SIXTEENTH CENTURY

ANABAPTISTS: Nicholas Stork, a weaver (d. 1525), and Thomas Munzer, a Lutheran preacher and priest (c. 1490-1525), made, at the time of the so-called reformation, the first attacks on infant baptism, and thus launched the Anabaptist movement.
     They denied the validity of infant baptism; practiced communism and polygamy; and condemned oaths and warfare as unlawful.

OSIANDRISTS: Disciples of a German reformer, Andreas Osiander, who was born Dec. 19, 1498, at Gunsenhausen, near Nuremberg. His real name was Hosemann. He was educated at Ingolstadt and Wittenberg, and became a preacher at Nuremberg in 1522, where he was conspicuously active in introducing the Protestant Reformation.
      He taught that Christ was the justifier of mankind, not according to the human, but according to the divine nature.

ZWINGLIANS: Disciples of Ulric Zwingli, a contemporary of Luther, born at Wildhaus, Canton of St. Gall, Jan. 1, 1484. In 1506 he became parish priest at Glarus, and later began preaching erroneous doctrines. In 1524 he married. He was killed in 1531 in the religious strife he had helped to stir up.
The Zwinglians believed in predestination; that marriage was suited to all; that it was presumption to take a vow of chastity; denied the authority of the Pope, free-will, the Sacraments, good works, purgatory and the forgiveness of sin.

PRESBYTERIANS: A religious denomination that owes its formation to John Knox, who was born at Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland, in 1505. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1530. In 1542 he sided with the Protestant movement, and thereafter, until his death at Edinburgh in 1572, was most active in attacking the Catholic Church.
     The Presbyterians believe in predestination; deny the authority of the Pope, free-will, the Sacraments, purgatory, good works and the forgiveness of sin.

LUTHERANS: The name of an heretical sect founded by Martin Luther, who was born at Eisleben, Germany, Nov. 10, 1483; attended a Catholic Latin school at Mansfeld, and in 1497, when fourteen years old, entered another Catholic school at Magdeburg. He matriculated at the Catholic University of Erfurt in Thuringia, in 1501, where he became a Master of Philosophy at the age of twenty. On July 17,1505 he entered the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt, and in 1507 was ordained a Catholic priest. In 1508 he was made professor of philosophy at the new Catholic University of Wittenberg, visited Rome in 1510 or 1511 on business of his Order, and  sometime after his return began to lecture on the Scriptures. On Oct. 31, 1517 he nailed his 95 theses against indulgences to the door of the church in Wittenberg. On Sept. 21, 1520 he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X. later he married an ex-nun, Catherine von Bora, and finally died in 1546.
     Luther denied tradition; the divine authority of the Papacy; that councils were infallible; that original justice was a supernatural gift; that human nature remained essentially the same in its powers after the fall of Adam; that man, after the fall, can produce any good works; held that man sins in whatever he does; that the sins of the just are covered by faith and not done away with; maintained that all works of sinners are sins; denied free-will; all the Sacraments except Baptism and the Eucharist; transubstantiation; the Sacrifice of the Mass; purgatory and the utility of praying to the Saints; he maintained that vows are made to the devil; that concupiscence is invincible; that the sensual instincts are irrepressible, and held that the gratification of sexual propensities is as natural and inexorable as the performance of any of the physiological necessities of our being.
     Lutheranism in general and all the Protestant sects that developed from it were condemned by the Council of Trent (1545-1563).

SACRAMENTARIANS: A sect started by Andreas Karlstadt, whose real name was Andreas Rudolf Bodenstein, at first a friend, but later an opponent of Luther. He was born at Karlstadt, Franconia, about 1480. After a stormy career, during which he was driven out of Saxony several times, and after much wandering about preaching Protestantism, he settled down as professor of theology at Bazel, where he died in 1541.
     The Sacramentarians rejected the doctrine of a corporea presence in the Holy Eucharist, but admitted the spiritual presence of Christ.

MENNONITES: Founded by Menno Simons, who was born in 1492, at Witmarsum in Friesland, and ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1516. He became an Anabaptist elder in 1536, and during the rest of his life devoted himself to the sect that now bears his name. He died in 1559 at Wustenfelde in Holstein.
     The Mennonites condemned infant baptism; oaths; law suits; civil office holding; the bearing of arms; the Sacraments; and held a doctrine of non-resistance to violence.

EPISCOPALIANS: Members of the Church of England, which was founded by Henry VIII and established as the national church of that country in 1534 by an act of Parliament. Henry decided to establish his own church because the Catholic Church would not allow him to divorce his wife and remarry. In his Bull "Apostolicae Curae", published Sept. 18, 1896, Pope Leo XIII declared Anglican Orders to be invalid.
     The Anglicans, as they are commonly called, believe in justification by faith alone; hold that the Bible is sufficient for salvation and that it is to be interpreted privately; deny the supremacy of the Pope and hold the King supreme in spiritual matters; deny the doctrine of Transubstantiation, purgatory, and condemn the Veneration of the Saints.

CALVINISTS: Disciples of John Calvin, who was born at Noyor in Picardy, France, on July 10, 1509. He was undoubtedly the greatest of Protestant divines. He preached and taught his heretical doctrines until he died at Geneva, May 27, 1564.
       Calvin held the doctrine of predestination; denied the supremacy of the Pope; free-will; good works; purgatory; the Sacraments; and the forgiveness of sin.

UNITARIANS: Martin Cellarius is commonly regarded as the first writer of the Unitarian movement. He was born in 1499 and, although a friend of Luther, differed from him on the fundamental position of the authority of Scripture. His death occurred in 1564.
      The Unitarians deny the divinity of Christ; accept or reject the Bible according to private judgment; deny the doctrine of Atonement and original sin; reject all but two of the Sacraments and deny the grace-conferring power and necessity even of these.

SOCINIANS: A sect which owes its origin to Laelius and Faustus Socinus. Laelius, born in 1525, was a priest of Sienna and intimate friend of Calvin. He was forced to flee to Poland at one time, but appears to have spent most of his life at Zurich. He died in 1562. Faustus, born in 1539, was a nephew of Laelius, and it is to him that the sect bearing his name owes its individuality. After his uncle's death he succeeded in reuniting and reorganizing the Socinians who had scattered. He died in 1604.
     The Socinians insisted on private judgment and the free use of reason; rejected authority, and some went so far as to reject all natural religion; discarded mysteries; denied Adam to have been endowed with peculiar gifts; set aside the doctrine of original sin; admitted only two sacraments; rejected baptism, and denied the existence of hell, holding the wicked to be annihilated.

HUGUENOTS: The name commonly given to the French Protestants who owe their origin to a great extent to William Farol. This man was born of a noble family at Fareaux, near Gap, Dauphine, in the year 1489. He was a friend of Calvin, studied in Paris, and later became a Professor in the College Lo Moine, and was distinguished for his zeal for the Catholic Church. Contact with the Waldenses infected him with erroneous ideas, and he was soon involved in the Protestant movement. He died at Neuchatel, Sept. 13, 1565.
     The Huguenots hold the doctrine of predestination; denied the supremacy of the Pope; free-will; good works; purgatory; the Sacraments and forgiveness of sin.

REFORMED DUTCH: Guido do Bres, a Dutch reformer of Brabant, together with others, wrote in 1561 the statement of faith, called the Belgic Confession, which formed the doctrinal foundation of the Reformed Dutch Church.
These heretics believed in predestination; denied the supremacy of the Pope; free-will; the Sacraments; good works; purgatory; the forgiveness of sin, and considered the Scriptures the only rule of faith.

CONGREGATIONALISTS: Organized by Robert Browne, who was born of a good family in Rutlandshire, England, in 1550. He studied at Cambridge, and in 1580 began a propaganda against the Anglican State Church, which brought him many followers but compelled him to migrate to Holland.
      The Congregationalists hold the doctrine of predestination; deny free-will; good works; purgatory; the Sacraments, and forgiveness of sin.

 

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Last edited March 17, 1998