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Each of these theologians also understood salvation to be by grace alone, and affirmed a doctrine of particular election (the teaching that some people are chosen by God for salvation).
Martin Luther and his successor Philipp Melanchthon were undoubtedly significant influences on these theologians, and to a larger extent later Reformed theologians.
Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536–59) was one of the most influential theologies of the era.
Toward the middle of the 16th century, the Reformed began to commit their beliefs to confessions of faith, which would shape the future definition of the Reformed faith.
While the Reformed theological tradition addresses all of the traditional topics of Christian theology, the word Calvinism is sometimes used to refer to particular Calvinist views on soteriology and predestination, which are summarized in part by the Five Points of Calvinism.
Some have also argued that Calvinism as a whole stresses the sovereignty or rule of God in all things including salvation.
First-generation Reformed theologians include Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531), Martin Bucer (1491–1551), Wolfgang Capito (1478–1541), John Oecolampadius (1482–1531), and Guillaume Farel (1489–1565).
These reformers came from diverse academic backgrounds, but later distinctions within Reformed theology can already be detected in their thought, especially the priority of scripture as a source of authority.
Calvinism was adopted in the Electorate of the Palatinate under Frederick III, which led to the formulation of the Heidelberg Catechism in 1563, and in Navarre by Jeanne d'Albret.During the English Civil War, the Calvinistic Puritans produced the Westminster Confession, which became the confessional standard for Presbyterians in the English-speaking world.Having established itself in Europe, the movement continued to spread to other parts of the world including North America, South Africa, and Korea.The doctrine of justification by faith alone was a direct inheritance from Luther.John Calvin (1509–64), Heinrich Bullinger (1504–75), Wolfgang Musculus (1497–1563), Peter Martyr Vermigli (1500–62), and Andreas Hyperius (1511–64) belong to the second generation of Reformed theologians.Calvinists differ 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.As declared in the Westminster and Second Helvetic confessions, the core doctrines are predestination and election. Keller, John Piper, David Wells, and Michael Horton.The remainder of the 16th century saw an explosion of confessional activity.The stability and breadth of Reformed theology during this period stand in marked contrast to the bitter controversy experienced by Lutherans prior to the 1579 Formula of Concord.Calvin did not live to see the foundation of his work grow into an international movement; but his death allowed his ideas to break out of their city of origin, to succeed far beyond their borders, and to establish their own distinct character.Although much of Calvin's work was in Geneva, his publications spread his ideas of a correctly Reformed church to many parts of Europe.