The Spread of the Reformation

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The Spread of the Reformation



Zwingli. The first Reformed church was founded in Zurich, Switzerland. Huldrych Zwingli convinced city officials to accept his vision of true religion shortly after he arrived as chief preacher in 1518. Zwingli, the son of Swiss peasants, received an excellent education at Basel and Vienna and became attracted to Erasmus's Christian humanism. When he was ordained a priest in 1506, he showed none of the sense of being a sinner that had plagued Luther, and he cheerfully admitted having had an affair. Zwingli's work as a parish priest involved serving as chaplain to Swiss mercenaries fighting in Italy for Julius II, and the heavy casualties they suffered turned him against the papacy. When he began his preaching in Zurich, Zwingli was a radical Erasmian. He always bristled when it was suggested to him that he owed his theology to Luther and insisted that he had arrived at it independently. Yet, clearly he owed much to Luther although he disagreed with him on several key issues.

Public Debate. In his first sermon in Zurich, Zwingli preached “the pure gospel of Christ” and revealed that he rejected many Catholic practices. As he stepped up his criticism and many in Zurich took up his message, pressure was placed on the city council to deal with the problem. In early 1523 the council arranged for a public debate between Zwingli and some Catholics. The use of a public debate between Catholics and Protestants before the local city council was a common device through which most of the German and Swiss cities formally adopted the Reformation. The Zurich council decided that Zwingli had won the debate, as well as a second one later that year, and began to implement his changes. Clerical celibacy was no longer required, and Zwingli married. Monasteries and convents were closed, and the city took over the relief for the poor they had been providing. In 1525 a third debate before the council secured for Zwingli the abolition of the mass and the institution of his Communion service as proper worship. By rejecting both transubstantiation and consubstan-tiation, Zwingli removed the special role of the priest/minister in worship. No special power or privilege was needed for the pastor to assemble God's people to commemorate the Lord's Supper and affirm Christ's symbolic presence in his people.

Eucharist and Baptism. In 1524 Zwingli wrote A Commentary on True and False Religion, which was the fullest presentation of his theology. Besides the Eucharist he accepted only baptism as a sacrament. He favored infant baptism, in contrast with some of his early followers, who required adult baptism. The baptized become members of the Christian community, but membership in it does not ensure that they are among the saved. Only God knows who is saved and who is damned. The saved, however, are likely to demonstrate their faith through good works, a highly moral life, and love of God and neighbor. Zwingli promoted broader change in ritual than Luther did. His worship service differed more from the mass. Music and images in church were banned, and images in the existing churches were either broken or whitewashed over. Marriage became a civil contract, and divorce was accepted. Concerning church governance, Zwingli looked to the magistrates in the city council, not to the princes, for leadership in the church. He saw no real distinction between the church and the city; preachers and magistrates alike had the task of establishing God's rule. His political views have been described as theocratic, meaning civil and religious laws are derived from divine sources and thus ecclesiastical authorities have an important role in civil government. As Zurich and other Swiss cities, persuaded by Zwingli's disciples, became Reformed, the ever-present tension with the mountain cantons, which remained Catholic, increased. By 1529 Zwingli was sufficiently worried about civil war that he met with Luther at Marburg to forge a united front. After the meeting's failure, war erupted between Protestant and Catholic Swiss. Zwingli was killed leading the troops from Zurich into battle in 1531. Zwingli, the forgotten man of the Reformation, had a strong influence on two branches of Protestantism—Anabaptism and Calvinism.


Ulrich Zwingli, the people's priest in the Swiss city of Zurich, believed that the Word of God was the purest authority and he increasingly worked for reform in the church. On 29 January 1523, he invited six hundred friends and foes to the Zurich town hall for a discussion. The basis for this discussion was sixty-seven articles that Zwingli had prepared, ranging from the nature of the Gospel to the practice of selling indulgences. Some of the more interesting ones appear below,

1. All who say that the gospel is invalid without the confirmation of the Church err and slander God.

2. The sum and substance of the gospel is that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, has made known to us the will of H is heavenly Father, and has with His innocence released us from death and reconciled God.

3. Hence Christ is the only way to salvation for all who ever were, are, and shaE be.

5. Hence all who consider other teachings equal to or higher than the gospel err and do not know what the gospel is,

14. Therefore all Christian people shall use their best diligence that the gospel of Christ be preached alike everywhere.

15. For in the faith rests our salvation, and in unbelief our damnation; for all truth is clear in Him.

16. In the gospel one learns that human doctrines and decrees do not aid in salvation.

17. That Christ is the only eternal high priest, wherefrom it follows that those who have called themselves high priests have opposed the honor and power of Christ, yea, cast it out.

18. That Christ, having sacrificed Himself once, is to eternity a certain and valid sacrifice for the sins of all faithful, wherefrom it follows that the mass is not a sacrifice, but is a remembrance of the sacrifice and assurance of the salvation which God has given us.

22. That Christ is our justice, from which [it] follows that our works insofar as they are good, so far they are of Christ, but insofar that they are ours, they are neither right nor good.

23. That all which God has allowed or not forbidden is righteous, hence marriage is permitted to all human beings.

24. That all who are called clericals sin when they do not protect themselves by marriage after they have become conscious that God has not enabled them to remain chaste.

Sources: Samuel Hacauley Jackson, ed., Selected Works ofHuldrmth Zwingli (1484–1531) (Philadelphia; University of Pennsylvania, 1901), pp. 40, 47–54,111–117.

Lewis W. Spitz, ed., The Protestant Reformation (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hail, 1966), pp. 82–85.

Anabaptists. The idea that baptism must be administered to an adult, who thereby makes a public commitment to a Christian life, was present in the early church and appeared in heretical movements throughout the Middle Ages. It reappeared soon after Zwingli began preaching in Zurich. Rebaptism rose out of the concept of the gathered church as a community of true believers who make an adult decision to join. Conrad Grebel was the most prominent of the Zurichers who rejected the idea accepted by Catholics and most Protestants that a child at birth was automatically a member of a church coextensive with the state. Several major consequences followed from requiring adult baptism. First, the church consisted only of the elect, who were few; the traditional view that it included saints and sinners whom Christ would separate at the end of time was rejected. The saints must keep apart from the children of darkness. Second, it requires the separation of church and state. If the church consists of only a few true believers, then it is not synonymous with the state but distinct from it. It follows that true believers were not obliged to pay taxes, swear oaths, and perform military service. Third, Emperor Constantine had condemned rebaptizing as a heretical practice and mandated death for it. The radicals insisted that they did not rebaptize because infant baptism was not valid; they usually called themselves simply the Brethren. Catholic and Protestant authorities called them “Anabaptists” to bring them under legal liability to administer to them a “third baptism”: death by drowning.

Hutter. Grebel provided a coherent theology for the gathered church of the saints. The model for a community of true believers was the Apostolic Church, and the Anabaptists sought to emulate it. Their practices included common ownership of goods, a greater role for women, shunning nonbelievers, a rigid moral code, and nonresis-tance to persecution. Refusal to use violence was common to most early Anabaptists. Grebel died a natural death, but Swiss authorities imposed the death penalty on the most outspoken of the Anabaptists. Other Anabaptists scattered across Europe, carrying their ideas to a wide audience, although many radical groups sprang up without Swiss influence. Most Anabaptists insisted on a rigorous moral code, but some proclaimed that faith permitted anything. Since they were the saints of God living in the new age, human laws no longer bound them. Such lawlessness helped to discredit Anabaptism in the eyes of most people, but Jakob Hutter came close to establishing Anabaptism as a viable way of life. Influenced by the Swiss Brethren, Hutter became an Anabaptist in Austria. Persecution forced him to flee to Moravia in 1533 where he became head of a commune of Moravian Brethren. His concept of the apostolic community required that both production and consumption of goods be done in common. Hard work, discipline, and dedication among the Moravian Brethren allowed their communities to flourish. The passing of centuries failed to dampen the enthusiasm of most Brethren, and their communities survived, despite frequent persecution, through migration to the Ukraine and then America.

Münster. Little is known about Melchior Hoffman before he arrived in Strasbourg in 1529. As the prophet of the end times, he declared it would become the New Jerusalem in 1533. Hoffman had success in gaining followers among the urban poor of the German and Dutch cities, where economic recession and bad harvests had created enormous stress. In such troubled times the promise of being among those who would receive eternal reward while the nobles, merchants, and prelates would be vanquished, was too powerful to give up, even when the year 1533 ended without Christ's return. Hoffman did not visit Miinster, a German city that would always be associated with his doctrines. Before a public debate between Lutheran and Catholic theologians in August 1533, Anabaptist preachers were invited to the city to bolster the Protestant cause. The result was a stalemated city council that refused to take action against the Anabaptists, and the city quickly became a refuge for radicals. They included Jan Bokelson and Jan Matthys, whose forceful personalities gave them a major role in the Anabaptist takeover of Miinster in early 1534. They sent a letter to cities and villages of the region announcing that Miinster was the New Jerusalem and inviting the true believers to go there and avoid the vengeance of the Lord. About 2,500 people accepted the invitation. The expulsion of both Lutherans and Catholics persuaded local Lutheran nobles to join the Catholics and lay siege to Miinster in March 1534. As the siege tightened, Matthys declared he had received a command from God to drive the enemy away. On Easter, the appointed day for Christ's return, he led a sortie, promising his troops that God would protect them. Matthys was killed and his body hacked to pieces. Bokelson now took control of Miinster. He revealed that God demanded establishment of a government based on ancient Israel, and he drew up rules for the city based entirely on the Bible. Polygamy as practiced by the Hebrew patriarchs was mandated, since there was a serious imbalance of women in the city. Bokelson declared himself king of the entire world with Miinster as the New Jerusalem. By early 1535 an effective siege was in place, reducing the people to starvation. A reign of terror kept the starving people from overthrowing their king. Finally two men escaped and revealed weak points in the defenses to the besiegers, who in June broke through the walls, massacred the defenders, and captured Bokelson. They put him in a cage and exhibited him around Germany until early 1536, when he was returned to Miinster and executed. The cage with his corpse was hung in the cathedral tower, where it remained for centuries.

Simons. The events in Mimster seemed to justify harsh persecution of Anabaptists. Anabaptism was saved from possible extinction by the work of several theologians who returned to its earlier pacifism. The most important was Menno Simons, a priest who became a radical through Hoffman's influence. Simons condemned all violence despite persecution. He believed that only a few saints, who had to suffer persecution until Christ's return, made up the true church. Then they would be lifted up to the New Kingdom while the wicked would suffer unending torments. By convincing Anabaptists that suffering persecution from the wicked was a sign of their election as saints, Simons turned them away from violent resistance to the authorities. Simons emphasized that only God knows the day and the hour of Christ's return; the saints must wait patiently until it happens. Modern followers of his doctrines are the Mennonites and Amish.

Calvin. The first days of John Calvin as a Protestant coincided with events at Miinster. This situation helps to explain his desire to persuade authorities that his political and social views were not radical. Like Zwingli, Calvin came to Protestantism through humanism. His first publication was a humanist commentary on the Roman author Seneca the Younger's On Mercy (55–56 C.E.). Seneca's Stoicism appealed to Calvin with its emphasis on self discipline and belief in natural law; even the most depraved persons understand what is good and moral, although they fail to do it. By 1534 Calvin had become Protestant, although he seems not to have had a dramatic conversion experience of the kind that Luther did. Calvin traveled widely for the next two years, staying for a time in Basel, where Zwinglians had led the Reform. The influence of Zwingli and Luther can be seen in Calvin's first work on

religion, Institutes of the Christian Religion, which was printed in early 1536. It was his major theological work, although he revised it extensively for the rest of his life, with the final edition appearing in 1561. Yet, the first edition is a surprisingly mature work for someone who only three years earlier was not sure of his beliefs. In July 1536, on his way to Strasbourg to become pastor of the French Protestant community there, he passed through Geneva, which had already accepted Protestantism. The local Protestant leaders, Zwinglians in theology, persuaded him to stay. The publication of his Institutes earlier in 1536 marked him as a major Protestant theologian and Calvin quickly became the dominant figure in Geneva. In his haste to make it a truly reformed city, however, he made enemies who secured his ouster in 1538. He went to Strasbourg, where he worked closely with Martin Bucer, whose Lutheran beliefs had been heavily influenced by Zwingli. In 1541 supporters regained control of Geneva and invited Calvin to return, which he did only reluctantly.

Governing the Church. Upon his return Calvin drew up his “Ecclesiastical Ordinances” to establish a system of church governance. The city council accepted them in 1541 as his condition for staying. Calvin based his form of church governance on the Acts of the Apostles, where he found four divine offices—pastors, whose duties involved preaching and ministering the two sacraments of baptism and holy communion; teachers, who instructed the faithful; elders, who oversaw the conduct of the congregation; and deacons, who directed the administering of relief to the poor. The key body was the consistory, made up of all nine pastors in Geneva in 1541 and twelve elders who were chosen from the members of the city council. The dozen elders were laymen, so in theory the laity controlled the consistory, although Calvin's views almost always dominated. The consistory had the task of overseeing and correcting the doctrine of the pastors and the conduct of lay people who refused to accept correction from the elders. Excommunication, expulsion, and in some cases, execution, were imposed on those who refused to submit to the consistory. The consistory imposed Calvin's strict moral code on the people, which in the hands of his later followers in England became known as Puritanism.

Predestination. Calvin gave a major place to the doctrine of predestination. The doctrine was not new to him; many earlier Christian theologians, especially St. Augustine, had accepted it. Most of its previous defenders had maintained that God had chosen the elect for salvation, but the damned were responsible for their fate because of their sins. Calvin argued that there was nothing that a human could do, whether good or evil, to influence God's will. He did not shrink from what he called the doctrine's “awful consequences”: God has predestined both the saved and the damned from all eternity. Calvin was eager, however, to keep his followers from lapsing into fatalism—the belief that it makes no difference what people do in life, since their fate has already been determined— which some Anabaptists were preaching. He proclaimed that those who lived a good Christian life should have reasonable confidence that they were among the elect. This confidence, taken more as a guarantee by his followers, gave the Calvinists the courage to confront the evildoers and correct them, especially the princes who were harming the true religion.

Protestant Work Ethic. Predestination was a stumbling block for many who otherwise were attracted to Calvin's vision of Christianity, but it gave to those who did accept it a powerful courage of their convictions to change the world. It made them a revolutionary force in western Christendom in the century to come. As interpreted by later Calvinists, the doctrine also had the consequence of seeing success in the world, especially in business, as a sign of election, since God would favor his saints. Along with Calvin's denunciation of monasticism and his emphasis on doing one's best in day-to-day life, it helped to create what has been called the Protestant work ethic.

Sacraments. What Calvin meant by a good Christian life included receiving the two sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. Baptism is the sign of joining the fellowship of the Church and being counted among the children of God. In one sense Calvin literally meant children, for he accepted infant baptism as an authentic practice of the early Church, taking the place of circumcision as the sign of initiation for Jewish infants. Calvin believed in Christ's real but spiritual presence in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. It served well as a compromise between Luther's con-substantial real presence and Zwingli's symbolic presence. Calvin did not agree with Zwingli that the Lord's Supper should be celebrated only four times a year, but the Zwinglians who reformed the city before he arrived had established the practice, and it remained so in the Calvinist liturgy. Consequently, the center of ordinary Sunday worship became Scripture readings and the sermon. Calvin followed Luther in proclaiming that biblical truth was open to anyone with an open mind and a pure heart, but he was not so convinced that most people could understand it correctly. He had seen how the practice of reading the Bible “alone, for oneself had led to what he regarded as the excesses of the Anabaptists. The pastors and teachers had the great responsibility of guiding the people though the Bible, which was done first of all by Sunday preaching. Attending Sunday services was another necessary sign of leading a good Christian life. “Keep thou holy the Lord's day!” received greater emphasis in Calvinism than in other mainstream branches of Christianity. While accepting Zwingli's ban on images in church, Calvin promoted the singing of Psalms, and the singing of Psalms in vernacular translation became one of the marks of Calvinists.

Eagerness to Reform. Calvin's experiences were entirely within the context of urban bourgeois life. His religious beliefs and practices reflected it, as, for example, in abandoning the prohibition on interest. The pastors in concert with the prosperous merchants and artisans governed the Church of Geneva. Calvinism appealed largely to the bourgeoisie across Europe, who put an emphasis on certain points in it that supported the development of capitalism. The theory that Protestantism and in particular Calvinism gave rise to capitalism is overstated, but there is some connection between the two. Calvin was clearer in separating the Church from the city council than Zwingli had been in Zurich. Both church and state have the tasks of bringing sinners to praise God, but they do it in distinct ways. The church can flourish under any type of government, provided it is not a tyranny, and the Christian is obliged to obey secular authority. Yet, if the state orders what is against the law of God, then the Christian must resist, although Calvin seems to rule out violent resistance. He accepted monarchy as a legitimate form of government, but he felt that a single person holding authority was more likely to require his subjects to violate God's law, while he could not trust the rule of the mob, democracy, to avoid anarchy, the other great evil besides tyranny. Thus, he felt that rule by the few, oligarchy, was the best government, as it existed in Geneva. When Calvinists found themselves confronting the Catholic monarchs in the various religious wars after 1560, they found it easy to interpret Calvin's thoughts on these matters to justify armed resistance to monarchy. Unlike Luther, Calvin was eager to reform all Christendom and founded the Geneva Academy in 1559 for training pastors to send across Europe. By the time he died in 1564, strong Calvinist movements had been established in France, England, the Netherlands, and Scotland; in the latter two countries it became the dominant religion.

Presbyterians. Scotland remains today the most Calvinist land except perhaps for Geneva itself. Before 1540, isolated Scotland had seen little in the way of heresy. A greater impact on Scotland's religious future was England's break with Rome. A pro-English party long had been active in Scots politics, and now it took on a pro-Protestant position, especially in contrast with the monarchy's pro-French policy, eager to maintain the “Auld Alliance” with France. James V had married Mary of Guise, from a strongly Catholic French noble family, as part of that policy. When he died in 1542, his only child was his week-old daughter, Mary, who became Mary Queen of Scots despite her age. Chaos followed in Scotland, which became worse when Mary was taken at age six to be raised at the French court with her Guise relatives. The pro-English party gained support, as opposition to the role of Mary of Guise in governing Scotland became extensive. In 1546 a group of Scots, including a young priest, John Knox, murdered the pro-French archbishop of St. Andrews and seized his castle until French troops drove them out. Knox served a term as a slave on French galleys. After being freed he went to Geneva and became an ardent Calvinist. His opportunity to strike against French influence and Catholicism came in 1559, when he returned to Scotland. Mary of Guise died in 1560 while her daughter was still in France, and Knox and the Protestant party persuaded the Scottish Parliament to abolish the authority of the papacy in Scotland and adopt the Scottish Confession of Faith, which was largely Calvinist. Special emphasis was placed on the role of the presbyters (elders) hence the name Presbyterian Church.

House of Stuart. Queen Mary returned to Scotland in 1561. She was a Catholic in what was now a Protestant realm, but she might have kept power if it had not been for her marital problems. When her second husband Lord Darnley was murdered in 1567, she married one of those believed responsible. The outrage of the Scots forced her to flee to England for protection, and her infant son by Darn-ley was crowned King James VI of Scotland (ruled 1567–1625). He later ruled England as James I (1603–1625), the first Stuart king of England. He was put under the control of Protestant regents who saw to it that he was raised Calvinist. Scotland became solidly Protestant.

English Response. Despite a tradition of antipapal attitudes and a native heretical group, the Lollards, England responded slowly to Protestantism. Henry VIII (ruled 1509–1547) had a Defense of the Seven Sacraments (first published in 1687) ghostwritten for him attacking Luther's doctrine, but his chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, angered the English people and clergy with his demands for money and his use of church and political offices to advance his ambition to become pope. What might have happened in England had it not been for the “King's Great Matter” is impossible to say. Henry had married his older brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon, to maintain a Spanish alliance. By church law, such a relationship was incest, and Henry had received a dispensation from Julius II to marry her. By 1527, when Catherine was past the age of childbearing, the marriage had resulted in only one surviving child, Princess Mary. Since a female's right to rule in England was unclear, Henry was worried about the future of his dynasty. By then he had also fallen in love with Anne Boleyn, Catherine's lady-in-waiting. Henry's sense that he was being punished for violating divine law against incest and his passion for Anne led him to ask the Pope for an annulment of his marriage. Unfortunately for him, Catherine's nephew, Emperor Charles V, controlled Rome. When Henry's petition reached Pope Clement VII, Charles refused to allow his aunt to be humiliated and his cousin cut out of a chance of ruling England. The Pope's response was to delay, hoping the problem would solve itself by someone's death or change in the political situation.

Finding a Solution. Henry, exasperated by the delays, replaced Wolsey as chancellor with the humanist Sir Thomas More in 1529. More refused to participate in the quest for the annulment, so the office soon went to Thomas Cromwell, who was sympathetic to moderate Protestantism and persuaded Henry to pressure Clement by reducing ties to Rome beginning in 1531. The Pope did not concede, so in 1533, with Anne Boleyn now pregnant, Henry issued a decree forbidding appeals to the papal court, the last step in the break with Rome. The Parliament was asked to approve of it in order to gain popular support. The archbishop of Canterbury could now hear the annulment request, and the archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, granted it. Henry had already married Anne, who gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I. A 1534 decree defined any denial of the king's authority over the Church as treason, and several persons, most notably Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher, were executed for denying Henry's supremacy in religion. Henry was conservative in religion despite being “the supreme head of the Church of England on earth,” but he made some changes beyond rejecting papal authority. He replaced Latin with English in the church services. Cromwell received authority to investigate monasteries and convents for corruption, and in 1536 he ordered that the smaller ones be closed and their properties given to the king. Three years later all remaining religious houses were closed. Monastic properties were either given to the king's favorites or sold at good prices, which committed many influential people to support the break with Rome. Yet, Henry reconfirmed most Catholic doctrines including transubstantiation and clerical celibacy in his Six Articles of 1539. Many persons who rejected traditional doctrine were executed as heretics.

Multiple Wives. Henry's marital problems continued after his marriage to Anne. After she had several miscarriages, Henry accused her of adultery, which was treason, and she was executed. He then married Jane Seymour, who in 1537 gave birth to Edward and died twelve days later. He had three more wives; the last survived him upon his death. His will called for his children to succeed him in the order of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth. As a minor Edward VI needed a regent, his uncle Edward Seymour. The latter was favorable to Protestantism, and as a result Zwinglian and Calvinist preachers arrived from the Continent. In 1549 Cranmer wrote the Book of Common Prayer to provide a moderate Protestant text for church services, while clerical marriages were permitted. When Seymour fell from power in 1551, the duke of Northumberland took power and moved further toward Reformed Protestantism. A new Book of Common Prayer appeared in 1552 with a largely Zwinglian definition of the Eucharist.

Puritan Movement. The next year Edward was dead, and his Catholic sister Mary took the throne. She immediately set to work to undo what her father and brother had done. Under the influence of moderates, Mary's first two years involved gradual restoration of traditional Catholicism, but when vehemently anti-Protestant Pope Paul IV was elected in 1555, he put strong pressure on her to cleanse her realm of heretics. Some three hundred persons were executed (including Thomas Cranmer) for which she became known as “Bloody Mary.” About eight hundred English Protestants fled to Geneva and other Reformed cities. After Mary died childless in 1558 and her Protestant sister Elizabeth became queen, most “Marian exiles” returned home, full of zeal for Calvinism. They helped create the Puritan movement, so called because they wanted to purify the Church of England of the Catholic practices and beliefs that they still saw in it.

Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Elizabeth I (ruled 1558–1603) never revealed her religious beliefs, but as soon as she took the throne she proclaimed that she would return the Church of England to what it had been under her father's rule. In fact she accepted many of the Protestant changes made under Edward. A revised edition of Cranmer's Common Book of Prayer took out some of the most openly Reformed statements while vaguely phrasing definitions of controversial doctrines in hope that Protestant and Catholic alike could find them acceptable. What is called the Elizabethan Religious Settlement was intended to satisfy both sides as much as possible. In Elizabeth's international policy, however, she clearly came down on the side of the Protestant states; politically England was a Protestant land, even if doctrinally the Church was not clearly so. Some Catholics and Puritans found that they could not accept the middle of the road in religion. Elizabeth handled the Puritan demands for further reform deftly without giving in and deflected any political threat they might have posed. The Catholics were seen as a greater threat because of the religious wars going on across Europe. Catholic refusal to take the oath recognizing her as “supreme governor in spiritual affairs” was deemed treasonous, and by 1570, when the Pope excommunicated Elizabeth, executions of Catholics for treason began. Some two hundred Catholics accepted death rather than swear the oath. Called Recusants for refusing the oath, a small number of the English people remained Catholic.


A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation (London: B. T. Batesford, 1964).

Dickens and John M. Tonkin, The Reformation in Historical Thought (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985).

Gordon Donaldson, The Scottish Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960).

Robert M. Kingdon, ed., Transition and Revolution: Problems and Issues of European Renaissance and Reformation History (Minneapolis: Burgess, 1974).

Menna Prestwich, ed., International Calvinism 1541–1715 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985; New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

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The Spread of the Reformation

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