Erasmus kindled it with his Greek New Testament and translations of the Church’s greatest thinkers. Luther struck the match. From Wittenberg to Zurich, Strassburg, Basel, and Bern the fire swept. It was a fire meant to cleanse the Church of greed and corruption—a fire to restore Christianity. But it did more than that. It changed the map of Europe. It changed lives. Princes gained ground from it; artisans and peasants gained power. It took religion out of the monastery and into the marketplace. It made of Christendom competing factions and gave powers of speech to “even women and simple folk.” It was a fire of ideas that occupied the attention with as much intensity as man’s walk on the moon in this century. To those called heretics (or Anabaptist) it gave the “mark of Christ”—confidence to give one’s own life like a brand to fuel the fire of the “true gospel.”

Reformation World

1516 Erasmus’ edition of Greek New Testament published

1517 Martin Luther posts 95 theses

1517 Erasmus publishes anti-war tract

1518 Luther summoned to Augsburg but refuses to recant

1519 Zwingli becomes People’s priest in Zürich

1520 Luther burns papal bull for his arrest

1521 Carlstadt celebrates first Protestant communion at Wittenburg

1521 Muntzer publishes Prague Manifesto justifying violence in the elect

1522 Luther introduces German liturgy in Wittenburg

1522 Muntzer marries and germanizes services in Allstedt; Zwingli secretly marries

1523 Zwingli holds Zürich disputations

1523 Reformer Martin Bucer arrives in Strassburg; German services introduced

1524 Storm on images in Zürich

1524 Planets align in sign of the Fish; widespread expectation of evil

1524 Carlstadt puts aside priestly vestments to become a “new layman”; declines to baptize infants

1524 Erasmus ...

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