Portal:Calvinism

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Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice of John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians. The Reformed tradition was advanced by several theologians such as Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Huldrych Zwingli, but this branch of Christianity bears the name of the French reformer John Calvin because of his prominent influence on it and because of his role in the confessional and ecclesiastical debates throughout the 16th century.

Calvinists broke with the Roman Catholic Church but differed from Lutherans on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, theories of worship, and the use of God's law for believers, among other things. Calvinism can be a misleading term because the religious tradition it denotes is and has always been diverse, with a wide range of influences rather than a single founder. The movement was first called Calvinism by Lutherans who opposed it, and many within the tradition would prefer to use the word Reformed.

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Pietro Vermigli, by Hans Asper, 1560
Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499 – 1562) was an Italian-born Reformed theologian. His early work as a reformer in Catholic Italy and decision to flee for Protestant northern Europe influenced many other Italians to convert and flee as well. In England, he influenced the Edwardian Reformation, including the Eucharistic service of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. He was considered an authority on the Eucharist among the Reformed churches, and engaged in controversies on the subject by writing treatises. Vermigli's Loci Communes, a compilation of excerpts from his biblical commentaries organized by the topics of systematic theology, became a standard Reformed theological textbook.

Vermigli's best-known theological contribution was defending the Reformed doctrine of the Eucharist against Catholics and Lutherans. Contrary to the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, Vermigli did not believe that the bread and wine are changed into Christ's body and blood. He also disagreed with the Lutheran view that Christ's body is ubiquitous and so physically present at the Eucharist. Instead, Vermigli taught that Christ remains in Heaven even though he is offered to those who partake of the Eucharist and received by believers.

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