Radical Reformation

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Radical Reformation. In Christianity, the ‘left wing’ of the 16th-cent. Reformation, whose leaders maintained that the ‘magisterial’ Reformers were not sufficiently radical in their quest for a renewed Church life. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Bucer asserted that reformation must be effected either under the direction, or at least with the approval, of the secular rulers or civil authorities, whereas more radical Reformers were persuaded that the implementation of necessary changes in doctrine and practice were matters for the Church and did not require the co-operation of the State.

The Radical Reforming groups defy neat classification and include revolutionaries claiming direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Carlstadt, Münzer, and the Zwickau prophets), evangelical Anabaptists, adventists, mystics, and anti-trinitarian rationalists.