magisterial reformers for radical excesses.

Müntzer, Thomas (c.1490-1525) Leader of the radical reformation and social revolutionary. Initially attracted to Luther’s Protestantism, he was present for the Leipzig disputation. He was called to preach at Zwickau where he met the Zwickau Prophets. He was deposed for his radicalism and violent anti-clericalism. He issued a call to arms in defense of the gospel. He also helped stimulate the Peasants’ Revolt in 1525 in So. Germany.

Musculus, Abraham (1497-1563) Reformed Protestant theologian in Bern (Switzerland). Musculus was an Erastian and thus in conflict with Geneva on questions of Church polity. HisLoci communes (Common Places) was very influential among Reformed theologians.

Myconius, Friedrich (1490-1546) Protestant reformer and preacher. He was present for several of the most important theological conferences in late 1530’s and early 40’s.

Myconius, Oswald (1488-1522) Swiss Reformer and humanist scholar. An associate of Erasmus, he worked with Zwingli in the reformation of Zürich. He succeeded Oecolampad in Basle. He also worked for a compromise with the Lutherans on the Eucharist.


Nestorius (fl. 428-c.451) Patriarch of Constantinople, and an extreme Antiochene. He denied that the BVM was Theotokos. He seems almost to have thought of the two natures as two persons, and thus denied any real union of the divine with the human. He was condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431. The Chalcedon Definition rejected Nestorius’ separation of the two natures.

Nicene Creed The creed was written to defend the orthodox Christian faith against those (Arians) who denied the doctrine of the Trinity and the deity of Jesus. The Arians contended that Jesus was substantially like God the Father homoiousion). The orthodox Church affirmed that Jesus is God the Son, consubstantial with the Father and the Spirit and thus used the term homoiousion.

Nominalism Strictly speaking, the theory of knowledge (epistemology) opposed to realism (Thomas Aquinas) associated most strongly with William of Ockham. It posits that, in effect, that there is no necessary relation between the name (nomen) and the thing named. Names are mere conventions. Theologically this movement has often been connected with a strong emphasis on the divine will (voluntarism).


Ochino, Berdardino (1487-1564) Italian Franciscan monk converted who became a Protestant reformer through the influence of Peter Martyr Vergmigli. He was well known for his eloquent preaching even before his conversion to Protestantism. He fled to Geneva to escape the inquisition. He pastored an Italian refugee congregation in Augsburg (1545-7). From there he was invited by Cranmer to England where he wrote against the papacy and the doctrine of predestination. On Mary’s accession he, he fled to Zürich where he was made a pastor. He was later expelled from office for heterodoxy and went to Poland where there was a growing anti-Trinitarian community.

Ockham,William (c.1285-1347) Venerabilis inceptor. An English Franciscan theologian and philosopher. A Greyfriar, he taught in Oxford and Avignon. A Philosophical nominalist, Ockham reacted to Thomas’ realism by arguing that universalia were merely hypothetical and by rejecting the efficacy of Thomas’ “Five Ways”. God’s existence is a revealed, not rational truth. Contrary to Thomas’ emphasis on universals, he wanted to discuss individua. Theologically he tended to Pelagianism and reacted to Thomas’ intellectualism by stressing the divine freedom and will (voluntarism) by distinguishing between the two powers (de potentia absoluta et ordinata). According to the absolute divine power (de potentia absoluta), God the Son might have become incarnate as a donkey, but according to the ordained power of God (de potentia ordinata) he became incarnate as a human being. Sin is “sin” only because God says so, not because it is so naturally. The sacraments were said to have power to impart grace de potentia ordinata only because of the pactum. That is, God having willed and promised he gives grace to those who do what is in them (facientibus quod in se est, Deus not denegat gratiam). This was the soteriology of the via moderna.

Oecolampadius (Johannes Hussgen/Husschin 1482-1531) German Protestant humanist scholar and theologian. He took up Luther’s position briefly, abandoned it, then returned to Protestantism by 1522. He was influential in advancing the Reformation in Basel. He sided with Zwingli at Marburg, (1529).

Olevian, Caspar (1536-85) One of the two primary authors of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) and a central figure in the development of Reformed federal theology.

Orthodoxy A term used in a number of senses, of which the following are the most important: Orthodoxy in the sense of “right belief,” as opposed to heresy; orthodoxy in the sense of a movement within Protestantism, especially in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, which laid emphasis upon need for doctrinal definition.

Osiander (1498-1552). Protestant theologian. First associated with the Lutheran cause in 1522. Participated in the Marburg Colloquy (1529) and the Reichstag/Diet of Augsburg (1530). He signed the Lutheran Schmalkald Articles (1531). By 1549 he was professor of theology at Königsburg and the next year he published De Iustificatione rejecting imputed righteousness for infused righteousness. He was roundly attacked by Protestants for abandoning the gospel. His niece, Margaret, was Thomas Cranmer’s (illegal and hidden) wife (1532).


Parker, Matthew (1504-75) Archbishop of Canterbury. Supported the moderate Protestants under Henry VIII and Edward VI. Upon Elizabeth’s accession he was made Abp. Against the Puritans he ordered the use the surplice. He published the Bishops’ Bible, revised the Articles of Religion to 39 and enforced the Elizabethan settlement.

Patrick (c.389-461) Born in Britain, he was captured at age 16 and taken to Ireland by pirates where he lived for 6 years as a shepherd. During this time he became more devout in his faith. Having escaped, he traveled 200 miles north, talked his way aboard a ship and returned to Britain where he trained for the ministry. He returned to Ireland where he helped to establish the church. His widely read Confession witnesses to the influence of Augustine’s theology in Roman Britain.

Patristic An adjective used to refer to the first centuries in the history of the church, following the writing of the New Testament (the “patristic period”), or scholars writing during this period (the “patristic writers”). For many writers, the period thus designated seems to be c.100-451 (in other words, the period between the completion of the last of the New Testament writings and the Council of Chalcedon).

Paul III (1468-1549) Pope from 1534. A typical Renaissance pope—he had three sons and a daughter!—he also pursued the organizational reform of the church. He approved the Jesuit order, re-established the Inquisition and vigorously pursued a general council which became the Council of Trent. He made Michelangelo chief architect of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Paul IV (1476-1559) Pope from 1555. The first Counter-Reformation Pope. His violent opposition to Protestantism seemed only to strengthen the movement he hated.

Pelagius (c.400) British monk and lay theologian who taught that man is capable of cooperating (by free will) with God in working toward salvation, apart from prevenient (foregoing) divine grace. This view was rejected at the Council of Carthage AD 411) and strongly attacked by Augustine. Semi-Pelagianism teaches that one is able to cooperate with God toward salvation and thus merits divine grace which continues to help. This view dominated the Western Church from shortly after Augustine until the Reformation.

Perichoresis A term relating to the doctrine of the Trinity, often also referred to by the Latin term circumincessio. The basic notion is that all three persons of the Trinity mutually share in the life of the others, so that none is isolated or detached from the actions of the others.

Perkins, William (1558-1608) English Protestant (Puritan) Reformed theologian. A fellow of Christ’s College, and lecturer in Great St. Andrews Church, Cambridge. He was the first and greatest of the English Puritan Puritans divines. His Golden Chaine (1590) was extremely influential in Puritan theology. He inaugurated a style of theology which combined technical mastery with warm, practical popularity.

Peter of Lombard (c.1100-60). The ‘Master of the Sentences’. Peter wrote the standard textbook of medieval theology. Lombard’s Sententiae were unsurpassed until Aquinas’ Summa.

Pico della Mirandola, G. (1463-94) Leading Italian humanist scholar. A Classicist, he was one of the few people of his age to read Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic. Most famous for his heterodox 900 theses which he proposed to defend in 1486 but no one took him up.

Pietism An approach to Christianity, especially associated with German writers in the seventeenth century, which places an emphasis upon the personal appropriation of faith, and the need for holiness in Christian living. The movement is perhaps best known within the English-language world in the form of Methodism.

Pius IV (1499-1565) Pope from 1559. As Pope he reversed the anti-imperial (Hapsburg) policy of Paul IV. His most notable accomplishment was to reassemble the Council of Trent and see it to its conclusion in 1562-3. After Trent he promulgated a new index of banned books and a new Roman Catechism (1564).

Pius V (1504-72) Pope from 1566. A Dominican monk, philosopher and theologian, he worked for moral reform in the church. He compelled Bishops and Priests to assent to the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, reformed the Breviary (Roman liturgical book), the Missal (book for the Mass), made Thomas Aquinas Doctor Ecclesiae and ordered his works reprinted. He prosecuted the Inquisition in Spain and excommunicated Elizabeth I.

Polanus, Amandus (1561-1610) O.T. Professor in Basel and an important figure in the development of Protestant (in this case Reformed) orthodoxy and scholasticism. Like most other Protestant orthodox/scholastic theologians he was first of all a biblical exegete. He wrote against Bellarmine and produced two systematic works. His Syntagma theologiae Christianae (1609) is an important extended defense of Reformed theology.

Pole, Reginald (1500-58) Abp of Canterbury and humanist scholar. While in Italy he criticised Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Arragon. He served as a papal legate. He consulted with Contarini before Ratisbon. He was nearly elected Pope in ’49. On Mary’s accession he became papal legate to England. After Cranmer’s martyrdom in 1556 he was created Apb of Canterbury. He cooperated in the persecution of Protestants.

Principium theologiae the foundations of theology. Scripture is the objective foundation (principium externum) of “knowing” (cognoscendi) and it is God (principium essendi) who is known. Faith is the internal (internum) ground of knowing.

Protestant The term dates formally from the protest lodged at the Diet of Speyer (1529) by the Lutheran princes against the revocation of tolerance. The term, however, has long been used to refer to a system of doctrine which rejected the late Medieval Roman Catholic doctrines of salvation infused grace, semi-Pelagianism, merit, the papacy, the priesthood, and its twin sources of authority, in favor of an Augustinian (predestinarian) doctrine of salvation by prevenient, unmerited divine favor, because of which Christ’s merits are imputed to the undeserving sinner, the benefits of which are received through faith alone, which looks to Christ alone for salvation. Protestants also hold that Scripture alone has unique authority for faith and life.


Quadriga The fourfold pattern of Medieval biblical exegesis flowing from 3rd century Alexandrian (e.g., Origen) distinction between the “literal” and “spiritual” senses of the biblical text. The questions is sought to answer were grounded in theological virtues of 1 Cor 13. What does a particular text say about faith, hope and love? The quadriga was revised and used widely in the medieval church for more than a millennium. The senses are: 1.Sensus historicus/literalis: the grammatical-historical sense of a passage; 2.Sensus allegoricus: the doctrinal sense, i.e., what does the text say about what it to be believed? 3.Sensus anagogicus: the eschatological message of a text, i.e., what is to be hoped?; 4.Sensus moralis/tropologicus: the moral message, i.e., what is to be done? While the system was certainly abused in the medieval church, many scholars recognized that not every passage would or should yield every sense. Though the Reformers inveighed against it, in practice it was not entirely discarded.


Racovian Catechism (1605) A Polish Socinian (Unitarian) catechism.

Radical Reformation A term used with increasing frequency to refer to the Anabaptist movement – in other words, the wing of the Reformation which went beyond what Luther and Zwingli envisaged.

Radbertus, Paschasius (c.790-c.860). Carolingian theologian most famous for his dialogue with Ratramnus over the nature of the Lord’s Supper. In his De corpore et sanguine domini(831/833, rev. 844) is the first major treatise on the Lord’s Supper in the medieval church. InDe corpore he argued that, at consecration, the elements of the Supper become the body and blood of Christ, anticipating the later doctrine of transubstantiation. In his, De corpore et sanguine domini (843/844), written at the request of Charles the Bald, Ratramnus (also of Corbie) responded by denying the transformation of the elements of the supper by arguing for a sort of Spiritual presence of Christ in the Supper. The debate turned on the question of what is veritas (literal) and what is figura or symbolic. Ratramnus argued that the body with which Christ was born, crucified and raised, is the body which he possesses in the ascension. Therefore, the body which we eat in the Supper is represented to us in a figure.

Rationalism. The Rationalist is certain that man can know and understand things exhaustively. The rationalist believes that he has one principle which explains reality (e.g., Evolution). The Greeks said that all is one (See Monism above). Rationalists always deny the existence of whatever appeared to contradict their belief. Some rationalists say what is true is what fits a logical syllogism. Modern rationalists (e.g., logical positivists) insist that only that is true which can be verified by sense experience. The flip side to the verification principle is the “falsification principle” which tries to show that a universal statement is not true if it can be falsified. This procedure tends toward skepticism and irrationalism. Contemporary linguistic analysis, by philosophers such as W.V.O. Quine, is making the application of both the verification and falsification principles far more difficult

Ramus, Peter (1515-72) Late Renaissance-humanist educational Reformer who promoted himself as a radical anti-Aristotelian. His controversial theories were quite influential on several Calvinist theologians in the late 16c and early 17c. He was murdered in the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

Ratramnus (d. ca.868) see Radbertus.

Raphael (1483-1520) One of the most famous of Renaissance painters.

Realism. An epistemology which says that we says that we know universalia by abstracting them from particulars. In distinction from nominalism (q.v.), realism posits a genuine connection between a name and the thing named. Realists tended to be interested inuniversalia since it is these which give particulars their meaning.

Reformed Used early in the Reformation (c.1517-40’s/50’s) as a synonym for evangelical, i.e., those supporting the theological, moral and ecclesial reformation of the Church. As early as the late 1520’s, flowing from Zwingli’s Christological differences with Luther, a self-conscious break began to occur between Lutherans (though many Reformed, including Calvin,wore that badge with honor) and those wishing to press on with the Reformation. As a label it is slightly broader than Calvinist as it encompasses the Zwinglians (Zwingli, Bullinger, et al) and Peter Martyr and J. Zanchi and others as well as Calvin and the Calvinists.

Regensburg, Colloquy of: (1541) Also called Ratisbon. site of the Imperial Reichstag (Diet) of 27 April – 22 May 1541. Attended by J. Eck, J. von Pflug, J. Gropper representing Rome; and Philip Melanchthon, Martin Bucer and M. Pistorius representing the Protestants.

Renaissance Humanism (see humanism)

Reuchlin, Johannes (1455-1522) German humanist and Hebrew scholar and the uncle of Philip Melanchthon.

Ridley, Nicholas (c.1500-55) The Protestant Bishop of London who, with H. Latimer, was martyred in Oxford by Mary Tudor.


Sabellianism An early trinitarian heresy, which treated the three persons of the Trinity as different historical manifestations of the one God. See pp. 256-7.

Sacrament In purely historical terms, a church service or rite which was held to have been instituted by Jesus Christ himself. Although Roman Catholic theology and church practice recognize seven such sacraments (baptism, confirmation, eucharist, marriage, ordination, penance, and unction), Protestant theologians generally argue that only two (baptism and eucharist) were to be found in the New Testament itself.

Sadoleto, Jacopo (1477-1547) Cardinal, humanist scholar. In 1539 Sadoleto wrote a remarkable letter attempting to persuade the citizens of Geneva to return to Holy Mother Church occasioning an equally remarkable response by Calvin in defense of the Reformation.

Sanctification: (L. sanctificare, “to make or treat as holy”). Has definitive and progressive aspects. In Christ we are once for all declared holy for the sake of Christ, but called to work out that holiness by the grace of God. Protestants argue that Roman Catholic theology confuses sanctification and justification.

Sattler, Michael (c.1490-1527) Anabaptist leader. Trained as a monk, he associated with the Anabaptist movement, in Zürich, in 1525. He was expelled and fled to Strasbourg. He presided over the conference (1527) which drafted the Schleitheim Confession. He was brutally executed for his views.

Savanarola, Girolamo (1452-1498) Italian moral-ecclesiastical Reformer. A Dominican monk he became famous for a series of sermons preached on the Revelation and later for predicting judgment on Florence. When he was able to Charles VIII of France not to invade Florence he predicted a golden age for the city in which she would rule Italy. He also attacked to corrupt Papacy of Alexander VI. He was tried for heresy and executed.

Saxon Confession (1551) Protestant confession written by Philip Melanchthon written for the Emperor for the Council of Trent.

Schleitheim, Confession of (1527) An informal Anabaptist (Swiss Brethren) confession of faith in seven articles, composed in Schleitheim. The confession teaches believer’s baptism, pacifism, forbids oath taking.

Schmalkald Articles (1537) A confession of faith, in three parts, written by Luther in preparation for the Council to be convened at Mantua (eventually meeting at Trent). Though never officially endorsed, they were incorporated into the Lutheran Book of Concord (1580).

Schmalkald League (1531-47) A confederation of Protestant German princes formed in reaction to Charles V’s Augsburg Recess (1530). The league united Lutherans and Swiss Reformed Protestants temporarily against the Hapsburgs. Eventually Charles crushed the princes in battle.

Scholasticism: a technical and logical approach to systematic theological, in which each theological topic or locus was divided into its component parts, the parts analyzed and then defined precisely in careful propositional form.

Schwabach Articles (1529) 17 articles revised from the articles drafted for the Marburg Colloquy. They formed the basis for the Augsburg Confession (1530).

Scotism The scholastic philosophy associated with Duns Scotus.

Scots, Confession of Faith (1560) The first confession of faith by the Scots Reformed (Calvinist) Church. Adopted by the Scottish Parliament it was the confession of the Scottish Protestants until replaced by the Westminster Confession (1647).

Semi-Pelagianism A 17c (anti-Molinist) designation for the reaction against Augustine’s anti-Pelagian emphasis on original sin, our federal union with Adam and predestination. The semi-Pelagians agreed with Augustine that we fell with Adam but tended to minimize the effect of sin such that the sinner is said to be retain a free-will and is able to cooperate with divine grace. Prosper of Aquitaine (c.390-463), Gottschalk (c.804-c.869) and Gregory of Rimini (†1358) are among those who attacked the prevailing semi-Pelagianism in the West before the Reformation. Luther and the Reformers reacted strongly against the semi-Pelagianism of Late medieval theologians such as Gabriel Biel. Later Protestants attacked Arminius for semi-Pelagianism.

Sensus Deitatis A widely held Christian teaching but most closely associated with Calvin in the Reformation, taken from Romans 1-2, that all human beings are created with some true, but unsaving knowledge of God. Its primary function is to serve as a witness to our depravity and to leave us without excuse.

Seripando, Girolamo (1493-1563) Italian Cardinal and Papal legate to and one-time President of the Council of Trent. His views on sin and justification were not those of Trent and he attempted, with Contarini to forestall the semi-Pelagian settlement.

Servetus, Michael (1511-53) Spanish anti-Trinitarian lay theologian and physician. He corresponded with Calvin and replied to his Institutes at great length. He appeared unwisely, in Geneva, in 1533, where he was arrested (having already been burnt in effigy elsewhere) and eventually burnt by order of the city council.

Simons, Menno (1496-1561) Once a Dutch Roman Catholic priest, Menno renounced his orders and united with the Anabaptist movement in 1536. Ministered to Anabaptist communities for 25 years in the Netherlands and in North Germany. He stressed the community of believers, pacifism, withdrawal from the world and refused to use non-biblical terms in theology. The Mennonite movement takes its name from him.

Simul justus et peccator: Simultaneously righteous and a sinner (Luther).

Sin, venial, unlike moral sin, this sin does not deprive the soul of saving grace. The distinction was taught by Thomas and upheld by Trent. These do not require penance.

Sin, mortal, in Roman Catholic doctrine, is a deliberate sin willfully committed. If confessed, it can be pardoned; if committed just before death without intention of repentance results in loss of grace and eternal damnation.

Sixtus V (1521-1590) Pope from 1585. A Counter-Reformation Pope most famous for the revised edition of the Vulgate which he inaugurated.

Society of Jesus Founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534, approved by Paul III in 1540. Its goals were to foster reform in the Church, serve as a reaction to Protestantism, and to do missions in the New World. They have a particular loyalty to the Papacy and serve his pleasure. They are known for their outstanding educational program.

Socinus, Lelio (1525-62) Influenced by Italian Protestantism and sometime friend of P. Melanchthon, he criticised Calvin’s Trinitarianism but satisfied Bullinger as to his orthodoxy.

Socinus, Faustus (1539-1604) The nephew of L. Socinus, denied Christ’s deity and human immortality early in his career. By the 1570’s he was attacking orthodox Protestantism and advocating Unitarianism.

Sola’s the. A series of formula (sola gratia, sola fide, sola Scriptura, solo Christo, soli Deo gloria) which became shorthand for the theological (and especially the soteriological) distinctives of the Reformation. Protestants believe that Scripture is alone the primary authority for faith and life (not that it is the only authority); that salvation is by unearned divine favor received only by the instrument of apprehensive faith (as opposed to an infused virtue) which receives Christ’s imputed righteousness. Christ alone is the proper object of saving faith and God only ought to receive all glory in salvation. It is sometimes objected that these are later formula and not proper to the Reformation itself. This is inaccurate. The expressions or synonyms are found widely in 16th and 17th century Protestant writers.

Solemn League and Covenant (1643) The agreement between the Scots and the English Parliament to maintain the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and reform the Church of England. Also a mutual defense treaty enabling the Scots to participate in the Westminster Assembly.

Soteriology The locus of Christian theology teaching the doctrine of salvation.

Speyer, Diet of (1526) The diet which established the principle, cuius regio, eius religio (To each region, its own religion).

Speyer, Diet of (1529) Diet at which the term ‘Protestant’ came into being. The Roman Catholic majority of electors voted to end toleration of Protestants. Six Lutheran princes and 14 cities responded with a protest to Archduke Ferdinand defending the freedom of conscience and their rights as a minority within the Empire.

Staupitz, Johann (c.1460/9-1529) Vicar-General of the Augustinian Friars of which Luther was a member. He was Luther’s patron, arranging for him to come to the University of Wittenberg. His strong predestinarian theology greatly influenced Luther.

Stephanus, Robert (1503-59) Printer to Francis I and of several Latin editions of the Bibles, of the Hebrew Old Testament, and the Greek New Testament. He advertised his 1550 edition of the NT to be the textus receptus (received text). In 1551 he fled to Geneva where he aligned himself with the Protestant cause, printed Calvin’s works, and introduced the versification of Scripture still used today.

Stuart, James I (1566-1625) King of England from 1603. Also James VI, King of Scotland from 1567. Tutored by stout Calvinists, he nevertheless moved to restore episcopacy in Scotland. On Elizabeth’s death he acceded to the English throne by virtue of his descent from Henry VII through his mother. Because he had allied himself with England as King of Scotland, he became King of Great Britain. He refused the Puritan petition for relief from uniformity; ordered the translation of the Authorized Version of the Bible which was first published in 1611. He upheld the divine right of kings and apostolic succession.

Suarez, Francisco de (1548-1617) Spanish Jesuit Counter-Reformation, Thomist theologian. He gained fame as a commentator on Aquinas’ Summa. His synthesis of Thomas and Aristotle exercised considerable influence upon Protestant theology. He agreed with Molina’s ‘congruism’. God has ‘middle knowledge’ (scientia media) by which gives grace to the elect which he forsees they will use properly in specifically arranged circumstances. He is usually considered the greatest theologian of the Jesuits.

Summa Theologica/Summa Theologiae (1265-74) Thomas Aquinas’ chief theological work in three parts, First part (Prima) on God in se and on creation. Second Part (Prima Secundae) of God as the end of man; and (Secunda Secundae) of man’s return to God; Third Part (Tertia) of Christ as the way to God. The last was unfinished.

Swiss Brethren (1525) The oldest German speaking Anabaptist group.


Tauler, Johann (1300-61) A German Dominican mystic. Influenced by Meister Eckhart earned fame as a preacher and ministry to the infected during the plague. His mysticism was largely about committing oneself completely to the divine will. Union with God is desirable for the benefits which it produces in the human soul. Luther was influenced by Tauler.

Tetrapolitan Confession (1530) The oldest Reformed confession in Germany representing four Swiss cities. Drafted hastily at the Diet of Augsburg chiefly by M. Bucer, it sought toleration for Zwinglians who were about to be excluded from Imperial toleration and protection. Unfortunately, it failed to gain a serious hearing at the Diet.

Thirty Years War (1618-48) A series of religio-political wars fought in Central Europe. These wars were largely the result of the weakness of the Holy Roman (German) Emperor and the unresolved tension produced by the Peace of Augsburg (1555) which excluded Calvinists and Zwinglians from its peace.

Transubstantiation The medieval doctrine according to which the bread and the wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ in the eucharist, while retaining their outward appearance.

Tremellius, Johannes (1510-80) Jewish-Christian Hebrew scholar who became a Protestant in 1541. Taught in Cambridge University and Heidelberg University. His Latin translation of the OT (for scholars) was the first major Protestant translation and was widely used by Protestant theologians.

Thomism, (via Thomae) The scholastic philosophy and theology associated with Thomas Aquinas. Thomism enjoyed a resurgence in the 16th century prior to the Council of Trent and especially after. Not all Thomists in the 16th and 17th centuries were Papists, however. Several significant Protestants were trained in Thomism, including Zwingli, Martyr and Zanchi.

Trent, Council of (1545-63) A general council first called for Mantua to address the issues raised by the Protestant Reformation. For military and political reasons the council was relocated to Trent. It represents the apex of the Counter-Reformation response to Protestantism. Though there was some internal dissent, the Council pronounced the anathema upon the central Protestant doctrines.

Tudor, Mary (1516-58) Queen from 1558. On Edward’s death she acceded the throne and moved swiftly to outlaw Protestantism. She earned her nickname ‘Bloody Mary’ but her ruthless persecution of Protestants which drove hundreds of them across the channel into Europe for protection. Some of those who did not join the Marian exile were martyred for their faith, notably Abp Cranmer, and Bishops Ridley, Latimer and Hooper. She died a natural death.

Turretin, Francis (1623-1687) Italian Reformed scholastic theologian of Geneva. The principal author of the Helvetic Consensus (1675), he also wrote the very influential Institutio theologiae elencticae (1679-85). Turretin was one of the highpoints of 17th century Reformed scholasticism. His theology was determinative for much of succeeding Reformed orthodoxy well into the 19c and especially at Princeton Seminary where his Institutio was a textbook for some time. Later when students were unwilling to read the Latin Charles Hodge depended heavily on Turretin for his own Systematic Theology.

Tyndale, William (c.1494-1536) Protestant theologian and the greatest English translator of the Bible. He made the first English translation directly from the Greek text of the New Testament despite serious obstacles and the constant threat of imprisonment and death. His translation was so well done that it composes 90% of what became the Authorised Version (1611). A student in both Oxford and Cambridge, he came to Protestant sympathies quite early, he marks the beginning of the transition from Lutheranism to Reformed theology in England. He combined Luther’s doctrines of grace with Zwingli’s doctrine of the sacraments. Most of his work was done in Antwerp and his translation first arrived in England in 1526. He was martyred for the gospel.


Ubiquity. (From the Latin, ubiquitas) The Lutheran doctrine of the sacraments, grounded in its Christology, which holds that by the communication of the attributes of his divinity to his humanity (communicatio idiomatum) Christ is physically everywhere present and especially in the sacraments.

Unam sanctam (1302) Papal bull issued by Boniface VIII declaring that there is no salvation outside the ‘one Holy and Apostolic Church’, and affirming authority of the papacy and its authority in both temporal and spiritual matters.

Unio Mystica The mystical union of the believer with Christ. Though the unio Christo is a standard part of Protestant theology emphasizing the forensic, federal, union of the believer with Adam first and then Christ, the unio mystica became a distinctive of Reformed theology uniting the doctrine of justification (forensic idea of union) with the doctrine of union, i.e., the mystical and experiential and morally renovating aspects of the believer’s union with Christ. The latter, of course, is logically premised on the former. This notion found expression in Calvin and symbolically in the Heidelberg Catechism (1563).

Ursinus, Zacharias (1534-1583) Silesian/German Reformer. He began his theological career as a student of Philip Melanchthon. After Philip’s death, he was influenced by Calvin and Bullinger and moved in a Reformed direction. He is the primary author of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) and an important early federal theologian.

Usus legis The “use of the law’. Luther taught two uses of the moral law (Decalogue). The first and most important use is to teach us our sin (usus theologicus sive elenchticus sive paedigogicus). The second use is to restrain sin in civil society (usus civilis sive politicus). Though he did not describe it as such, he did teach the normativity of the moral law for the Christian. Melanchthon, the Formula of Concord and the Reformed theologians developed the same to become the third use of the law (usus didacticus sive normativus).


Valla, Lorenzo (1405-57) Italian humanist scholar and textual critic. He exposed the fraudulent Donation of Constantine. He criticised the Vulgate as a translation and attacked scholasticism violently.

Vatican The principal papal residence, in Rome, after the Avignon Papacy (1308-77). The Vatican underwent substantial improvement in the 16c and was a symbol to many Protestants of Episcopal excess.

Vermigli, Peter Martyr (1500-1562) Italian Protestant theologian. Trained in Thomistic scholasticism, he encountered Protestant theology in the late 1530’s. By 1542 his Reformed colors began to show and he was forced to flee to Switzerland where he was quickly accepted by leading Protestants, including Bullinger and Calvin. Peter Martyr was made Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford under Edward VI was among the first to adapt the new Protestant theology to the University by using Scholastic methods. His Common Places were widely read by Protestants in England and on the Continent. His influence can be traced in England to the Westminster Confession (1647) and on the Continent to the Canons of Dort (1619).

Via AntiquaThe Old Way. Realists in epistemology, they that there is a necessary relation between names and the thing named. Emphasis fell on universalia rather than individua. Theologically, they emphasized the logical priority of the divine intellect.

Via Moderna: The Modern Way. [Nominalists; e.g., William of Ockham] Argued that the relation between names and the thing named is more a convention than necessity. They reacted to Thomas by criticizing the claim that we know universals. In theology, they placed emphasis on the logical priority of the divine will (over the intellect) and emphasized the long-held distinction between the two divine potentia (powers) of the divine will.

Via mystica (The mystical way). A theological method in which the principle of knowledge is not Scripture by direct revelation. Orthodox Protestantism has attempted to steer between the via mystica and rationalism.

Vincentian canon: From Vincent of Lerins (d. ca. 450). A test or rule (hence “canon”) to determine the catholicity of a doctrine: “quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est” (that which is has been believed everywhere, always and by all; Comminitorium primum, 4.3, Migne, Patrologia Latina, 50, 640.

Vulgate (biblia vulgata) Latin translation of the Sacred Scriptures done mostly by Jerome from 382-4. It was the Bible of the Western Church for the next Millennium. Protestants were critical of many of its translations, and though they continued to use it until late in the 16c, the also began to make their own Latin translations for academic work. The fourth session of the Council of Trent (1546) declared it to be the only authorized Latin text of the Bible, though it was massively revised in the 1590’s.


Waldesnians A small Christian mendicant community traced to a 12c merchant, Valdes of Lyons. Protestant polemicists have argued that the Vaudois represented a sort of remnant of pure Pauline Christianity uninfected with Romanism. Though orthodox, they were nevertheless persecuted severely in the Inquisition. In the 1520’s and 30’s they adopted a Protestant confession and allied themselves with the Reformation. They apparently still exist in Rome.

Westminster Assembly and Standards—Confession and Catechisms (1643-9) A notable assembly of 121 theologians appointed during the English Civil War by the Long (Puritan) Parliament to make the Church of England “more agreeable to the Word of God”‘. The original goal was to revise the 39 Articles of Religion which was partially accomplished. When, however, the Solemn League and Covenant was concluded with Scots Presbyterians, the divines began a new confession altogether. The result was the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms (1647) which admirably summarized the consensus among Reformed Protestants in the English speaking world for the next two centuries.

Whitehorse Tavern The pub, where, according to legend, several Protestant reformers met to discuss the new Protestant theology drifting into England from the Continent. Among those involved in these discussions were said to be William Tyndale.

Whitgift, John (c.1530-1604) Abp of Canterbury under Elizabeth. Himself a Calvinist, he nevertheless repressed puritans in attempting to maintain the Episcopal uniformity against Presbyterian critics.

Whittaker, William (1548-95) Puritan, Calvinist theologian who drafted the Lambeth Articles and edited the influential Nowell’s Catechism.

Wishart, George (c.1513-46) Scots Reformer and English translator of the First Helvetic Confession. Travelled Scotland advocating Reformation. In his last years he may have plotted against a Roman Cardinal. He was martyred at St. Andrews.

Wollebius, Johannes (1586-1629) German speaking Reformed theologian of Basel/ A student of Amandus Polanus, he served in the pastorate and later taught Old Testament. His Compendium theologiae Christianae is an outstanding representative of early 17th century Reformed theology.

Wolsey, Thomas (c.1474-1530) English Roman Catholic Cardinal, chaplain to Henry VIII, and Lord Chancellor. He opposed Henry’s divorce of Catherine of Arragon and fell from favor.

Worms, Diet of (1521) Where Luther defended his Protestantism before Charles V. Having been called upon to recant his Protestantism, he is said to have replied, “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me”. Charles V issued an edict, after Luther had departed, formally condemning Luther’s doctrine.

Worms, Disputation of (1540-1) A colloquy attempting to reconcile Protestants with Rome. J. Eck spoke for Rome and Melanchthon for Protestants. The conference was abandoned midway in favor of the Diet of Ratisbon/Regensburg.

Würtemberg, Confession of (1552) A Protestant confession of faith in 35 articles compiled by the Lutheran theologian J. Brenz. It was probably used in the revision of the English Articles of Religion.

Wycliffe, John (c.1330-84) English theologian, philosopher, and Reformer. An Oxford scholar, he rejected Ockham’s nominalism in favor of Augustine. He attacked the wealth and moral corruption in the church, arguing that the state has the right to remove corrupt clerics. In his attempt to foster reform, he formulated an early version of the doctrine Sola Scriptura, and attacked the legitimacy of the Papacy, monastic orders and the doctrine of transubstantiation. His conducted a vigorous preaching ministry. His relations to the later Lollard movement are uncertain. His disciples made and English translation of the Bible from the Vulgate. His views influenced the Czech reformer Jan Hus. His views were condemned at the Council of (1415). Though not Protestant per se (on justification), his views are among those which later helped to fuel the Reformation. He died of natural causes.


Xavier, Francis (1506-52) Jesuit missionary to the East Indies and Japan. Trained as a theologian and canon lawyer in Paris, he became a colleague to Ignatius of Loyla and helped to found the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Having learned Japanese, he established a community of 2000 within two years of his arrival, but was driven out by Buddhist monks. He died in the midst of attempting a mission to China and was buried at Goa. Though his use of civil authority and inquisitorial methods has been much criticized in modern times, Pius X declared him the patron saint of missions. He was canonized in 1622.


Zanchi, Jerome (1516-90) Italian Reformed Protestant. Trained as a Thomist scholastic, he converted to Protestantism under the influence of Peter Martyr. Forced to flee to Geneva (1551) he studied under Calvin and taught for a decade in Strasbourg where he argued with the Gnesio-Lutheran J. Marbach over predestination, the Eucharist, and Christology. After a brief stint in the pastorate he was called to the University of Heidelberg. There he continued his work on predestination and defending the doctrine of the Trinity, and expositing Scripture. He is a significant figure in the development of Reformed orthodoxy.

Zwickau Prophets A group of Anabaptist radicals who claimed to have immediate divine revelation, taught an impending apocalyptic, and rejected infant baptism. In 1521 they relocated to Wittenberg and held discussions with Melanchthon, but were suppressed by Luther in 1522.

Zwingli, Huldrych (1484-1531) The father of the Swiss Reformation. Trained for the clergy, he came under the influence of Erasmian humanism. He applied his humanist skills to the study of Scripture and began to reach Protestant conclusions at about the same time as Luther. Whether he read and was influenced by Luther is a matter of debate. He worked with the local council in the Reformation of Zürich. Because of its relatively tolerant attitude, the city became a magnet for radicals. By 1525 he was defending infant baptism against anabaptist critics. Zwingli’s influence was great, but it was checked by Luther’s rejection of him. The chief reason for Luther’s rejection of Zwingli was that it appeared to Luther, even after they agreed on 14 articles at Marburg (1529), that Zwingli was a moralist, that the sacraments were about our work for Christ instead of Christ’s work for us. Zwingli consistently denied Christ’s bodily present in the Eucharist in favor of a memorialist view. Though some scholars hold that late in his life he moved toward a more highly developed view of spiritual presence, it seems rather that he simply strengthened his language about our psychological experience in the Supper. Zwingli’s theology received a mixed reception among later Protestants. Though certainly Protestant, he was less clear than Luther and Calvin about the exact nature of justification. He was a pioneer of covenant or federal theology among the Reformed. He died serving as chaplain to Swiss troops in the Second Battle of Kappel.

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