The Calvinist Exclusive Claim of “Reformed”

On more occasions than I’d like to remember I have made new acquaintances or run upon old friends who announced to me something like this, “I’m REFORMED!” or “Oh, I’m REFORMED now!” or “I have left such and such a church to attend a REFORMED church.” They are so proud of themselves as though they have moved from the primitivism of Grandma Moses to the non-objectivity of Wilhelm de Kooning or Hans Hoffman. They are now among the enlightened and rather audacuiously so not knowing that, as they say, “been there, done that.”

I, at one time, tried to clarify the terminology but now I am just charitable, nod approvingly and  allow for this claim and misnomer of  REFORMED to go unchallenged. Getting this off of my chest and in the interest of time I would like to say it once and for all, Calvinists are among the Reformation but they did not and do not speak for the Reformation and it is dishonest for them, as a group, to pretend that they somehow exclusively own the term, REFORMED .

Here are the facts… 

More than one expression of the Reformation

Lutheran…                   German Reformation

Mennonite…                 Dutch, Swiss, German, Anabaptists Reformation

Episcopal…                   English Reformation

“The Reformation: from the Latin reformare, “to reform.” A movement that began in the early sixteenth century to reform the Catholic Church. It resulted in roughly a third of the Catholic Church being torn from the Pope’s hand. The movement can be grouped into three main parts: (1) The German Reformation, which gave birth to the Lutheran churches and centered around Martin Luther (1483-1581) and Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560); (2) The Swiss Reformation, which gave birth to the Reformed churches and centered around Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and John Calvin (1509-1564); and (3) The English Reformation, which gave birth to the Anglican Church and centered around King Henry VIII (1491-1547), Bishop Hugh Latimer (1485-1555), Bishop Nicholas Ridley (1500?-1555) and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), the last three of whom were burned at the stake outside Baillol College in Broad Street, Oxford. 

The Reformers recognized the Bible as the sole rule of faith and practice and taught that justification was by faith alone. The Reformation rejected Roman Catholic teachings concerning the sacraments, grace, indulgences, purgatory and papal authority.” 

Source: Miethe, Terry L., The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words. Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN., c 1988 






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