Friday, March 01, 2013

How Lutheran Was The English Reformation?

How Lutheran Was The English Reformation?

How Lutheran was the English Reformation? In its early years, primarily during the reign of Henry VIII, the people working for reform were looking to Wittenberg and listening to Luther. Barnes, whose influence was doctrinal, was a student at Wittenberg and brought Lutheran doctrine to England.

Tyndale, the translator of the Bible, translated in Wittenberg and Germany under Luther’s influence. Cranmer had close associations in Lutheran Germany and followed Lutheran principles in liturgy and worship. The English church could have become a Lutheran church.

What was the end result? The exiles that came to England during Edward’s reign and that went to the continent during Mary’s reign represent strong Calvinistic influence. Cranmer, more like Melanchthon in being given to compromise and not a confessor like Luther, became a Calvinist in his doctrine of the Lord’s Supper while retaining Lutheran liturgical principles. In the Elizabethan Settlement the Anglican Church retained enough of what England’s early reformers had given it that it is not surprising that someone coming from an Episcopal church can feel comfortable in a Lutheran liturgical service.

There’s also an excellent (though brief) timeline of the English Reformation and its primary influences.

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